Over the past few years, social media has quickly gained steam as a means of search engine recognition. While maintaining an effective and responsive social media presence is an important way to draw positive attention to your business, it should not come at the expense of a successful, established method of engaging consumers: blogging. As Google’s search algorithms continue to further emphasize the importance of establishing credibility in your field, maintaining a company blog with fresh and engaging content can help demonstrate your expertise while giving visitors a reason to come back to your site.
Establishing Credibility and What It Means for You
You need to be an authority in your field. This isn’t to say that you need to be an industry-leading expert in every facet of your business, but you should be well versed in the topics that might interest individuals searching for your type of business. As an insider, you can offer unique insight to visitors about how the issues of the day impact your industry, provide them with tips for how to best utilize the types of services you offer, or even tell them how they might be able to help themselves without your intervention.
The key here is keeping the priorities of your audience in mind. While an update to the product specifications of a particular item in your inventory might be extremely relevant to you, the odds of a customer searching for the specific terms that might bring them to that page are slim. Instead, your company blog should inform consumers on the topics about which they care most. The goal here is to create content that will not only keep visitors on the page, but will inspire them to share it with their friends. Think about it this way: which are you more likely to share on social media? A blog post about a technical update to Google’s search algorithm, or a post about how new changes to Google’s search algorithm have created exciting new ways for their business to make it big?
Of course, there are also pitfalls to avoid when it comes to blogging. The experts at Moz.com have created a handy guide to establishing credibility, but the point that stands out most is this one:
Do not try to give your opinion as an expert in a field where you’re not one. It won’t work.
The author goes on to rightly point out that it’s usually pretty easy to spot a pretender, especially if you’re an expert yourself. While you might be able to fool a few of the novices coming to your site for basic information, other credible sites are not likely to reward you with backlinks. Worse still, you could find yourself blacklisted from those sites, a result that could damage your search engine credibility far more than roping in a few extra pageviews would have helped it. Instead, do what I just did (and, as Moz again points out, as journalists have been doing for centuries): reference other experts, quote those who know more than you do, and generally don’t shy away from admitting that there are other valuable resources out there besides your own. Providing expert viewpoints from multiple sources can help establish your site as a one-stop-shop for valuable information, and sites that see another credible site providing them backlinks are likely to return the favor, giving you an even greater boost.
If you’re able to develop a rapport with other experts in the field, you might even be able to engage in a guest blogging relationship. Whether you’re adding a new point of view to another site or welcoming other experts onto yours, guest blogs are an incredibly valuable way to boost your search profile. They almost guarantee additional backlinks from credible sites, with the added benefit of introducing your site to a whole new, untapped audience of potential customers.
Using Your Company Blog to Keep Visitors Coming Back
Large companies with established brand names might have a clear advantage when it comes to content visibility, but that doesn’t mean that small companies (or even individual contractors or freelancers) should shy away from writing them. In fact, it’s just the opposite. As a small company, you should always be looking for ways to set yourself apart from the competition, and demonstrating the level of expertise that you possess in your field is a great way to do that.
Local businesses in particular can benefit from an informative and authoritative blog. One of consumers’ greatest fears when it comes to local businesses is that it can be difficult to tell the good from the bad. When choosing amongst local businesses that might not have more than a handful of reviews apiece, who’s to say which might be better than the other? Nothing will go further towards helping sway visitors toward your company than a blog that demonstrates not just an intimate knowledge of the field, but also of what customers are interested in and what you can give them.
It’s important to note here that there is a sweet spot that exists for these blogs. Writing with an authoritative focus in mind is key, but it won’t matter how expertly you present yourself if your company blog isn’t updated with regular content. On the flip side of that coin, you might update your blog five times a day, but if the content is mostly frivolous in nature, Google will not reward you for that, either. The ideal is somewhere in between. You need regular enough updates to keep users coming back to your site, but each update needs to be important, with unique and interesting information.
Getting your company blog into that sweet spot can have benefit more than just your search ranking. If you find that readers are responding well to your blog and have developed into a reasonable following, you might even be able to turn your blog into a direct marketing tool. You can use your comment section as a way to interact directly with customers and learn more about their wants and needs. You can even encourage frequent visitors to sign up for your mailing list to receive your blog posts (and therefore marketing materials) straight into their inbox.
With so many new and increasingly effective digital marketing avenues opening up, there has never been a better time to start a company blog. The opportunity to inform potential customers about who you are, what you do, what you stand for, and how your business can improve their lives is one that you should seize. Leveraging your exposure to make use of the resulting marketing opportunities isn’t just smart business–it’s an essential part of successful business growth.