The Huffington Post is making almost $29,896 a day from blogging. Mashable comes in second place at $15,781 per day (according to this article). Blogging is their primary function.
Granted, the top earners in blogging make their money from advertising on their sites. How is this relevant for a corporation not interested in blogging as a primary business function?
Take a look down the list. The first company that isn’t making money from advertising is Copyblogger. Their money comes from affiliate sales. That means they mention other products in their blog and they get a share of the direct sales from their mentions.
Essentially it’s lead generation. Copyblogger is leading sales to other companies and getting a share of each sale. They bring in $1,184 per day. That’s only a percentage of the sales they send to other companies each day. All from blogging.
After digging deep for stats on the business value of blogging, I came across this infographic from Ignitespot. The picture below is the most relevant portion of the infographic. There are many commonly quoted benefits to blogging, but this graphic puts stats behind those claims.
Blogging Is Effective For Lead Generation
“Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads.”
“61% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.”
Nurture discovery. Build credibility. Overcome objections. Harbour trust. Call for action.
Blogging does this just as well as a sales letters or TV infomercials. You have a captive audience who wants to read your material. You don’t always have to be hard selling, in fact, I would advise against it. Use your blog to support your hard selling marketing though.
Post content that serves the reader. Talk about your reader and how their lives are better because of your product. Talk about your industry and provide insight on trends. The reader should step away from each blog post feeling like they have gained something from the experience.
As you build trust and credibility, begin to ask for a response from the reader. Ask them to share, to comment, or to sign-up for your email list. Invite them to take part in contests. And when you think they are ready, offer them a great deal on your product or service. Make it exclusive. Reward them for being such loyal readers.
Each reader will follow their own path. Some will become customers sooner than others. Make it easy for the reader to make the purchase decision, no matter what stage of the game they’re at.
One company that is really good at this is Help Scout. They offer customer service software . Check out the end of their blog posts. Each one ends with an easy way to subscribe to their newsletter and a button to learn more about their help desk software. When you click through to learn about their product, they offer you a free trial as well as all the information you need about their software. This is basic direct response copywriting in action.
Blogging Cements Your Authority And Solidifies Customer Loyalty
“81% of US consumers trust advice and information from blogs.”
“Interesting content is one of the top 3 reasons people follow brands on social media.”
Authority is about trust. Serving useful content regularly makes it easier for readers to trust you. When you make them an offer, authority makes it irresistible.
You also become the go-to person when they have questions or concerns. The complaints and criticisms are just as valuable as the questions and compliments. You have the power to do something about it. You are the authority on your product, and in readers eyes, you’re the authority in your industry.
The best marketing makes it easy for the right people to discover you, buy from you, and stay with you as a loyal customer for as long as they need you—from discovery to loyalty.
Blogging keeps the customers coming back. It gives them a reason to stay and spend time on your website. This is especially valuable when your website is central in your business model (e-commerce, online portfolio, etc).
Going back to Help Scout, their blog is a huge archive of extremely helpful posts that zero in on enhancing the customer’s experience. So many customer questions are answered in their blog posts. Do you think customers will go to many other resources for answers? Not likely. That’s how authority develops loyalty.
Blogging Works For B2B As Well
“B2B marketers using blogs generate 67% more leads.”
Individual consumers aren’t the only ones looking for a business to trust. Other business are as well. In fact, businesses will be pickier about the integrity and expertise of an other company they do business with. Their profit is on the line.
A knowledge base like a blog will prove the depth of your wisdom and demonstrate how you handle customer relations (by how you handle comments on your blog).
Apply direct response techniques to your blog and you’ll have an effective B2B lead generation machine.
Blogging Is The Best SEO And Networking Strategy
“Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages.”
Inbound links are links on other websites connecting to yours. Indexed pages are the web pages (including blog posts) that Google knows about.
Google is hyper-focused on making sure it’s search engine only serves up the most relevant content. If other authorities in your field are posting links to your blog posts, Google uses that as a measure of your expertise, increasing your presence in search results.
If you have a growing mass of quality content (blog posts that Google knows about) Google views you as an authority in that area, serving up your pages more often in search results.
That only happens as you network with other companies and bloggers. Find people who serve a similar market and contribute useful content to their effort. This is known as guest blogging.
But don’t guest blog because you want to rank better in Google. Guest blog because you want to reach a larger audience that has already been established by other authorities in your field.
Blogging is all about making your website the best resource available. SEO is about making it easy for Google to recognize the quality of your website.
If you search Google for “customer service,” Help Scout is the 3rd result (as of October 2014). Note that it links to a blog post. Help Scout’s blog is helping people find them on search engines.
Blogging Overwhelmingly Influences Your Customer’s Experience
“60% of consumers feel a company’s positivity after reading the site.”
“90% of consumers find customer content useful.”
“82% of consumers enjoy reading relevant content from brands.”
The customer’s experience online can be hard to monitor. There are so many gateways for the customer to access and learn about you and your business. Blogging brings sanity to what could be a chaotic process.
From discovery to loyalty, your blog is a constant. No matter what stage your customer is working through, they can always turn to your blog for clarity and consistency. Your blog is what ties the rest of your customer’s digital experience together.
Using your blog as a customer experience manager is only the first step though. There are so many ways for your blog to generate leads and revenue. It doesn’t have to syphon time away from your business.
Use direct response copywriting principles to lead delighted readers to action. Network with other bloggers and grow your market share. Create demand by engaging readers and presenting unique responses to their issues.
Traditional marketing does all this, why can’t your blog?
Have you seen a return on your blogging efforts? Or has blogging actually damaged your business before?
Let me know in the comments below. And share this post! Let’s bring others in on the conversation.