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Is Blogging Dead? Maybe Not!

Is Blogging Dead? Maybe Not!

We know that blogging is critical to small business, yet we hear that blogging is dead.  Well, maybe not.  Here is a great post by Gary Vaynerchuk explaining why.

THE ONE THING GURUS ALWAYS GET WRONG ABOUT BLOGGING

Gary Vaynerchuk

 

by GARY VAYNERCHUK

 @garyvee

1 year ago · 4 min read

Starting a blog has never been easier and here is where to start a blog: Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Medium. Now, I know what you’re saying — “Those aren’t blogs”. Actually, they are. Any social media platform can be treated like a blog because that is where people are listening.

Currently, many “marketing gurus” will preach that blogging is dead, that it’s over, and that the personal blog has failed.

I want to point out just how wrong they are.

Blogging is now the establishment itself. Start a blog on any social media platform and engage your audience.

WHERE TO START A BLOG

Think about it: if you have a website and are putting out content on it, like I always talk about, you are blogging. Twitter was flat-out known as a micro-blogging platform and now we have new platforms like Medium that point very strongly to being a blogging platform.

I would even argue that Instagram is a form of blogging in itself; A visual diary for your life. Or, Snapchat serving as a blogging platform built around the promise of content taking 10 seconds or less to consume.

So no, blogging is not dead. It’s as alive as ever. Blogging has simply morphed and changed into a much broader category where blog creation, and the question to where you should be starting a blog, is very different. A stand alone independent website run on a wordpress blog or something similar isn’t required anymore. My advice would be to just start putting out native content on the platforms that make most sense for you and start engaging with those who you think should see it.

But here is the problem and reason some internet marketers might say that blogging is dead: people who are still blogging in the traditional way, by posting to their personal website, don’t know how to get people to come see what they are writing. Nobody is working hard enough to master the art of SEO, or Facebook dark posts, or Pinterest, or storytelling on snapchat or anything else that can drive to your page.

WHY BLOG: THE IMPORTANCE OF A PERSONAL BLOG

If you write a blog, social media needs to be the gateway drug to your content and site.

Social networks, specifically Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, should be treated as the stepping stones of content to drive to the aforementioned “home,” whether that’s a blog or media site or whatever.

What has happened is that the attention graph is shifting. I talk about the attention graph as essentially where people’s attention is right at this very moment; where can you meet them to direct them your page. People’s willingness to jump somewhere to consume content is certainly not down, but their willingness to leave the platform they are already engaging on (Facebook, Twitter) is. To get them to click, you have to be smart. Really smart.

This is why every website today is testing headlines. You need to do the same. Don’t abandon the traditional blogging format; instead, test like crazy on social media and understand what drives your users, what your users care about. And make sure your content is really good once you get someone to click it or else consumers are going to be pretty upset they clicked at all and will hesitate to do so ever again.

MY BLOG

Personal blogs or websites offer something that social will never have: the very fact that you control it. That personal blog or website will be impervious to any changes on other platforms. Your blog or website is a platform that you control, allowing you to decide the amount and frequency of content output.

In a world of “rented” social media space, that is valuable. I’ve seen people shout and scream about the death of blogging while on Twitter, a social blogging site which they’re posting content to every day. People need to reevaluate the context they use the word blog in, and understand the insane amount of blogging platforms that exist in today’s world. Each has their own value and may or may not speak to what you’re looking to accomplish. Find your value and go all in.

Check out some of my guides to using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram here:

– 3 Ultra Effective Tactics You Should Use Now

– How to Turn Your Company Into a Content Empire

– The Big Difference Between Twitter and Instagram

– Optimize Your Facebook Presence With These 5 Easy Steps

Fill out the form on the right to recieve future emails and a free report.

 

Can Blogs Really Generate Sales?

Can Blogs Really Generate Sales?

Everyone says blogging is important to small business.  But…does it really lead to increased sales?  Here’s a great post digging into the strategies you need to do just that.

