7 reasons startups should invest in a blog
It seems like everyone’s got the blogging bug. But if you’ve got our hands full steering your startup through choppy commercial waters, should you really be investing time, energy and resources into creating your own blog? Well, yes, as long as you approach it from the right place.
Your blog needs to form part of your wider content marketing strategy, which should focus on trying to solve the same problems that your products or services solve. It’s not about publishing company news and updates and it’s not a direct-response marketing tool. Blogging is part of the long game and can deliver a scalable resource that will provide all the material you need as you grow your audience.
1 – Inform, don’t sell
A great blog can be one of the best tools you have for driving traffic to your website, consolidating your expertise and helping you create a list of prospects for marketing. Don’t see it as the perfect place to plug your products, though – visitors will soon call time on your blog if you’re in hard-sell mode. Do it right and you’ll start forming connections with your audience that could convert them into customers. Alex Turnball of Groove has written a fantastic post on the ROI of blogging for this startup. At Groove a subscriber to his blog worth more than 3.6 times the value of a non-subscribing visitor.
Many businesses use their blog to provide updates on company activities – the staff barbecue, new employee round-up, an important new contract, et al. If you want to include this kind of detail on your website, slide it across to a different tab and keep your blog on track to engage your audience by solving their problems.
2 – Give your audience what they need
Which means you should focus on helpful and informative posts that address specific issues rather than communicating generic company messages. The real bonus here is that the helpful posts will continue to draw an audience months and years into the future. These so-called ‘evergreen’ posts will carry on pulling in traffic as long as their contents remain relevant and are more likely to be shared – providing more opportunities for you to reach a wider demographic than you originally intended.
One trick here is to use a popular search term in your blog title – maybe something along the lines of ‘How much does it cost to hire a landscaper?’ or ‘How to train for a marathon’, for example. Take inspiration from your own professional experiences to create pieces that align with customer issues, review related news or opinion pieces and offer advice freely.
3 – Build your library
If you can start building a bank of blogs that provide genuine, actionable advice to your audience, you’ll be on track to creating a really valuable professional resource. Expert marketer Neil Patel does just this with his Quick Sprout blog posts and is among the biggest web influencers as a result. Neil clearly puts a lot of energy into his posts and shares his expertise generously – which is what you should aim to do.
Do ask readers to subscribe to your list when they visit your blog. It’s the best way to grow your list and to have the ability to contact prospects directly. As long as you keep delivering great content that’s useful to your audience, you’ll continue to build trust and begin converting prospects to customers.
4 – Get noticed
One of the other advantages of regular blogging is to give the search engines what they need to find you and display your links on their results pages. Google loves natural language patterns, so while key words and phrases will help you map into search terms, you should really be writing for your audience, not for the machines. We created this piece recently as it is one of the most common questions that our users ask. We focussed completely on the reader and only after noticed that the page was ranking really well in Google for a number of terms.
Make sure you blog well on the things you know about – if you can offer expert advice that resonates with your audience, you’ll become the go-to-guy for solving problems. And if you become a trusted source for content, you’ll also be the first choice when customers are ready to buy.
5 – Increase your footfall
Obviously, when you post content it provides an opportunity for you to drive traffic to your main website or preferred landing page and also doubles as a focus for social media activity. Think about how your readers may share your material and consider using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn to promote your blog.
Blogging also enables you to invite comments and feedback from your audience. If you read feedback and take time to respond, you’ll probably gain valuable market research.
6 – Join conversations
You don’t have to produce all the blog content yourself. Consider curating relevant articles or content from other online sources that allows you to become part of a bigger conversation and express your own point of view. Follow blogs that you think are informative and you’ll be able to draw on topics that you think will be of interest to your audience.
If you curate content that’s relevant to your industry, you’ll be able to keep up with news and developments from elsewhere and look at the ways in which you can add value to the discussion from your own perspective.
7 – Inject some personality
Blogging is a great medium for expressing your company’s vision, values and personality. It’s naturally less formal than some of your more conventional company collateral and can be more powerful, too.
Think about it. If you can build your brand to incorporate qualities of expertise, generosity, trust and value, by making an effort to engage with and solve some of your customers’ most urgent problems, you’ll give your startup the credibility it needs to grow and succeed. Establish your business as the leading authority, be generous with your knowledge and your blog could turn out to be the most useful marketing tool in your arsenal.