It takes a lot of effort to create a blog and maintain it, especially when your client isn't particularly sold on the idea at first.
But there comes a time when a blog becomes a necessity for a business, and all benefits outweigh the increased use of resources. For some companies, the moment comes as soon as they launch their website.
Some insightful data to pique your client’s interest:
- Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts (HubSpot, 2015)
- The most crucial content type for marketers is blogging (38%), closely followed by visual content (37%) and video (21%) (Social Media Examiner Industry Report, 2016)
- 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep (Demand Gen Report, 2016)
- B2C companies that blogged 11+ times per month got more than 4X as many leads than those that blog only 4-5 times per month (HubSpot, 2015)
The questions your clients will want answered (before you create a blog) are the “why”, “what”, “who” and “how”, and this post holds the answers. All you have to do is convey the benefits of blogging to your client to win that pitch and voila - there’s another revenue stream for your digital agency.
The four questions your client will ask when you propose creating a blog
1. Why should we have a blog?
Additional to your social media marketing services, blogging will arm you with an arsenal of content that you can repurpose for your client’s other content channels. It also helps soften promotional emails and improve keyword rankings. Here are a few more benefits of business blogging:
- To have unique content to share on social media: Repurposing blog content allows you to transform one blog into dozens of social media posts on all social networking sites, not just Twitter.
- To drive more traffic: It's possible to create new content ideas that drive record-breaking organic traffic with the clever of use of data and a few free tools.
- To attract a loyal following: This won't happen overnight, but it's possible with consistency and persistence.
- To generate leads: Users are more likely to subscribe to a company’s mailing list that starts blogging about things they’re interested in.
- To keep customers happy and make them come back: Happy customers are easier to retain and they love sharing their experiences online.
- To become a thought leader: Sharing posts from industry leaders and influencers will only get you so far. If your client wants to share their expertise on subjects they’ve mastered, blogging is the way to go.
2. What kind of topics will we write about?
Useful content that helps others, and not the type that simply promotes your client’s products, services and seasonal sales. Here are a few ideas to kickstart the brainstorm:
- Frequently asked questions: If one customer asks a question, it’s possible others are asking them too. Keep track of questions that your client’s prospects and customers ask via review sites, Quora and social media posts.
- What’s new: Write about how the “new stuff” is better or worse than the old, what kind of impact it’s having on the industry and customers. This will keep you sharp in your field and give you a competitive advantage over competitors that don’t.
- Comparisons and roundups: Sometimes customers know exactly what they want, but they also tend to doubt their decisions and look for advice online. If your client has similar products, why not answer all their questions in a thorough blog with images and video.
- Solving pain points with new products and services: There’s a softer way to announce new product releases than simply adding them as a paid service on a website page. When creating the blog, introduce the pain points in the beginning and how your client solves it.
- Team interviews and behind-the-scenes snaps: Highlighting company culture not only helps your client’s HR department hire better talent, it can also help prospects gain trust about the company.
There are other questions to answer, like what’s your client’s audience and what language to use (B2B or B2C, buyer personas, the tone of voice), but all this should already be covered in your content marketing strategy. You may also want to visit your social media strategy to see how your blog pairs up with your content calendar.
Lastly, let’s talk frequency and length. There‘s some dispute in regards to both. Some SEO case studies prove that a single website can achieve over a million website visits with only 36 blog posts published in a year, while other companies blog daily to achieve similar success. The current trend is to create blogs that are 1,200 words long with unique images to help break them up.
Focus on the subject matter and how well that can be answered in a blog. Each client is unique and requires an individual approach, but you already know that. For example, if the client is in the travel industry, readers may prefer a shorter word count, but more images. On the contrary, if your client is a leading B2B SaaS software, a longer post showcasing deep insights and hard data may be valued more.
3. Who will be writing posts and managing the blog?
Ideally, the writer would be someone already closely working with the client. If not, look to introduce a new member of staff to the team or employ a freelancer to deliver the article. Ensuring that:
- the writer meets your high standards,
- knows your client's business objectives, and
- understands the client’s tone of voice
Good blog briefs save a lot of time on editing. Avoid going back and forth by including:
- Potential titles
- Keyword search volumes
- Short summary
- Outline for key paragraphs
- Research or web pages to link to
- Author and bio, e.g. a marketing manager will have a different tone of voice than a CEO
It helps if you have a set of articles you can show as an example to your client (all the better if they're related to their industry). These can be bundled up in a neat PDF with your agency's branding, or comprise of a simple list with links. If you have any articles that were placed on high-ranking websites for clients, don't feel shy to shout about them.
As the blog becomes more established, you may consider involving your client’s team to help with business blogging and also start proofing articles by guest bloggers - just make sure you’re picking good ones.
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4. How will this benefit my business in the long run?
This may be the most important question to answer for your client. Blogging benefits most aspects of marketing, but it may work better for some businesses than others. The key here is to do your research and build a case for how it will work for their business and set realistic expectations. Long-form content requires a big resource investment and takes long to fully optimize and create.
Your client can be convinced by these benefits:
- Stronger brand presence on social media and online
- Additional organic traffic and leads for the sales team*
- A way to connect with influencers and outreach to other blogs
- Link building on high authority websites
- Content that can be repurposed for other channels, e.g. videos and webinars
- Beating their competitors to rankings**
*If sales qualified leads is what your client is after, it will take much more than simply publishing blog articles as you’ll need a proper lead nurture and tracking system in place.
**Showing clients an example of their competitors sitting in #1 with a blog for a keyword is a great way to mobilize them.
So, when’s the perfect time to start a blog?
Ultimately, a blog is a marketing channel that can be used to achieve the above benefits, so it’s right to pursue it when it’s likely to yield positive results. For some businesses, it’s at the moment they launch. For some, it’s after they’ve amassed a big social media following and need to expand to other mediums.
When you persuade your client to create a blog, remember to frequently assess how well the channel is performing - just like you would with social media. Report on traffic increases, new links, top rankings in Google and the great social media engagement your new blogs are driving.