Blogging For Small Business – Can It Still Work In 2021?

"But what about the ROI on blogging? State of Inbound reported in a survey that 82% of marketers realised a positive ROI (return on investment) and an increase of their search engine rankings (their sites were further up the page on Google)."
blogging for small business

A question many small business owners might ask themselves is blogging for small business worth the effort? Is blogging important for a business of any size for that matter? With the acceleration of social media like Facebook Pages specifically why would a small business owner bother posting on their website as well? Even Google My Business now allows for posting functionality as well (albeit posts are only visible for 7 days) . Does this mean the business blog is doomed and irrelevant? Read on to get some solid perspective on this topic but first lets start with some statistics and facts.

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how a business can blog for success in 2020

Why blogging is important for your business – Some Statistics

Blog content is ever growing in 2021, but does that mean its effective? According to Hubspot over 70% of marketers they surveyed are actively investing in content marketing. In case you dont know content marketing is, its another word for generating content in the hope it is picked up by search engines. This in turn will get visibility and traffic to your business website. Blogging is essentially a form of content marketing.

That same report above from also cited 80% of companies who blog acquire customers through this method, and a staggering 82% of businesses admitted that blogging was critical to their business!

To anchor this stat further Databox discovered that in 2020 that 68% of marketers believe blogging is even more effective than in 2018! Thats a pretty defining gap as only 12% said it was less effective and 20% were unsure!

You might be thinking so what? What is the ROI of blogging? State of Inbound reported in a survey that 82% of marketers realised a positive ROI (return on investment) and an increase of their search engine rankings (their sites were further up the page on Google). This is an interesting one as for a small business owner to measure the return on investment for blogging they will need to factor in the time to write and who they are paying to write to determine the actual cost.

How do I write a Small Business Blog?

So the facts above do suggest a small business owner should persevere with a blog or start blogging in 2020, so what is the best approach to blogging successfully?

Step 1 – Define Audience & Intent

My first recommendation is that you see your blog page as a sales tool. Not just a place for your customers to get more information on topics you know about. It’s an opportunity to be less formal and let the personality of your brand become more familiar to your customers. Once you have your topic in mind you need to get clear on whether the article is designed for new customers or existing customers. 

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If its intended for new customers and the outcome of the article is to drive more net new sales of your product or service, then it needs to be written on assumption the customer has never heard of you.

On the other hand if the content is designed for existing customers and the goal of the post is to perhaps drive greater retention of your products or services – then you can be more familiar and the language can be tailored accordingly. 

One great tip I have in terms of how to write a blog – is to write as if you are having a 1 on 1 conversation with a customer. Imagine you are sitting in a bar having a chat with them informally. This is a great way to help with the best phrasing and to make the content as personal as possible

Step 2- Perform Basic Keyword Research

In case you don’t know Keyword Research is the process of determining what specific keywords you can likely be found on Google and Bing. There are some great basic keyword research tools available that are free such as UberSuggest which allow you to understand search volume and competition organically to appear in the search engines for relevant keywords to your business. Google Ads Keyword planner is also a very useful free tool. This is a worthy first step to understand what demand exists for keywords related to your small business and to find the most effective keywords that you should consider blogging around that you can rank for.

Its worth seeing what articles or pages are ranking for the terms you are interested in targeting. See how established these sites are – ie are they massive businesses or government organisations (which will be tough to out rank) or are they more similar businesses and similar articles to the one’s you will write?

Simple Free Keyword Research Process

To bring this to life here is a simple free keyword research process you can follow. Check out the screenshot below from UberSuggest for the keyword term “how to fix a leaking tap”. You can quickly see at a glance:

1) What the keyword volume is (amount of searches per month). In this case its 1600 searches per month.

2) What the CPC is (the Cost Per Average Click on a Paid Ad on Google for the term) which is a measure of how much buying intent there is. In this case its $1.96 which shows intent.

