3 Reasons Why Businesses Don’t Blog (Even Though They Know They Should)

General

This post was originally published on the SuperWebPros blog.

With the prevalence of content marketing, business blogs are becoming more and more common. Corporate blogs among Fortune 500 companies jumped from 23% in 2010 to 42% last year, and the rest of the country is following suit. What was once a competitive advantage is now business as usual, to the point where “Should My Business Have A Blog?” is a question with a foregone conclusion.

Another study showed that marketing firms that blogged received 67% more leads than firms that didn’t. Blogs not only generate more leads, they boost authority, give value to prospective customers, and improve your site’s SEO ranking.

Of course you should have a small business blog.  The real question is, why isn’t every business out there blogging?

There are a few common excuses that we hear from small business owners who haven’t taken the plunge into the blogosphere.

Excuse #1: “I just don’t have the time.”

Every small business owner knows that time is precious. Every minute you spend on your website, (and your website’s blog,) is a minute that you could be spending running another aspect of your business.

Sometimes, a small business owner has to think like someone running an emergency room, triaging patients based on the severity of condition and the amount of good that treatment is likely to achieve. Is your time better spent making a phone call to a supplier, or writing a blog?

Prospecting new customers, or writing a blog?

Training a new manager… picking out the new carpet for the reception area… managing the relationship of a longtime client… or writing a blog?

If your business is new to blogging, carving time out of your already busy day to write a blog seems like a tall order.

Luckily, it’s not! Writing a blog doesn’t have to be a particularly time-consuming endeavor. First off, as you’re making those phone calls to customers and fielding questions: realize that those common customer questions are the perfect topics for your business blog. And you already have the answer! You just need a few minutes in between tasks to write it down.

Any member of your organization can write a blog as well, based on their role and expertise. You personally may not have time to work on a blog, but somebody in your company probably does.

The reality? We make time for the things that are important. If you “don’t have time” to blog, it means that you don’t understand the value of using some of your time to invest in one.

Which brings is to the second reason that companies don’t blog:

Excuse #2: “I just don’t see the benefit.”

People like to see instant results. It’s just our nature. And it’s amplified by online tools and social media networks that give us the rush of instant gratification on a daily basis. I order a book from massive online retailer? I get it in 2 days with free shipping or I can instantly download the content to my device. I post a silly picture of my dog? 27 likes within an hour. (Hey, people love silly dog pictures.)

This is an understandable reaction, because when people invest their time, resources, and silly dog pictures, they want to see a good return on that investment. And for the small business owner, a good ROI can be the difference between success and failure.

But some things don’t have an immediately apparent ROI.

If I go to the gym in my current condition, (generously described as ‘doughy’,) I can’t expect to see washboard abs after one workout. But some businesses start a blog and expect to see an immediate influx of web traffic, a stack of new leads, and an immediate rise to the coveted first position of Google. And when they don’t see that after 1 or 2 posts?

They throw up their hands. It’s a waste of time. Where’s the benefit?

In reality, the purpose of a blog is to provide value to customers, to give them a chance to get to know your company, and to become a voice of authority in your field. A well promoted blog does get leads and referrals, and the more pages your site has for Google’s bots to crawl on, the better your overall SEO strategy.

But it doesn’t happen overnight.

It takes time to build links to other worthwhile sites. It takes time to write enough quality content to make an impact. And it takes time to promote your content to drive more traffic. It may not be instant gratification, but like a workout regimen it will pay off in the long run if you continue to work at it.

Invest in a good blog, and invest in a good promotion strategy for that content. If it’s quality, if it’s useful to your clients, and if it’s written smartly with SEO in mind, it will pay off dividends in the big picture.

Excuse #3: “I’m just not a good writer”

Okay. You understand the value of content marketing, and you’re ready to take the necessary steps toward starting a small business blog. You’ve budgeted the time, and you understand that you’re laying the foundation for more inbound leads.

But there’s one problem: you’re no writer.

People read things from good writers. Writers like Hemingway and Shakespeare and Tom Clancy and Stephanie Meyer. (Hey, everybody’s opinion of a good writer is a little different.)

