I haven't stopped blogging since 2004! My first post, a rant about the influence of wine importer Frank Schoonmaker on the American wine consumer, appeared online on the Blogger platform. At the time, I really had no plan in mind for my blog. I just figured I'd join the chorus of my other wine geek friends sharing tasting notes and chronicling visits to wine regions.
Little did I know what I was getting into.
Today, I now run a well-monetized blog about digital marketing and online entrepreneurship. And along the way, I've learned a few lessons about the value of blogging for (or as a) business.
When I first speak to small business owners about the value of a blog, I often see their eyes rolling to the back of their heads. For some reason, many people still equate a blog with a casual online version of journaling and recipe sharing. But when we dig deeper into the business and marketing benefits, then they start to become interested.
Here, in no particular order, are seven reasons I keep blogging and why it might also make sense for you to do so:
Blogging Can Tell Your Story
No matter if you have a brand, a product, or a cause, there's a story to be told. Blogging offers a simple way to tell that story. You can use case studies, provide historical information, and even share data. But if you look at it through a storytelling lens, you can capture people's attention and keep them engaged and returning for more.
One of the many beauties of storytelling is that there are countless ways to inspire your readers. What might seem like a mundane experience to you could be a life-changing lesson for someone scrolling through your article. Storytelling is a powerful force that you can use to sway opinions and help shape your readers’ decisions — use it carefully!
Blogging Can Establish Expertise
These days, just about every one of us is an expert in something. And with a blog, you can put that expertise on public display. Showcasing your industry knowledge can be extremely valuable when searching for new clients and public speaking engagements.
Additionally, exposing your thoughts to the world opens up the floodgates for the opportunity of guest posting. Guest posting allows you to publish your thoughts and ideas on popular sites that are viewed by a larger audience. In theory, this will give you the ability to include backlinks to your own website and increase your SEO.
Not only will it demonstrate your knowledge and authority around a particular topic, but good, substantive content can help win over prospects who are considering working with you. This brings me to my next point...
Blogging Can Attract New Clients
Blogging about what you do, why you do it, and how you do it can go far in creating new opportunities for bringing you more clients. Some might shy away from revealing their “industry secrets" on their blogs because they fear that they might be giving away too much information free.
This is just flat out wrong.
Think of it this way: by revealing your “secret sauce” for the product or service you offer, you have the opportunity to demonstrate just how much work and strategy goes into what you do. Sure, you can read a detailed recipe on how to procure the ingredients to perfect a Beef Wellington step-by-step...but at the end of the day, it’s a ton of work to cook, and you’re likely to find a tastier final product at a restaurant.
More often than not, people don't really want to know how to do something... they just want to rest comfortably knowing that they can hire someone who knows what they’re doing.
Blogging Can Improve Your SEO
Search engine optimization isn't as simple as putting a bunch of strategically placed keywords into your blog posts. In fact, keyword stuffing can be extremely detrimental to how your website ranks.
An ideal SEO strategy for blogs consists of publishing frequently, organically including the right keywords, refreshing content in order to maintain relevancy, and acquiring backlinks from websites with high domain authority. Granted, this is an incredibly simplified checklist and there are lots of other components that go into the development of a solid SEO strategy. Even so, SEO plays a crucial role in improving your blogging outreach, so take the time to properly structure it.
Blogging Can Help You Find Your Voice
If you're not used to creating content for public consumption, you might stumble, initially, with what you're saying and how you say it. But as you start to discuss new products, services, or other issues within your niche, you'll refine the voice for your business. If you're excited about a product, it will show, and your readers will be excited too.
It’s important to step outside of your comfort zone when creating content. It’s easy to find yourself falling into the same formulaic approach when writing an article. However, if you push yourself to write about topics that you’re unfamiliar with, and thus performing additional research, you are likely to expand your comfortability across a range of subjects.
Blogging Provides a Platform to Interact with Your Audience
You might not think of your blog as a social platform, but, in fact, it is. When you open up your blog to commenters, it provides you an opportunity to engage directly with your readers, discuss your posts, and respond to their feedback. Blog comments provide a great opportunity to learn from your audience.
I encourage you to take this one step further and include a CTA at the end of each of your blogs. Ask readers for their thoughts, if they agree or disagree, and if they have any other helpful insight about the topic. People love to share their opinions so if you openly encourage it, you’re one step ahead.
Blogging Allows You to Manage Your Marketing Budget
You might not have a ton of money to put into marketing, but a steady and consistent stream of blogging can bring you a bigger return over time than running a single ad on Facebook. Of course, blogging is a long-term game. You can't expect to publish a post and have money or new business rolling in immediately. But there are more than a few examples of blog posts from years ago that continue to bring new eyeballs to my website on a regular basis, and with them, new customers.
With a bit of strategy, blogging has the ability to build a business faster than you might imagine. It takes a combination of understanding your audience well enough to know what they want to read about, a regular posting schedule, and some simple (and consistent) promotion of each post, and before you know it, you'll be gaining followers and momentum for your business and your blog.
Keep Moving Forward
Blogging can be difficult! There will be times when you’re frustrated that you’re not seeing the views you’d like to see or are struggling to ideate new topics to write about. It’s likely that you will want to give up, but I encourage you to keep moving forward. It’s vital to keep posting consistently and always be looking for ways to improve upon your writing. Trust me, the best is yet to come.