Every business on the planet needs a blog. That sounds like a very bold statement, but we are fairly confident that in a very short space of time (possibly just after you have finished reading this page) you will agree with us. It isn’t just the SEO benefits that having an active blog brings (although there are many, many search engine optimisation positives to blogging), and it isn’t even about the “kudos”, and it definitely isn’t about the self importance with which many businesses and/or people tend to write; having a blog which is regularly updated is all about your customers and keeping them interested in what you do, how you do it and why what you do is important and/or relevant to them in their day to day lives.
Blogging for your audience
Elsewhere on this website we discuss the importance of knowing who your target audience is, and by knowing this you will have a much better idea of how to target your blog to appeal to them. For example, this website is specifically targetted to owners of small to medium enterprises, so the language used is mostly professional and the subjects discussed are almost always business oriented. Our blogging activity echos this to give a consistent and clear message to our potential customers about what we do, who we are and why the work that we do is important to business owners. If your main customer base is teenagers, blogging about “Last of the Summer Wine” is not going to appeal to them and therefore is not going to generate the interest that well targeted blogging should achieve.
What to be blogging about – and how often
This is the most common gripe about blogging – “I have nothing to blog about”. This may well seem true, but take a step back and look at your business from an outsiders perspective. Every single day in every single business something happens which your customers would be interested in. It may be outside events which have a relevance to your business – for example a space mission in the news may involve components that you sell or had a part in manufacturing. Or it could be that Jane in accounts is expecting her first baby. Believe it or not, your customers WANT to know this stuff (provided Jane in accounts has told her husband already!), and it all helps you to build a relationship with your customers. This is a good time to remember that people buy from people – not business. Websites are brilliant ways to reach end users who would probably never otherwise have heard of your company, but the downside is that they are also unlikely to actually get to meet you and make a personal decision about whether they like you or not, so by blogging you help build a picture in their mind of the type of people you are, how well you know your industry and products and just why they should be spending their money with you as opposed to a competitor.
The best blogs have REGULAR updates – notice the stress on the word regular. How often you post is much less important than the frequency with which you post. Your users will get used to how often your blog is updated, so establishing a pattern that they can grow accustomed to is the key to a blogging success. Most blogs fail because the owners update every day for a week, then the next post is over a month later. This gives the impression that the owner has lost interest in their readers, and this is not a good way in which to promote your relationship with them. We normally advise either weekly postings or every other day. Trying to blog every single day is, for most people unrealistic and normally a recipe for failure.
SEO benefits of blogging
It would be silly to discuss blogging without exploring the multi-faceted benefits that it can bring to your search engine optimisation campaign, and as SEO is what we do, this article is a perfect opportunity for us to elaborate. The search engines love content, especially relevant content. They also use “latent semantic indexing” which means that what they are looking to find is lots of content which all revolves around a central theme. Blogging allows you to grow that theme and explore all of the different sides of your industry in a way which is much more conversational and involves your customers along the way. Because of the way in which blogging invites comments, you can also use it as a way in which to encourage feedback into your business and many clients have reported finding new niche opportunities through commenst their customers have posted on a blog.
One of the services we excel at is keyword discovery – finding new target keywords with a relatively low competition threshold that are fairly easy to achieve high rankings with but that generate noticeable levels of human visitors. A blog post is the ideal way of targetting these longtail keywords, giving you a whole page or article in which you can write around a specific topic in great depth. This relevant content will be found quickly by the search engines, and with some careful integration between your main website and your blog, the opportunities for feeding the derived traffic into your main website is significant.
We keep on harping on about relevant content, but there is a very big reason for this. Imagine you are in a library looking for a reference book about light bulbs. If every book you pick up has a light bulb on the cover but the contents of the book are about steam engines, or technology in general then you are going to keep putting the books back until you find the one you actually want. The same applies to websites, and because the search engines know how humans behave, they will always give a higher ranking to a site which has content relevant to the search query the customer has entered. Blogging allows you to exploit this fully to maximise your seo.