You’re a small business owner. Why would anybody read something that you wrote?

Easy. Because people who read blogs aren’t looking for the next literary masterpiece. They’re looking for a solution to a problem, an answer to a question, or guidance in making a purchasing decision. It’s not about your writing skills- it’s about your expertise. So write about what your customers care about!

Okay, you’ll need some basic skills. Basic grammar, access to spellcheck, that sort of thing. But if you can clearly communicate your insider knowledge with simple, skimmable language in order to answer a common question or address a customer pain, you’ve got what it takes to write a compelling business blog.

Your blog readers don’t care if you can spin a sentence like Tolstoy or weave a world like Tolkien. They want to get to know you, your company, and your field of expertise. A 2016 study found that 47% of buyers engaged with 3-5 pieces of online content before they bothered to contact a sales rep. Nearly half.

That means they want to research you. They want to research what you know and what you stand for before they make a decision to work with you. The more opportunity you give them to see why you’re worth doing business with, the better chance you have of opening up a whole new channel for leads.

Get Help If You Need It.

Hey, we understand. The idea of starting a small business blog can seem overwhelming. I’m here to tell you that you absolutely can do it.

But it does take some time to do, and some practice to do well. If you want to accelerate your website’s inbound marketing strategy with business blogging, you can always rely on help.

If you’re looking for a professional to help you with business blogging, let me know. I can help with strategy, planning, and even writing blogs for you based on your expertise.

If you need ongoing help with your blog, check out our business blogging packages at SuperWebPros. We’d love to help your business grow.

Selling Everything But Myself: Why I (Still) Dread Self-Promotion

Business Blogging, Creative Writing

kindofabigdeal

Ever been in sales?

If so, you can still hear it, if you try. Dig down deep. Remember. Hold your briefcase to your ear like a conch shell.

Instead of the rush of the sea, you will hear your old manager. Your mentor. Your well meaning uncle. A chorus of past salesmen, whispering words of wisdom:

“You don’t sell your product. You sell yourself.


 

I am terrible at selling myself. I always have been.

It’s not that I’m reserved, or introverted, or concerned about saying the wrong thing. I’m great with words. Words are kind of my thing. I’m blessed enough to make a living off my words.

And I don’t have any strong negative feelings about sales, either. Sure, there are dishonest and slimy salespeople out there. I hate that. I mean, there’s a Gallup poll about honesty in professions which reveals that only 2% of car salesmen are considered to have “very high” ethical standards.

(As a former car salesman, I think that perception is pretty well deserved.)

But with that being said, there are also some really great salespeople who genuinely try and connect people with products and services that suit their needs. Sales is a necessary service.

When it comes to my clients, I’m great at selling. And even in my personal life… when I come across a short story I love, a record I can’t stop listening to, or a banging breakfast taco, (looking at you, Good Truckin’ Diner,) I have no problem being a top notch promoter. A champion cheerleader.

Image-1

(Sorry. You didn’t do anything to deserve this visual.)

 

What does this mean? Well, it’s pretty simple.

The problem I have with selling myself doesn’t have anything to do with the selling. It’s a problem with myself.


 

I’m not alone. Most people hate self-promotion.

And I think a lot of it comes down to humility.

We love humble people. We don’t like people who brag and boast about how awesome they are. It’s tacky, it’s self-absorbed, and it’s something that society tries to train out of us.

(Well. When it’s not training you to spend all your time updating your Insta feed.)

Everybody loves to talk about themselves, but nobody wants to be that person who always talks about themselves.

Real talk: I’m very scared of being seen as that guy. I don’t have the best feelings about myself, and I tend to assume that other people feel the same way that I do, or that they’re paying as close attention to my faults as I am.

(It’s called the spotlight effect, and it’s pretty messed up.)

So even when I do something I’m really proud of, like publishing a story, I spend a lot of time trying to find a way to promote it without coming off like an arrogant jerk.

Usually, it manifests as wishy-washy language and softening statements. Like a nerd trying to ask out their prom date.

“Um, hi. I- uh- wrote this thing, and I was just wondering if, like, you wanted to check it out or something. Or not. Whatever. No pressure.”