Does Blogging Really Increase Lead Generation And Sales?

BY JAMES — FILED UNDER BLOGGINGCUSTOMER ACQUISITIONSALES

Blog lead generation

Nowadays everyone has a blog. ForbesWalmart, mommies with children and even hobbyists.

Why? Because they make money. You may think that a blog is something you create for fun and has no place in a business environment but you would be wrong. Very wrong.

Blogs today are being used to generate leads and increase sales, today I will show you how.

FIGURING OUT A CONTENT STRATEGY

Acquiring leads or increasing sales with a blog all starts with a content strategy. As with most things in business you need to come up with a plan to reach your goals, measure your progress and to continually adjust to optimize operations.

A content strategy should be focused around your goal – be it to rank higher in Google, provide customers with information or generate leads and drive sales.

All of the following goals are achieved by giving your readers value. Value in the form of information, entertainment, help or anything else that tickles their interest. A Blog is the medium through which you provide them with this value.

Let’s say you run a health club and your biggest market is middle-aged moms who want to live a more healthy lifestyle. How can you generate leads via blogging to attract this clientele? Have any ideas?

Well I have a few.

Let’s solve a problem they have (by providing value). This can be in the form of diet advice, which foods to eat, what to avoid, how to better plan meals throughout the day or eat healthier as a family.

Perhaps give away a free eBook, create videos on YouTube showing simple exercises they can do at home or recipe ideas for a healthier living. Whichever method you use it’s extremely important the content adds value.

By showing them the way to reach their goals with solid advice and actions, positions your business as knowledgeable and trustworthy. If they trust and respect you – they will buy from you.

HOW TO REEL THEM IN

So we threw out the bait (blog content) and they loved it, but how do we reel them in? There’s a number of ways.

If you decide to give away a free information product (like an eBook), in exchange for the book you ask for the lead’s email address. Within actual blog posts you can place opt-in forms or have links to other parts of your site where you sell products.

With these emails you can create email campaigns that nurture your lead into a customer.

PROOF THAT CONTENT MARKETING GENERATES LEADS AND DRIVES SALES

KISSmetrics allocated over 90% of their marketing budget on creating blog content. In a case study written by Neil Patel, the founder of KISSmetrics, he said for the month of January they spent $5,380 on content marketing with an average of two posts per day going live.

kmblogtraffic

Source: Quicksprout.com

Neil stated for January 2014 they generated a total of 5,057 leads via their blog. KISSmetrics’ total lead count for the month was 8,144, with 62% of all leads coming from blogging.

How did they get that many leads? Well let’s take a look at their blog.

KISSmetrics2

KISSmetrics2
They have placed various lead magnets all over their blogs offering readers free guides and information that solve their problems.

KISSmetrics’ products start from $200 and go up into the thousands. At almost a $1 a lead that is money well spent don’t you think?

How much are you willing to pay for a single lead?

CONTENT MARKETING OR SOCIAL MEDIA?

Both.

Social media marketing and content marketing are both extremely viable and practical options for gaining leads and sales that you would be crazy not to use both. Generally speaking, Facebook and Twitter ads will get you leads and sales in a much shorter time due to their advertising options, but they cost more.

Content marketing takes time with some many businesses not seeing any kind of ROI for months. For the first year of their operation KISSmetrics didn’t make a single dollar using content marketing.

But when the floods gate broke and the started to roll in – they kept on coming. Combining content marketing with SEO will rank you site higher on the search engines bringing you a steady flow of leads for each month.

Using your social media accounts you can publicize your blog posts to followers and place social follow links within your blog to integrate both options.

Are you happy with the results your blog is bringing your business or are you lacking a creative strategy? Maybe you’re looking to create valuable content but are not sure where to start or which mediums to use? Whichever problem you face we are the people to speak too.

If you have any further questions about content marketing and how it can bring your business more leads and sales today, leave a comment or contact us today!

