Does business blogging still matter? The short answer is yes. Despite the fact that the Internet seems to be saturated with blogs (an estimated 500 million blogs exist as of 2019), video content is popular, and human attention spans are getting shorter, close to 80 percent of people continue to read blogs.
Some of the key metrics used to gauge success for a business blog include:
- Overall visitors
- Dwell time
- New leads and customers
- Social media shares
It’s easy and affordable to start and maintain a blog—and, as an added bonus, what may begin as a hobby or simple experiment can become highly productive for your business. Many people go online searching for answers before they’ve even decided to purchase a product or a service. To that end, 70 percent of consumers learn about a company for the first time from its corporate blogging efforts. This represents a significant opportunity to draw attention to a brand, to demonstrate expertise around hot topics, and to gain audience trust before competitors can get hold of them.
High-quality, valuable content is successful with both search engines and internet users. Overall, there are three important things to aim for when it comes to making your blog as effective as it can be: consistency, relevancy, and use of story.
There’s no doubt that consistently creating new and interesting blog posts is a challenge over time. Too often, people or businesses start their blogging endeavors with high hopes, but quickly lose interest along the way. Out of the millions of blogs initiated, the discouraging reality is that many fail to generate a significant number of visitors or leads due to lack of engagement, and are quickly discarded. An important aspect of blogging is thinking both passionately and strategically. A blog is a long-term investment—as opposed to a one-time victory—so there must be genuine interest in the topics, and there must be long-term vision for the theme. Getting the most out of a blog often means sticking with it, in spite of setbacks, and having a clear vision of the purpose underlying each post.
Develop a plan, schedule, and maintain a regular publishing frequency. Blog owners are rewarded for setting out specific overall business goals and timelines for their publishing schedule. Blogs are time-consuming, so plan to spend a certain number of hours on the effort every week. Some statistics suggest that spending more time on blogs can get you better results in terms of website traffic, search engine rankings, lead generation, and social reach. However, this initial time spent on planning and writing is an investment, as blog writers should naturally become more proficient with practice. It’s helpful to concentrate on a single blog post at a time, instead of getting confused and ahead of oneself by tackling multiple concepts at once. Also, note that frequent updates might help to drive traffic, but too many posts in a short amount of time with too little relevancy can also burn out an audience.
To keep posts relevant, content must continue to evolve or else the blog is at risk of stagnating. Simply publishing tons of content doesn’t guarantee that posts will perform well. Talk about topics that are important for your audience. This often means elaborating on niche subjects rather than broad topics. You don’t need to be an expert on your subject or your readers, but you do need to do your homework and gather as much information as you can on your audience, including their interests, what they are searching for, and the websites they tend to go to. This also makes you aware of the type of language they use. Keep yourself continually updated on what’s happening in the industry.
Just about every blogger faces the same problem: a shortage of time. However, your ideas can be sourced from all around you—even from everyday business tasks. Every question you receive via email or social media, comments, reviews, and even relevant conversations with clients can spark ideas for future posts. These help you to better understand your audience’s perspective so that your posts directly answer frequently asked questions, solve problems, and inform readers prepared to make buying decisions. Be confident about sharing your own opinions, instigate conversation, and reference current matters.
Many bloggers make the mistake of trying to remain as neutral as possible in an effort to avoid offending any subsection of their readership. In actuality, being bold and making your audience aware of where you stand (within reason, of course) can help your blog get noticed more. It also makes the content more engaging for readers, even if they disagree with your views. Document good ideas as they arise, storing them for later retrieval.
Use Storytelling to Capture Your Audience
Readers enjoy learning new information, but the manner in which this information is conveyed makes all the difference. An audience can grow bored if not drawn in quickly, so the way ideas are articulated is key. Be sure to start off with a strong headline, and don’t be afraid to have some fun.
In many ways, writing a good blog post requires not only capturing an audience’s attention early, but keeping it. When people search the web, they’re not just looking for information. They want to be entertained and even distracted. You have an important piece of knowledge to share with the world, but the key is to make your target audience care. After all, your goal isn’t to write just for yourself. You’re also writing to help others via education. But how exactly do you make your blog resonate better so it has a better chance of being read?
From the beginning, humans have been captivated by and connected with others through story. This is why TV shows, books, and other media continue to fascinate us. It’s exciting to re-live memories and hear of adventures while hardly lifting a finger. Storytelling has an emotional impact.
Please note, however, that when telling a story, avoid “selling” your brand. Yes, blogging is partially for business and SEO tactics, but you’re ultimately writing for your audience, so have fun and provide impactful information without resorting to overly technical jargon, salesy language, and self-promotion.
One of the best ways to keep readers invested is to make posts all about them: their interests, questions, and goals. Millennials, for example, represent an important demographic spending a significant amount of time online reading content. Emotional, empathetic content has been shown to attract these younger readers, who may be compelled to respond directly or share with others if they like what they read. To make your blog come alive, have it reflect your unique personality. Add a more personal touch by including your name and photo.
Just Be Yourself
The secret to coming up with great posts is to provide value and have fun—and ensure that your readers do, too. Your business goals and the technical elements of an SEO strategy may drive your blogging efforts, but it will be passion, information, and connection through quality storytelling that holds onto readers so they feel compelled to continue, return, share your content with others, and act.
Amy is a copywriter at MetaMed Marketing who works closely with the copy manager to produce articles, press releases, and other writing-based tactics, as well as copy for clients’ websites.