It’s getting harder and harder to spot a company operating without a website. Yet, a website alone is usually insufficient to achieve any key business goals such as raising brand awareness, communicating expert knowledge, contact acquisition, or sales support. What will do the trick is a company blog added to your domain. Let’s ruminate for a while about the reasons why you should run such a blog (though I’ve already given you a general idea). Next, we’ll discuss practical hints and tips for doing the job.
Why should your company start a blog?
Many business owners may ask themselves: Do I really need quality content on my website? The dilemma grows – on one hand, it’s a good call to run a blog, on the other – it’s a cost. Maybe you should ease off and let it go?
Let the statistics be your answer:
- businesses running a blog get 97% more backlinks (source),
- the same businesses get 434% more pages indexed in Google (source),
- 57% of marketers say that blogging is their main way of gaining new clients (source),
- as many as 36% of Fortune500 companies have blogs (source).
Okay. The numbers are all well and good, but why else should you start a blog? I’m just getting to it. Here goes:
- Blogging attracts an audience and generates traffic. Your advertising space grows with your audience. Wherever people gather, ads crop up. TV commercial airtime costs the most during the most popular films. The teams that attract the biggest number of spectators have the priciest ad space on footballer shirts – and get the best ad results. You get people to your blog by offering inspiration, education, and entertainment. And when you do…
- Blogging sells. A blog is the perfect place to display your products and describe them in more detail. Set them in a context that your readers will find useful.
- Blogging raises your brand and product recognition. A blog tells your future clients about the existence of your company. Then, it gives you a space to elaborate on the company’s profile, mission, values, the direction for growth, and the products. By building your brand and product awareness, you simultaneously educate your clients and position yourself as an expert, which raises confidence in your brand. In a nutshell, a blog is a tool from the top of the sales funnel – which we’ll discuss in more detail later on.
- Blogging means updates for your socials. In reality, a company blog and social media channels are intertwined elements of a holistic marketing strategy. A blog promotes your profiles on channels such as Facebook and Instagram while posting links to your socials promotes your blog.
- A blog is your home base for publishing content. That concerns not only articles, which are the bread and butter of blog updates. But if your company creates infographics, reports, or YouTube videos, a blog is the perfect place to show them off and promote among a larger audience.
- Blogging builds up your position in Google. The company website shows up more often in the search results (given that you take care of the SEO, as discussed later on).
- A blog is a collaboration platform. Your business partners can use your blog for self-presentation, which may be a part of barter agreements.
- Blogging supports sales by generating leads (sales contacts) – it’s a space where you can add newsletter signup forms and so on.
- Blogging is relatively cheap. Assuming an average rate of PLN 30 per 1000 characters with spaces and an average text length of 3–5 thousand characters with spaces, the cost of a single text will amount to PLN 100–150 (obviously, costs may rise with topic difficulty and copywriting quality).
- People love blogs. A bold statement, for nobody knows what wins a person’s heart – unless it’s your own. But statistics clearly reveal a mass consumption of blog content. 409 million blog readers visit 22.2 billion blog posts each month. Whether they do it for love or for other reasons is of small account.
What is the problem with not having a company blog?
Once we’ve established the benefits of running a company blog, let’s ponder over the consequences of the opposite scenario. What could be the fate of a company which has no blog – and operates among businesses which, one after another, invest in that form of promotion?
The answer lies in the question. Even if your competition doesn’t own a blog now, they may start one tomorrow. And in six months, they may outperform you in terms of Google traffic, closing sales transactions that could have been yours. Your rank in the search results is also vital for sales.
Is blogging the right tool for my company?
Needless to say, many businesses operate exclusively offline, and their websites serve mainly to provide a phone number and an address. However, if the company strives to increase its site visits, it should have a company blog. It’s one of the best ways to seize traffic from Google, especially when dealing with a highly competitive market.
Contrary to what you might think, it’s not only the problem of online stores or companies still battling for any brand awareness. Coca-Cola has been on the market for a good hundred years and continues to run billboard campaigns and dispatch its holiday trucks, even though it’s one of the best-known brands in the world. The fight for greater awareness and a spot in the back of consumers’ heads never ends.
Company blogs: examples
Lidl is a classic example of a business operating mainly offline. And yet Lidl’s Kitchen (Kuchnia Lidla) is one of the best examples of a great company blog.
The Polish Lidl blog is not an online store – it’s an “innocent” platform offering great recipes from across the world, and the kitchenware store is available at a whole other address. The chain store profits from the blog by informing visitors of the current store offers and providing a newsletter signup form. And it inspires positive associations with the brand – a value that’s hard to quantify.
The event company Exclusive Event is running a blog which provides extensive knowledge on holding an anniversary gala, a thematic banquet, a company Christmas party, or the future of the events sector. These and other content marketing efforts have secured the company website top positions in Google for keywords such as “events agency” or “company events” (in Polish).
