We’ve all heard about blogging, and we’ve been told that blogging is important. Maybe. However, we also know that there are other strategies that are great too, and we just can’t seem to help the involuntary eye roll or the tinge of doubt that creeps in every time someone calls themselves a “blogger,” or raves about the success of their latest blogging venture.
So what if I told you that starting a blog could, without a doubt, transform your business and help take it to the next level? That the reason why you’re not experiencing runaway success is that you haven’t harnessed the full, game-changing power of your blog?
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It may sound too simple to be true. But it is true. And here’s why.
Trust, Credibility and Authority
Brand loyalty and repeat engagement can be one of the strongest tools for any growing business. Here’s the main idea: if your customers truly believe that you understand them and that you can fulfill their needs and help to solve their pain points, then they begin to trust you.
If your audience begins to trust you and becomes true fans of your brand, they are not only lifelong customers and brand advocates, but also can help to convince those around them to become advocates as well. And they will want to do so. In fact:
- 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers.
- It costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
- Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more compared to new customers.
- 41% of U.S. consumers said they left a company because of poor personalization and lack of trust.
- 55% of U.S. consumers express loyalty by recommending the brands and companies they love to family friends.
- 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.
- 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising.
In short, loyal customers cost less, spend more and spread the love to those around them if their needs are being met. That said, in today’s environment, this kind of loyalty and trust is becoming increasingly difficult to attain – and even harder to maintain over time. Why? With so many new companies boasting to have “the latest and greatest,” customer attention span is lower than ever and their expectations are higher, which means that things like long term loyalty have taken a serious hit.
So how do you avoid being left behind and losing your hard-earned authority and customer base?
Think of the term blogging as synonymous to content creation and value sharing. Creating this content and sharing it’s value is one of the best ways to establish your credibility and authority, educate your community AND build a personal connection with your audience all at the same time. When it’s done right, it can help you grow your audience more effectively than any other tool and encourage them to become lifelong customers.
The main thing to remember here is that people who go online are usually in the mindset of searching for solutions to their problems, and at their core are searching for products and a brand that offers solutions to their problems. Your blog is where you provide those answers and in turn create value for your audience.
But what about a website?
At its core, there is a fundamental difference that makes a blog different from a website. Think of a website as static content that remains consistent day after day. It communicates the big picture of who you are and what you have to offer, whereas a blog is dynamic. It’s ever changing and is used to dive deep in providing value for specific areas of interest.
Now that’s on a higher level. In focusing on the more specific, there’s also a practical difference between a website and a blog.
You see, you don’t usually have a ton of space for extra copy on your website and the space that you do have should be used to give all the relevant details about your product or service. It’s your brochure, the place where you talk about your products and services. The blog, on the other hand, is where you personalize the knowledge to your audience making it relevant to them, thereby building relationships and a community. Your blog, unlike your website, is focused purely on helping your audience and communicating with them – making it a win-win tool for everyone involved.
So what do you do once you’ve established authority and have built a personal, loyal connection with your customers? From here, you can use your blog to maintain that connection and grow it even further. You can also use the personal insights gained through those customer interactions to improve your content thereby gleaning insights for your greater business strategies.
You see, unlike a website, a blog has content that is updated on a regular basis, meaning that it’s always fresh and relevant. This gives your visitors a reason to return to your site again and again on a regular basis.
This, on its own, begins to build a rapport. If they like what they see on your blog and they opt in to receive similar content, that takes everything to the next level. In doing this, you’ve captured their contact information and have begun to build that trust.
When you do this, you can reach out to your visitors directly, which creates more opportunity for you to share exactly how your business is meaningful. This then creates opportunity to sell to your new visitor down the road.
On top of this, blogging allows for your audience to comment on your posts, creating consistent engagement encouraging one-on-one, personalized interactions. This can be extremely powerful. Not only to strengthen your relationship with your customers, but also to provide insight into how you might understand their needs, interests and pain points as they evolve.
This kind of personalized interaction is absolutely huge for customers these days. It’s extremely important to have these conversations and to get them right.
Here are a few reasons why:
- 79% of consumers want brands to demonstrate they care before considering a purchase.
- “The next generation of people (those born between 1995 and 2010 who account for 27% of the world population) is entering the workforce and now have greater spending power. They are less inclined to trust companies and brands. They expect to be heard and are involved. They are quick to switch preferences and seek out employers and brands that offer authentic and transparent experiences.”
- Consumers want immediate, exceptional, personalized service experiences, and “when they don’t receive it, substantial numbers defect, often after just one bad customer experience.”
This personalized interaction is not only helpful for the customer. These interactions can also give you major insight into what’s working, what’s not working, or where you need to pivot your products or strategies.
Say for example, you’re a skin care company and you’ve created content around the importance of sunscreen. One of your top customers comments on your blog and laments the fact that your sunscreen has an oily feeling as well as an off-putting sunscreen smell. They let you know about another brand – a competitor – whose product doesn’t have those issues. By replying to that customer’s comment – and perhaps offering a discount or suggesting an alternative product that they’ll enjoy – you meet their customer service expectations and keep them loyal to your brand.
