This article is the third in a series of five posts on the basics of online marketing for small business. The series is designed to inform and empower small businesses about their online marketing options and give them the confidence to explore the potential growth opportunities that are available through online marketing.
In this article we will focus on blogging and content marketing. According to Search Engine Journal "60% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after consuming content from it" and 76% of marketers using a blog as part of their content marketing.
Blogging can be important for small businesses who want to communicate with their customer base and boost their SEO rankings.
What is Blogging?
A blog is a collection of articles which are categorically targeted to a particular niche or industry. Blog content is updated regularly and for small businesses it stands as a communication tool between you and your customers and potential customers, providing them with highly valuable content, keeping them up-to-date with useful information such as the latest industry news and/or special offers that you are providing.
Why you should you blog?
Through posting simple things such as helpful tips, special discounts or the latest industry news you can effectively maintain your customer relationships and give people a reason to visit to your website.
More recently blogging and content marketing has been widely used to enhance SEO strategy. Writing articles around the keywords that you are targeting will help to improve rankings in search engines. Furthermore, if you write unique and valuable articles, other websites will link to your content and as a result; this will increase your website's back-links.
In addition to blogging on your own website you can also become a guest blogger on websites who are talking to your target market. Offering articles helps the other blog website serve valuable content and it helps you to position yourself as an expert. These articles can also link back to your website which can generate traffic and is good for SEO purposes.
What to expect:
To get the most out of a blog, you need to make regular posts. This requires dedication and time. Having said that, if you plan ahead it can be fairly easy to provide fresh content several times a week. Once you're in a good routine of posting articles, you can expect to gain an understanding of what content works the best for your business. You can also expect to build a great audience of followers who comment on your articles and join in on the discussion. This sense of a community is great for building and engaging a social media audience and can also great for SEO.
In order to blog successfully and gain a following online, you either need to have excellent existing exposure, or build this up by posting very regularly. Although this can be a big commitment, there are tricks of the trade that can make producing content less of a burden. Because of the time investment that can be required for blogging it is usually best implemented as an integrated part of a bigger online marketing strategy to ensure that it is worth it.