Consido, a company dealing with interior design and furnishings, uses the company blog to write about office feng shui, decorating a manager’s office, or planning interior design for a cafe. That this strategy is working out for them: according to Senuto Visibility Analysis, in total, Consido shows up on Page One for around 150 keywords. It’s largely the effect of having a first-rate company blog.
Blogging is also a great idea for all companies employing SaaS (software as a service) as their business model. One of such businesses is Senuto, and you’re reading our company blog.
As a rule of thumb, we can say that the more your business model relies on the online, the more sense it makes to support it with a blog. Consequently, while brick-and-mortar businesses, by all means, may run a blog – and in many cases should do so – the matter is of special importance for the e-commerce sector.
How to run a company blog
Any blog – personal or business-oriented – is built on the foundation of regular content updates. But what does that mean? How often is “regular”? How much content do you have to create? Intuition may suggest that the more, the better. Daily updates would be the dream, right? Well… no. Not necessarily.
Daily updates could be effective in terms of community-building around your blog and your company. Subscribers and social media fans would get a daily link to a new article on your website. Some would consider it a nuisance and sign off, but others could become your loyal visitors – especially if the posts would fit right into their information needs.
But if your goal is to drive traffic to your website (and greater traffic means greater opportunity for sales), you don’t need to publish crazy amounts of content in absurdly short intervals. Quality trumps quantity. Obviously, this refers to expert quality – you don’t want to post rubbish articles with no substance. However, from a business standpoint, our main point of focus is SEO quality.
What to write about on your company blog?
You can create tons of content that will vanish in the depths of Google and stay visible mainly to those who click on the “blog” tab on your website. In other words, content of negligible business value.
Alternatively, you can create content specifically designed to fight for the top positions in search results for specific keywords.
For instance: Senuto bases its business on SEO and all things related. Therefore, one of the functions of our company blog is to target SEO-related keywords and consequently – show up as one of the top listings in the search results when the client enters the query (in Polish) such as:
- how to optimize your website for search engines,
- blog optimization,
- SEO copywriting,
- SEO copywriter,
- keyword cannibalization,
- seo strategies,
and so on. The articles written around these keywords used to show up in the dark recesses of Google where nobody bothers to look. But with time, their ranks have grown and today, each and every one of them shows up in positions 1–5 for these keywords (in Polish).
Right from the start, our goal was not to flood the Internet with as many texts as possible, as long as they’re SEO-related. The number of texts you need for your blog depends on the number of keywords you wish to target in Google. Which brings us back to the SEO quality of your content.
To stick to the examples above: if I want to be visible for the keyword “blog optimization”, I write a post which zeroes in on that exact topic. The more exhaustive the article, the better. It should answer the most common question asked in Google in relation to the keyword “blog optimization”, contain the largest possible number of related keywords, and be adequately saturated with the main keyword (that is “blog optimization”).
Pay attention also to:
- the title (H1) and subtitles (H2 and lower-level headers – H3 and H4),
- meta description for the article (that two or three sentences displayed in Google search results under the link and article title),
- a SEO-friendly URL (should contain your target keyword),
- fragments in bold (to improve readability),
Let’s take a closer look at the last point. A vital part of your SEO efforts is the so-called link building– creating links to websites and pages. An article on blog optimization stands a better chance of showing up in Google if more websites provide a link. External sources work great – that’s why many firms tend to acquire backlinks from bloggers, who name their brand in the article and link to the blog or one of the product pages. But apart from external backlinks, what matters are the links posted on other pages of your website.
In practice, if you want your article on blog optimization rank higher, you need to create links pointing to that article. If “blog optimization” or a related keyword appears in another text on your company blog, turn it into a link pointing to the target content.
I write all this to point your attention to one thing: even though you have only one text structured around a given keyword, links to that text should feature in other articles on your blog. This way, you end up with a cluster of thematically related articles, which sends Google a signal that you’re probably an expert on the topic (learn more about the concept of topical authority). As a result, the algorithm will deem your website more worthy of a high position in the search results.
For that reason, the companies create and grow their blogs for years, targeting more and more niche keywords, linking from one text to another, thinking up new topics, and refreshing old materials. You need to see your company blog as a long-term project which may (and probably should) be continued as long as the company exists.
How to choose your keywords?
You can pinpoint the right keywords with the help of Visibility Analysis and Keyword Explorer in the Senuto app. The former will show you the keywords for which your website already shows up in Google and which you can work on to push them from Page Two to Page One of the search results (these are the so-called quick wins).
In turn, our Keyword Explorer will help you build your own list of keywords on the basis of their number of monthly searches in Google. Additionally, if you choose a keyword, the module will show you related phrases and queries that people type in the browser. All that represents raw material for your article.
If you’re running an online store, it’s good to focus first on the keywords related to product categories or individual products. Seasonal trends are also of importance – many more people look for garden furniture in July than in January. Besides, make sure to avoid keyword cannibalization. It’s a problem especially for online stores – their keywords will probably relate to products or categories, so targeting them additionally with the articles will result in cannibalization.
