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.