Blogging is the social media tool that grew up.
For years, blog writing was seen as little more than a waste of time, either for college kids to complain about their love lives, or for wannabe political wonks to soapbox endlessly on issues. It seemed set to die out, especially as popular platforms like Live Journal lost their places of prominence in the online zeitgeist.
Then a funny thing happened. Companies started their own online business blogs, and discovered blogging truly helped them generate leads. Practically overnight, blogging went from being something that kids did to something for adults, and now online business blogs are a true mainstay of online marketing.
Online Business Blogs Work!
Unfortunately, plenty of companies still aren't blogging. Perhaps yours is among them. According to a recent Hubspot study, only a bit more than half of their users maintained company blogs. However, those that did showed remarkable success. They received more leads, more inbound links, and most vitally, they converted customers thanks to their blogs.
In fact, according to a Umass Dartmouth study of large businesses, 92% found their online business blogs a success. This beats out Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube for effectiveness.
Why is this? Simply put, a blog allows you to accomplish multiple marketing goals in a single place. It's a truly multipurpose tool.
The Benefits of Online Business Blogs
Directly boost your search engine results. Newer, trendier social media tools are nice for gauging interest, but they don't do much for your SERP rankings. Blogs provide a perfect format for implementing those keywords you need for your SEO to succeed. Also, well-written blogs greatly increase your inbound links, which is a vital component of your SERP results. Inbound links constitute roughly 75% of the weighting Google gives to their results pages, and you won't get those from Twitter.
Impress your visitors. Let's be honest: there are a hundred sites online providing the exact same product or service you do. Probably more. You need to stand out, and give visitors a reason to choose you over all those other guys. A well-written, informative blog immediately establishes you as an authority who knows their stuff, as well as giving your visitors the information they were looking for.
Become a thought leader in your industry. Online business blogs aren't just read by prospective leads; they're also read by fellow members of your industry. Using your blog as a soapbox allows you to show off to your peers, and leads to them looking to you for guidance. That sort of clout has its own benefits far beyond sales figures.
Show your human side. Consumers today are wary and distrustful of shadowy corporations who speak only in buzzwords. They want to know that there are real people working behind the scenes, people with real personalities. A blog is a great way of showing this, creating a mouthpiece that can communicate with your customers and leads in a way they can relate to.
Convey more information. One of the biggest problems with other social media, like Facebook and especially Twitter, is how limited the format is. You generally can't convey more than a single idea in a single post. Blogs allow you to explore issues in-depth and reach out to customers who want more than single data points and ideas that could fit onto bumper stickers.
Create real interaction. The talkback / message board area of a blog is a perfect place for getting genuine conversations going. There's room, not just for one-line responses, but for visitors to give you feedback and interact with each other in a real dialogue. Some of the most popular blogs are those known to inspire great conversations.
Add It All Up
When taken together, this means business blog writing truly is the all-in-one Internet marketing tool, especially for creating customers with an honest interest in your company. Between the demonstrated superiority for blogs in creating leads and sales, and their ability to position you as a thought marketplace, their benefits absolutely outweigh the time investment they demand.
Frankly, I'd say it's a good thing the kids gave up on blogs. They're in better hands now.
If your business isn't blogging, why not? What's holding you back?