A business blog isn’t for the right way to go for every business. Contrary to all the news, reports and hype that you find on the internet.
The big problem is that it is hard to stand out, to add value to your audience.
If that wasn’t enough, it takes time, a serious amount of time to produce good content. Of course, the alternative is to put aside a decent budget to get content produced for you.
The big problem is that a lot of businesses throw out meaningless content that doesn’t relate to their brand, not narrative, doesn’t have a personality and is thin content (adds no value).
With more businesses now blogging you would expect that everybody should be recommending businesses to jump into the fray and start blogging.
If you look further at some reports, many businesses consider blogging ineffective. If you were to discuss the benefits of blogging it may seem hard to understand why every company isn’t blogging:
Benefits of a Business Blog
- blogging improves your SEO ranking – in turn, this delivers organic traffic to your website.
- it connects you and your expertise to your niche (target customers.
- provides valuable content to fuel your social media engagement.
- provides relevant and useful information to your potential customers – it can help them with their questions and problems.
- builds trust with potential customers.
It is clear that companies promote their business through more traditional routes, e.g. generating ads and pushing messages.
But blogging can be a much better route to follow and it builds long term organic traffic.
The truth is that if you put some effort into the planning stage of your business blog, then you can get some amazing results.
Business Blogging Statistics
Let’s take a look at some more specific blogging statistics for 2019.
- 53% of marketers say blogging is their top content marketing priority. (HubSpot)
- 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts. (Source)
- 36% of people prefer list-based headlines (Source: ConversionXL)
- In 2017, 66% of marketers reported using blogs in their social media content. (Social Media Examiner)
- B2B marketers (75%) are more likely to use blogs in their social media content than B2C (61%). (Social Media Examiner)
- 65% of marketers planned to increase their use of blogging in 2017. (Social Media Examiner)
- Websites with a blog have 434% more indexed pages. (source)
- The Number of Bloggers is expected to reach 31.7 million in 2020. (Statista)
- B2B businesses are more likely to use blogging than B2C businesses. (source)
- 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)
- Blog articles with images get 94% more views. (source)
- 94% of people who share posts do so because they think it might be helpful to others. (source)
- B2B marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not. (source)
- The average word count of top-ranking content (in Google) is between 1,140-1,285 words. (source)
- 71% of marketers report using visual assets as part of their content marketing strategy. (source)
- Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts. (source)
- SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate. (source)
- Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website. (source)
- Just over half (51%) of business owners report that content management is “very important” or “absolutely critical” to creating a cohesive buyer journey. (source)
- 70-80% of users ignore paid ads and only focus on organic results. (source)
- On average, Google gets over 100 billion searches a month. Additionally, more than half of those searches are coming from mobile devices. (source)
- Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information. (source)
- While more bloggers reported publishing on a daily basis in 2015 compared to 2014, the majority of bloggers (66%) are still publishing less often than daily, but more often than monthly. (source)
- Only 6% of bloggers publish the majority of their original content as guest posts. (source)
- Bloggers are increasing their use of promotional techniques that drive traffic to their posts – including paid ads, the use of which increased by 93% over the past year. (source)
- On average, compounding blog posts make up 10% of all blog posts and generate 38% of overall traffic. (Source)
- 61% of the most effective B2B content marketers meet with their content team daily or weekly. (Source)
- Only 8% of marketers plan to add Medium publishing to their content strategy. (HubSpot)
10 Reasons Your Business Blog Isn’t Working (and what to do about it)
#1. No Plan For Your Business Blog Content
More business blogging and more content generally mean just more noise on the internet. The hard part for most people is finding good quality content, not just more content. If you are going to develop a blog it is important to recognise that it isn’t free, it takes time, commitment and resources to make it work.
To stand out from the crowd, you need to develop a clear focus on what is going to separate your blog from your competitors and what is going to make it stand out.
Key marketing actions:
- Set a clear goal for a blog aligned with your business goals, e.g. increase website traffic by 200% in 6 months, provide a percentage increase in leads
- Set out a clear purpose for your blog and how it fits your target audience
- how will your blog help solve your customer’s problems?
- what are the key topics that you will blog about?
- what terms/keywords on each topic does your audience search for?
- what questions do they have?
- what are the problems they have that you can use to help them?
- what do your competitors blog about?
- what is the most shared/popular content on your competitor’s websites?