You don’t need a background in sales and marketing to know that this isn’t the most effective way to get a response. It communicates fear of unworthiness, it communicates lack of confidence, it does nothing to encourage action. In fact, it encourages the target audience to wait for something better to come along.

It communicates an utter lack of value.


 

If you work hard on something, that hard work has value.

It doesn’t matter what you do. Whether you’re making art or starting a real estate business. Whether you’re promoting your financial services or your Glam rock cover band, what you do matters.

And people deserve to know about it.

Here’s the dirty secret, one that I’m still learning and processing: keeping your accomplishments and gifts hidden doesn’t do anyone any favors.

It doesn’t help the people who love and care about you, who want to support your endeavors.

It doesn’t help the people who could genuinely be impacted by what you do.

And it certainly doesn’t help you further your goals. Your career. Your dreams.


 

Remember the good salespeople? The ones who aren’t slimy opportunists asking you “what’s it gonna take to get you to drive off the lot today in this beautiful ’89 Plymouth Sundance?”

sundance

The Pinnacle Of Modern Automotive Engineering

Despite what your old manager might say, those people aren’t selling themselves. They’re selling something of value. Something that’s going to serve the needs of their customers.

When you get hung up on the idea of self-promotion, don’t think about “selling yourself.”

Think about what you have to offer.

Here’s the sappy part: your dreams are worth sharing.

Your hard work doesn’t lose worth just because you’re the one doing it.

Get out there. Show off your stuff. Do the things. Get new clients. Sell more units of whatever-it-is-you-do. You can do it. Go You!

Rah rah, siss boom bah.


 

To put my money where my mouth is: check out my creative writing. You can read stories and poems about old men shooting fairies and time machines and mystical Croatian vagrants.

If you need professional blogs, optimized for SEO, that can drive traffic to your business, holler at me. Also, be sure to check out the monthly blogging packages we offer at SuperWebPros to get the most out of your content marketing strategy.

Your Business Website Needs A Blog. Here Are 5 Reasons Why.

Business Blogging

alphabet-arts-and-crafts-blog-459688

You need a blog.

At least, that’s what everybody tells you. But do you know why?

Well, you’ve probably heard about content marketing. The idea behind content marketing, (and it’s a pretty darn good one,) is to build a marketing strategy based on distributing relevant, useful content to a targeted audience in your field… instead of just bombarding your prospective customers with ads.

So instead of asking for a sale you probably haven’t earned by putting your message in front of someone who hasn’t asked for it, (let’s be honest, that’s primarily what ads are,) you make quality content that provides value to the type of people who are likely customers.

It’s been becoming more and more popular of a strategy… because it’s working. And what’s one of the best ways to deliver this content of value to your prospects?

You guessed it- the ol’ business blog.

Let’s look at 5 reasons why starting a small business blog is a good idea, if you haven’t started already:

Reason To Business Blog #1: Get more leads

Businesses that blog get more leads that businesses that don’t.

Seriously. Research on B2B marketing firms showed that blogging firms got 67% more leads than the ones that didn’t.

It makes sense. If you think about it, leads are prospective customers that have begun to recognize a need for a service like yours who are trying to make an educated buying decision.

What do you do when you try to make a more educated decision? You do your research.

Providing content for people to rely on when doing research puts your name in their brain when they’re recognizing a need for the solutions that your business offers. And if your blogs have a solid call to action, it should be easy for your customers’ educational experience to directly translate to a warm lead for your sales funnel.

Reason To Business Blog #2: Provide Value for customers

Of course, if customers are going to use you as a resource for their research, you better be putting out content that’s actually useful.

For a while, the blogging trends were pretty simple: make em’ short, sweet, and LOADED with SEO keywords. They weren’t written with any real content marketing strategy in mind.

Are the blogs helpful? (Who cares?)

Are the blogs accurate? (Whatever, it’s all about getting traffic and rankings.)

The problem with that attitude? Websites were loaded with content… but little of it was particularly useful to customers with real needs, real pains, and real buying decisions to make.

(By the way, Google rewards long-form posts with quality, skimmable content over short posts these days.)

