You’re not alone.
“Should I have a blog?” yields some 400 million results in Google, with most of the top results listing reason after reason why, 1) your business should absolutely have a blog, and 2) how dare you even ask?
Those on the other side of the fence, however, need only one belief to convince them that blogging isn't for them: Blogging isn't effective enough to justify the investment.
Which side is right? It may not be as big a decision as the other Decision 2016, but for your business, it’s a pretty big deal.
Eight Reasons Your Business Should Have a Blog
Let’s start with the positive: having a blog can be a boon to your business, your lead generation, your web presence… the list goes on and on. With some 23% of internet users reading social networks or blogs regularly, you have a lot to potentially gain when you blog. Here are eight reasons why:
Search engine optimization. The world of Google and Bing is ruled by the written word. SEO experts say that “content is king.” If you don’t have a blog, you’re not casting as wide a net as you could be. Sure, you might feel optimized because of your limited, 500-word webpage. But how many more searches would you reel in you published 1,000 words a week?
Blogs help you get more customers. A HubSpot survey quoted at SproutContent found that about 60% of businesses that blog do acquire more customers. The other forty percent? Chances are they’re not taking blogging as seriously as they should.
Blogs help you funnel your social media traffic. It’s great to be active on social media. But where are you going to send all those mentions, retweets, and potential leads? Creating a blog gives your business a content hub. It gives you a reason to share your links, spread your message, and post regularly online.
Blogs take care of the 'A' in AIDA. And no, we’re not talking about the Verdi opera. Attention-Interest-Decision-Action is one of the oldest sales formulas in the book. A blog, notes HubSpot, fits neatly into that first “A,” giving you the necessary attention to score more sales.
Blogs give you an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise. By fashioning a blog full of tips and insights, you establish your company’s excellence and expertise in the minds of your potential customers. The more you know about your business, the more you build credibility with those who might employ your services.
Blogs show people there are humans behind the brand. According to Forbes, there are few better ways to demonstrate the personal side behind your business than through a blog. If you run an up-close-and-personal business like therapy, consulting, or marketing — anything that requires your presence — a blog gives you a chance to show people who you are before you even meet them. This doesn’t just build expertise. It builds trust.
Blogs open you up to feedback you’d never considered. With enough user comments, your blog could be what blogger Mike Butcher calls “a conversation, not a code.” With this conversation, you open your brand to new insights you’d never considered.
Blogging forces you to dig deeper for insights. Anyone can write a blog post about the most superficial topics in your field. But as you strive to create something of value for your readers, you’re forced to go one level further.
Why Even Sane Entrepreneurs Might Question the Value of Blogging
Our take on the entrepreneur’s Decision 2016 wouldn’t be complete without giving the other side its time. As the moderator of this particular debate, I’d like to remind you of some reasons businesses refuse to blog:
Blogging is free — unless you measure it in time and labor. Then, not so free. Like anything else, blogging is an investment. Would you go into an investment without any idea about whether you’ll succeed or not, or would you want some proof of concept before you tried it out? No, blogging doesn’t cost a heck of a lot of money (unless you want to hire top talent to run your blog for you), but anything worth doing requires an investment of time and energy. Some entrepreneurs simply don’t have any more to give.
You shouldn’t blog until you have some genuine insights. True, there are some benefits to blogging about superficial topics. You might end up ranking better for certain keywords simply because you’ve cast your net into the search engine sea. But if you really want to do it right, it might pay to wait until you have something truly unique to give to the world.
Attitude: Producing Your Business Blog the Right Way
All of the above being said, merely “having a blog” won’t deliver the ROI you’re looking for.
As with all things, you’ll get out of your blog as much as the energy and focus you put into it. Here are some of the principles and attitudes to keep in mind as you produce your company blog:
You won’t succeed simply because you have a blog. You have to strive to create a remarkable blog. You do this by focusing on the end product, and what it means to people who might be searching for blogs like yours. As top blogger Brian Clark has said, “Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.”
Don’t ask for anyone’s time without spending it well. Buying your blogging content from the cheapest writers money can buy? Chances are you’re not going to get the end product you want. Your blog is going to be poorly-researched, less than insightful, and downright uninteresting.
Cast Your Vote
Decision 2016 looms ahead of us, and with it, uncertainty about the future. That’s just as true for the election as it is for what your company can do with a blog.
Which is the right choice? That’s up for you to decide.