Remember as well that your blog can be a useful tool to improve open rates and engagement with your subscribers.
Remember that your blog content can be a vital part of capturing emails from potential customers. Furthermore, your blog content can be repurposed into your marketing funnels.
Research, research, research and then produce a plan before you spend too much time blogging.
Action: Set Your High Level Business Goals
- Increase brand awareness:
- Increase the reach of your brand (paid and organic)
- Build engagement across social channels
- Improve customer targeting using paid advertising
- Increase customer acquisition:
- Volume of leads
- Customer journeys to optimize conversion
- Increase organic traffic to your website (SEO/Social/Content)
- Lower cost of acquisition per customer
- Extend customer lifetime:
- Increase the engagement of customers and the community.
- Increase the lifetime value of your customer.
#2. Your Blog Is Not Integrated To Your Social Strategy
A social strategy without content as your central hub is unlikely to succeed.
Content forms the fuel for how your brand generates conversations around it. It is also the voice of your brand, the personality – the human side of your business.
Out of all your content, your blog forms a significant role in helping to develop conversations with your audience.
Key business blog actions:
- Plan your social strategy to fit the profile of your target audience.
- Generate simple marketing personas around them. Use these to identify which social networks they use and start to listen to what they are interested in, what problems they have…
- Use your blog to reach out to the questions and topics that interest them
- Use the social channels to promote your blog and build engagement
#3. You Don’t Have Many Content Ideas
Outside of research projects or new services, there shouldn’t be any excuse not to provide useful information to your customers.
If you are not sure on this then merely Google some terms that you think are your ideas or unique to you.
If you understand your customers and how they buy, the customer journey, you can provide real value by merely helping them with information that answer their questions during this process.
Imagine for a moment you were selling an integrated HR planning platform, and your target audience is HR directors. You would want to get their attention and become a trusted source for quality content. Ideally, you would want them to subscribe to your blog and build a relationship.
At the time they are looking to buy then you are a known brand and trusted an expert. An example of blog posts might be “5 trends affecting HR directors” or “10 ways HR professionals can save time”. These blogs could provide helpful news and tips for HR directors.
Giving information away will help you not hinder you.
Key business blog actions:
- Map out your competitor content strategy?
- How you can differentiate your blog content?
- Map out the typical problems that your customers face when buying.
- Dig into how you make provide helpful information that makes those decisions easier.
- Look at AnswerthePublic – you will find a host of questions related to topics that people search for.
- Another tool is to use the Blog Idea Generator from Hubspot.
#4. You Write Like A Corporate Robot
Writing for a blog is not the same as developing an essay back in the day when you were in school.
Blogging is generally more freestyle and you need to adapt to writing to your audience rather than in some form of academic style. Being natural is key.
There is a fear factor most people get about being judged, or not being liked.
The truth is if you are passionate about what you are writing about then the rest comes easy.
The best way to develop your style is just by doing it, but plan first, and it will save you the scary part of looking at a blank piece of paper and endless doubts filling your head.
Key business blog actions:
- Pick a topic you know is of interest to your customers and develop some headline topics that you know will interest them.
- Use a tool like Grammarly to help you
- There are lots of content marketing tools you can use to improve how you blog; including headline testers.
- To infuse personality into your own writing, try looking for ways to relate to your readers on the topic you’re writing about — then write in the first person as if you’re hanging out with them and chatting about it.
- Build this out until you have enough for a month’s worth – (this depends on how many posts per month is right for you)
- Before releasing your blog, practice by building out ten blog posts and then ask some friends for feedback to help edit and refine them.
- By the time you come to release them, you will be a practised blogger!
- Develop a content schedule
#5. You Only Focus On News
How many websites have you visited that used to have a news section but no news!
PR is, of course, worthwhile and has its place but too much spin can turn customers off. Good PR is relevant to its audience, involves them or entertains them and delivers a clear brand message.
But thinly disguised press releases regularly chucked into a blog do not warrant being called a blog.
We all like stories and are hard-wired to tune into them. So creating stories that are about your people, your customers and have a unique angle form part of your blogging editorial.
Key business blog actions:
Businesses often think that blogging has to be produced by one person, e.g. someone from the senior team or the head of marketing.
The truth is you probably can spread the load of blogging across your business and as a result get a greater variety of posts, more ideas and more regular content.
