Should I Start a Blog? The Pros and Cons of Having a Company Blog
by Mr Yellow
You have probably heard it more times that you can recount - having an online presence is essential for a business. But does that mean that a blog is an absolute necessity for your company? Read on to discover all you need to know about blogging and a little general information too.
A Bit of Blogging History
Nowadays a blog is typically described as an online record of thoughts, ideas, information and visuals that is updated regularly. Blogging as we know it may seem like a relatively recent phenomenon, however, if we dig a little deeper it becomes apparent that it has been more than 25 years in the making.
Some forms of online news forums already existed in the 1980s and early 1990s, however, the first blog that is somewhat similar to modern blogging was created in 1994 by a college student named Justin Hall. The blogging movement slowly started to gain momentum and the online sharing of personal accounts became increasingly popular. The late 1990s were characterised by the launching of various blogging tools and platforms, such as the popular blogger.com in 1999. Similarly, the early 2000s were marked by the launching of important blogging tools like WordPress and TypePad while the inclusion of images and videos started to feature more prominently from 2004 onwards. Quintessential platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr were launched in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively, effectively changing the online communication landscape completely.
The rest, as they say, is history and there are now over 500 million blogs with more than 2 billion blog posts generated on a daily basis.
Blogging Statistics 101
So why is everyone jumping on the business blogging bandwagon? The answer, in a nutshell, is that the figures suggest significant results for companies that do. Here are some key facts to put things in perspective:
- 77% of those who use the internet are also blog readers
- Users in the US spend three times more reading blogs than catching up on emails
- Companies who have a consistent publishing schedule receive eight times more traffic than those who do not
- Blogging helps businesses to get three times more leads
- Businesses that have a blog are able to generate 55% more visits to their website than those who do not have one
- It is estimated that websites with a blog have a massive 434% more indexed pages
- Companies that have a blog experience an impressive 126% rise in the number of monthly leads when compared to companies who do not
- A substantial 60% of customers are likely to feel a sense of positivity or engagement with a company after reading bespoke content on its blog
- Brands that blog are able to reduce their overall marketing budget by more than 60%
- It is believed that companies that publish more than 16 blog posts every month generate 4.5 times more leads than those who don't publish any or less than four blogs
- 60% of marketers regard blog creation as their most important inbound marketing priority
With these impressive-sounding statistics, you may think that having a blog is the sure-fire way to go, but it still makes a lot of sense to consider both sides of this option. Our pro and con sections will help you identify both the opportunities and challenges for your business.
It is often claimed that it can be difficult to stand out in an era where the number of products and services abound in many sectors, apart from the fact that customers are increasingly tech and research savvy.
Generating regular, high-quality content that is informative without trying to push a product directly is regarded as a great way in which to strengthen your company's reputation and attracting potential customers.
In fact, one of the principal advantages of blogging is that it is a cost-effective way in which small businesses can maximise their marketing outreach and essentially compete with the well-known brand names and the big players who have substantial marketing budgets and an already established audience. It is estimated that 52% of bloggers do not use a formal editor and therefore, it is a marketing activity that can be done in-house without incurring a substantial cost. This is coupled with the fact that setting up and operating a blog does not require any particular technical expertise, especially if a popular blogging platform like WordPress is utilised.
People increasingly spend more time online, consuming content for information, entertainment and retail purposes. It can be said that online exposure to products and services is almost constant. So it is no wonder then, that consumers typically read between three to five pieces of content before purchasing a product or a service. This means that there is the potential to direct a captive audience to your brand by being present and active online. Indeed, providing valuable information for consumer concerns places you in the ideal position to indirectly increase awareness about your brand and potentially turn a lead into a customer.
The availability of beneficial information will not only attract more internet users to your website, but it will also consolidate your reputation as an industry expert. In turn, this helps to build a feeling of trust with existing and potential customers, particularly if you take the time to answer questions and interact with messages in the comments section.
Another direct benefit of blogging is the improvement for the purposes of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) since websites that are regularly updated with relevant, good quality blog posts perform better in search engine rankings. As a result, the improved ranking will make your company website more visible to your target audience.
Despite the documented benefits of business blogging, some may feel intimidated or unsure. So, let's consider some of the disadvantages that one should keep in mind before venturing into the blogging sphere.
Truth be told, blogging may not always be the best marketing tool for your business. For instance, 44% of marketers experience challenges when it comes to creating high-quality content. Blog posts that are poorly written or that do not provide useful information are more likely to harm your company's reputation than enhance it.
Similarly, some businesses (particularly start-ups and small businesses) claim that it is difficult to find the time to blog regularly which may often lead to an outdated blog that also reflects badly on the brand. Consistency, dedication and enthusiasm are vital when it comes to blogging since it's fresh and regular content that keeps readers coming. It also requires a substantial amount of patience to build a well-curated blog with a dedicated audience.
So, if you think that it will be difficult for you to dedicate the necessary time and energy to create an awesome blog, well, then maybe it might be a good idea to explore other inbound marketing options too.
Business Blogs Examples
You have weighed the pros and cons and you have decided to give this blogging thing a go. It's a good idea to look at a few business blogs that are nailing it.
Some big names realised early on that providing useful information instead of solely trying to hard sell their products through traditional advertising will attract more attention from their audience. For instance, the razor company Gillette was among the first to harness the power of blogging. Instead of focusing on outbound advertising strategies, the company started to shift its focus towards inbound approaches (such as blogging) that provided value to potential customers while sending out the message that it is the market expert that people turn to for advice on shaving. In fact, Gillette's The Blade is full of tips, tricks and information that can be extremely beneficial to users.
Starbucks' blog 1912 Pike is also a very interesting resource that educates customers on all things coffee, be it origins, cultivation, bean varieties, preparation techniques, differences between beverages or interesting general information. While providing useful information, the blog instils the idea that the company is passionate about the sourcing of high-quality coffee and expert in its preparation.
Speaking of instantly recognisable brands, Disney's Oh My Disney is a great example of a varied blog that can appeal to a very broad audience without losing its brand identity. Indeed, there is really something for everyone with articles varying from fun food ideas, creative resources for little ones to enjoy, the latest news from the Disney movie world, movie music, park information, character quotes and trailers.
In summary, dipping your toes in the vast blogging pool may seem a bit daunting. However, it is an activity that can bring with it increased revenues for your business, more interactions with your target audience and the personal satisfaction that comes from knowing that you are creating something that can be of benefit to others. Don't forget that Yellow's tailored website packages are here to help you attract more customers to your business - with an integrated blog option and other great features like eCommerce, CRM, SEO friendly structures and reviews; we can help you get the attention you are looking for.
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