Blogging is one of the oldest forms of communication on the internet, yet is totally misunderstood, misused, and underutilized by businesses. Because of this, it represents an immense opportunity for those who use it properly.
To understand what blogging really is, try looking at what a website and what the internet really is from a different perspective. The internet is a tool that enables the exchange of information. And at the heart of that information, the exchange is conversation.
A website, by extension, is a place where the conversation is focused exclusively on you and your potential customer. It's your avatar in an online, interconnected world. Most pages on your website are going to be focused on one thing above all else: sales. Your home page, about page, product or services pages, and contact pages, are all like your polished sales presentation with a predefined cadence, flow, and process.
In other words, those pages have one purpose: To have a sales conversation. But think about how you are in real life. Is every conversation you have a sales conversation? Are your customers and potential customers always in a "buy now" mode, ready to have a sales conversation? Of course, you don't only have sales conversations in real life. It's not all sales all the time. And if it is all sales all the time, there's no reason for customers to talk to you unless someone is ready to buy right now.
Don't Focus Solely on Sales
That's the problem with most websites: The only reason to visit is when it's time to buy. Leaving you with fewer opportunities to actually earn a customer. Blog posts should be thought of as conversations.
A blog enables you to have different kinds of conversations, so that customers have a reason to refer to your company as a valuable resource. Or at the very least, it increases their familiarity with you and your brand.
Sometimes that conversation could be answering a specific question about your product or industry. On your home page, for example, it's just not a suitable place to go into depth and detail about answering a specific question. You want broad, powerful overviews there. But, in a blog post, you can teach someone about a specific thing and answer a specific question in detail to help someone out.
Other times, that conversation could be sharing a philosophy or an insight into why your business does something a certain way. It could be content that's about anything remotely related to your industry and has nothing to do directly with what you sell, but still provides value and insight to customers.
Save Time by Answering Common Questions
By giving people reasons to visit your website beyond a pure sales conversation, you give them the opportunity to better qualify themselves as customers, save time in explanations of common problems and situations that your product or service solves, or create likeability and trust by being a person talking to another person.
For example, in my business, I noticed we kept getting certain questions, like, "How long content should be?", "How to write content?", or what they should talk about on their product pages. We used to have hours-long conversations with people to cover these topics, which was leading to frustration for our customers going through the process and taking up a lot of our time to have the same conversation over and over again.
So instead, we took that same conversation and turned it into a blog post. Now we've got something we can refer existing customers to and we can attract new customers who also have the same questions. By giving people a reason to come back to the website again and again, we increased our traffic and the average time that's spent reading our content -- two of the most important and hardest to achieve criteria behind naturally ranking in search engines.
Get Creative With Content
I've found that there are a few easy ways to build meaningful blog content. First, write guides answering questions and concerns in detail that your customers ask most frequently. Don't limit yourself just to pre-sales questions.
You can also teach people a new perspective or way of thinking. Showing expertise is often about introducing new and novel ideas or thoughts. Showing expertise in this way is an amazing credibility builder and much more powerful than just saying you're "an expert."
Take posts from your social media and consolidate them into new articles, especially if they are popular. Talk about other related products, services, or concepts that you don't sell, but that work well with what you do sell.
What works on the internet is the exact same thing that works in person: Having conversations with people. Blogging enables you to have richer, deeper, and more meaningful conversations.