The great Seth Godin once said that "content marketing is the only marketing left.” What Seth meant, however, is that marketers should be creating content that their audience cares about -- not just re-purposed advertisements.
For business owners though, they still may not understand the value that quality content could bring to the table. In fact, content marketing is an essential part of today’s marketing strategies for each and every business. And that beings by regularly updating your business’s blog or websites.
If you haven’t given blogging a chance yet, there are several reasons why you need to implement this process as soon as possible.
1. Benefits of blogging
- Adds fresh content: If you want people to keep coming back to your site, then you have to give them a reason. If you haven’t added any fresh content in months, then why would a potential customer come back and visit your site?
- Helps your site gain visibility: If done correctly, and depending on how competitive your industry is, content could help improve your site’s search ranking and bring in some inbound traffic. Content also gives your brand a voice of its own so that you can differentiate yourself from the competition.
- Establishes authority: Content that can help your audience is one of the best ways to showcase your knowledge and skill set. When this is accomplished, you can become an authority figure in your industry.
- Helps communication with your audience: Blog content can be shared on your social media channels which then can be used to have discussions with your target audience.
2. Benefits of blogging often
There’s no denying that blogging frequently can be a major assist for your business. But, how often should you update your blog? Some would daily. Others would argue that blogging daily is foolish. According to HubSpot, “Companies that published 16-plus blog posts per month got almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies that published between zero and four monthly posts.”
HubSpot also found that size of a company also plays a factor. For smaller companies with one to 10 employees, traffic was higher if they published more than 11 blog posts per month. When compared to companies that published under one post per month, they saw three times the amount of traffic. Small companies also had “the highest return on leads when they blogged more than 10 times per month.” Even more interesting, companies that published more than 11 monthly posts had twice the amount of leads than companies who published six to 10 monthly posts.
Clearly, small businesses can benefit from updating their blog or website frequently. While blogging daily does have it’s perks, it’s probably not the option since it could result in burnout for both you and your audience. Instead, you may be better off posting one, two or three posts per week.
As noted by Ali Luke on ProBlogger, there is “no ‘one size fits all’ approach to blogging. What’s important is that you find a routine that you can stick to over the long term -- not one that leaves you burnt out after a few weeks.” When determining your routine, consider what works best for you and your audience. Maybe you only have the time or energy to post weekly. Perhaps your audience is only looking for two posts every week. It may take some trial and error, but ultimately you will settle on a schedule that best suits you, your brand -- and your customers.
3. Curated content
Even after you’ve determined your ideal blogging routine, you’re bound to have those days when you encounter the dreaded writer’s block. If that’s the case, then try one of these methods to develop some killer content ideas.
- Revisit your archives: If you’ve been blogging for sometime, you probably have a nice little archive. Go back and revisit one of your most popular articles that is still relevant and update it. Well-known bloggers like Darren Rowse do this activity and have found that it can increase search rankings and attract new readers.
- Topic generators: There are several tools that you can use to come up with blog topics. For example, there’s Content Ideator. With this simple tool, you just type in your keyword, and the tool will generate hundreds of topics ideas. Let’s say that you’re a dentist. Content Ideator suggests topics like “When is the worst time to visit a dentist” and “How to find a dentist you can trust.”
Other useful topic generator tools would be HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator, Portent’s Content Idea Generator, and Blog Title Idea Generator. You can also discover content through content engines like Scoop.it and Storify, RSS feeds like Feedly, news aggratotors like Flipboard or even the social media accounts from other well-known personalities in your industry.
If you go this route, make sure that you take the topic that you like and make it your own by adding your thoughts and voice.
- Google Alerts: Select a relevant keyword or phrase and set up a Google Alert. Google will then search for articles related to the keyword or phrase and send you an email notification. Another helpful Google tool is Trends. This simply shows you the most popular stories that people are searching for.
- Ask influencers or your audience: Reaching out and connecting with leading figures in your industry is a big part of Content Marketing 101, since they can introduce you to their audience -- which could very well be larger than what you currently possess. If you have a solid rapport with an influencer, you could ask them to write a guest blog or even ask a number of them to be a part of an advice post.
Besides influencers, you could ask your audience for topic ideas, check if there are any ideas in the comment section or even ask them to create content for you -- like posting images of your customers enjoying your product.