There’s a tendency these days to look down upon blogs as passé and old-fashioned – a relic of the days of MySpace and bulletin boards, where people would share their thoughts via their own personal blog. Many people certainly wouldn’t consider them as something worth using as a marketing tool in 2023.
But the fact is that blogs remain a vital tool in any business’ marketing arsenal, and can be instrumental in your content marketing campaign. Such campaigns market without marketing, and are fantastic at attracting interest from an increasingly marketing-savvy (and marketing-avoidant) consumer base. Here are 10 reasons for starting a blog – and making it the best decision you’ll make this year.
What Is A Blog?
The term ‘blog’ has its roots in a phrase coined in 1997 by American blogger Jorn Barger. Barger had his own webpage where he would publish essays on subjects that interested him. These included things like Isaac Asimov, James Joyce, internet culture, web design, and popular culture.
At some point in 1997, Barger began publishing a ‘weblog’ – a daily entry wherein he detailed the websites and pages he’d visited that day. Two years later, the phrase was shortened to ‘blog’ – and a neologism was coined.
Should I Start A Blog?
If this is the question that brought you to this, well, blog, then the answer is ‘yes’. Even if it isn’t, the answer is absolutely still ‘yes’. It’s important to set aside this notion that blogs are a relic of a bygone era, and see them for what they are – an invaluable content marketing tool.
Is Blogging Still Relevant In 2023?
Very much so. Although there is a perception that blogs are past their prime and no longer reach people in an era of short-form videos and shared social media soundbites, you might think that blogging is a dying art.
This perception is, quite simply, inaccurate. The fact is that even with the alternatives on offer, many people still read blogs, whether instead of consuming other content, or (more likely) in addition to it. In fact, research has shown that a staggering 77% of internet users regularly read blogs.
With that in mind, then, it’s worth looking at what a blog can bring to the table – and why your business, no matter what it is, needs one.
Our Top 10 Reasons For Starting a Blog This Year
Here are 10 reasons for starting a blog today.
Blogs Help You Rank Better On Search Engines
One of the biggest reasons to start a blog is the fact that it’s a great way to improve your organic search engine results. By ‘organic’, we mean unpaid search results. Why is this so important?
Whenever you’ve googled something, you’ve probably spotted the ‘sponsored’ search results at the top of the page. And if you’re anything like most internet users, you’ve ignored all of those sponsored results in favor of the first organic – that is to say, not sponsored – search result.
The difference between hits on the first sponsored hit (3-5%) and the first organic hit (27.5%) speak for themselves. If you’re looking to maximize your traffic from search results, organic hits are clearly the way to go.
Why is this? Because people have been conditioned, by many years of relentless marketing, to avoid and distrust it. Organic hits, on the other hand, haven’t paid anything. They’re at the top of the pile by virtue of the quality of their content. People are therefore much more likely to trust that top organic link over anything else.
And what content is excellent for ranking at the top of Google? You guessed it – blogs. If you’re able to write a blog that checks all of the boxes of Google’s algorithm, and comes from a website with a good domain authority (how strong and/or trustworthy your website is deemed to be), then you’ve got a great shot at getting to the top of the SERP (search engine results page).
This goes to show that blogs are not simply a hangover of the MySpace era, but an effective method of marketing without paying for it.
A Blog Attracts Potential Customers To Your Website
That content marketing we mentioned earlier is all-important and will grow even in importance over the next years. Direct marketing quite simply turns potential customers off. We can see that reflected in the difference between paid and organic hits we just discussed, and we can see it wherever consumers are exposed to obvious, paid marketing.
Which makes things like social media content, YouTube videos – and even that supposedly outdated content format, the blog – great. And such content needn’t be a cynical exercise in manipulating people into buying your goods/services – they can offer genuinely useful content that will keep people coming back.
Consider, for instance, if you’re a company that sells the ingredients for people to make artisanal bread in the comfort of their own homes. Sure, you could just promote your company using paid ads. You could even write blogs about why your ingredients are the best. But you could also write a blog about the 5 beginner pitfalls of baking bread, or the advantages of baking your own bread rather than choosing store-bought alternatives.
By offering unique and engaging content, you don’t just cater to existing customers – you bring in curious visitors from social media and search engine results. And if that content is well-written and informative, you’ll get people coming back. And people who are invested in your blog will likely see the value in your product or service, and eventually become customers. If that isn’t a great reason to start a blog… well, read on.