If you’d like more information on small business growth, fill out the form in the right hand column to sign up for my emails.

 

10 Reasons a Small Business Blog is Worth it

10 Reasons a Small Business Blog is Worth it

As small business owners we wonder whether blogging is worth the time and effort.  After all, our days are filled with enough activity as it is.  Here’s a great post by Jeff Charles giving you 10 great reasons why you need to do this.

10 Important Reasons to Work Seriously On Your Small Business Blog

Jul 19, 2016 by Jeff Charles In Marketing Tips 2

 


10 Important Reasons to Work Seriously On Your Small Business Blog

 

How the heck do they do it?

You know who I’m talking about. I’m talking about those successful small business entrepreneurs who get tons of business and engagement online.

Sure, they hustle just as much as you do. They attend the same networking events. But there’s a difference.

They seem to have much more business than you do. They’re closing more deals. They’re generating more leads through their website.

So what’s the difference between you and them?

They’re probably blogging. They’re probably using their small business blog to build an online audience that is engaged with their brand.

If you’re a small business entrepreneur or solopreneur, you have probably heard of content marketing, right? No doubt you’ve heard of the importance of creating valuable content for your website. But maybe you haven’t taken that first step yet.

A small business blog is one of the most-used and effective content marketing tools at your disposal. Simply put, if you’re not blogging, you’re leaving money on the table.

Here’s some stats for you:

  • Marketers that use blogs get 67 percent more leads than those who don’t.
  • 81 percent of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs.
  • Companies that blog have 97 percent more inbound links.
  • 61 percent of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.
  • 60 percent of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to consider how you’re connecting with your audience. Since you might not have the huge marketing budget of a mega-corporation, you will have to use other means to build and connect with your audience.

One of the best ways to do this is by blogging. It’s been shown to be highly effective at generating quality leads for your business.

Many business owners overlook the potential rewards that blogging can provide. But you’re a savvy entrepreneur, so you’re not going to make this mistake, are you?

This post is going to give you ten benefits that a small business blog can provide for your business. When you read through this post, you will learn various ways you can use your blog to generate more business, earn more credibility and make it easier for prospects to find you online.

Why You Should Have a Small Business Blog

1. Market Research

Having a blog with many articles allows you to more effectively understand what your audience really wants. From the back end of your site, you can spy on what pages people are viewing the most, and this gives you an idea of where their interest lies. When you know what types of content perform the best, you know what types of content to continue to create.

Also, you can use your blog to request feedback from your audience. If you have an engaged following, it’s very likely that they will be happy to answer the questions you have.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As you probably know, there’s not much of a point to having a killer website if nobody can find it. One of the biggest keys to getting more traffic is making sure that people will find your site when they use search engines. As a  matter of fact, search engines are the no. 1 driver of traffic to content websites! SEO is something that you can’t ignore if you want to have a viable online presence.

The more relevant content you have on your website, the more likely it will be that you will rank for certain keywords. This is where a small business blog comes in. Consistently publishing high-quality content on your blog will do wonders for your search engine optimization efforts.

When you produce useful content, Google’s algorithms will rank your site higher. Over time, your site will make its way to the front page of search results. Not only that, but when people read high-quality content, they’re more likely to link back to it. Earning quality backlinks from other high-authority blogs will do wonders for your SEO efforts.

3. Customer Engagement

Engagement is immensely important for any online business. It’s not enough to just create great content. You also need to interact with your audience as much as you can. You can’t have any success by just talking at your audience. You need to have ongoing conversations with them. It will help you know your audience better. It will help your audience know you better.

That’s what you want.

If you enable comments on your small business blog, you can discuss topics and get feedback directly. This can tell you a lot about your customer base. Not only that. It shows your audience that you are interested in interacting with them. This will increase loyalty and help you form a deeper connection with your audience.

4. Communicating Your Mission

One of the most important components of effective branding is purpose. Connecting with your audience means embracing a unique brand perspective that can give your audience something they can connect with on an emotional level.

