We’re starting a campaign to seek out successful business blogs and ask them why they blog, what benefits they derive from having a blog and their best advice to other companies who are about to start blogging themselves. To do that we put together a list of questions to ask them and it seems obvious that we should answer these questions ourselves. With that goal in mind, here is the list of questions we ask others and our own responses:
- Why does your business blog?
- Is your main blog topic different than your business vision/mission?
- What is the job title or role of the main editor/writer?
- Does the editor handle social media?
- Is every blog post shared on social channels? Is there a preferred social channel?
- Do you measure conversion to sales from blogging? From Social?
- What advice do you have for others based on lessons learned from your experience?
It has been our experience during 16 years of internet marketing that the blog, at every company, garners more interest and generates more search referral traffic than any other portion of the web site but the home page. It also allows us to share customer experiences, answer questions and engage our audience on a human level – beyond the transactional nature of an internet business. The blog is the ideal place to share details that don’t necessarily belong on the product pages or information that doesn’t quite fit in service descriptions.
Our mission is to help companies launch a business blog, so what better way than to have a strong example that explains in detail our reasons behind what we do? People are hungry for background information on a host of topics relevant to our mission and company vision. We address a list of topics and subsets of related questions which inevitably come up in conversations with clients. In essence, our blog becomes a detailed instruction manual for how and why a business should blog. This is a model that could be followed by many companies to address their audience on core business motives.
Company Founder – This role will definitely fall to many different job titles from CEO to office assistant in smaller businesses, so we wanted to understand that diversity of responsibilities in context of company size. The CEO may have a passion for writing and love communicating directly with customers even if they run a Fortune 500 company – so they may blog regardless. However, it is more likely that most companies will seek out their best written communicator and give them editorial responsibilities for the company blog. We expect this question to have the most varied responses.
Yes – because the blog speaks to our audience through platforms that share only a headline or a photo, it is straightforward to share blog posts immediately as they are published live. We use a social media platform which can schedule and automate the social sharing of blog posts. Because the posts are written and photo illustrations created by one person (some businesses may have multiple authors and separate graphic designers) we can compose and schedule tweets, image sharing and LinkedIn posts with a couple additional steps. Larger companies may have separate social media teams that will create unique social media specific graphics and establish social scheduling.
Absolutely! Social media now serves as a notification system for many customers who can quickly and easily check your social profiles for the latest news or most current announcements or new product offerings. We routinely share every blog post to every social channel, both for our own business blog posts and for client blogs we manage. The social channels are where things go viral if that is likely to happen at all and can make or break a campaign. Going viral can make a new product take off with your core audience. If it stays quietly sitting on the blog without getting shared socially – the product may fail to get noticed at all. Going viral is rare, but when you don’t try – it’s not gonna happen. Our favorite social channel is LinkedIn because it reaches more of our potential B2B client base.
This question is certain to be the most contentious and stir the most commentary (feel free to comment below). Most companies that blog will want to see some tangible and preferably measurable business benefit, whether that is increasing sales directly, increasing search engine visibility, increasing audience engagement (page views & comments) or increasing advertising clicks for publishers on a ad driven business. We’re solidly in the camp of audience engagement and will do all we can to convince our clients that should be a primary driver of a business blog. We’ve said in another post that customers fall in love with your business through social, then become customers after you’ve gained their trust. If you want to talk hard data – here’s a great post that addresses how to measure those business ROI data points on conversion to sales.
We have built a business around this question and we blog frequently about lessons learned. This goes to the core of why we blog and strongly believe that other businesses should blog as well. Below is a short list we often share with potential clients which helps them understand the benefits of a business blog. These examples link to large scale case studies and other blog posts 🙂 which help to make the case for Business Blogging even more strongly.
- Fortune 500 Use of Social Media Continues – Growth of Instagram in 2016 – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research
- 86% of B2B companies surveyed are currently blogging, along with 77% of B2C companies – B2B Content Marketing – 2015 Benchmarks, Budget and Trends (and its B2C companion report), published by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs
- Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13X more likely to enjoy positive ROI – HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2014 (PDF)
- 79% of companies that have a blog report a positive ROI for inbound marketing – HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2013 (PDF)
- 79% of best-in-class marketers rank blogs as the most effective marketing tactic – Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs (PDF)
- The blog now accounts for approximately 82% of the company’s site traffic and over 70% of leads! – KISSmetrics
- Content creation is ranked as the single most effective SEO technique – MarketingSherpa (PDF)
- Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links than companies that do not, and as everyone knows, inbound links are absolutely critical to SEO success – HubSpot
- 80% of business decision makers prefer a series of articles versus an advertisement – Content Marketing Institute
- 57% of the buyer journey is complete before prospects reach out to vendors, your blog can act as an important part of your funnel before you even begin a conversation – Content Marketing Institute