Insights | March 12, 2013
Top 5 Immediate Benefits of Blogging as a Business
We know what you’re thinking…
Another blog? Really? Does the Internet seriously need another blog?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Absolutely! And (at the risk of sounding presumptuous) the blog it needs is ours. If fact (just so you know we’re not being presumptuous) if your business isn’t blogging, then the Internet actually needs two. Why? Because despite what the skeptics might say, blogging remains one of the most valuable marketing investments a business can make. How valuable?
Despite what the skeptics might say, blogging remains one of the most valuable marketing investments a business can make.
According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing, 100% of companies who blog multiple times a day have acquired new customers as a result. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
For now, we can look at it like this…
Generally speaking, the blogging market is over-saturated. There are enough digital rabbit-trails and blue-font bunny-holes on the art of blogging alone to ensure that none of us do anything but “research” for the rest of our working lives.
However, when it comes to high-quality, insightful content written by experts who actually care about helping their audience… that market is anything but overcrowded. Plus the narrower a specific content area is, the wider the available market gets.
When it comes to high-quality, insightful content written by experts who actually care about helping their audience, the market is anything but overcrowded.
Quantity is something the blogging world has in spades.
Quality? Not so much.
And it’s exactly this disparity that makes “another blog”—and maybe even two—so welcome.
Blogging is by no means a magic marketing bullet. Building an audience and generating authority takes time… a lot of time. Blogging is hard, slow work. The good news is there are a number of benefits to blogging as a business that more or less pay off immediately.
For our inaugural post, we thought it’d be appropriate to start off by identifying the Top 5 Immediate Benefits of Blogging as a Business.
1. Blogging forces clarity.
This might be hard to hear, but you are not a clear communicator. The good news is neither is anyone else. In fact, our real problem isn’t just that we’re poor communicators. What really gets us in trouble is that we don’t know we’re poor communicators. Add to this the fact that the more genuine expertise someone acquires in a particular field, the harder it becomes to communicate clearly, especially to the uninitiated.
How does blogging help?
Two ways. First, blogging forces clear communication because by it’s very nature blogging is a deeply conversational form of writing. Done right, blogging is about deadlines, turn around, feedback, and audience participation. That participation (or lack thereof) is one of the most reliable gauges of clarity (or, again, lack thereof).
Andrew Sullivan, who has made a career out of blogging, put it like this,
“Blogging is to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.”
Blogging gives you lots of space to simply practice communicating. It’s a phenomenal outlet to try out new methods for wording the way you describe your products, your values, and your business itself.
Not only does blogging force you to be a clear communicator, it also forces you to be clear about who you are period, both as a company and as a person.
Second, not only does blogging force you to be a clear communicator, it also forces you to be clear about who you are period, both as a company and as a person. As Brian Clark reiterates constantly, blogging is about authority and authenticity: developing your own voice, solidifying your own values, and ultimately sharing your own stories—both the triumphs and the losses. The quickest way to discover what a person really cares about is to listen to them talk. And this is just as true of you as a person as it is of you as a business.
This means don’t be afraid to be human when you blog. After all, people don’t buy from businesses. People buy from people. So be a person. A clear one.
2. Blogging builds your sale’s muscle.
Blogging is to your business what going to the gym and eating salad is to your body: a grind. Blogging is taxing, especially creatively, even for the people who love it.
Blogging is to your business what going to the gym and eating salad is to your body: a grind.
The upside is that because blogging’s such a grind just being consistent actually makes you way above average.
Even better (and this might sound kind of basic), nothing pays off in the business world like knowing how effective and engaging it is to put pen to paper, finger to key.
Toward the end of his classic Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness, Jeffry Gittomer makes the claim,
“If someone were to ask me ONE thing that I can pinpoint to my success, without a nanosecond of hesitation, I would answer, ‘writing.’ … If you only chose to believe ONE THING that I tell you: Believe that writing will take you to any place you want to go” (p. 194).
3. Blogging increases traffic.
I said we weren’t going to talk about the long-term benefits of blogging and we won’t, but the fact of the matter remains that the easiest, most predictable way to build up your site’s traffic is by adding content. “If you build it they will come” isn’t a guarantee. But by not building anything you do guarantee they won’t.
Swellpath’s article 8 Takeaways from a True Story of 800% Blog Growth is a great example of this. 800% definitely isn’t the norm, but the fact remains, more content equals more visitors. And the better that content is, the more traffic it’ll attract.
4. Blogging nurtures leads.
Using a blog to generate leads is one of those “later on after you’ve done a ton of work and your audience is growing” benefits. In the short term, however, the real value of blogging lies in nurturing leads.
This goes for all types of online content: e-books, webinars, white papers, podcasts, and (yes) blogs. Putting out content is like adding a second tier to your portfolio. One that you get final cut over.
A static website is by and large a sign of decay, both to search engines and to prospective clients. Blogging, by contrast, is a sign of life. It’s a signal that stuff’s happening. That you’re busy, vibrant. And, best of all, (when the content fits) it’s a great reason to reach out to prospects with something to offer rather than just something to take.
Blogging is a sign of life. It’s a signal that stuff’s happening. That you’re busy, vibrant.
And don’t forget the bottom, bottom line: companies that blog make more sales.
5. Lastly, blogging is good karma.
Up to now, benefits one to four have all been about you: your communication, your muscle, your traffic, your leads, your sales. All of that’s good, but if you’re only goal in blogging is to sell your services or products, audiences know it. If every post ends with, “That’s why you need me… because you’ll never be able to follow my advice on your own,” eventually, no one will want that advice.
It often feels counterintuitive to give away hard won insights, but in the end that’s a huge part of what good blogging does. The point of content marketing isn’t to trick your audience into listening just long enough to make a sale. The point is to be genuinely helpful, sale or no sale. Frank Kern (who isn’t exactly an Internet altar boy) makes this point all the time:
“...being good is good for business. Or, as one of our own core values puts it: do well by doing good.”
In fact, being good is so good that the first “weapon of influence” Robert Cialdini identifies in Influence: Science and Practice is the rule of reciprocity. People are hardwired to want to pay back what they receive. As Cialdini explains,
“The rule possesses awesome strength, often producing a yes response to a request that, except for an existing feeling of indebtedness, would have surely been refused” (p. 23).
Blogging, along with other forms of quality content, is a reciprocity machine.
In the long run, blogging is marketing gold. Yes it takes time. Yes its labor intensive. And yes when you’re starting out that painfully slow trickle of traffic to a post you poured over for hours can be humbling.
Blogging really is its own reward-with a heavy emphasis on sharpening yourself and serving your audience.
The great thing is that in the short run, blogging really is its own reward. And it’s exactly this kind of ethos--with a heavy emphasis on sharpening yourself and serving your audience--that makes another blog so needed.