This is where blogging comes in.

Your blog is a place where you can communicate your brand purpose. This is important because establishing a strong brand is an important part of encouraging customer loyalty. When you communicate a brand purpose that goes beyond what you sell, it helps you stand out from your competition.

For example, if you are a business that sells vegan meat substitutes, you can express your brand’s purpose by posting animal welfare material on your site. This shows your audience that your company is focused on something more than just making money.

5. Communicating With Customers

If there’s something going on with your service — for example, there will be a planned outage or lack of availability — you don’t have to keep your clients in the dark. Having a centralized place to post announcements is extremely important because people don’t always read their email.

6. You Can Offer Promotional Material

A small business blog is also a great place to offer occasional promotions. If you already have an engaged audience that consumes your content, they will be able to see what discounts or promotions you are offering. It’s a great way to keep your customer base informed.

Sure, you can spread your coupons around Facebook, but it’s better to get into the habit of compelling your audience to visit you at your own site, especially if it’s an ecommerce site. Keep them coming back for more by posting your promotions on your blog.

Here’s a caveat: you don’t want to overdo this. While blogs can be great for offering promotions, it shouldn’t be used solely for this purpose. Most of your content should focus on offering informational value to your readers. If you only post promotional content, your audience will not continue to visit your blog.

7. Showing Your Human Side

People want to know that there are actual human beings behind the business that they buy from. Post some personal stories and talk to your customers through your blog.

This is an opportunity for you to let your personality shine through. When you’re writing blog posts, don’t smack your reader in the head with a bunch of “corporatespeak.” Nobody wants to read that. No really, they don’t!

It’s much better to write in an informal style that people can relate to. When it comes to blogging, it’s not just about what you say, it’s about how you say it.

8. You Can Become a Source of Value

The key to effective blogging is providing value. Nobody is going to read your content unless they get something out of it, right?

If you want to build influence, you have to be valuable. You can do this by providing helpful information to your readers through your blog.

Arjun Reddy, the founder of Super Baby, builds credibility with his website’s “resources” section by giving actionable tips to his visitors.

“Our visitors are parents who are looking for fun ways to help their children become smarter. The advice we give in our resources section is designed to provide helpful parenting tips for our readers.”

The reason Reddy is enjoying success is because he’s providing value up front. When you do this, you show your potential clients that you are valuable to them. That’s why content marketing works. When you’re creating content, you should be asking yourself what your reader is going to get out of that particular piece of content. Each piece of content should be designed to inform, educate, or entertain. If possible, you should do all three!

9. Networking!

When you have built an audience and gained some notoriety, it can attract other entrepreneurs to you. For an entrepreneur, networking is important, isn’t it?

If you’re able to grow your readership effectively, you will gain more credibility. This will attract other influencers in your niche. You never know who might be paying attention right?

This could lead to other opportunities for your business. You might be able to take advantage of the key relationships that you form through your small business blog.

10. Building Credibility

Having a small business blog gives you a presence in your niche. A blog is a record of quality value and experience that you are bringing to your audience. This will give you instant “street cred” when someone finds your content.

Lissette Palencia, CEO of Sleeping Angels has built a steady stream of clientele by using her blog to provide valuable information to her website’s visitors.

“As you can guess, when you run a nanny agency, your clients are parents who are concerned about the safety of their children. They want to do the research first. When they visit our website, they find tons of valuable information that helps them make the right decision for their family. Not only does it inform them, it makes them more comfortable with doing business us.”

This is essential for your business. Your blog is a tool that you can use to establish credibility in the minds of your potential clients. Prospects will read your content and gain value from it. Then, they will become far more willing to buy from you because you have already given them a significant benefit through your blog.

Conclusion

Here’s the thing. If you’re looking to expand your online presence, you need to be creating high-quality content on a consistent basis. A blog is one of the best ways to do this.

