If blogging is a low-cost way to build your company’s reputation and engage customers, then why isn’t everyone doing it?
Probably because it’s not as easy as it looks. Blogging, after all, is more than just posting what you ate for breakfast this morning. Good blogs take skill, research, and hard work, and great blogs take consistency.
Take the Moz Blog, for example. You want to read it, and you keep coming back because you know there will always be something new and interesting to check out. Similar blogs by HubSpot, Mint, Buffer, and Unbounce all do one key thing: consistently offer high-quality articles relevant to their readers.
Creating your own high-quality blog isn’t impossible, though. The problem is that most people aren’t willing to put the effort into building a company blog, so they leave the high-hanging fruit of valuable, targeted leads untouched.
Your Most Valuable Inbound Marketing Strategy
With a little work, your blog can be your most valuable inbound marketing strategy, bringing your company a wealth of benefits — including new customers, employees, and partners — and translating into speaking and writing opportunities for you and your team. Specifically, a blog can:
- Bring traffic to your website. According to HubSpot’s annual report on the State of Inbound Marketing, companies with blogs have 97 percent more inbound links and receive 434 percent more indexed pages from Google.
- Build trust in your company. BlogHer found that 81 percent of Americans trust information and advice from blogs.
- Increase leads. Small businesses that blog get 126 percent higher lead growth than those that don’t.
- Turn leads into customers. HubSpot reported that 92 percent of companies with consistent blogs have received at least one customer directly from their blog.
Effective Blogging Starts Here
Considering the overwhelming evidence in favor of blogging, it’s surprising that so many companies still don’t have blogs. Aside from technical considerations, however, there are a couple of key reasons people don’t blog.
First of all, it’s a highly crowded space. It can be quite overwhelming, after all, when you’re vying for your audience’s attention alongside The New York Times, BuzzFeed, Reddit and even Candy Crush. Some small businesses don’t see how they could ever stand a chance.
What’s more, blogging is a time investment. It takes a lot of time to craft thoughtful, engaging posts. That’s intimidating for leaders who already have a lot on their plates. And while it’s one thing to make time to create great blog posts, it’s a whole other thing to make that same effort consistently for the next five years.
However, if you’re willing to push past these difficulties and make blogging a priority (and you should be), here are a few tips:
- Stop thinking about yourself. Thought leadership posts without data or examples and “me, me, me” posts fail because they’re focused on why the blog is good for you. Instead, write something that will be genuinely useful to your target market.
- Share, share, share. Post it to your social media networks, email it to your relevant contacts, engage with readers who share your posts, and get it in front of as many people as possible. If you’re writing high-quality content and people are seeing it, there’s a good chance they’ll actually read it.
- Keep it consistent. This is the nitty-gritty side of blogging. You have to keep doing it over and over again. You’re probably going to be bad at it at first, and you’re going to wonder whether anyone is actually reading your posts. But the key to blogging ultimately comes down to posting regularly. Brands that post more frequently get more traffic — it’s that simple.
- Double down on what’s working, and cut your losses. One simple way to keep improving your blog’s efficacy is by building on your popular posts. If a post does well, try another one like it. If a series of posts doesn’t draw attention, then pinpoint what turned people off. Once you figure out what type of content your readers like, you can attract a reliable readership of potential customers.
Before you start writing, you have to decide whether blogging is important to your business. An effective blog requires a commitment from your company’s leadership and marketing teams. If you’re not ready to put in the time, money, or effort to make a good blog, then don’t bother even starting.
If it were easy, after all, everyone would do it.
Wade Foster is the co-founder and CEO of Zapier, the automation engine that does your busy work for you. Prior to Zapier, Wade spent six years honing the art of building products and marketing them at various companies and startups in Columbia, Missouri. He is on a mission to help businesses everywhere get their tools and software to work for them, not against them.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program.