Let’s Face Facts: Local Businesses Need Blogs to Survive Online
The Great Blog Debate Kickoff Facts:
- You have probably heard the age-old maxim, “content is king”, but how does this phrase relate to a local business? Does a blog really move the needle?
- Is there data suggesting that blogs improve the online visibility of local businesses? You’ll find the answers below.
- Even if blogging is a worthwhile online activity, will I receive a substantial return on investment for the time and money I spend on maintaining a company blog?
Ever since the dawn of the Internet age, online content has played a vital role in the various transactions that occur on the web. One easy example to point to is website content, which is written dialogue that encourages consumers to purchase a product or service. Another example of content is also whitepapers, case studies, and product descriptions. Essentially, content tells a story and promotes consumer action. Similar to these forms of content, a blog is a vital online marketing tool that can have a substantial impact on the online visibility of your local business.
However, one common misconception is that blogs are either too insignificant to maintain, or that creating a blog is a major waste of your limited resources which you can utilize on other projects that may obtain significant results. In actuality, blogs are essential for local business, for a vast variety of SEO and content marketing purposes. In this article, you will learn more about why blogs are important and the impact that blogs can have towards your local business.
Why Do Local Businesses Need Blogs?
Understandably, many experts agree that a blog is vital marketing tool for local businesses. In fact, 70% of local SEO experts concluded that establishing a blog promotes the growth of local business backlinks, which is a very important benefit for local businesses, according to a recent survey. The problem that many local businesses face is that they believe that a blog just isn’t important or worth the time.
Many businesses and large corporations use blogs as a communication medium for their audience. Rightfully so, that doesn’t necessarily mean that local businesses can’t also use a blog as an advantage. Although blogs may require time for you to understand the core principles of blog writing and SEO, or entice you to hire a committed team or writer, creating a blog has wide array of positive benefits.
One of the major online avenues for blogging falls into an aspect of internet marketing, known as content marketing. Content marketing involves the practice of getting your content promoted to numerous people on the web. By creating and maintaining a blog presence for your local businesses, you can effectively generate leads and potential sales opportunities if you can market your content across the Internet. Therefore, if your content is useful and engaging, consumers will likely want to read it. This engagement spurs transaction, which is the key to content marketing.
However, content marketing does not begin if your local business lacks a meaningful blog.
How Do I Make My Blog Useful?
Bright Local conducted an interesting poll to determine if local business owners believed that a blog was necessary to their online presence. According to the poll, 68% of participants were convinced that all local businesses needed a blog. While this already proves a point that blogging is an essential practice for local businesses, that principle isn’t the only interesting thing about this poll. To no surprise, 20% participants were unsure or undecided about the usefulness of a blog. While it may be in order to strike this uncertainty down with a few timely facts, there is room to nod in agreement in accordance to this data.
Supposedly, it may can be properly reasoned that these participants may have considered the great impact that a blog can have on the online presence of a local business, but may still be unsure of how this success can be translated to their business. In short, how can you get a blog to work for your local business. Here are a few questions to ask yourself in order to create a useful blog for your audience:
- Do I Have Time? – The time it takes to create and maintain a blog may not given to every business owner. Therefore, if you don’t have the time to work on your blog, simply find a suitable company or writer and outsource the work to them. Otherwise, allocate the time you have to regularly update your blog.
- What Do I Have to Say? – Your blog should give your audience a clear picture of the message you want to convey. Make sure you understand what you have to say, and make a decision on if this message is useful to others.
- Do I Know What My Customers Desire? – This question should help you brainstorm useful topics for your audience. Once you understand what your customers desire, you can create content focused on these desires. For example, if your customers are looking to receive effective information on how to lose weight, create a blog that gives worthwhile tips in this area.
- How Will People Find My Blog? – If you are blogging for the sake to blog, then you are already wasting your time. There is no merit to creating blog posts that no one will read. Hence, be prepared to discuss possible ways you can market your blog posts on social media or third party aggregate sites to get people reading and visiting your website.
