Small business owners often bypass blogging when designing their marketing strategies, opting instead for less time-intensive online platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. However, business blogging is on the rise as companies of all sizes recognize the power of this marketing tool to boost brand recognition and spark sales.

A well-crafted blog can help increase exposure to your target audience, generate leads, and validate your business as a leader in your industry. Having a blog on your website has search engine optimization (SEO) benefits and provides customers and prospects with valuable information. It’s not surprising that 57% of marketers say they have gained customers simply through blogging.

If you are considering adding blogging to your marketing mix, here are a few ways your small business may benefit:

Boost Organic Search Results

Having plenty of fresh content on your company website is essential for SEO. For instance, blogging once a week adds four new pieces of content to your website each month. This helps search engines more easily recognize that your website is a viable resource for information, which in turn helps your website rank higher in search results and gives potential customers a reason to keep reading.

Using keywords well is one of the top tactics for making your website more visible to search engines and improving your ranking. Include relevant keywords in your blog posts so people who use those keywords in their searches will find your content more easily. However, be sure to avoid keyword stuffing – unnecessarily inserting the same words or phrases multiple times. This can actually harm your SEO efforts, as the more sophisticated search engines like Google will penalize perpetrators by demoting or removing your page from their rankings.

Engage Customers and Prospects

A business blog that is updated regularly with content that is interesting to your audience will keep them coming back to your website. While including the right keywords and writing regularly about relevant topics is critical, you must make sure the content of your posts has value for your readers.

Choose topics that are related to your business, but avoid selling and, instead, focus on telling. Providing readers with tips, tricks, how-to’s, and insights that matter to them will enable you to highlight the importance of your products or services without actually mentioning them. Invest in the resources to ensure that your posts are well written and reflect positively on your small business. Ultimately, this can lead to more business, since it has been reported that 47% of buyers typically view three to five pieces of content before engaging with a company’s sales team.

Generate Leads

One of the key benefits of blogging is being able to attract high quality leads. Because blogging helps your business get “found” online, it empowers you to extend your reach and generate leads 24/7 without the help of advertising or your sales staff. In fact, a company blog has more long-term ROI than traditional marketing efforts.

Research shows that business-to-business companies who blog regularly receive 67% more leads each month than companies that do not. More specifically, small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads. Keep in mind that the more a lead has contact with you, the more likely you will be to make a sale. In addition to regularly providing prospects with new content, be sure to update select older blog posts. If they are still relevant and answer questions or address key concerns, they will continue to drive high-quality traffic to your website.

Establish Brand Credibility

Customers like doing business with companies they can trust, and statistics show that blogging offers the opportunity for small businesses to enhance their credibility and likability. Business blogs have been rated the fifth most trusted source for accurate online information, and 81% of US consumers say they rely on the advice they find in blog articles.

Your small business blog is an ideal platform for establishing your expertise as well as showcasing your brand personality. If you are a B2B company, you can strengthen your reputation by being the first to break industry news, sharing knowledge about your business sector, and offering insight on trends and happenings. If your target audience is consumers, put yourself in your prospective buyers’ shoes and provide answers to their most-often-asked questions or solutions to common problems. Communicating with readers on a regular basis allows you to connect with them directly and increases the chances that they will return to read about topics they find useful. Producing relevant content also establishes you and your team as thought leaders and helps build trust among your regular visitors over time.

Drive Website Traffic

The more people read your small business blog, the more powerful a tool it becomes for driving traffic to your website. There are a number of tactics for promoting your blog in order to increase readership, including sharing it on social media sites and via email.

Include social share buttons on your blog and link to your blog from your social media sites. Keep in mind that many social networks have specific audiences, so make sure that your content is a fit. For instance, LinkedIn is a great platform for encouraging business leaders to read posts informing them about industry events or business ventures that may be of interest. Visitors who are inspired to share your content organically will have an even larger impact on increasing exposure for your business.

Blogging is an effective inbound marketing tool that gives you the opportunity to keep in touch with existing clients or customers and develop new ones. Although starting a blog means committing to producing compelling content on an ongoing basis, the investment can pay off in terms of greater exposure for your business, more traffic to your website, and an incremental increase in sales.

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