Blogs Establish You As An Authority
They say ‘write about what you know’. And nowhere is that truer than on your blog, where you are (presumably) extremely knowledgeable in your chosen industry or field.
Your business should leverage that knowledge and expertise by establishing itself as the go-to authority in your industry. Whenever somebody has a question or a problem within that field, your brand should be the first name that comes to mind when seeking answers.
This is where your blog comes in. By offering how-to blogs, ’10 problems you’ll face with…’ blogs, FAQs, explanatory blogs and everything in between, you can ensure that you become the Wikipedia of your field. By further using social media channels to share that knowledge, you’ll expose a greater number of people to your expertise, and rapidly establish yourself as the people to talk to if anyone has any questions about, say, artisanal bread.
Being an authority in a given field or industry has a number of knock-on effects, too – not least of which is that your organic search rankings will begin to rise of their own accord. There’s a reason we talked about ‘domain authority’ earlier. The more trusted your website is, and the more traffic it gets, the higher that domain authority will be.
Blogs Make You Part Of A Community (Or Help You Build One)
Blogging is, by its nature, a one-way enterprise. You write, your readers read. There’s little scope for interaction there, and it’s one reason why people tend to look down on blogs as being a little past their prime.
Except that there is – or there can be. For one, comments can be enabled on your blogs, enabling readers to leave feedback, ask questions, or even spark a debate among each other. You could take this even further and host a forum on your website, in which users can start their own topics and have even more in-depth discussions.
Further afield, you can make full use of social media to either become part of an existing community, or make an entirely new one. Facebook groups and pages are invaluable, and much more accessible than website-specific blogs because everybody has a Facebook account already. Even on Twitter or Instagram (which doesn’t have groups in the same way as Facebook) you can get involved in any communities related to your industry with hashtags and by following competitors, fans and any other relevant accounts.
Being involved in a community further distances your brand from the idea that you’re nothing more than a money-grubbing company only interested in making a buck – and goes a long way towards building trust and a solid reputation.
Blogs Can Grow Your Mailing List
Email marketing is such a complicated (yet rewarding) topic that it deserves an article all of its own, but one of the issues that email marketers face all the time is how to get new names onto their mailing lists.
It’s extremely bad form to buy email lists (for one, it’s a good way to get yourself blacklisted by all major email providers), and you should never simply send unsolicited emails to people. They should want to be receiving your emails.
But how do you get people onto your mailing list? Marketing emails are annoying, and nobody wants to receive them – unless they’re for a product/service you want, or they provide genuinely interesting content.
It’s this latter that we’re interested in when it comes to blogging. You can insert an option to sign up for your mailing list at the bottom of your blogs, promising more content like that the potential subscriber just read.
If people are interested enough in the content that you’re putting out, then signing up for your mailing list is a no-brainer. More importantly, they’ll be on that list because they want to be – meaning they’ll engage more with your emails, which will lead to higher open rates and, ultimately, more sales. So, if you want to grow your mailing list, you now have more than enough reasons to start a blog.
Blogs Are Ready-Made Social Media Content
We touched upon social media earlier, and the power that it can have when it comes to marketing your business. But something that’s tricky to get right on social media is the balance of content marketing vs. just flat marketing. Too much of the former, and you might not be seeing much in the way of sales. But too much of the latter will simply turn people off, and they’ll unfollow/unsubscribe.
Fortunately, sharing blog posts sidesteps both issues. Blog marketing is content marketing, but done right it can be engaging, generate word-of-mouth advertising, and occasionally go viral. Once you’ve finished a blog, you have new content ready to go on social media. All you have to do is share it, draw people in, and hopefully have them share it with their friends/family. The more it’s shared, the more people will click through, and the more brand awareness you’ll build.
A single blog post can generate buzz across all of the major social media channels. By sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and any other social media site on which you have an account, you’re massively increasing your reach simply with one blog. If you’re on the fence about whether or not blogs are too old-fashioned for the TikTok era, look no further than this simple point.
Blogs Build Trust And Improve Your Reputation
One of the most important things about content marketing (as with blogs) is that, as we’ve mentioned, it doesn’t come across as marketing. And, in fact, it doesn’t have to be marketing – at least not directly.
