Editor’s note: This post about what blogs are used for was originally published in November 2015 but has been updated and refreshed in July 2020. While the main idea—how blogs work for business even when your readership is small—remains as true as ever, we wanted to update some of the stats and details to be as accurate and timely as possible.
By Simon S.
How do blogs work? A seemingly simple question has a seemingly simple answer: blogging can significantly improve your digital marketing success. From drawing people to your site to establishing thought leadership in your industry, an active business blog is an engine that drives your digital efforts.
But especially if you are not experienced in digital marketing, you might worry that your blogs are not attracting the visitors you need. How can blogs help your business when you have few readers?
Blogging seems like sending a message in a bottle at first: you may send fantastic content into the wide reaches of the internet, but don’t have any idea (or any reliable way of finding out) whether that message actually reaches its intended audience.
You might not have a clear grasp of your readership right now. You might even worry that no one’s even reading your posts. In reality, these nuances actually don’t matter as much as you think. Just keep posting.
Actually, check that. Let’s start with some common definitions to get on the same page before we get into the meat of the issue.
What is a Blog?
Here’s how we define it:
A business blog is a collection of articles located on a business’s website. It is designed to showcase the business’s views, brand, and products, create a connection with customers and prospects, and increase online visibility through search engine optimization (SEO).
What is a Blog Used For?
Blogs work to improve your digital marketing for a few reasons:
- Improve your Google and SEO rankings.
- Complement your overall content strategy.
- Build audience trust.
- Inform your audience.
- Optimize your internal link strategy.
Our 5-Step Guide on How Blogs Work for Business
Let’s make one thing clear: the benefits of how blogs work for your business apply almost regardless of your readership. Even if only a few of your visitors actually see the individual posts, you’ll be building a cornerstone of your content strategy. These 5 steps show you how.
Step 1: Improve Your Keyword Optimization
As mentioned above, search engine optimization is a major reason to establish a business blog. Creating quality content around a specific keyword or phrase means your website will rank better in Google searches and your visitors will naturally increase as a result.
It works like this:
- Every post you publish generates a keyword-rich, indexable page associated with your site.
- As a result, your site’s search quotient increases.
That just happens to be the measure search engines (like Google) use to gauge your credibility and relevance.
But here’s a secret: even if blogging on a keyword does not bring the visitors you desire, it comes with significant advantages.
For starters, every blog post expands the keywords and phrases on which your website ranks while also improving the rankings of your existing keywords. Meanwhile, a regular post schedule increases your chances of getting backlinks to your site. That plays a huge role in how search engines judge high-quality sources of information.
Finally, every new post prompts Google and other search engines to initiate a new ‘crawl’. That’s the process they use to determine relevancy for specific search time. In other words, every new blog post increases your chances of ranking highly based on searches by your audience.
Step 2: Expand Your Content Library
Business blog writing also helps you establish an extensive content library, which you can reference to prospective and current customers at any point.
Say you’re a general contractor who focuses on remodeling various rooms. Your business blog can:
- highlight your expertise
- showcase past projects
- provide tips and ideas to homeowners looking to redesign and remodel their bathroom, kitchen, or living room.
Every post you publish will remain in your digital archives. That means you can send these articles to any customer looking for examples of your past work or guidance on their next home improvement project.
Finally, blogs are among the most trusted sources of accurate online information. As a result, they’ve become a core part of the buying cycle in nearly every industry. Your content library can be crucial in convincing customers (how’s that alliteration?) that a partnership with you is the right choice.
Step 3: Create a Social Media Feeder
Most likely, a regularly updated business blog is also closely connected to your social media efforts. And you sure need a lot of content in that realm; with most studies now recommending at least one post per day on each of your networks.
Algorithms on networks like Facebook punish inactive accounts. But they also punish low-quality content. How can you find that balance?
That’s another nuance of how blogs work. Through regular updates on your business blog, you’re essentially creating a content engine for your social channels. If the posts are right, that content will be high-quality enough to appear in your audience’s newsfeed.
Even if you don’t get many clicks from your social blog post promotion, you may still get a conversation going on the social post. That, in turn, increases your brand’s reach along with a sense of brand loyalty.
Whether you write your own blog or outsource to a blogger (or blogging team) for your business, one truth remains. A regularly updated, high-quality blog gives your audience the steady stream of content needed to convince them that engaging with you is worthwhile.
Step 4: Jumpstart Your Lead Generation
On the other end of the spectrum, blogging regularly also works by boosting your inbound marketing efforts. Most businesses build their inbound marketing efforts on high-quality content that is gated behind a landing page and signup form to generate leads. To be successful, your visitors have to want the content enough to give you their contact information.
Blogs offer a great way to build up that excitement. You can offer free snippets, highlighting excerpts or key takeaways of your gated content. Link to the relevant signup page at the end of your post, and you’ll accomplish two things:
- Goodwill among your audience for providing snippets of free content.
- Lead generation by pointing readers directly to the in-depth content.
5. Place Value on Every Reader of Your Blog
Finally, let’s discuss the perhaps biggest reason to blog regularly despite small visitor numbers: every reader matters.
This may sound obvious at first. But it’s easy to forget that even if your blog averages only a single reader, that reader can turn into a customer and return your investment.
In an often-quoted study, inbound marketing platform HubSpot found that 82% of companies who blog daily have added at least one customer thanks to their blog, as opposed to ‘only’ 57% of companies who blog a meager once per month.
Considering the low cost and high ROI of blogging in general, that 57% number is impressive in its own right. Increase it by 25%, and you’ll understand why blogging regularly—even if your readers don’t seem to flock to your posts to the degree you thought—has significant business benefits.
Of course, simple visitor counts on your individual blog posts also fail to capture the level of engagement and loyalty among your readers. In the words of industry expert David Aston,
Successful blogging is not about one-time hits. It’s about building a loyal following over time.
The Secret Sauce of How Blogs Work for Business
Blogging regularly takes effort, and we understand that this effort can feel fruitless if your readership is fleetingly small. But when your visit numbers have you down, consider just how much you can benefit from updating your blog often.
In reality, frequent posts are the secret sauce behind the question of how blogs work.
Take, for example, the blog we know most intimately—Verblio’s blog. We started it out small, humbly posting every week to start. Over time, we’ve been able to scale up, and increase our posting multiple times every week, thanks to our fantastic staff and network of writers.
As a result, even when we sometimes felt the blog posts went out into the vortex of the internet unheard, we’ve been able to grow our readership and subscribers at least 33% month-over-month without slowing down.
Take it from us—it’s been the lifeblood of our organic growth and heart of our marketing strategy since the beginning. And our SEO content writing services offer the same potential to our clients.
Consider the benefits:
- increasing your SEO
- building a content library
- helping your social media efforts
- supporting your inbound marketing efforts
- building your customer base by bolstering communication lines.
All of them have the potential to boost your digital marketing efforts despite a lack of readership, real or perceived.
Stop worrying about those low visit numbers. Just keep posting. Build it, and they will come.