Whether it's local Asheville businesses looking for a new website or large international corporate clients, "Do we need a blog? why does it matter?" is a question we get from companies of all sizes and fields. It's a good question; the web seems inundated with 5 step click-bait taglines and never ending posts, so why add to that noise? The truth is, blogging doesn't matter. Thats right, endless posts on your website will not bring you new clients, higher rankings or internet success. Blogging is a term we have almost come to hate, and while "telling stories" has become another cliche buzz term, it gets us at least closer to the truth. The truth is a successful blog is about a conversation.
Conversations take more than one person.
Aside from when I'm mumbling to-do lists to myself or contemplating the meaning of life with my dog, there's typically two or more people involved in a conversation. Successful blogging is about more than just putting your thoughts or company stats out there, it's about starting or continuing a conversation with a community of people interested in the same subject. For a business, this is essential in making blogging about more than just creating content to boost SEO, it's a way to generate leads, sales and long term customer relationships. Don't think blogging has that big of an impact (when done right)? Check out these 6 stats from Hubspot:
1) B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not.
2) Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.
3) By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human.
4) The only thing blogging costs you: your time (granted the value of your time is often a great way to realize the value of hiring a copywriter of content curator).
5) Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.
6) Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information.
Conversations are in the moment.
It's pretty hard to be outdated in a conversation, because it's live and happening right then. Blogging should be the same, focused on relevant and current information that users actually want. This doesn't mean all blog posts have to be current news, but it should provide either current information or information that will still be relevant if someone finds a link and reads a post months from now. If a blog post does contain changing information, the best practice is to write a new blog post about the change and then go back and include an "update" paragraph at the end of the old blog post with a link to the new article. The difference in just blogging vs. blogging with a purpose is that the writer has thought through what their readers would want to have a conversation about and provided valuable input.
Good conversations provide value.
There is often nothing worse than small talk and feeling like you have wasted time just filling space. This is exactly what blogging without a purpose, without a conversation, does. Blog posts that do not provide value through information or insight feel just like small talk to the reader. The idea of small talk can be great on social media for sharing random updates, funny photos or posts but when it comes to blogs you want to not just capture the readers attention, but also make them want to learn more about your business or bookmark your site as a resource. These 20 tips for blogging can give some good pointers on how to reach your customers and keep them engaged.
Conversations create relationships.
In the end, this is really what it boils down to. The people you talk to the most are people you have built relationships with. The customers who find the most value in your blog, who you start a conversation with, are the people who will keep coming back for your services. So should you blog? We think yes, but only if you're ready to start a conversation. We certainly are, and we'd love to hear more about your business. Start the conversation here. (see what I did there?)