Editor’s Note: this post about blogging for a small business was originally published in November 2015 but has been updated and refreshed in July of 2017. While the main idea—that blogging is important for small businesses 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.
It’s one of the main lessons marketers teach small business owners: 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 necessary to make a tangible difference. How blogs help business when you have few readers can seem like a huge mystery. 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.
While you might not have a clear grasp of your readership right now or even feel worried that no one’s even reading your posts, in reality, you actually don’t have to worry about these details. Just keep posting.
Even with the minimal readership, the benefits of how blogs help business are undeniable. So, exactly how do blogs work to build your business? Let’s dive in a little deeper.
1. Continued Keyword Optimization
As you might already know, a major reason to establish a business blog is for search engine optimization. By creating quality content around a specific keyword or phrase, your website will rank more highly in Google searches and your visitors will naturally increase as a result.
How does it work? Goes like this: As you publish more quality posts, you’ll generate more keyword-rich indexable pages associated with your site, and as a result, your site’s search quotient will increase. This is the measure search engines use to gauge your credibility and relevance. But what many don’t know is that even if blogging on a keyword does not bring the visitors you desire, it comes with significant advantages.
For starters, it gives you the opportunity to expand the keywords and phrases on which your website ranks, or improve the rankings of your existing keywords. In addition, regular blogs also increase your chance of getting backlinks to your site, which still play a huge role in what search engines look to for high-quality sources of information.
Finally, search engines like Google continuously ‘crawl’ websites to determine their relevancy for specific search terms. Posting a new blog prompts Google to initiate a new crawl, increasing your chances of ranking highly based on searches by your audience.
2. Developing a Content Library
Business blog writing also gives you the opportunity to establish an extensive library of content, which you can reference to prospective and current customers at later points.
Say you’re a general contractor who focuses on remodeling various rooms. Your business blog both highlights your expertise, showcases past projects, and gives tips and ideas to homeowners looking to redesign and remodel their bathroom, kitchen, or living room.
Your individual blog posts will remain in your digital archives, which means you can send these articles to customers who are looking for examples of your past work or guidance on which direction they should take their home improvement project. Because blogs are among the most trusted sources of accurate online information (and not to mention a necessary part of the buying cycle in nearly every industry), a comprehensive content library can be crucial in convincing customers (how’s that alliteration?) that a partnership with you is a good choice.
3. Social Media Feeder
More likely than not, a regularly updated business blog is also closely connected to your social media efforts. Posting regularly on social media is an important part of your digital success; in fact, some marketing experts recommend posting up to 5 times per day on your network of choice. That’s because social networks like Facebook use algorithms to determine which posts to show in your audience’s newsfeeds, and these algorithms can punish companies that don’t post regularly.
Of course, those same algorithms, especially on Facebook, also punish low-quality content. A regularly updated business blog is an important tool to generate consistent social media content that is high-quality enough to appear in your audience’s newsfeed. And even if you don’t get many clicks from your social blog post promotion, you may still get the conversation going on the network itself and increase your brand’s reach and sense of brand loyalty and responsiveness in that way.
Now that we are several years into the digital age, it’s becoming increasingly clear: consumers see interactive content on blogs and social networks by companies they follow as crucial.
In fact, 78% of consumers believe that companies who share interactive content are interested in building good relationships with their customers, while 88% of brands report that regular content on blogs and social media differentiates them from their competition.
Whether you write your own blog or outsource to a blogger for business (or team of bloggers), the fact remains the same: a regularly updated, a high-quality blog provides your audience with the steady stream of content needed to convince them that engaging with you is worthwhile.
4. Jumpstart Your Lead Generation
On the other end of the spectrum, blogging regularly also helps 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.
But how do let your visitors know that your gated content (in the form of ebooks, white papers, webinars, and more) is worth signing up for? 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 landing page at the end of your post, and you’ll not only generate goodwill among your audience for providing the content for free—you’ll also build up credibility and increase your lead generation.
5. Even a Small Readership Matters in Business
Finally, let’s discuss the perhaps biggest reason to blog regularly despite small readership: every reader matters. This may sound obvious at first, but you should never 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 statistic, 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% 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 ‘visit’ statistics 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.
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 the significant benefits of updating your blog often. Take, for example, the blog we know most intimately—Verblio’s (formerly BlogMutt) 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 1/3 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 business writing services offer the same tangible benefits to our clients.
Consider the benefits: increasing your SEO, building a content library, helping your social media efforts, supporting your inbound marketing efforts, and building your customer base while bolstering communication lines. All have the potential to boost your digital marketing efforts despite a lack of readership (real or perceived).
Stop worrying about it. Just keep posting.