These are just a few reasons to keep a blog if you’re an entrepreneur, but there are much more. Just remember that anything that can bring value to your audience is something that you should consider adding to your business.

If you’d like to see more on this and other topics for small business owners, just sign up for my emails by filling in the form in the right hand column.

3 SEO Tools Anyone Can Use

3 SEO Tools Anyone Can Use

To the average small business owner SEO is a dark, baffling, process impossible to understand.  Here is post explaining 3 SEO tools anyone can use to improve their blog performance.

3 SEO Tools For Clueless Business Bloggers

07/01/2016 09:26 am ET | Updated 5 days ago

 

  • Liesha Petrovich Unashamed non-conformist, small business advocate. Kyokushin Black Belt. Fighting the good fight at Microbusiness Essentials

SEO is like flossing.

Sure, you know you should be doing it and that it’s important. Yet the whole idea behind having a business blog is to help your site’s SEO. What’s the point if you’re not leveraging your blog to increase your sites rankings?

According to SEO expert Neil Patel, “blogs bring in more traffic. Businesses that blog regularly generate 55% more visitors to their sites than those that don’t.”

Most small business owners can’t afford to hire experts or full-time webmasters to handle their sites SEO. The good news is that even the most clueless business owner can start increasing their SEO with a tool that guide you through the process. And you don’t have to be a tech wizard to use them.

Here’re a few easy SEO tools to help your business blog get noticed:

 

Serpstat: Helps You Answer the Right Questions

 

Although Serpstat is a multi-use SEO tool, one of the best features for business blogging is the Search Suggestions feature. It helps you create helpful content for your blog that your readers will easy find and value.

With a simple keyword like “buy laptop” you can see what questions people are Googling. For example, “why buy a laptop instead of an iPad” is asked by a large number of users. You could easily create a relevant blog post answering that exact question. This tool not only helps you improve your SEO but also your brand’s overall image. You’ll be seen as helpful and valuable, and as a credible authority figure in your industry.

 

 

2016-06-30-1467297948-8736348-searchquestions.png

 

 

 

Moz Toolbar: Helps You Understand the Numbers

 

The numbers behind SEO can be complex. Moz has an awesome toolbar that shows a few key stats from your website. For example, PA is your individual page authority and DA is your domain authority. Both are calculated by several website factors including follow/no-follow links and Google rankings.

There is both a free and premium version of the Moz Toolbar for both Chrome and FireFox. Moz also has great instructions and best-practice articles that will help you understand and improve your website’s statistics in a very easy way. It’s a great option for new business owners who want to try something easy that’s also useful.

 

 

2016-06-30-1467296924-7789013-Untitleddesign44.png

 

 

 

Google Trends: Helps You Know What’s Hot

 

While this isn’t a traditional SEO tool, Google Trends is the go-to place to understand exactly what’s hot right this minute. Since Google is the most popular search engine in the world, we can easily see what Google users are searching for.

You can search by country or categories including business, tech, health, entertainment and top stories. You can also see the exact keywords people are using, interest by subregion (on a handy map), the interest over time, and also related searches.

This information can help you create relevant content for your site. For example, let’s say you have a pet-related business blog. The search term World’s Ugliest Dog Contest‬‬ is trending today and this could inspire a post that relates to this topic. Of course, you still have to create valuable and relevant content, but Google Trends gives you an idea of exactly what people want to read today.

 

 

2016-06-30-1467296228-8394401-googletrends.png

 

 

 

Small Steps into SEO

 

Stop putting SEO on the back burner. There’s help for clueless business blogger – it just takes a little patience and practice.

There are lots of simple, easy and affordable tools that allow you to ease your way into SEO. You’re already creating content for your business’s blog, so why not take a little time to create better content that will help your site’s Google rankings?

