Blogging is a great way to gain traction for your business. We often hear that we should be doing more of it, but there is a lot of resistance to the idea. We're all already overstretched and working from dawn till dusk, when will we find the time to pen blog posts?! In this post I'll investigate the tremendous ROI of Blogging. Read on for more...
The Tremendous ROI of BloggingI have a blog on my website, www.thepositiveeconomist.com; for a while I wasn't really strategic about it and it was simply a repository of thoughts or interesting tidbits I had found on the web. However, when I started seeing my blog as a magazine of sorts, and when I started publishing quality articles more often, the opportunities started pouring in.
Now, I really do see the tangible, measurable, quantifiable benefits of having a blog.
1. Blogging improves your SEO and your online visibilityGoogle ranks a website according to the reliability of its content, and according to the number of other quality websites linking to it. Whether the website is regularly updated with original, new content features high in Google's list: it shows that whoever owns the website is serious about it. So a blog is a great way to start to climb the SEO ladder.
Forget about tricks most people think you need to use to do SEO. SEO is not some kind of arcane magic. It's more a slow and steady grind. Just make an effort to think of the words people would use to describe the theme you want to write about (called keywords), and use those words in the title when writing a blog entry. Write what you are passionate about, and make sure that your thoughts are coined in the terms people naturally use. You're writing for people, not for Google bots, so passion has to be the first ingredient. The rest will follow.
Let’s even forget for a moment about SEO and making it onto the first page of Google: having a blog simply makes you "Googlable" for all the right reasons – you can create your online footprint on your (literal) terms. Nowadays the Web is the first port of call for the majority of people when they are looking for more information about something or somebody new. Imagine that somebody Googles you and, if they are lucky, finds a few articles about you, scattered across a handful of websites that once interviewed you (several years ago). There is absolutely zero comparison with having your own channel of communication where you can share the latest news about your business and your expertise.
2. Blogging gives you something meaningful to talk about on social mediaI am an avid tweeter and my blog updates give me something original to share on Twitter. Of course you don't want to only share links to your blog on social media, as this is bad etiquette (and, for your followers, the equivalent of having to listen to someone go on and on about themselves!). But when I see my twitter feed filling with "Really should get up now" and "Had x,y and z for breakfast" – all from business accounts – I have to wonder. Don't they have something, you know, a bit more interesting to share? Something to make me think? Some valuable piece of information?
3. Blog posts are a great outlet for well-articulated opinionsNotice I didn't say "rambling rants". A blog post is a great way to articulate a point of view and support it with a well thought-out argument. I have strong views on a lot of topics including entrepreneurship, investing, economics and personal finance, and expressing those views allows me to demonstrate my proficiency in my specialist areas.
Now of course, writing a good, well-structured, well-argued article, with supporting stats and facts, takes a bit of time. This is the main reason you don't have to believe whoever says that you "have" to publish every day, or every week, or twice a day... Quality content is paramount. If it takes you longer to write an excellent article, then so be it. Don't worry if you end up posting once a month only, as long as you're still posting regularly, and as long as you're posting solid content.
4. Blogging is a wonderful branding toolNow that I have a blog, I choose to write regularly. Yes, it does take discipline, and it adds to my workload, but it's a branding opportunity like few others. Having to think hard about what my readers will be interested in, what value I can add, why they would bother to read my post, forces me to define precisely what I stand for, and to write around that.
My blog has become a great way to show what my USP is and make my identity crystal-clear. I practice what I preach, so I write about what I have personally experienced and done (like starting to export or increasing my efforts to give back through my business); I want the information I share to be practical and immediately implementable, so I always point out how my readers can use that information for their benefit; I focus on what you can do now with what resources you have, so I write about actions and changes that can be made right now. The more I write about those things, the more I reinforce my brand.
5. Blogging gives you a simple, valuable follow-up toolI have stopped counting the number of times that I wrote to an acquaintance or previous clients or groups I spoke to, saying "I wrote this blog post that I thought you'd be interested in, about a theme that we discussed last time we met / that you asked me about / that you recently wrote about / that is in the news these days..."
Blog posts are a great tool to keep in touch with people, a soft approach to retention, a clear way to offer value without asking for anything in return, to keep the conversation going. Of course I always make sure that the information I share is useful to the person I am sending it to; as a result several organisations to which I sent blog posts in the past have asked me to share the article in their newsletter. This helps them to come up with fresh content for their newsletter, and of course it increases my exposure and credibility.
Several months or years down the line, when I asked whether they would mind helping me promote my book “The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom”, it was no problem, and my new book was featured in several newsletters.
6. Blogging creates media interestFor a lot of businesses, getting PR and media interest is something of a headache. The time you tried to send a press release, you never heard from them again. The time you launched a new product, you had to hound the local paper before they finally wrote a disappointingly short article about it. How on earth can you finally get an interview or other media coverage?!
Well, your blog is a tremendous help in this. Think of it from the journalists' perspective: they are trying to gauge who you are, whether you will be an interesting interview subject, and how your activity relates to what their readers are interested in. If you leave a track record of what you like to talk about, you make their job much easier. It also takes time to build relationships with the media: if they see that you are a knowledgeable source of information on a certain topic, and that you're not just trying to get free advertising, they're much more likely to get in touch.
I very often get emails from journalists and editors that begin with "I have been reading your blog and I was wondering if you'd be interested in writing for us?" As a result, I’m now a columnist for the Irish Post, a regular contributor for Study Travel Magazine, as well as several websites or online newsletters, including FinanceMalta and Writing.ie.