In a world where everyone from Whole Foods to Patagonia is blogging, is it safe to say that you should join the crowd? Is blogging important for every industry, or is it only good for certain ones? How do you know if it’s right for you? To help answer those questions, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of blogging, across industries and subject matters.
The Benefits of Blogging
There’s a good reason so many brands are blogging today: Blogging has a lot to offer. Simply by regularly posting to a blog, brands can increase online traffic, build connections with fans, and more. Below, consider some of the big benefits that come from regular blogging:
• Search Engine Optimization: Search engines look for valuable content—and by regularly blogging, valuable content is exactly what you’re creating. The content you create in blogging allows you to establish higher authority in search rankings, and this leads to higher numbers of search traffic for your site.
• Lead Generation: When you add persuasive calls to action to your blog posts, you turn your blog into a powerful lead generator. Your calls to action might be the offer of a free ebook download, a request to sign up for your newsletter, or the suggestion that they call you to learn more about your services. In every case, by telling your readers what you’d like them to do, you set yourself up to see results.
• Brand Reinforcement: Blogs give brands another way to reinforce their brand messaging. Incorporate your brand’s style and messaging into every aspect of your blog—the design, the type of content, the colors, the logo, etc. By doing this, you reaffirm to followers that you are the brand they think you are—and this builds trust.
• Connection with Fans: When prospects go looking for more information about you and what you offer, they often wind up at your blog. Sometimes customers who wouldn’t send you an email will comment on a blog post. What’s more, blogs give you a great format for addressing common customer questions or responding to concerns you’ve heard. Bottom line: blogs provide an approachable format for you and your followers to connect.
• Humanizing Your Company: A blog allows you to tell a more personal story for your brand—you can write editorial, opinion-type pieces. You can share behind-the-scenes stories and photos. You get to round out the image that followers have of your brand.
The Costs of Blogging
There’s also a good reason so many brands are hesitant to start blogging: they know blogging takes work. Blogs don’t write themselves, and keeping up with one takes time, effort, and consistency. In fact, here’s a closer look at some of the biggest costs associated with blogging:
• Initiative: For a company satisfied with things as they are and have been, jumping into the blogging world sounds tough—because it’s going to take initiative. A business must step outside the norm to conceptualize, create, and use the blog on a regular basis. And for brands content with their current workflow and sales results as well as brands set in traditional methods, this might seem unnecessary.
• Time: There’s no way around it—blogging takes time. Whether you’re a small business owner blogging solo or a CEO hiring a marketing firm to blog in your place, in either case, a blog takes an investment. That’s why some businesses decide the cost is too great. They don’t want to dedicate time or resources every week to write.
• Creative Energy: Most writers say the hardest part of blogging is coming up with topics—and it’s true. How many business blogs fall into lackluster blog content that does more harm than good? As Gary Fox writes at Social Media Today, “[T]hinly disguised press releases chucked into a blog do not warrant being called a blog.” Regularly generating new ideas takes creative energy that some businesses would rather invest elsewhere—so if you can’t come up with blog content, blogging might not be for you.
• Discipline: Unlike a lot of business projects, blogging is ongoing. Keeping up with a blog requires regular discipline. You have to keep coming back, week after week or day after day, churning out new articles. If disciplining yourself or your team to manage a blog seems daunting, you might decide to skip it.
Principles to Help You Decide
So after looking at the benefits and costs associated with blogging, what should you do next? How do you know whether or not join in? To answer that question, here are some general principles about blogging to keep in mind, no matter what your industry:
1. Don’t Let Fear Dissuade You. Every smart businessperson knows fear comes with the territory. If it’s intimidation that’s holding you back from blogging, rethink your reasoning. Couldn’t you learn more about blogging to make it less scary?
2. Remember Short Posts Are Okay. As Rieva Lesonsky writes at Fox News, your posts don’t have to be earth shattering, and it’s okay for them to be short. Moreover, coming up with topics doesn’t have to be a pain. “To save time and stay organized,” Lesonsky recommends that you “create an editorial calendar to schedule your posts.” Take a chunk of time each month or quarter to plan out posts and then just proceed according to plan. By setting aside time to brainstorm, you save yourself the regular headache of not knowing what to write.
3. Your Clients Are Key. One of the biggest deciding factors for companies wondering if they should blog is audience. Think about your target demographic—would a blog about your industry be useful to them? Would they want to read it? Would it add value to their lives? If the answers are yes to these questions, you have good reason to move forward.
4. Consider All Your Options. Blogging is not your only opportunity to generate leads or connect with clients. You could use social media to respond to prospects’ questions. You could use newsletters to churn out helpful tips. So before you jump into blogging, look at your goals and see if they align best with what blogging achieves, or if your time would be best spent elsewhere.
Does your business have a blog? Why or why not? What other principles do you consider to be key in analyzing whether or not a brand should blog?