Emily Hill, founder of web content agency Write My Site, explains why every business needs a blog.
Twitter, Facebook and other so-called 'micro-blogging' platforms are all the rage at the moment. In which case, why should businesses bother to operate a full-sized blog and feed it with regular content? Here are five answers to that question:
1) Business blogs provide fodder for social networking platforms
Twitter is all very well, but you need something to tweet about. Which of the following is more likely to grab the attention of your readers? A bland plea for people to buy your products and services, or a link to an interesting, advice-led article that you've just published on your blog?
2) The search engines love sites with regularly updated content
Search engine optimisation (SEO) essentially boils down to three things: one is having your site built in an SEO friendly way (make sure you hire a good web developer); the second is generating back-links from other websites; and the third is regular, unique content. Bolting a blog onto your website is the perfect way to achieve two out of these three aims: not only will a well-written blog show the search engines that you're regularly updating your site with keyword-infused content, it will also generate valuable inbound links when other websites refer to your articles.
3) You can establish yourself as an authority in your industry
The PR opportunities presented by running a topical, relevant blog are endless. Take Christophe Langlois, for example. His blog, Visible-Banking.com, is the leading independent blog focused on social media in financial services and banking. As a result, Christophe is frequently invited to speak at high profile events, such as Econsultancy's Future of Digital Marketing. You can also invite journalists who write about your industry to subscribe to your blog.
4) Blogs enable you to highlight certain products and services
If you're launching a new service, or running a special offer on a particular product, blog about it and link the article to the relevant sales page(s) on the site. As long as your blog has a good volume of news and advice-led articles, you can throw a few promotional pieces into the mix without alienating your readers.
5) Business blogging is a great way to gain a following of customers - and future customers
If your content is interesting, people will come back to read more of it and your brand awareness will spread. Simple. Invite people to subscribe to your blog, either via RSS or email, and include highlights from your blog in a monthly e-newsletter that's mailed out to all your customers and prospects.