Blogging is a powerful tool when it comes to setting your marketing tools down and simply shooting the breeze with your customers. It also provides invaluable information and insider knowledge, humanizes you and your business’ employees, and generally makes you seem much less like a monolithic organization, and much more like a collective of individuals that share your customer’s values.
By personalizing your content in this way, you make your brand much more relatable, and you make your customers much more likely to trust you. You prove to them that you’re not simply about shoving your products down their throat, but that you have the same interests as them, and you’re interested in sharing your expertise and ideas about those interests.
This is why blogging is such effective marketing, and one of the best reasons to start a blog – because it doesn’t have to be marketing at all. At least, not ostensibly. And far from being a dated medium of interaction, blogging remains very much relevant going forward.
Blogs Offer A Great ROI
Blogs, by their very nature, do not require a lot of resources. You simply need a website and the ability to publish your blogs. Even if you’re not the most gifted of writers, it’s fairly easy to hire a freelance blogger for a reasonable price – just give them the type of content you’d like and let them go to work.
The return on investment on any given blog, however, can be quite considerable. Given all of the benefits we’ve outlined regarding blogs (stealth marketing, building brand awareness and reputation, growing your mailing list, etc. etc.), it’s not hard to see why blogs can be extremely cost-effective.
There are caveats to this, of course. Your blogs need to be genuinely engaging and interesting in order to get a good ROI. If you’re simply churning out keyword-stuffed content in a bid to hit the top of Google’s page one, not only is Google not going to be fooled – potential customers aren’t, either. And there’s no faster way of getting people to distrust you than naked attempts to manipulate them.
As long as you’re able to offer quality content, however, you should see a good ROI on your blogging endeavors.
Blogging Raises Internal Engagement
One of the most effective ways of using blogs and reasons for starting a blog if you don’t have one yet is to increase internal engagement. What does this slightly cryptic phrase mean? It means that once a reader is engaged by one of your blogs, you’ve got an excellent chance of hooking them with another blog – and another, and another.
This effect – sometimes called the ‘TVTropes’ effect after the notoriously addictive pop culture Wiki – is achieved by making sure your blogs have plenty of links. To return to our artisanal bread example – if you’re writing about 5 baking pitfalls common to beginners, you might want to link to an article on different kinds of dough and their rising properties at an appropriate juncture. That article could itself have links to older (relevant) articles, and so on.
By doing this, you can have visitors spending a long time on your site, feasting on your back catalog of blogs and making it more and more likely that they’ll become a conversion and purchase your goods or services. It will also increase your domain authority, as users who spend longer on a sight and click internal links improve that site’s domain authority.
However, this can easily be done wrong and backfire. If every other sentence has a tenuous link to a blog that’s only tangentially related – or worse, a link that induces the reader to buy something – then it will simply come across as if you’re trying to manipulate the reader into purchases, rather than providing genuinely useful information.
With that in mind, then, ensure that your links are high-quality, relevant, and not simply links to products or services. Readers will quickly smell a rat if your blog is simply a glorified advert.
Blogging Provides Opportunities For Collaboration
While we could go on, we reach the end of our top 10 reasons to start a blog this year. If you’re a successful enough company and your blog is popular enough, it opens up opportunities for collaborative blog posts. You could invite a popular influencer who loves your product to write a guest blog, for instance, raising both of your profiles in the process.
You could even collaborate with competitors to put out content that benefits both of you. Whether you’re sharing your content on their website, or vice versa, or both, the collaboration can be pleasantly unexpected to your readers (who works with their competitors, after all?) and can massively boost your brand awareness.
Furthermore, your blogging can become a secondary source of income in of itself. You can charge for guest blogs that boost the profile of third parties, or simply insert backlinks into your own blogs for a fee. Beware, however, of the point we covered in the last entry – if your blogs are riddled with obvious sales links, you’re likely going to turn readers off. It’s therefore a good idea to do this sparingly.
As we have seen, there are countless reasons to start a blog – we could go on and on. Blogging is a fantastic way of reaching potential customers without having to resort to the sort of direct marketing that turns off modern consumers. By ensuring that you’re offering high-quality content that has genuine applications and that people want to read, you’ll be effectively marketing anyway – just in a way that’s much more palatable to people. However, it is important to make sure that your content – rather than your intent to sell – that stays at the fore of any blog. If you can ensure that your blogs do that, then you’ll be on to a winner.