The social web has redefined the relationship between businesses and people. It has made it possible for you business owners out there who are trying to learn how to grow your business online to tell your story and to reach new audiences. This ability dramatically changes businesses.
There is power in a story. Stories draw us in and they captivate our attention. They teach us more about each other and strengthen the bonds of relationship.
And everyone is a storyteller in their own way. You don’t have to be a beautiful writer or recognized film director to be a cracker jack story teller.
You and I tell stories all the time; when you’re sitting in the barber’s chair, meeting with a friend at Starbucks, chatting with people at a networking event, and even catching up with your family on the phone. We all love to tell stories.
I want to share Chapter 10 specifically with you. Here Mark and Stanford share why businesses should bother blogging. They break down eight benefits to business blogging:
Think about some of the ways that brand awareness is traditionally created; billboards, trade shows, TV & radio spots, direct mail campaigns, and press events. These avenues still bear fruit, but things are getting crowded and people are good at tuning these channels out.
A blog gives your company a chance to speak for itself, to tell it’s own story. Using your blog to create a hub of fresh content can be a great way to build your brand awareness and differentiate your business from the competition.
Southwest Airlines does a great job of doing telling their brand story on their blog Nuts About Southwest.
Indirect Sales and Lead Generation
It can be hard to capture all of your incredible industry knowledge in one blog post. Blog posts can only be so long, you know. This is why it is important to incorporate specific calls to action that allow readers a way to get some additional information. You can format this information as a special report or eBook that the reader can download in exchange for their contact information. Doing this can turn your blog into a lead generation machine.
Sales people spend a lot of time answering the same questions from different prospects. Turning the answers of these frequently asked questions into blog posts can quickly create a resource library for you or your sales team. This can save time when responding to questions during the sales process and showcase your commitment to customer satisfaction.
Your blog can contribute right to sales and it doesn’t matter if you’re an e-commerce company or not. The space on your blog’s sidebar is valuable real estate that can be sold to advertisers in your niche or industry who are offering value to your readers.
The business software company SAP uses their blog to advertise upcoming workshops teaching people how to manage their business on their software.
Research and Development
Unlike traditional media coverage, a blog creates an atmosphere for a two-way conversation, both through the comments section and social media sites. Imagine the insight that can be gained and the new ideas that can be sparked through this type of conversation. Mark Schaefer, co-author of Born to Blog, said that he gets most of his blog post ideas from comments left on other posts he has written.
Public Relations and Crisis Management
Someday, something is going to go wrong and fate favors the well prepared. Today, lots of companies are responding to incidents with their side of the story, right on their company blogs.
By building a platform of engaged readers, you can build a virtual hedge of protection around the brand that you have worked so hard to build. When something bad happens and you need to respond quickly, those readers with whom you have an existing relationship can be an amazing asset in sharing your story.
Search Engine Traffic
The last selling point that Mark and Stanford hit on in their book is my favorite. A blog is an amazing tool for positioning your business to be found when people start searching.
Today, no one uses the Yellow Pages anymore. They go to their trusted associate, Google. It has become a verb for crying out loud!
Blogging give you the chance to build pages that answer the questions that potential customers are entering into the Google search bar. These phrases are called long-tail keywords and they are valuable real estate for your brand!
The value of blogging increases with time. Once you have put in the work and published a post, it sits on the internet forever. Slowly you’re accumulating a library of resources that are indexed in Google, just waiting for people to arrive.
The fruit that can be produced by business blogging are amazing and there are a lot of great examples, from small teams to the Fortune 500, making it happen everyday. Like any productive practice in your business, blogging is going to take commitment, investment, and a little bit of creativity to achieve real results.