A couple of weekends ago, I went to a spring celebration at a local organic farm in Boulder. It was beautiful: happy pigs and turkeys and hens roaming the fields, tomato seedlings in the greenhouse, little kids getting their faces painted while their parents sipped Colorado wine. Totally idyllic.
This tranquil scene, of course, belies the fact that farming is incredibly hard work.
Early mornings, long hours in the hot sun, and aching muscles comprise the day-to-day reality of the farming life, all so that people like me can enjoy quality food grown in the healthiest possible way for humans and the local ecosystem. It’s a labor of love. Kind of like a business blog.
Okay, so you’re probably not laboring in the hot sun to get your blogging done, but it is hard work. Even when you outsource the writing to a service like BlogMutt, there can be some real effort involved. And many businesses begin blogging without really realizing how much work it will be, and then abandon their blogs when they don’t see an immediate return on all that work. It’s understandable: you have a million things to worry about every day, and your blog can seem like more trouble than it’s worth.
But our argument (of course) is that it is worth it. You just might need to look at things through a slightly different lens in order to see that. So, to fortify your resolve and encourage you in your blogging efforts, here are some springtime thoughts on the benefits of blogging for business.
The Benefits of Blogging for Business: Learning to Use Multiple Metrics
Blogging is different from a lot of other marketing activities because the return on investment often isn’t readily quantifiable, at least not in the ways that a lot of marketers are used to quantifying things. It certainly is possible to measure the success of your blog, though. And it’s really important to do.
I would also argue, however, that it’s important to keep in mind the long-term, less tangible benefits that blogging brings to a business.
It’s for your long-term health.
Sure, the farm that I visited could use pesticides on its vegetables and feed hormones to its pigs, and the farmers’ jobs would be a whole lot easier. But they don’t, because they are more concerned about the long-term health and sustainability of their enterprise and the planet than about how long they’re going to spend weeding tomorrow. They’re taking a more expansive view.
Every time you publish a blog post, you’re making a long-term investment in your business. Like eating healthy and getting regular exercise, or like organic farming, it is hard work that has to be done consistently to pay off – but when the payoff comes, it’s in the form of quality leads and consistent traffic that helps grow your business in a sustainable way. When you use things like Adwords, on the other hand, you’re making a short-term investment that stops paying off as soon as you stop spending money on it.
Regular blogging also means that customers who find your site three years from now will be able to look back through an archive of potentially hundreds of posts that show you’ve been an active and authoritative voice in your industry for a long time. That kind of credibility in the customer’s eyes has serious value.
It builds community.
This farm is somewhat unique in the Boulder farming community in that rather than focusing on selling to restaurants or at the farmer’s market, it follows the community-supported agriculture model. Community members buy shares at the beginning of the season, and in return, they get a variety of fresh vegetables every week: greens in June, all the tomatoes you could want in July and August, root vegetables and squash until Thanksgiving, and so much more mixed in. When members come to pick up their shares each week, there’s wood-fired pizza and other goodies enticing them to stay and chat a while. Other local producers come and sell milk, coffee, wine, baked goods, and more. It’s a true community project.
Your blog can build a community around your business like no other marketing tool can. It’s great fodder for your social media channels, where followers can let you know their thoughts on what you post. Not only does it help attract leads who might buy from you, but it opens up opportunities like guest posting that get you noticed by others in your industry or related industries. A blog post might even get you invited to speak at a conference, as happened to one of our customers. Essentially, blogging is a great way to build connections and a conversation around a shared interest. That community may be a little difficult to quantify. But it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t have immense value.
Your blog is an important marketing tool, and as such, you should measure its value in as many ways as you can. But you should also keep in mind that the ROI may not be immediately apparent – in fact, it probably won’t be. It takes time and effort to maintain a consistent business blog, and patience to see it through to payoff. But like a sun-ripened, organic heirloom tomato, it will be worth it in the end.