- What Do I Want Readers Doing Next? – This questions is very important. Once readers are done with your content, what do you want them to do? Your answer could be to link them to other blog posts so that they can become regular visitors of your website, or you could add a call to action at the conclusion of your blog post to stimulate a consumer reaction.
By all means, creating a useful blog isn’t an easy task, and it will require a consistent, large effort on your part. By asking yourself these questions, you should be able to narrow down your focus and created useful content that can easily be shared across the web.
How Frequently Should Local Businesses Update Their Blogs?
Let’s imagine that a booming local business possesses a useful blog and is using the right tools to create meaningful content for their audience. However, this business only updates their blog once every three months; or worse, their blog posts are sparse and are horribly infrequent. Regardless of your ambition or your ability to churn out quality blog posts, frequency is key to reaching consumers. If potential customers notice that your latest blog posts was written in 2015, they will make the assumption that your business is inattentive or frankly unprofessional.
With this being the case, it’s important to regularly update your blog to achieve maximum results. The question is, how often are local businesses supposed to update their blogs. There truly isn’t an answer that is set in stone, but Bright Local’s poll does shed some light on the entire process. According to their previously mentioned poll, 98% of participants believe that local businesses should update their blog at least every month. However, as the poll reads on, there is a striking difference in the belief of when local businesses should specifically update their blog in this time frame.
Per these results, 34% of participants believe that local blogs should be updated weekly. In addition, 32% state that blogs should be updated multiple times per month, while 8% of the participants urge local businesses to update their blogs multiple times per week. In both extremes of this poll, 2% of think that blogs should be updated quarterly or daily.
While there isn’t a clear answer on how often local businesses should update their blog, it’s safe to say that frequently updating your blog according to your schedule will produce satisfactory results for your local business.
What Do I Write About?
Creating content that is both diversified and meaningful can be a daunting task for many local businesses. The whole art of blogging is predicting what your audience is interested in and writing about it. Still, it can be pretty difficult assessing the types of content you will need to product. According to Bright Local, there are specific content types that speak well to potential customers. Here are the most popular forms of content online:
- “How To” Guides
- Local Events and News
- Company Events and News
- Product Reviews
- Case Studies
- Industry Trends and News
“How To” guides or help guides is the most popular form of content online, and it isn’t difficult to understand why. Internet users are always looking online to receive help in a specific task or activity. Therefore, if your business can lead online users into this direction, your blog could receive numerous positive interactions. The art of creating a perfect “How To” guide is to think about the question potential customers are asking and answering those questions more effectively than your competitors.
If prospective customers realize that your website is providing meaningful answers to their questions, they are more likely to interact with your website. There are still other content forms above that you can consult for blog ideas, so don’t fixate yourself on the most popular source. In order to point you in the right direction, here are a few tips to help you begin crafting useful content online:
- Understand what online searchers are looking for. If you are creating useless content that doesn’t answer the question a searcher is looking for, your content will be ignored.
- All information on your blog should relate entirely to the vertical of your business, while being useful to your specific audience. For example, a pharmaceutical business could reach potential searchers by posting updates on the most recent medicine recalls. While this approach works for this particular company, try brainstorming ways that you can create informational content that your audience will be interested in reading.
- Understand your target audience. Once you do this, you will be able to create content that will target the different areas of a buyer’s journey. For example, if you are operating an mattress store, creating a useful buying guide could inform your audience on the tools and information they will need to make a quality purchase.
- Be wary of hiring freelance writers. This doesn’t mean that you can’t hire a writer if you lack the time to write your own content, but make sure your write possesses insight into your company and understands the diverse needs of your prospective customers.
What’s Your Perspective?
Possessing a blog is great for SEO and content marketing purposes, but there is still a great amount of time and effort that is required to create the perfect blog. However, do you believe that local businesses need a blog to thrive, or are you convinced that blogs are useless and don’t generate results commensurate to the time and effort you put in?
Whatever you answer is, be sure to let us know in the comment section below.
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