Follow Liesha Petrovich on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lieshapetrovich

Here’s Why Blogging is Important for Small Business

Here’s Why Blogging is Important for Small Business

As small business owners we hear a lot about things like blogging and social media.  Our first reaction usually is “I don’t have time for that.”  I encourage you to think again.  Here’s a great post explaining why blogging is very important for small business.

September 30, 2015 // 8:00 AM

Why Blog? The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing

Written by Corey Wainwright | @Corey_bos

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blog-benefits

I had a co-worker email me the other day asking for a blog post about the benefits of business blogging.

“It’s for a friend,” she said.

Sure it was.

I told her I’d shoot over one of our up-to-date blog posts about why businesses should blog and … I couldn’t find one. Whoops. Quite the meta mistake.

Download our free guide to business blogging here for even more reasons why you should blog, and how to get started.

So I’m doing it now. If you’re trying to explain one of the core tenets of inbound — business blogging — to your boss, a coworker, your mom at Thanksgiving, whomever, then send them this post. I hope it helps.

The Benefits of Business Blogs for Marketing

First, if you don’t know what a business blog is, this post, “What Is Business Blogging? [FAQs]” should get you up-to-date.

On the same page? Cool. Let’s move on to why you should use blogging as a marketing tactic.

1) It helps drive traffic to your website.

Raise your hand if you want more website visitors. Yeah, me too.

Now think about the ways people find your website:

  • They could type your name right in to their browser, but that’s an audience you already have. They know who you are, you’re on their radar, and that doesn’t help you get more traffic on top of what you’re already getting.
  • You could pay for traffic by buying an email list (don’t you dare!), blasting them, and hoping some people open and click through on the emails. But that’s expensive and, you know, illegal.
  • You could pay for traffic by placing tons of paid ads, which isn’t illegal, but still quite expensive. And the second you run out of money, your traffic stops coming, too.

So, how can you drive any traffic? In short: bloggingsocial media, and search engines. Here’s how it works.

Think about how many pages there are on your website. Probably not a ton, right? And think about how often you update those pages. Probably not that often, right? (How often can you really update your About Us page, you know?)

Well, blogging helps solve both of those problems.

Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website, which means it’s one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search. We’ll get into more of the benefits of blogging on your SEO a bit later, but it’s also one more cue to Google and other search engines that your website is active and they should be checking in frequently to see what new content to surface.

Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media. Every time you write a blog post, you’re creating content that people can share on social networks — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest — which helps expose your business to a new audience that may not know you yet.

Blog content also helps keep your social media presence going — instead of asking your social media manager to come up with brand new original content for social media (or creating that content yourself), your blog can serve as that repository of content. You’re strengthening your social reach with blog content and driving new website visitors to your blog via your social channels. Quite a symbiotic relationship, if I do say so myself.

So, the first benefit of blogging? It helps drive new traffic to your website and works closely with search engines and social media to do that.

blogging-inbound

2) It helps convert that traffic into leads.

Now that you have traffic coming to your website through your blog, you have an opportunity to convert that traffic into leads.

Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. The way this works is really simple: Just add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post.

Often, these calls-to-action lead to things like free ebooks, free whitepapers, free fact sheets, free webinars, free trials … basically, any content asset for which someone would be willing to exchange their information. To be super clear for anyone unfamiliar with how traffic-to-lead conversions work, it’s as simple as this:

  • Visitor comes to website
  • Visitor sees call-to-action for a free offer
  • Visitor clicks call-to-action and gets to a landing page, which contains a form for them to fill in with their information
  • Visitor fills out form, submits information, and receives the free offer

If you scroll down in this blog post, you’ll see a call-to-action button. In fact, 99.9% of the blog posts we publish have call-to-action buttons … and yours should, too. That is how you turn that traffic coming to your blog into leads for your sales team.

blogging-inbound-image

Note: Not every reader of your blog will become a lead. That’s okay. No one converts 100% of the people who read their blog into leads. Just get blogging, put calls-to-action on every blog post, set a visitor-to-lead conversion rate benchmark for yourselfand strive to improve that each month.

