For many business leaders, the focus is on serving customers by making quality products at a good price and delivering them on time. Serving clients becomes Job 1 for them, not tooting their own horns. This is understandable, however, let's take a moment to discuss what blogging is, how it can grow your business, and why your company needs to start now, if it is not already doing so.
What is blogging? What is a blog?
In the early days, it was a web log... a string of thoughts posted online by people who became known as bloggers. The term web log became weblog, and it was then shortened to blog. When Dave Winer was trying to explain this relatively new phenomenon in the early years, he described it this way: "A weblog is a hierarchy of text, images, media objects and data, arranged chronologically, that can be viewed in an HTML browser."
The first blog, Justin's Home Page, appeared in January 1994. In his very first post, he introduced us to what blogging is by saying, "Howdy, this is twenty-first century computing." And, that was blogging's humble beginning.
But, today, blogging is so much more because marketers understood early on blogs possessed a ton of potential to connect companies and clients. For content marketer Ian Cleary, "A blog is a magnet that attracts your potential customers if you write high quality relevant content. Once you have relevant traffic you can start working on conversion of this traffic."
If the Internet is the information superhighway, then your blog is an exit ramp leading your customers from the highway to your business. How can you drive this traffic? There are a lot of strategies, and blogging should be one of them.
A blog can help grow your business in a variety of ways, but we want to focus on three that will allow you to track and measure your success.
1. A blog will help establish you as an authority and expert in your field
You will do well to blog consistently on topics relevant to your target customer. Smart business leaders make sure their blog posts have something for everyone regardless of where they are at in the customer journey. Do you manufacture titanium products? If someone is beginning to look at whether titanium is the right metal, your post might talk about how its strength and relatively light weight make it ideal for aerospace technologies, or how its resistance to corrosion makes it suitable for marine applications.
For site visitors who might be further along the buying process, you might want to start comparing how titanium or titanium alloys are preferable over steel because titanium is just as strong, but is just 60 percent of the density of steel.
No matter your industry, you want to set yourself apart from the rest. Consistent blog posts on topics of interest to your customers will help position you as an authority and an expert in your field. Furthermore, by providing relevant, helpful information to your website visitors will actually start the process of building relationships with potential customers because you offered them assistance on your website when they were looking to find answers to their problems.
What is blogging? It's a tool to position yourself as an authority, not to mention to build relationships.
2. Regular blogging will provide potential customers with more ways to find you
For nearly a decade, many company leaders have seen a decline in the effectiveness of advertising offline. When is the last time you picked up a phone book to locate the information you need? For most of us, we pick up our smartphones and say, "OK, Google (or Siri) ... search best CNC operator near me." Or maybe they are looking for a metal fabricator, engineering and design services, or someone who can do welding or laser-cutting.
Most people are using search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo to find what they need. In the digital marketing world, we call this organic search traffic. If you just have a standard five-page website with your homepage, About Us, Services/Products, Locations, and Contact Us, there are too few pages upon which a potential customer can land. The more pages you have, the easier it is for people to find you.
Here is how one digital marketer explains the benefits of regular blogging: "Think of it like taking your kid to a local trout derby where the organizers have stocked a pond with fish. Your kid will be more successful in catching a fish if there are 500 fish in the pond than if there were just a dozen."
What is blogging? It's a tool that gives people more ways to find your business, and it presents you the opportunity to address concerns at different stages of the customer journey/sales funnel.
3. Consistent blogging provides content to share on social media
We have all heard about the ills of social media, but the fact is sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have become ingrained in the lives of millions of people in this country and billions of people around the world. Because we are connected to our smartphones all the time, we constantly check notifications from these social media networks. By sharing your blog post on social media networks, you expand the reach of your website. Without blog content, you may struggle to maintain a consistent presence.
If you have a relatively small number of pages on your website, it also becomes more difficult to attract organic search traffic. Social media channels become a great way to fill in the gap while you establish yourself as an authority and fill out the site with more pages.
When you are writing blog posts with relevant and useful information, people will share it. That is one of the powers of social media: The possibility of something going viral.
So, What is Blogging?
It's a tool to position yourself as an authority, to give people more ways to find your business, and a way to expand the reach of your website.
And, all of this can be tracked with a tool like Google Analytics and insights from your social media networks. Google Analytics will tell you how many people are coming to your site, how long they are staying on the site, how many pages they are viewing, where they are entering, and where they are exiting. Google Analytics will tell you if people are finding you through organic search, coming from social media networks, referrals from other sites, or through an advertising campaign. Google Analytics can also help you track leads and sales. A whole other world is opened up to you via Google Analytics.
I hope you are beginning to see the value of blogging.