People make buying decisions based on perceived value. So if you can provide them with something of real value, like a how-to-guide or a checklist or an infographic, you’re setting the stage for the type of value you deliver when they actually decide to do business with you.
Providing valuable content has another plus, too…

Reason To Business Blog #3: Become a voice of authority

You are an expert in your field. After all, that’s why people pay you for your product or service.

But for those people who haven’t decided to make a buying decision, yet… how do you let them know that?

You can hope that they call you with the right questions.

You can hope that your current clients spread great word of mouth and enhance your reputation to help drive referrals.

Or you can just put that expertise out there on your business blog, and open up a whole new channel for referral-based business.

Here’s a good example: I’m trying to finish my basement. Trying is the operative word here, because I’m not particularly handy. And that means I have to do a lot of research about basement waterproofing.

There are about a half a million basement specialists in my area. (Okay, slight exaggeration.) They all claim to be the #1 Basement Experts. But one of them puts out a lot of really helpful information on their blog about the best types of insulation, the benefits and risks involved in vapor barriers, and how to prevent any future mold problems.

I may use this information to finish this project myself over the course of the next 6 months. Or, I may decide that this is a huge pain and I’d be better off hiring a professional to do it in 6 days.

If I do hire an expert, I’m more likely to hire the one that’s actually shown me their expertise via the blog posts I found in my searches.

This isn’t just me, either. Leads procured from organic search content have a close rate of 14.6%, compared to traditional outbound advertising leads with a close rate of 1.7%.

Reason To Business Blog #4: Let customers get to know you

What have we learned so far?

Customers make buying decisions based on perceived value. They want to know you’re an expert in your field and that you can provide them with real information that is valuable to their life.

Another way customers perceive value when it comes to making a buying decision? Well, they want to know how you are to work with.

Your blogs aren’t just an insight into your area of expertise, or helpful tidbits that you provide. Your blogs give your targeted audience a sense of who you are as a company. A sense that they may not be able to get, otherwise.

Your blogs reflect your values and attitudes as much as they reflect your competence and professionalism. Don’t underestimate the value of that to a prospective customer who’s got to make a decision about who to partner with for a big project or go to for a crucial purchase.

In fact, a 2016 study found that 47% of buyers engaged with 3-5 pieces of online content before they bothered to contact a sales rep. Nearly half.

If you don’t have content for those buyers to go through to help get to know your company, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to calculate the full extent of that missed opportunity.

Reason To Business Blog #5: Boost your site’s SEO

Last, but certainly not least: blogging helps you show up higher in search engine rankings.

Earlier in this post, we mentioned some old school SEO tricks that people used to boost their website, even though they had short, mostly useless bits of content. But thankfully, search engines like Google have become smarter over the years, and the algorithms they use to determine rankings are far more intricate than in the days of keyword-stuffing.

There are plenty of SEO factors to consider with your site. Speed is one of them. Click-through rate from a search page, the amount of links that lead back to your site, image tags and metadata… and, of course, well-researched keywords all factor into a site’s SEO strategy.

A quality business blog can enhance almost all of these factors.

Google sends “bots” to crawl around on your site and look for keywords, links, metadata, and information regarding click-through and bounce rates. And here’s the fun part- the more helpful, relevant content that you have on your site, the more stuff that those bots can crawl through and analyze.

Really. Websites with blogs tend to have 434% more content indexed on search engines than websites without a dedicated blog.

So now Google is focusing their algorithms to favor long, informative content over short, vague posts… since people rely on them to provide the most relevant content, they take quality seriously. And that means that the more quality content you are able to post that is actually helpful to your consumers, the better your chances of having low bounce rates, higher amounts of links pointing back to your site, and all-round performing well on Google.

 

Need A Blog?

If you need top-notch content, optimized for your business, I can help. Contact me and let me know what story you need telling. I’ll help you tell it with your customer in mind.

And if you need consistent, quality content for your business, check out the work we do at SuperWebPros. Our monthly blogging packages are optimized for SEO and ready to drive leads to your business.

 

This post originally appeared at the SuperWebPros blog.