Everyone wants to expand their customer base, be it a massive publicly traded corporation like Apple or a tiny mom and pop store like Strand Bookstore in New York City. Traditionally, expansion and exposure (marketing) has been accomplished through paid advertisement campaigns or word-of-mouth referrals. In today’s technology driven era, the traditional approach has evolved. The blog is one of the most cost-effective means of gaining exposure, building authority, and staking a claim in both cyberspace and the real world.
What is a Blog?
A blog, as defined by About Money is “a web page made up of unusually short, frequently updated posts that are arranged chronologically – like a ‘what’s new’ page or a journal.” At its most basic, it is a way for people to learn and interact via short, concise entries. Topics, word counts, and style are derived based on the preferences of the target audience. Some brands blog a lot and others a little, all based on two sets of needs—those of the audience and those of the business.
At its most intricate, a blog is the perfect way to gather consumer data, engage, and learn likes, dislikes, and opinions. It’s also a forum in which the consumer holds a business accountable for what it says versus its actions. It can keep its audience informed while imparting value AND making the reader feel valued.
Every Business Needs to Blog
Does every business need to blog? Marketers and advertisers will quickly say yes, but the answer very much depends on you and your business. Not every business is built to blog, nor is every brand capable of blogging in the same manner. In other words, the blog is a viable, powerful engagement tool, but it may not be the best tool for you.
For example, consider the mom and pop shop mentioned at the outset of this blog, Strand Bookstore. Let’s say the owner wants to increase their customer base. They want to expand their exposure, too. Should they turn to a blog, as opposed to more traditional or local advertising methods? It all depends on the goal. Consider the facts:
- Budget Friendly: Blogging is uniquely cost-effective. There is little to no overhead cost versus paying to have an ad put out to the public. It can be managed in or out of house. Associated fees are usually minimal and annual, including purchasing a domain or host. Until the blog proves successful, you can opt to use a free host and subdomain, eliminating some financial risk.
- Increased Website Exposure: Active blogs can increase website visibility across social media and search engines when properly executed. One of the worst mistakes made by newcomers is creating a separate blog website. An active, well-planned blog should be integrated with your primary website, not isolated under a different root domain.
- Trust and Conversion: When populated with the right kind of content, a blog builds consumer trust. It educates and incorporates calls to action. Over time, it causes website traffic to convert into leads.
- Long-Term Benefit: Unlike advertisement campaigns, blogs are primarily populated with evergreen content. Evergreen refers to content that is not and will never be dated. Upon publication, it may draw in 50 views, 5 of which convert into leads. But it’s not done. Next week, after 300 views, 10 leads are reaped. A month later, as the post is discovered by more people, more traffic converts. This cycle will continue for as long as the post remains published.
A small business, like Strand Bookstore, just might find blogging to be an excellent long-term marketing tool. It offers the potential to grow both locally and nationally.
Business Blogging Benefits
The exposure, engagement, and popularity of the blog should not be underestimated. QuickSprout compiled various statistics of the current state of the blogosphere, and they created the following infographic:
What does this mean to you? Let’s break it down into three of the most important areas:
|240 million blogs||329 million viewers||25 billion page views per month|
|500k of new posts daily||400k of comments daily||Most people read 5-10 blogs daily|
Next, let’s quantify what this means to your business using the real world example of The Huffington Post. In his 2011 write-up for The New York Times, post AOL buying the blog, Nate Silver claimed The Huffington Post had made an average of $13 in ad revenue (per day) from just the politics section of the site (15% of the site.) In the same article, he stated the more “top-quality” posts would average $170 in ad revenue (per day).
Granted, The Huffington Post is a popular, well-known blog with an established, sizable audience. But let’s run the numbers based on the average ad revenue of a single top-quality post:
|3 Posts per Week||5 Posts per Week||7 Posts per Week|
|3 x $170||5 x $170||7 x $170|
|$510 in Weekly Revenue||$850 in Weekly Revenue||$1,190 in Weekly Revenue|
Could your business use an extra $510 – $1,190 weekly? Believe it or not, with the right content strategy and SEO, it’s a doable revenue goal.
The Inevitable Conclusion
A quality blog has the potential to provide any business, from large to small, a boost to income, visibility, and conversion. When properly planned, blog content is evergreen. It will continue to bring in value for months, even years, to come.
Investing in a blog equates to investing in both your business and your customers. Every business could use a top quality blog.
Why not start your blog today?
Additional Contributor: Carlo Solorzano