- Research your customers: ask them directly, use your sales teams and when you meet them. Find out the heroes amongst them.
- Look for employees that can help you generate ideas and write.
- Build out stories that fit your brand – your passion for your business, your quality of service or products, your attention to customer service.
- Who would have thought that a blender was that exciting?
- If you are going to use a team, then set out clear roles and responsibilities
- Define an editorial process including a review process
- Set clear goals, objectives and measures for your blogging
- Meet regularly to review performance, discuss editorial ideas and adjust editorial calendar based on results
- Learn how to blog:
The first thing to do is commit to blog. Then set out a project and timescales to learn and develop your capabilities.
If your doing this as a team, then split out roles and share our learning together, e.g. one person looks at general case studies, another competitor’s blogs, another reads a book on blogging best practice.
#6. You Don’t Use Facts and Reports
Let’s say I’m writing a blog post about why businesses should consider using Instagram for marketing. When I’m making that argument, which is more convincing?
- “It seems like more people are using Instagram nowadays.”
- “Instagram’s user base is growing far faster than social network usage in general in the U.S. Instagram will grow 15.1% this year, compared to just 3.1% growth for the social network sector as a whole.”
The second, of course.
Arguments and claims are much more compelling when rooted in data and research.
You don’t just have to convince people to be on your side about an issue — you need to convince them to take action.
Data-driven content catches people’s attention in a way that fluffy arguments do not.
Key business blog actions:
In any good story, you’ll introduce the main argument, establish proof and then end with a takeaway for the audience. You can use data in blog posts to introduce your main argument and show why it’s relevant to your readers, or as proof of it throughout the body of the post.
- Source industry reports – make a note in your dairy if they are produced annually.
- Look for analysts and other data sources
- Identify any market research reports that relate to your industry.
#7. You Are Not Creative.
Many people already believe they are not creative, yet this can easily be overcome. Each one of us is a special kind of artist.
Every one of us is born an original, spontaneous thinker. The only difference between people who are creative and people who are not is a simple belief. Creative people believe they are creative.
There are lots of ways to generate useful and relevant blog content for your target audience. You can, of course, ask them as well what they would like from you.
Business Blog Actions:
- interview leaders in your sector and write about it
- report on trends in your market, how they will affect your customers and what they do about them
- write about big events that take place and summarise your thoughts on them
- look at any industry reports and put your angle and perspective on it
- produce a survey or poll and then write a blog on the results
#8. Because Your Website Isn’t Designed for Blogging.
An excellent blog deserves a good home. To blog consistently, you need to have an easy to use content management system (CMS) to publish your posts.
Many a business has hard-coded websites or CMS’s that are not user-friendly. By far and away the best platform is WordPress (there now over 80M WordPress websites/blogs).
Key business blog action:
- Review your current website and CMS and assess if it is fit for purpose
- If you are investing a lot of time and resources, make sure it looks good and reflects your brand
- Add in style elements to your blog to break up the format and make it more interesting
Make it visually appealing and substantial – the web is getting easier to read!
#9. Schedule Your Posts and Be Consistent
The last one is the hardest and a good reason why many businesses don’t blog. Many companies are still uncertain of the benefits of blogging and unsure of any return on investment.
I may be controversial here, but I still see a generation gap in the digital world. Some people have embraced it while others still are wary of it particularly at old senior levels of management. Some people just prefer to stick to what they know and have tried before.
In larger businesses it is often a cultural shift on a larger scale that is needed and blogging is part of a broader social marketing strategy.
Key marketing actions:
If you have internal resistance to change then build the case for blogging/social marketing:
- Produce a business proposal for how social marketing and blogging can benefit your business
- Use case studies (here are some interesting ones from Warwick Uni for instance)/ reports and best practice.
- Lobby people internally and find out who is blogging anyway! on their own blog
Well, there you have it ten reasons a business shouldn’t blog – what do you think should every business blog?
#10. You Don’t Use Analytics To Test and Improve
Sometimes you can produce a blog post and it will do ok but not great.
After a month you might notice it isn’t receiving any traffic or isn’t ranked very well.
The goal now is to improve that post.
The way to think about this is that if you need to improve each of your blog posts over time. Optimse the heading, improve the content, create more back links.
Not only will this improve how your audience engage with your content it will also increase overall traffic to your site. Furthermore, don’t forget to build out the internal links to relevant related content.