There are few content marketing strategies that are as effective and financially efficient as a blog. If your business doesn’t have one, it needs one. Start today.

When they first became popular, blogs were usually personal sites for posting travel updates or recipes or book reviews or journaling. Maybe that’s still how you think of blogs. But blogs are now well-designed, highly-specialized, and contain some of the best content on the web. And practically every business can benefit from having one.

A blog is a website (or section of a website) that is characterized by two things: It is updated frequently and it is focused on a specific topic.

Blogs are simple to design and can even be created and hosted for free, and they take a small amount of time to maintain. Despite their simplicity and low resource investment, they can be one of the best lead generators for your business. Here are four ways a business blog can benefit your company:

Business Blogs Improve Search Engine Ranking

Potential customers need to be able to find your business online. You’ve had a website built (you have, right?), but now you need people to be able to find it. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the strategies that help your website rank better in search engine results. If someone Googles “tile installer Lethbridge”, the flooring contractor wants their name to come up within the top few results so customers can find them.

Search engines use incredibly complex algorithms to determine which sites to display in search results. Blogs help fill criteria that search engines value.

Assuming the blog is hosted on your business domain, not a separate website, each new blog post adds another page to be indexed for your business site. Search engines love to see lots of pages of unique content (not the six-page website you might have now, but hundreds of pages).

Also, each post is, by nature, new content. Search engines value what’s fresh and frequently updated. If your website hasn’t been updated since it was built, your SEO suffers.

Visitors to the website will also stay longer because now they have something to read. And when they’re done reading that post,as long as you’ve provided them something valuable, they’re likely to seek out other great content on your site. The longer they stay on your site, the more likely they’ll convert into a genuine lead.

Lastly, more pages and more content means more opportunity for inbound links. Search engines value a website that is linked to by many other websites because it’s like those other sites are vouching for yours and saying, “Yeah, that’s a site I’d send people to.” Your website will rank higher in search results and you’ll gain more of that valuable organic traffic.

Business Blogs Complement Your Social Media

Whether or not your business is using social media to reach your customers (talk to us to find out which platforms are best for you), business blogs really pair up with social media in an effective way.

If you’re using social media, then blogs are a great source of shareable content to offer to your followers. Once the blog is written and posted, you’ve already done the hard work of choosing a relevant topic and putting together a valuable post. With some simple modification to make it suitable to the platform, turn that content into a Facebook post or tweet or Instagram picture.

Sharing your blog posts on social media can attract large amounts of traffic as the content gets shared among people who find it valuable.

Even if you’re not using social media, your blog posts are shareable by the people who visit your site and find something they really enjoy. Who’s going to share your ‘About Us’ page on your website? Nobody, that’s who. Who’s going to share the pet store’s blog post on dog-friendly lawn care tips? Your existing and potential customers, that’s who. And more dog owners will see that post and discover the business.

Social media traction equals more website traffic and more customer leads. And blogs perfectly complement your social media presence.

Business Blogs Establish Authority and Trust

There are many ways to communicate with your customers, but blogs are very effective at targeting exactly the people who are most likely to be interested in your business rather than the scattershot of a display ad or radio spot.

Since most blog visitors will come from search engines or social media links, they’ve clicked to your site looking for what you’re offering. This is where your business has an opportunity to become an authority on the topic they’re looking to read about.

A camera store can offer their expertise through their blog with posts about how to choose a lens or how to take better photos in low light. Potential customers will arrive on their blog looking for information and will come to see the business as an authority when that information is found. The next time that person decides to expand their gear with the purchase of a shoe-mount flash or a wide-angle lens, they’re more likely to come see the people they trust as experts.

Today’s consumers are better informed than ever. Many people spend a lot of time researching online before making a large purchase. They have questions and a business blog can provide answers. Be the solution.

Blogs are also a chance to create a voice or persona. The tone and style of the blog will affect how readers view the business, so it’s wise to design this carefully. What kind of a person would your customer trust? Create a persona around that hypothetical person and blog as if that person is writing your posts.

If you’ve ever been a customer of Virgin Mobile, you’ll recognize their unique way of talking to their customers that stands out among other telecom companies. Rather than the cold and impersonal voice you’ll usually connect with when you speak with your phone carrier, Virgin answers with a very casual and colloquial way of speaking that makes you feel like you’re talking to one of your friends, not a call centre. This is the persona they know you’ll more likely trust. Maybe this would work for your business blog. Or maybe your customers would respond better to an articulate and intelligent persona that speaks with industry authority. We can help you develop your voice.

Business Blogs Are a Content-Generating Machine

Of course, by their nature, blogs provide post after post of content that help market your business, creating a library of discoverable material. We already mentioned above that a blog entry can easily be turned into social media content after all the hard work has already been done choosing a topic and crafting a quality post. But the momentum of a single post can go beyond the added reach of social media.

Repurpose the work you’ve done on your blog into a book or ebook, a white paper, a podcast, a speaking arrangement, a video, or any other relevant media that can reach potential customers.

Think of turning blog content into social media posts as a minimum. But reaching these other channels has the advantage of not having a shelf like like social media. Tweets and Facebook posts start losing reach within hours of being shared and then it falls off entirely within a day or so (depending on platform), at which point nobody will ever see the post again. Blog posts, ebooks, podcasts, videos, and the like can be “evergreen”, meaning they remain discoverable for years after being created. Make your content-generating business blog do more by repurposing the great content for other forms of media.

If you want to reach today’s web-connected consumers, your business should be maintaining a blog — one of the most cost-effective content marketing solutions. Talk to us for more information on how to get yours started!