Does My Company Need a Blog?

A giant question mark in a field wonders if your company needs a blog.

Probably. It's a great way to keep your site fresh. Google likes it when you update your site, so new blog posts are an easy way to add new content. So if the rest of your website is fairly static, you definitely need a blog.

I'd say the only reason your company wouldn't need a blog is if you already have more business than you can handle and you don't want more potential customers finding you.  I'm not just being sarcastic here. Amazon.com doesn't have a blog because everyone already knows about them.

But chances are that your company name isn't a household word and you need a company blog.

But I don't know what to blog about.

That's fine. In fact, you're probably better off that way. I've seen some company blogs where the CEO treats it like their personal blog. They build websites, so use their blog to write about the latest technology. But guess what? No one cares what some random tech guy write about Twitter buying Vine. They can read that news in loads of other places.

If you want to write about things related to your industry, it might be more appropriate for you to do that in your own blog. Or in guest posts on other blogs that get your business exposure. 

Your company blog needs to be focused on content marketing. Your blog posts should be about the sorts of things that your potential customers will be searching for. What problems do you solve?

Going back to the web development company example, their potential clients are wondering: 

  • How do you pick a web design/development company?
  • What should my website include?
  • How much will it cost me to have a website built? 

So those are the sorts of blog posts the company should write. 

But I don't have time to write a company blog.

That's also fine.  Unless your company is Great Writers R Us, this is probably something you should delegate to someone in Marketing or outsource to a freelance blog writer. They can write faster and better than you can.

One potential client told me that it takes him four hours to write a blog post. I can't even imagine a blog post long or complicated enough for me to need even half that time to write it.

I'm not going to try to tile a floor myself because I just don't have the expertise. I CAN do it, but not as well as something with training and experience. It's the same with writing a company blog. You have a business to run. Let someone else worry about SEO and cranking out 500 words on how your company can solve their biggest problem.

So I'll just set up a free blog.

Wait, stop. If you set up a blog completely separate from your company's website, you're not going to get any content marketing benefits. Potential customers will find your blog posts, then will have to work to find your company website so they can give you their business.

Talk to whoever built your website and have them add a blog, fully integrated into your website. Just like this one is here. I built this site myself, so if someone who charged you money to build a website can't do it, then you need to hire someone else. (As an ex-techie, I can suggest a few good people, so let me know if you need a referral.)

So to sum up, your company needs a blog and it shouldn't hurt a bit. 

What's This Content Marketing I Keep Hearing About?

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You hear so many new buzzwords that you don't even know which ones you have to care about anymore.  So I'll give you the quick version: content marketing helps potential customers find your business.

Now, you may think, "But I advertise. I network." But that's not customers finding you. That's you finding customers. Which takes more effort on your part than when customer find your website and contact you.

Besides, these days consumers have grown up with advertising. So they tend not to believe it when they actually pay attention to it. We skip the commercials on when we watch TV shows on DVRs, so now we have product placement during the shows. (Anybody else remember cringing through the episode when Daddy Duggar joined Weight Watchers?) Think of content marketing like that, only more subtle, like when all the characters on a show use Apple laptops.

So how can content marketing work for you? 

Let's say you sell gourmet pancake mixes. So think of the problems you solve for your customers. What sorts of things might people be searching for when you'd want them to stumble across your site and realize that you sell exactly what they need?  So with gourmet pancake mixes, that could be gifts for foodies, hostess gifts, what to serve at brunch, what to buy that impossible-to-shop-for relative, and so on. Then you write blog posts on those topics. When people Google "gifts for foodies" your blog post will be among the search results. And that will lead them straight to your website.

But don't write a blog post called Gifts for Foodies that only lists your products. People will notice that right away and move on to the next search result. And worse, Google will notice and it will hurt your search ranking. List several items, including your gourmet pancake mixes. But give other suggestions too so that customers won't be instantly repulsed by the hard sell.

And if you keep giving your customers valuable, useful information  (say, brunch cocktail recipes, suggested add-ins for your pancake mix-ins), they'll spend more time on your site during their first visit, and they'll keep coming back.

Some people have the time and resources to do this in-house. And others are beyond thrilled to farm this out to a freelance writer (like me). And hey, I'd lose my mind if I had to write about pancakes for 35 hours a week. Even the little silver dollar ones.

Still have questions about content marketing? Ask 'em in the comments.

It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Google

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Besides, you can't. So stop trying. 

Once upon a time, about three years ago, everyone was flooding the web with keywords. It didn't matter to them if their content was dreck because they wanted to use lots of keywords to get Google's attention and raise their search ranking. They got Google's attention, all right. Then the royal smart persons at Google changed the search algorithms to ignore poor quality content and punish any webpage that was waving it's arms around trying to get attention with keywords and nothing else.

And the world breathed a sigh of relief and threw parades in honor of the royal smart persons because they didn't have to sift through pages of poor quality content when they were just trying to find out how to fix their leaky sink.

Oh wait, that didn't happen. Because most people didn't even notice. And those that did freaked out and started looking for new ways to trick Google into giving them web traffic whether they deserved it or not. Seriously, some web masters would've sacrificed a chicken if they thought it would do any good. They'd already sacrificed quality and the sanity of countless web surfers.

Sorry kiddies, but the best way to bring in search traffic these days is to create high quality content. As in, something a real human being would want to read. Don't even worry about keywords. Google's search algorithms are smart enough to know what you're talking about, and what someone is searching for, and they'll put you together if there's a logical match, not a keyword match.

If you want customers to find your website, then add text to your webpages that speaks to their needs. Do blog posts that discuss the things people might be searching for when you want them to find you. If you sell those squishie stress balls, write a blog post about ways to promote a product (including giving away stress balls with the product name on it). Then when someone searches for ways to promote a product, they'll find your blog post, and therefore your website.

Google isn't going to turn back the clock. If your business has a web presence, you need good writing. A freelance writer like me isn't there just to protect you from grammar nerds and people who will can help you build your business.