3) It helps establish authority.

The best business blogs answer common questions their leads and customers have. If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, it’ll help establish you as an authority in their eyes. This is a particularly handy tool for Sales and Service professionals.

Can you imagine the impact of sending an educational blog post you wrote to clear things up for a confused customer? Or how many more deals a salesperson could close if their leads discovered blog content written by their salesperson?

“Establishing authority” is a fluffy metric — certainly not as concrete as traffic and leads, but it’s pretty powerful stuff. And if you need to tie the impact of blogging to a less fluffy metric, consider measuring it the same way you measure sales enablement. Because at the end of the day, that’s what many of your blog posts are. Think about the sales enablement opportunities blogging presents:

  • If prospects find answers to their common questions via blog posts written by people at your company, they’re much more likely to come into the sales process trusting what you have to say because you’ve helped them in the past — even before they were interested in purchasing anything from you.
  • Prospects that have been reading your blog posts will typically enter the sales process more educated on your place in the market, your industry, and what you have to offer. That makes for a far more productive sales conversation than one held between two relative strangers.
  • Salespeople who encounter specific questions that require in-depth explanation or a documented answer can pull from an archive of blog posts. Not only do these blog posts help move the sales process along more swiftly than if a sales rep had to create the assets from scratch, but the salesperson is further positioned as a helpful resource to their prospect.

4) It drives long-term results.

You know what would be cool? If any of the following things helped you drive site traffic and generate new leads:

  • Trip to Hawaii
  • Going to the gym
  • Sleeping

Good news, though! That’s what blogging does — largely through search engines. Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say you sit down for an hour and write and publish a blog post today. Let’s say that blog post gets you 100 views and 10 leads. You get another 50 views and 5 leads tomorrow as a few more people find it on social media and some of your subscribers get caught up on their email and RSS. But after a couple days, most of the fanfare from that post dies down and you’ve netted 150 views and 15 leads.

It’s not done.

That blog post is now ranking in search engines. That means for days, weeks, months, and years to come, you can continue to get traffic and leads from that blog post. So while it may feel like day one or bust, in reality, blogging acts more like this:

blogging_compounding_returns-1-1

So while you’re hitting your snooze alarm, surfing in Hawaii, and pumping iron, you’re also driving traffic and leads. The effort you put in yesterday can turn into hundreds of thousands of views and leads in the future.

In fact, about 70% of the traffic each month on this very blog comes from posts that weren’t published in the current month. They come from old posts. Same goes for the leads generated in a current month — about 90% of the leads we generate every month come from blog posts that were published in previous months. Sometimes years ago.

We call these types of blog posts “compounding” posts. Not every blog post will fit into this category, but the more evergreen blog posts you write, the more likely it is that you’ll land on one of those compounding blog posts. In our own research, we’ve found that about 1 in every 10 blog posts end up being compounding blog posts.

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To me (and hopefully to you), this demonstrates the scalability of business blogging. While you might not see immediate results, over time, you’ll be able to count on a predictable amount of traffic and leads for your business without any additional resource investment — the work to generate that traffic and those leads is already done.

If you’d like to learn more about the long-term impact of blogging and how to reap even more benefits from the blog posts that are ranking in organic search for your business, check out this blog post, “The Blogging Tactic No One Is Talking About: Optimizing the Past”.

Secondary Benefits of Business Blogging

There are other reasons businesses might want to blog, but I think they’re smaller and stray from the core benefits of blogging.

For instance, I love to use our blog to test out big campaigns on the cheap — before we invest a lot of money and time into their creation. I also love to use our blog to help understand our persona better. And while this shouldn’t be their primary use, blogs also become great outlets through with marketers can communicate other PR-type important information — things like product releases or event information. It’s certainly easier to get attention for more company-focused initiatives if you’ve built up your own audience on your own property, as opposed to pitching your story to journalists and hoping one of them bites.