Case in point:
a pet shop offers dog beds and that is its keyword. Consequently, the article for their company blog should target another keyword, such as the best dog bed for a Labrador, a Maltese, or a small dog (assuming that these are not the store’s product subcategories). In such a case, your article idea could be: “The best dog bed for a Labrador – how to take your pick? Check our ranking”. Obviously, the content should include links to specific products. After all, the company blog should support your business.
But product articles are not the only type of content that we can create on our company blogs. Here are some other ideas:
- company news – what have you been up to these days?
- industry news,
- a description of life at the store from behind the scenes,
- articles thematically related to the business but not necessarily focusing on the products – think Lidl and the Lidl’s Kitchen blog, which features mainly culinary recipes.
Content planning as a service
This information will be very helpful for planning and designing your blog content. Over a few months, applying it will bring a noticeable rise in site visits from Google (the so-called organic traffic). However, the planning process requires a lot of drive and expertise. The methods and tips that we provide here are easy to understand, which is not to say that anyone will successfully apply them in practice. In particular, this concerns companies which:
- have tons of content to plan;
- want it planned quickly and holistically, with no margin for errors;
- lack a staff member familiar with at least the rudiments of content marketing and SEO.
In cases like that, it’s a good idea to outsource data-driven content planning. It is one of the services offered by Senuto.
The application of sound copywriting guidelines yields effects such as increased Google visibility for target keywords and a major boost in site visit statistics. That is the story of Urban.One, a company that gained 934% more keywords in TOP 10 of Google search results over 20 months with its cleverly planned content.
If you want to plan content on your own – you stand a real chance of success, provided that you dive into the topic and give it the right amount of time. However, if for any reason you prefer to outsource the job to Senuto, let us know.
Meanwhile, let’s discuss other important matters when running a company blog.
Sales funnel and extra tools
Sales funnel is a marketing concept which assumes that a client goes through a journey – from noticing a need/product (top of the funnel), through research on shopping options, to the final decision and purchase (bottom of the funnel). Then, the customer enters a post-purchase stage when they use the product and, possibly, consider the purchase of the next one (e.g. a new smartphone model after a year of using the old one).
A blog is regarded as a tool from the top of the sales funnel. Its main role is to draw the customer’s attention to the brand or the product. Say somebody’s searching the Internet for an answer to the question “best dog bed for a labrador” and ends up on a blog of an online pet store. He gets the desired information and a set of product suggestions. Lo and behold, he just entered the sales funnel.
Although the role of the blog may conclude at the point of raising awareness of the potential client, it may play a much larger role and close the sale. It may not happen on a client’s first visit on the website. The client may mull over the purchase decision for days or even months. If the blog is cleverly planned and contains attractive content, it will serve users over their entire customer journey. It will give them reasons to go back and supplement the information they need to make up their minds.
In this way, the customer completes the subsequent phases in the process which culminates in a transaction. Leading them from one stage to another is an art which requires us to manipulate not only the content itself (different keywords will match different stages of the customer journey) but also additional marketing tools such as the newsletter signup box. Once the client provides their personal information and email address, we can stay in touch. From time to time, we can send them a link to a new blog post or a personalised offer. All that nudges push our customer down the marketing funnel.
Extra tips for you:
- Create various customer incentives such as: webinars, coupons, quizzes, or free materials available upon providing an email address. All of that fosters sales.
- Create a persona, or better yet – a few personas. Persona is your model client. Who is that person? What is their age, place of residents, hobbies, needs, or disposable income? That’s how you know exactly who you’re writing to.
- Monitor your statistics. The point is not to bask in the glory of your rising visit statistics but to simply keep your finger on the pulse and monitor the key indicators. It will give you a sense of the effectiveness of your content activities. The indicators worth tracking include the number of site visits, unique users in a month, users who opened your newsletter, new subscribers to the newsletter, monthly conversion (the ratio of visits to sales) and so on. The best way to do that is to create a project in Senuto Rank Tracker. Add all your target keywords for blog optimization and check every day if you’re rising or falling in rank.
- Monitor yourself and your competition in Google. Competitive research used to involve mainly reading up on press reports, visiting our rival establishments, and listening to the word of the street. Today, we have at our disposal a range of analytical tools which show our competitor’s performance in Google as compared to ours. For instance, we may compare the keywords for which your website is ranking and your competition is not – and the other way round (you can also check your common keywords). Besides, it’s a good call to monitor the changes in the TOP 10/20/50 of the search results for your target keywords.
How to run a company blog – a recap
- Above all, focus on the quality and not the quantity of your texts. Depending on your business goals and target keywords, you may start by creating a larger pool of texts just to get your engines running. Later on, most websites will do with one text a week.
- Target specific keywords and create a network of links pointing to your articles.
- Tend to other SEO elements such as SEO-friendly headers, meta descriptions, or URLs. Creating content for the sake of creating content will probably not bring you much in terms of business results. The authors should never fully forget about Google algorithms.
- Diversify content. There’s really a lot to work with, in any industry.
- Remember about the sales funnel and pay attention to obtaining your customers’ contact information by letting them sign up for a newsletter or providing an email to receive a free ebook.