Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Business of Blogging

While I’m not big on traditional New Year's Resolutions, like many business owners, the start of a new year is a time for planning and, well, resolving to make my business more efficient and prosperous during the 366 days ahead. At Miamore Communications, we often get so focused on our clients’ marketing plans that we let our own flounder. One way I intend to maintain our own marketing is with a 2012 Miamore formal blogging calendar. I encourage you to do the same with your business blog—whether you operate B2B or B2C.
B2C companies that blog get 88% more leads/month than those that don't.
B2B companies that blog get 76% more leads/month than those that don't.*
Not surprisingly, from 2009 - 2011, the percentage rate of businesses that have a blog increased from 48% to 65%. A total of 85% of businesses consider their company blogs as useful and important to their business, and 27% of those who blog rated their blogs as critical to their business, according to WebSwagger.

Why are blogs so critical? For starters, they drive sales:
57% of companies using blogs reported that they acquired leads directly from their blogs.

72% of companies that blogged on a weekly basis found that they had received new business directly from their blog.*
Potential leads that convert into sales are the key incentive to blog, which leads us to our next point: An up-to-date blog also plays a key role in boosting that ever-elusive yet much sought SEO for companies.
Companies that blog have 55% more website visitors.*
This is because websites with blogs:
  • Show up in more search results for a wider range of queries/keyword searches
  • Attract more links: Inbound links raise the "SEO value" of your website
  • Attract social signals: "Share signals," such as Facebook Likes, Tweets, and Google pluses, indicate the popularity of a document to search engines, and they can boost rankings. 
Keeping all this in mind, now is the time to not just make a vague resolution to keep your blog fresh throughout 2012, but to create concrete plan to ensure its success, (even if your other resolutions fall into the 88% failure rate for New Years Resolutions!). That plan should include:
  • A proper place and format for your blog
    • Build your blog into your website to maximize SEO.
    • Incorporate your social media profiles into the blog
    • Provide readers tools to follow your blog, and to share your posts via email and social media
    • Create a format that illustrates your business: for example, if you are a designer, your blog should be highly visual
  • A schedule of blog days
    • Make blogging part of your weekly calendar to ensure that posts aren’t missed and content remains fresh
    • A calendar of blog post themes to include a variety of content that:
      • explains what you do
      • humanizes your work
      • avoids repetition
      • incorporates everything within your 2012 marketing plan
      • includes photos, graphs, or other visuals
  • The allocation of resources
    • Do you (or a key person on your staff) write well, understand how to write effective posts and—most importantly—have the time every week to write posts, maintain the blog, and respond in a timely way to comments?
    • Do you need a consultant/ghostwriter to create, execute and promote effective posts regularly, and to monitor the blog for comments and feedback?
  • A strategy to market your blog
    • Every blog post should be promoted via your other social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
    • Incorporate your blog into your email marketing
    • Include your blog url in your email signature
Have your own experiences with business blogging? Please share them here. If you need more help with your 2012 blogging plan, contact me directly.

*research by Hubspot

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