These are all great side effects or uses of a business blog, but they’re secondary benefits to me.

If you’re looking to start a business blog or get more investment for one you’ve already started, the reasons above are a great place to start arguing your case.

Are you already well underway when it comes to business blogging? Just starting out? Share your thoughts on business blogging below and what you’re looking to get out of it.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

4 Elements of a Successful Blog Post

4 Elements of a Successful Blog Post

As small business owners, we are told we need to blog if we are going to be successful.  But, no one tells us how to go about it.  Today I thought I’d post some quick guidelines outlining just how to construct a successful blog post.

There are 4 Elements to a good blog post:

  • Headline
  • Lead
  • Body
  • Call to action

These elements combine to form “the upside down pyramid.”  This is a style of writing common to newspapers today.

Let’s look at each of these elements in detail.

How Important Are Headlines?

The answer is…very.  Studies show 80% of internet readers never click past the headline.  The headline’s function is to spark the reader’s curiosity enough to get them to click through to the body of the article.

You don’t have to write the headline first.  Many bloggers write the body of the blog, then go back to create a compelling headline.

Here are some of the things a good headline does.  Your headline should do at least one or two of the things on this list.

  • It’s short. The best ones are 8 words or less.
  • It grabs your reader’s attention.
  • It asks a question.
  • It makes a promise.
  • It stirs curiosity.
  • It makes an offer.
  • It challenges the reader.
  • It introduces a compelling idea.

Here’s a few other suggestions to help make your headline compelling:

Use “how”, “what”, “why”, and “who” in the headline.  How to get a college degree online. 

Use numbers.  10 Reasons Small Business Owners Need a Blog.  Studies show readers prefer headlines using numbers.

Be careful with superlatives.   Studies show 51% of readers prefer headlines with one or fewer superlatives

Make it simple…and powerful.  Click Here to Save Money!

Remember, your goal is to get the reader to open the blog post.  The headline is the bait.

The Lead

If the headline is the bait, the lead sets the hook.

The lead is usually short.  It contains the whole point of your blog post right up front for the reader to see.  It should contain the one thing you want your reader to take away from your post.  But, it shouldn’t tell them everything.  Leave something out the reader can only get by going to the body.

The Body

The body of the blog post contains the information supporting your headline and your lead.

It’s important to note, most people scan internet content, they don’t read it.  You need to break up your content to fit this pattern.  Your paragraphs should be short.  No more than 3 or 4 sentences at the most.  Studies show internet readers skip long paragraphs.

Your sentences should be short.  No more than 8 to 12 words. Avoid compound sentences.  Use the active voice.  Avoid adverbs as much as possible.  You can use italics, bold, or underlined text for emphasis.  Be careful though, too much of this can be distracting.  Use numbers in your text.

Write in plain English.  Avoid jargon or buzzwords.  Make your tone conversational.  Imagine you are sitting down with your best friend over a cup of coffee, telling about the story of your post.

Lists are easy to scan.  You should use them where possible.  You can use bulleted lists or numbered lists or both depending on the length of the post.

If your content is long, break it up with sub-heads.  This helps the reader skim the post and find what interests them.

Speaking of length, how long should the post be?  The answer is: As long as necessary to tell your story.  You should make the post at least 300 words.  Why?  Because, posts less than 300 words are not ranked by Google.   Google indexing and ranking are important. You want to build an archive of posts for your readers to find.

When you’re done, read the post out loud to yourself.  Doing this will reveal clumsy structure or natural breaking points. If it doesn’t flow as you read it, your reader won’t get it either.

Call to Action

Your post should always end with a “Call to Action”.

Ask your reader to do something.  Click here to:

  • Sign up for my course
  • Join our email list.
  • Contact me for more information

And so…?

That’s it. I hope these guidelines will help you as you create your posts.  Blogging can be a lot of work.  It can also be a lot of fun.  You’ll get a lot more responses if your blog is structured so it’s easy to read.

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