I have a confession: I never thought I would be a blog guy. Like many companies and business leaders, I looked at blogging and thought “I don’t have the time for this” or “I don’t need to take the time”.
I was wrong.
Over the past year, I’ve discovered first hand just how important blogging is to my business, new business development and lead generation, as well as the online presence and profile of Whitecap.
So if we know blogs are written and read, can we tell if it’s worth the effort? From my perspective the answer is yes: 82% of people who blog regularly acquired at least one new customer using their blog and 79% of companies who blog report positive ROI for inbound marketing.
I’ve talked before about how the web is changing. If we were talking about blogging even five years ago, I would have been hard pressed to make the case for why blogs are vital to business development, but social media has changed the world’s landscape dramatically and we have to change with it. It’s no longer adequate having a sound web strategy without having an equally sound social media strategy. The two are intertwined and depend on each other for getting the job done.
Websites of the past were little more than one-sided conversations of static information. Early blogs were just online diaries made possible by the social web (Web 2.0) which made it easy for users to generate content on the fly with little technical expertise.
Today’s internet is much more interactive thanks in part to social media. People expect a two-way conversation and to be able to interact directly (and instantly) with a company to share ideas or opinions. There are over 2 million blogs with more entering the blogosphere (the online community of bloggers) every day.
Companies have also realized that bloggers (and blogging) can be influential by providing educational content, trusted opinion, reviews and guidance for those following them (which includes customers and prospects).
That’s why I’m a blogger. I’ve recognized the important job my blog plays in helping Whitecap’s website do its job effectively (and as we talked about last time, the job of Whitecap’s website is lead generation and new business development).
So what’s the job of my blog (and perhaps yours too)?
- Helps me connect with my customers and new prospects,
- Tries to inform and educate,
- If possible, it stimulates thought, creativity and new ideas,
- Ideally it will also be the catalyst for new and important conversations within my customers’ companies,
- Provides content for social media (a subtle hint about our next topic),
- Boosts search rankings (more on this in a future piece);
- And, hopefully, is fun to read.
In short, blogging provides me a way to have a conversation with my customers, while delivering native content, which helps build Whitecap’s profile and search rankings.
If you’re still on the fence about why you need to be blogging, know that there’s a fundamental change underway in the way you need to talk with your customers. I might suggest you take a little time to read Best-selling author David Meerman Scott’s book, The New Rules of Sales and Service. He fundamentally changed the way I look at selling in 2016.
He explains that “we live in the era of a buying process controlled by consumers” and it’s very true. 81% of customers do online research before making a purchase and 61% read reviews before buying.
What does that mean to you? Your customers are much more savvy than in the past and are actively seeking out information before making a purchase or engaging a company.
Doesn’t it make sense to be one of the people providing that information (in the form of valuable content-rich blogs)?
Consumers, as well as people in business, don’t want to be bothered by phone calls, mail or spam. Intrusive, interruptive marketing is a thing of the past and does more harm than good.
Blogging lets us give our customers information at the time and place of their choosing. We’re not intrusive, we’re careful not to spam (or flood their feeds with useless information) and we make sure our content has real value. The new rules of selling mean we are educating and informing, not selling. We are focused on giving our customers what they need and want from us … not what we are trying to sell them!
Once you’ve built the content to connect with customers through your blog, promoting what you create is key. Learn how Social Media fits in next time.
This is part 2 of our blog series “Is Your Website Doing Its Job?” — read the rest here:
Part 1: Is Your Website Doing Its Job?
Part 3: Is Your Social Media Strategy Doing Its Job?
Part 4: SEO’s Integral Role in Helping Your Website Do Its Job.
Part 5: User Experience Design: Website Friend or Foe?
Part 6: Steps to get User Experience and Design Right.