"Should I start a blog for my business?"
Although many people assume my answer would be a resounding "yes!" the answer I give most often is, "it depends."
Starting a blog can be one of the most beneficial things you do for your business. But just because you have a blog doesn't mean you have a good blog. And therein lies the problem: Your blog should exist to improve your business, not detract from it.
Is a Blog Right for You?
The main reason to start a blog is because you want to move your business ahead. Blogs can be excellent vehicles for driving search traffic, expanding your market reach and establishing your authority in your industry.
Blogs are also great for adding complementary content to your online business. Often, business websites don’t allow for content that isn’t absolutely critical to the bottom line. Blogs are a good bridge between core site content and content that's more loosely related to your business or industry.
A blog is also a good way to showcase your authority; building authority in your industry can give you an edge on your competition. One way to find content that showcases your authority is to repurpose content you’ve created elsewhere, such as presentations, videos, tutorials and so on, all of which can help you position your brand as the authority in your niche.
Next step is to ask yourself if you can properly commit to it. Successful blogs usually take money, manpower and time. Without that, then nobody wins—not the readers or your business—and your best move may be to look into other avenues to grow your business.
Building a Great Business Blog
If you’ve decided you can commit to building and maintaining a blog, try to create the kind of blog you’d subscribe to yourself.
Here are a few examples of great company blogs so you can see how successful blogs contribute to their businesses through the use of great content and design:
MailChimp. MailChimp’s blog is not only a fantastic example of seamless branding (the blog's design mimics MailChimp's website perfectly), it employs excellent writing and design. These aren’t copied-and-pasted press releases. They're well thought out, in-depth articles aimed at the company's target market.
Groove. Groove is a startup that grew to more than $100,000 in monthly revenue the first year, and the company attributes a large portion of that success to its blog. Its posts are honest and provide a behind-the-scenes look at the decisions the company's founders have made, the successes and the failures in starting an online help desk software company.
Patagonia. Patagonia is an excellent example of a retailer blog with The Cleanest Line, which highlights the company’s values without talking about the company itself. The blog covers such themes as adventure, travel, exploration and environmental activism—with a bit of company news sprinkled in here and there. The articles complement the Patagonia brand without overtly selling the company or its products.
This approach generates a lot of engagement, rarely fewer than 150 Facebook shares, per post. Since the blog only covers the company a fraction of the time, when it does talk about the business, those posts are shared just as much as the others. This is a great example of how a company has built a brand that people want to champion.
Essentially, the blogs are driven by businesses that have a plan and execute it as if it were a core part of your business and don’t skimp on resources. The good news is, if you can commit, blogging can be a powerful tool for your business.
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This article was originally published on December 29, 2014.