Monday, 22 February 2021

What is the Purpose of a Blog & How To Drive Sales From Blogging

Most businesses will benefit from having a blog, but in 2021 there's still some confusion about the purpose of a blog and how to make it beneficial to your business growth plans. So what is the purpose of a blog and how does a blog drive leads and sales?

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The stats around the subject of blogging are pretty compelling. According to Hubspot, marketers who blog receive 67% more leads and receive 97% more links to their websites. However, many businesses are confused about effective blogging and don't get the full benefit they deserve from the effort they put in.

Read on to learn how to avoid this mistake and get the best value from your company's blog.

There Are Two Types of Blogging

In my opinion, there are two types of commercial blogging. The first involves people who blog for a living. They set out to become thought leaders in a particular niche, building a large and loyal following of readers who hang on their every word. They make money from their traffic, i.e. advertising, and from companies who are prepared to pay for their products to be reviewed and put in front of their large readership. They have become known as influencers.

The second type of commercial blogging is what businesses do. Now it's possible these types of blogs can also build a large following and their authors can be seen as thought leaders, but it's less common. The chances of blogging for your business and building something huge are slim, but you can use it to generate interest in your company and generate valuable leads and sales. As a lead generation tactic it can be very effective, but it's easy to get it wrong.

How To Avoid Getting Blogging Wrong

Most businesses get blogging wrong because they fail to understand their blog's purpose. They create blogs in the mistaken belief that people are engaged and regularly return, which is unlikely. Most people reading your company's blog have found a specific post that talks to the specific problem they are trying to solve. It may be the only post in your blog they ever read, but that's fine and here's why.

In his book, They Ask, You Answer, Marcus Sheridan explains how he built a business by writing articles that answered the questions his customers were asking. His approach to understanding his customers and solving their problems with easy to read content made his organisation very successful.

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How To Use A Blog (that virtually nobody reads) Effectively

Most businesses website pages communicate what they offer, their products and services. The problem is these pages are often your website's least useful pages, they're just selling pages. Although people will eventually view them, perhaps once they've decided you may be able to help them, it's less common for these pages to drive sales on their own.

For example, let's assume you're a new business who offer car insurance. You create a web page that says "We offer car insurance etc.". The chances of that page appearing on page one of Google when someone searches car insurance is zero. Enter your blog.

Writing a blog gives you an opportunity for chasing less competitive search terms, search terms people are typing into Google™ less frequently that the term 'car insurance'.

This is because chasing very competitive search phrases is hard. Sure if you secure a top position the payback can be huge, but it's a high-risk approach, search engine optimisation or SEO is a frustrating exercise. This is where your blog can help.

3 Steps To Blogging Success

By following these three steps your blog will generate leads. It will take time so don't lose heart, keep the faith and you will be rewarded.

  1. Do keyword research to find less competitive search phrases to rank for.
  2. Satisfy yourself you can rank for them or keep looking.
  3. Create a well optimised highly targeted blog post.

Keyword Research

There are many ways to carry out keyword research but an often overlooked tool and a great place to look for blog topics is in the data Google provides in your site's Google Search Console or GSC. The GSC data for your site will provide lots of blog topics and search terms worth chasing. GSC data is free and all you need to do to access is connect your site to GSC.

Don't confuse GSC with Google Analytics, they're different and serve different purposes. For me, the GSC is one of the most valuable tools in your armoury for creating websites that generate leads.

Competitor Analysis

Having found some topics to write about and the keywords you are going to optimise for, it's best to do some competitor research. Explaining that is beyond the scope of this article but essentially you're going to establish if the search term you want to rank for is highly competitive or something worth pursuing. Here's an article about competitor analysis.

Creating Your Post

Once you have your topic and your keywords and you're happy the search terms you want to rank for are not too competitive, you can create your post or blog.

In some respects it's about picking your fights, and just like most things in life, there's a smart way of blogging and a not so smart way. Read on to make sure you're blogging the smart way.

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Blogging, The Swiss Army Knife of Content

Hopefully, I've managed to help you understand the right way to blog. But there's more goodness you can get from blogs, something that once again many businesses get completely wrong. I'm talking about linking from your blog posts to relevant pages on your website. 

Google uses a link based system to figuring out which web pages on the Internet are important. There's tons more detail on links here. The thing is, links within your own website are also important; it's not just about the links you can get from other websites although a great blog post has more chance of securing one of those links than a page about your products and services.

This means it makes sense to weave links into your blog post to other blog posts and content pages on your website, making sure of course that they make sense for the person reading the post. In short, internal linking helps your search engine rankings.

And One More Thing

Finally, never create a blog post and leave it at that. If after time your keyword research, content creation and internal linking starts to get you some traffic from Google, make the most of it. Offer your readers the opportunity of getting more great content emailed to them or offer them an e-book, free trial or half an hour of free consultancy. After all, they found your blog because they had a problem and it's possible they're looking for some help. Don't make them think, make them an offer!

If this is all making sense, put it into action. As I said in a previous post if you do nothing you're always six to nine months away from success. Trust me when I say, doing this stuff right generates traffic and enquiries and if your website isn't all about generating enquiries, what's it for?

If your website's not generating new business opportunities and you don't know why, request a FREE NO OBLIGATION WEBSITE REVIEW from Red Evolution.

More in this category: SEO, Blogging, Lead Generation

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