So by listening to their concerns, you can then go back to the drawing board and make improvements to your product. Once this is fixed, you could even create a whole new marketing campaign about it, where you emphasize that the new product is “oil free,” or with “no lingering odor.”
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Search Engine Authority
Everyone wants good SEO, but unfortunately not everyone has it. And without it, your website faces an uphill battle. 75% of users never click past the first page of search results, which means that if your site isn’t on the first or second page for a search term, it’s unlikely to get discovered. That makes it more difficult to get fresh eyes and conversions.
One of the quickest way to improve SEO and search authority? Blogs. And good blogs at that.
When Google was young, they encountered a big problem. They ranked websites based largely on how frequently a relevant search term had appeared on a webpage. Websites took advantage of this. They would just spam that search term all over the place in order to appear on the first page, but this created a lot of content with almost no quality. Now, things are a bit different.
The current Google search algorithm is based on delivering the most valuable and relevant content to the needs of users and it’s very difficult for people to scam. That means that if you’re not producing content that people love – content that’s interesting, timely, and useful – you’re not going to appear.
The good news? Google loves blogs. And Google will always boost content from blogs that are fresh, relevant and – most of all – engaging. In fact:
- According to Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, high-quality content and link building are the two most important signals used by Google to rank your website for search.
- Updating and republishing old blog posts with new content and images can increase organic traffic by as much as 111%.
- Business-to-business marketers with blogs receive 67% more leads.
- Companies who blog receive 97% more site links than those who don’t.
- Companies who blog have 434% more indexed pages than those who don’t. That means more leads!
This is great news, because blogging gives you one simple way to quickly improve your organic ranking. On top of that, the fact that Google favors quality means that you don’t have to create tons and tons of new content to rank well. You just need to create a few pieces that are highly valuable and highly relevant to the needs of your specific audience.
Make You More Money
If you’ve already got an established business, then hands down, the fastest way to grow it is through content marketing. Some quick facts:
- Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less.
- Content marketing rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods.
- Year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8x higher for content marketing leaders compared to followers (19.7% vs 2.5%).
So what exactly is content marketing today? When done properly, it’s simply the creation of information that is authentic, transparent, helpful and personalized with the goal of attracting customers to your business. Not surprisingly, the vehicle of choice for all the top marketers out there is having a blog!
Of course, there are tons of options available today. From video, infographics, eBooks and whitepapers, any well-created content strategy will involve a combination of all of the above.
That said, 58% of marketers said that, “original written content” is the most important type of content, over that of visuals and videos. Plus, creating videos and infographics costs money, whereas creating an entire eBook generally takes more time. So if you’re going to start somewhere, it ought to be with a blog.
There used to be a time when endorsements and reviews were only seen as important if they came from a well-known celebrity – but that’s all changed. Now, people distrust celebrities, advertisements and anything that comes off as fake or forced. Audiences of today want to see feedback from regular people – consumers just like them. Having this kind of feedback available on your site is one of the top make-or-break factors when it comes to purchases and long-term success. In fact:
- 92% of consumers read online reviews when looking for a local business.
- 82% of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends & family when considering a purchase.
- 30% consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger. Consumers can relate more to these influencers and value their opinions more than that of celebrity influencers.
- While shopping at a store, 60% of consumers have been influenced by a social media post or a blog review.
In short, bloggers have a major influence in the buying decisions of their audience. Because of this, even big brands have come to realize the power of bloggers as influencers on the market and are developing blogger-centric strategies as a result.
Now imagine if you had a top authority blog with thousands of subscribers who loyally followed you and you decided to launch a product – do you think you would succeed at making money?
You bet! In fact, Convert Kit – an email marketing platform for bloggers – just recently interviewed over 850 bloggers worldwide on all aspects of their business and compiled it all into one report.
They found that yearly earnings from blogs ranged from 16k for beginners to over 6 figures for pro-bloggers, with the average blogger earning around $54,108 a year– which is especially impressive when you consider that the report also found that the average blogger is spending just 5 hours or less a week blogging.
Time and Money
At this point you may be thinking, “Ok – that all sounds great, but I don’t even know where to start and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get my blog to that point.”
Don’t let those thoughts get the best of you! The reality is that it’s so unbelievably simple to get a blog started that you can have it ready to go in less than an afternoon – no kidding!
Plus, there is amazing flexibility when it comes to hours and how much time you have to commit in order for your blog to be a success. Like we just mentioned, Convert Kit’s survey respondents made anywhere from $16k for beginners to over 6 figures for pro-bloggers, with the average blogger earning around $54,108 a year – all by working just 5 hours a week.
This totally blows the myths that blogging is time-consuming and only profitable for the pros right out of the water!
And because the time investment needed to dedicate to blogging is less than an hour a day, it’s the perfect side gig if you still want to work full time. How awesome is that?
So if you’re looking to move away from the 9-5 and do something you love while building a business that grows with you, then blogging is a great place to start.
So, Now what?
So, by now you’re probably saying to yourself, “I need to start a blog!”
Or you’re saying to yourself, “I need to take my blog to the next level!”
Well where should you start?
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