3) What the Paid Density is (PD = amount of advertisers bidding on the term). In this case its 17 which is relatively ok.

4) The SEO Density (SD = how hard or easy it will be to rank for the term – lower the number the better. In this case its 11 which is Good (highlighted green)

5) Competition on Search Results Page (SERP) On the right side you can quickly see what the top sites are that are ranking highly on Google for this term.

In short, If I was a plumber I would definitely consider writing an article based on this term on my site/blog.

Small Business Ubersuggest Keyword Research


Bear in mind that the goal of this final step 5 above, is also to think of the user experience, see how the articles/website that are ranking well are written. Focus on what engaging elements are included in the articles or that are missing and include those in yours. Think about what you can improve to drive a better user experience and engage better with your potential audience

Step 3- Start Writing – Edit and Enhance

For many small businesses the person who would help with marketing might also take care of finance/admin etc, or perhaps your small business is established enough to justify a dedicated in-house marketer. Whatever the case is and regardless of their experience, my best advice is that they start writing a draft and come back a day later to edit and enhance. A great shortcut is to identify 5-7 sub topics within your main topic, list them all out on a page – then build out each point in detail. Then you can add a introduction and conclusion. You can get ideas for sub topics also from tools like UberSuggest and Keyword planner.

Step 4- Length Matters – minimum 1000 Words

Google has introduced a very simple rule when it comes to ranking content, in general content less than 1000 words is less likely to rank higher in the search results. For this reason its important that any blog post you write is minimum 1000 words in length and anywhere up to 3000 words. Beyond that is probably not going to make much difference. One important call out – don’t write fluff words. Make sure that your entire post is adding value – and that there is minimal repitition as otherwise this may result in a negative impact in terms of search engine visibility.

Step 5 – Outsource If You Need

Now that I have just dropped the bomb that your average blog post needs to be between 1000 – 3000 words you may well be thinking that it’s not going to be feasible to write the content yourself! Who has the time! The good news is that you can find some really good and cost effective writers on sites like Upwork.com and Freelancer.com.

For a native writer you should expect to pay $50USD per 1000 articles as an average price. Consider the topics you might want to outsource which are less specific to your business but you could provide basic research for a writer to expand upon. End of day if you have an understanding of the ROI potential of a blog post it will be easier to justify the investment in outsourcing. With that by way of example if you are a plumber and now wanting to write a blog post on “how to fix a leaking tap” you will have a rough idea of how much money you would make from such a job. As such the ROI should be pretty clear.

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Step 6 – Schedule Your Content

One great tactic you could employ when it comes to writing your content, is to map out all your seasonal areas of interest . For example, if you are an accountant there are going to be specific times of year just as Financial Year End which are going to drive great content ideas that you will want to plan in advance.

Additionally if there are tax concessions or other tax benefits that have a timeframe to end you can publish content in advance to ensure to maximise demand. Leveraging Google Trends is a great way to determine peak period for content topics and you want to be publishing. For example in the below image you can see the term “tax return” and you can see queries peaking substantially from the start of June.

When To Share Blogging Content

Step 7 – Share Your Content

Finally once your content is fully published on your site, its important that you also share it. You should share via social media channels including at minimum your Facebook Page and your Google My Business Page. Bear in mind Google My Business will only allow your post to appear for 7 days, whereas Facebook it will appear forever in your feed. This is a quick way to help index the new blog post however, and more importantly it will broadcast the content to you customers. Also be sure to share the new blog post with your email list (those that subscribe to your newsletter).

Summary

So why blogging is good for your business? Blogging for small business is not dead, its still a highly viable and powerful tool that can drive strong return on investment. It allows you to publish your personality and appeal to both new and existing customers alike while giving you greater reach (search engine visibility) particularly if you are adhering to the general guidelines listed in the above. Its not a short term strategy however and you should plan out your content in advance and if you are consistent the benefitsare likely to be significantly higher.

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