Yes, the internet is awash with food and lifestyle blogs. But that doesn’t mean blogs are always full of fluff — they can offer big return opportunities for your business. Not only can they position you as a thought leader in your industry, but they can draw more eyes — and client prospects — to your company’s website.
It’s also worth noting that a blog isn’t crucial for every business. If you’re a one (wo)man business like an entrepreneur coach, it may be more efficient to spend time on social platforms like Instagram (which can be treated as more concise blog-esque opportunities) for sharing content and building brand awareness. And if you’re a small-scale mom-and-pop shop with a brick-and-mortar presence but no website, that blog won’t be driving traffic to — well — anything. So get a website.
Business blogs are still widely recommended by the experts for companies with a web presence that are seeking to engage potential clients and customers in the digital realm. Did you know that 77 percent of internet users read blogs? There’s already an audience out there, just waiting for your words.
Here are three key practices to keep in mind for effectively appealing to prospective leads and customers with your business blog.
Entice loyal leads through meaningful relationships
By definition, blogs are written in a more casual, conversational style than formal website copy. This platform is an open door for empathizing with your intended audience. Humanize your business and build trust by showing that you care about your reader’s issue, well before you even start offering any solutions. This makes your content more relatable, and therefore more shareable. Keep in mind that 94 percent of readers share blog content because they consider it useful for others.
Get in the reader’s headspace. Show that you relate to their emotions and issues. Take the approach of the popular app Headspace, which provides easy-to-slip-into guided meditations and mindfulness exercises. The blog on the app’s website features related content, often pertaining to timely topics, such as recent political and holiday stress.
Post content that appeals to the reader’s needs: For Headspace, the types of posts appeal to the predicted emotional states of readers seeking mindfulness content. The blog gets into the psyche of the reader with relatable content about various emotions, from “uncertainty and instability” to “anxiety, frustration or sadness.” The Headspace blog validates what a reader is experiencing, creating a meaningful, emotional connection. The reader feels understood.
Offer the reader your fix: The Headspace blog follows the emotional plug with healthy approaches to stress — moving inward and practicing compassionate mindsets. This is where the business’s product solution — meditation — gently swoops in. The posts offer a test drive. There’s the chance for readers, now leads, to try the Headspace app for free, with limited basic sessions. And there’s the ultimate product: paying subscribers can unlock the Headspace Library for hundreds of guided meditations.
Look for results: The meditations have drawn in a huge audience, according to the Headspace app’s tracking system. If you download the app, you can see a counter that indicates the number of “people meditating now.” At 3 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, that number was 1,631,391.
Elevate your brand as a guide for a certain topic
Beyond empathy, a blog that serves useful information can turn visitors into leads on the way to buying that ultimate, valuable product or service. Hubspot reports that businesses that incorporate blogs into their content marketing mix get 67 percent more leads than other businesses.
Create addictive content: Consider the addictive quality that skillfully crafted blogs use to cultivate leads. Business publication Inc. pinpoints a list of “addictive brand blogs” including the Etsy blog. What makes it addictive? Just look at the abundance of niche content it provides. The Etsy blog has hundreds of pages of posts devoted to gift guide inspiration, DIY tactics and more. Fall for one piece of content and you, the reader, could go down an hour-long rabbit hole on the same topic. That’s a lead.
Stay connected to the product or service: While Etsy mainly functions as a global online marketplace that connects artisans with a platform to sell their crafts and customers to purchase those goods, the Etsy blog (aka the Etsy Journal) offers guidance for gift ideas, interspersed with DIY posts. The content gets addictive with so many related posts to scroll through while sticking to its purpose of connecting buyers and sellers. For example, that DIY table setting can be completed with an inspiring place setting for sale. The audience can keep coming back to learn skills and browse styles, while the blog still connects buyers to sellers under the brand.
Don’t forget to insert your call to action: While your CTA is essential, it should still reflect the customer journey. If your business blog is focused on product awareness, aim for a CTA that directs readers to learn more about your services or solutions. If your blog is focused on actually driving a sale, appropriate CTAs will direct the reader to a purchase link. Regardless, remind your new loyal lead how you exist to serve them. Sixty-one percent of consumers in the U.S. have made a purchase based on a blog post.
As for Etsy? Just last year, the creative marketplace documented 33 million buyers globally who spent more than $3 billion total in 2017.
Update your blog frequently to make it more searchable
The more content you post, the more likely you are to be discovered by new visitors, who can become new leads. Research shows that companies that posted upwards of 16 blogs monthly got nearly 3.5 times more traffic than companies that posted 0-4 blogs monthly. Plus, Google crawls websites in search of new and updated content, so it’s ideal to keep the content fresh.
Base frequency on the industry: In terms of fresh content, not every company in every industry needs to worry about high frequency, as detailed in Forbes. Companies focused on day-to-day developments, like tech startups, can benefit from daily, short posts, while industries that are a bit slower-paced, like manufacturing, can reduce the posting rate. Look at your competition as well. Competitors with a bigger following and more blog posts should convince you to post more than them.
At any rate, keep the updates coming: Ultimately, when it comes to growing readership, trust that readers are likely to find these updates genuinely interesting. Stats show that 70 percent of consumers learn about companies in the form of articles as opposed to advertisements. Keep giving the people something to read about. Moz, a marketing-savvy company that seeks to simplify SEO through software and education, packs its blog with posts from industry experts about improving SEO and online marketing skills. Posts are updated frequently, averaging about four a week, and serve up tips, guides, answers to questions and more.
Keep the content relevant. Merely publishing a bunch of fresh content isn’t going to guarantee search engine notice. Be sure to post quality and relevant content that readers will share, and boost your views by linking your blogs to your social feeds as well. For more guidance about improving your business with SEO, read UNION’s white paper here.
Provide a perk, like a freebie: Moz readers hooked on SEO content that can help improve their own sites and businesses can keep coming back for more and more methods and insights to do just that — for FREE. These leads can rely on this brand’s blog insights without immediately purchasing a product. The big possibility: that they will start to pay for Moz products like SEO tracking and research toolsets, as well as training courses for individuals and business teams.
Cultivating leads through web content like business blogs creates a following. According to Moz, 37K customers trust their data. On the whole, Moz has 600K active community members.
While Etsy, Headspace and Moz have developed key examples of top-notch business blogs, they aren’t the only businesses with the potential to go viral through regular posts. Ready to launch your blog, or enhance what you already have? Read our own blog (perhaps start with our ”SEO Guide to Cracking Amazon’s Search Engine”), or even partner with us. UNION is recognized as a top Digital Agency on DesignRush, offering strategic insight and excellent digital experiences — blog content included.