Business blogging is not a thing of the past, it's a thing of the present and the future. There are millions of blogs and blog posts across the internet and it's not an option to start one, it's a requirement. There have been numerous algorithm changes to Google search which are prompting business owners, entrepreneurs, startup founders and CEOs to start their blog to reach the Long Tail search results. Even social media sites like LinkedIn are providing an opportunity to develop content to reach millions of people.
I start with explaining blogging and business blogging and below I explain some reasons why one of your New Year's resolutions should be to start your business blog:
What is a Blog?
First, here's a short history lesson: The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger on December 17, 1997 and was eventually shortened by Peter Merholz around April or May of 1999. A short time after that Evan Williams (founder of Blogger, Twitter & Medium) used blog as a noun and a verb (“to blog”).
The key thing to remember is that “blog” is not a new term. It's been around for a long time but it has evolved over the years. While there's millions of posts and blogs that have already been created, like the evolution of all technology, the surface is still being scratched and every day there are more and more opportunities unfolding.
The biggest thing to remember is that blogging is a form of content marketing so it has evolved into different forms. It's no longer just writing a 2,000 word post on WordPress or Blogger. Twitter is a form of blogging and there's even other types of blogging like vlogging (video blogging) or photoblog (photo blogging). I join these together because I define a blog as simply the digital publishing of content. While the definition might be considered overly simplistic, there is so much overlap today between technologies such as social media and websites, it becomes more difficult to dismiss something as “not a blog.”
With so many blogging platforms today, you can embed images, video, or audio to posts and share it via social media sites. Today, your blog is part of an integrative marketing strategy.
What is a Business Blog or Corporate Blog?
Simply stated a business blog or even a corporate blog focuses on an unique industry and an unique target audience. This audience includes startup founders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Even within the group there are two subsets that I found and those that are blogging to reach those audiences, (1) your Business-to-Business bloggers (B2B) and (2) those that are entrepreneurs, business owners or professionals that are trying to reach their target audience-Business-to-Consumer (B2C).
Here's some examples of business blogs:
- A real estate agent or broker who writes her blog for aspiring real estate agents focusing on the business part of being a real estate agent and industry specific trends and statistics.
- A startup founder who chronicles his day-to-day grind and lessons he's learned as he grows his business.
- A Snapchat guru (or other social media platform) that provides tips, tricks and information on how business owners can leverage the platform. This can be true for any other expertise not just social media (e.g. franchising, business coaching, HR).
- A business school that has successful business owners or founders that come to speak to classes. The business school also conducts reports and analysis and publishes findings online.
- An expert that has a new business idea or model that they want to test out to get market feedback.
- A small business owner who runs a local home improvement company who blogs on his website to connect with his target audience.
How is a Business Blog Different?
Some still view blogging as a something that people do to talk about what they had for lunch or what Kim Kardashian or Justin Beiber wore last night to dinner but that simply isn't the case. It's also not a diary. It can be those things but the beauty of blogging is that you can make it into what you want it to be. It's important to focus on the opportunity the technology provides to reach your audience not just on how people are currently using it.
Business blogging is a huge opportunity for business owners to brand themselves or their business as a leader or expert in a specific industry or it might be a way that you can provide quality content that you know your target audience wants. For a local plumber, it might be recipes or helpful household hints for a stay-at-home mom because she's more likely to call a plumber instead of doing the job herself. For a community newspaper, it might be a list of events in the area. For us at CEO Blog Nation, we focused on trying to provide things entrepreneurs and business owners were looking for–curation, tips, events, profiles, support, local information and how-to posts across our different sites.
There are many benefits which I go into below but the biggest thing about business blogging is to understand that it has one of the two focuses that I explained above. It's either content for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners or those entrepreneurs or business owners that are using a blog to target their target B2C market.
What are the Benefits of Business Blogging?
- It drives traffic to your website – As a business owner or entrepreneur, you might be looking for traffic for numerous reasons. It's very important to be clear about what the goal is for your blog so that when you blog, you can leverage that traffic to reach your goal. These goals might be branding (point #2), lead generation, “list building” (email or social media) or selling your products or services.
- It helps to build your brand – For an expert or professional, your goal might be to simply brand yourself as an expert in a specific field. One of the best ways to use your blog is to educate and inform your target audience. If you provide a tip or tool that someone that's in your target audience finds useful, you will instantly become an expert in their eyes. For a local business owner, if you simply provide relevant information for your target audience (even if it's not directly related to the services that you provide) you will be seen as a go-to-person for all topics. For example a web developer might look to provide general information about business because if they are able to provide relevant information for the B2B industry they will be seen as an expert. This foundation of trust might lead to a that person becoming a future client.
- It's a long term benefit – I'm a strong believer that blogging is a long term marketing strategy. While you can advertise your blog post using Facebook Ads or Google Adwords to get out quicker, you still are providing “free” information. Your initial goal might be to increase your email list or to get more people to like your Facebook Page. Think long term when it comes to your blog. Think of what you can provide for free or value you can give (e.g. Jab, Jab, Jab. Right Hook-Give, Give, Give. Ask)
- It is a good way to test out ideas – In one of my new favorite books, The New Rules of Marketing & PR the author David Meerman Scott discusses how he used his blog to test out ideas and different ways of thinking that he had before his first edition was published. It was Scott using forms of new media that opened up the opportunity for him to even create the book. In a similar way, you can use your blog to test out the popularity of a new product or service or even think through how you might develop your minimum viable product or MVP.
- It provides a greater opportunity to be found online – In the beginning of the post, I touched on how Google and search engines are making it easier to find long tail searches. As search becomes more sophisticated, individuals are not just searching for plumbers in your local town, they are searching for plumbers that work with churches or Facebook specialists that work with nonprofits. Using your blog to establish yourself as not just an expert but an expert in a specific niche is a huge opportunity. If you are doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your website and you are publishing blog posts that target those long tail inquiries that your target market is typing into the search engine, you have a great opportunity to be found.
- It's “Free” – Blogging by itself doesn't cost. There can be ancillary costs such as hosting or domain name or if you hire a person or agency to handle your blogging; however, the only cost you really have is your time. If there's a way to set yourself apart from your “competitors,” why wouldn't you want to take advantage of it?
How Can I Get Started?
- You can get started by taking our FREE business blogging course. The 15 day course will walk you through everything you need to get started with your blog.
- If you already have a business blog, add it to our business blogging directory for FREE!
- Lastly, you can sign up to receive notifications for CEOpress (launching in 2016). When you sign up, you will receive a FREE business blogging sheet delivered directly to your inbox. It is a blogging community where you can find out how to start and leverage your business blog with exclusive resources. There will also be premium resources from CEO Blog Nation available to the community.
Finally, many people reading this might already have a blog. It's very important to remember that even if you aren't starting from scratch you can restart your blog and integrate other forms of media like your podcast or your YouTube videos. You can even re-share the posts you create across LinkedIn or on Medium to reach an even wider audience.
So, get started today!