Why is blogging so popular? What are the benefits of blogging in 2020? If you’re like many business people, you want sales. But as you look for sales from blog traffic, do you wonder,
- Where’s the ROI?
- What does blogging really do for a business?
- Why create blog content?
- How blogs are useful for a business?
The main why your business needs a blog is to attract traffic and customers. We like to think, more traffic the better the odds of getting a lead.
However, if you watch what happens after you’ve blogged for a while, you will likely see few clicks on the “contact” page.
In real life, very few blog readers click over to a sales or contact page. Experienced marketers don’t even expect blog visitors to convert directly into sales leads.
You need the blog readers to attract the buyers. But readers and prospects are two different kinds of traffic. Building a strategy around search intent starts to unlock the benefits of blogging.
A Stark Truth: Blog Readers Almost Never Buy
This insight comes from Andy Crestodina, chief marketing officer of award-winning Orbit Media, in a post at SEMRush. His company’s data show that very few – almost zero – blog visitors actually click through to a sales page.
Yet many business bloggers like Crestodina keep striving to develop topics their readers care about. They work hard to create the best content they can. Why invest the effort if blog readers don’t buy?
Let’s take a closer look at what a blog will do for a company. Hint: The more helpful your blog is to your readers, the better your sales pages and campaigns will work for buyers.
Expecting to Benefit by Sales from Readers?
Even high traffic blogs don’t drive up sales directly from blog readers.
On one popular site with over 1 million visits a year, a tiny 0.03% of blog readers become sales leads. That’s 3 sales leads in 10,000 visitors, as Crestodina explains:
“…[T]he percentage of those people who affect the bottom line and have a monetary impact in your business might be insanely low. On this [sales] side, it’s .03% of people who visit blog posts that ever become a lead.”
Why pour money into content marketing if readers don’t convert to leads?
Let’s follow the real customer journey to discover what a blog can do for a business.
The Real Benefits of Blogging for Business – To Help Prospects Find, Know, Like, and Trust You
The benefits of blogging follow when strategy aligns with search intent. The most helpful content attracts people who want information. They’re not usually buyers (in that moment). But their ongoing impact helps more buyers find, know, like and trust you.
Blog readers and future clients are two different groups. They search differently, and behave differently on your website. Understanding search intent can help you make your blog – and your whole web presence — work better for you.
Most People Searching Need Guidance, Not Goods and Services (yet)
Most search queries – about 80% — are for information. Almost none of these people searching will fill out the “contact us” form. Even if you have a popular, high traffic blog, most leave after getting what they came for, because their intent is “to know.” They don’t intend to buy right now.
Yet choosing topics for informational intent is a sound foundation for a content strategy that supports sales.
That’s because the people you help can put your business in front of people who are ready to buy.
Information seekers do several things that raise the visibility of your web presence:
- Link to your content – helping raise your website’s search position
- Share it — building brand awareness
- Become subscribers – opting into email marketing, to become return visitors
The more traffic and links to your content, the better your search position in future results. The more popular your content appears (through share counts or high rank) the more social proof it gives prospective clients.
Readers help raise your visibility and credibility with buyers. You can also learn a lot from readers to understand your buyers better.
The Real Importance of a Blog for a Business: To Help You Use Search Intent
Understanding search intent can help business marketers work with the real reasons most people search online.
When we consider intent, we can help our marketing perform better by treating each type of search appropriately.
A simple definition of search intent is the goal a user has in mind when searching.
Experts have identified at least 4 main types of search intent:
Informational: To answer questions. Those with information intent want to know how to do, make, or understand something. They want to know how to write better, or how to make videos.
Navigational: People have a site or experience in mind and simply want to go there. They search for Facebook or Gmail or YouTube, for example. Or to see the funniest cat videos.
Transactional: Buying something is the goal. Transactional intent is sometimes called buyer intent, or commercial intent.
Commercial Investigation: The goal is decision making support to move closer to making a purchase. These searchers know they are in the market for a service or item and are studying options.
We’ve seen that about 4 in 5 searches are for information. Only about 7% of searches are commercial – says software company Wordstream.
If Your Blog Readers Don’t Buy, That’s Normal
Those who have successful content marketing strategies know most blog readers don’t intend to buy. They intend to learn. Their searches are informational. But their activity helps the business attract buyers.
As more learning-minded people find value in a website that meets their needs for information, they share articles and link to them. This helps that site rank better. The site becomes easier to find as of visitors interact with this helpful content, talk about it and post links to it.
The visiting, linking and sharing activity helps the business get attention from people at the later stage in the journey – the buying stage.
The Real Purpose and Benefit of Blogging for Business: To Become More Visible Than Your Competition
The purpose of blogging for business isn’t to convert readers to buyers. It’s to help buyers find and engage with you. Quality blog content helps lift an entire website above the noise. With more visibility, all your website’s marketing strategies work better for you.
Building a successful blog is like raising a flag or a platform to help everything you offer stand out in a crowd.
Readers decide what content is the most useful. The most visited, linked-to, and shared content tends to rank better. The most useful content shows up at the top of search results, atop share counts, or mentions, for example. That’s how readers help buyers find, know, like and trust your resources.
Since buyer-intent queries are such a small fraction of all queries, it takes a high-ranking site to get buyer attention in search results. The more shares, incoming links and traffic your site accrues, the more likely your contact pages will end up in front of a searcher with buyer intent.
It’s important to know that your fans and your buyers are two different segments of search traffic. Visitors help drive up the visibility of the site that posted the content. That visibility helps all the other pages – offer pages, subscribe pages — do their jobs.
Domain Authority = A Score to Measure the Benefits of Blogging
If you want to understand your visibility, knowing a little about Domain Authority can help. Domain authority is another term for “your website’s power to show up high in search results.”
A quick definition of domain authority:
A scale used to rate your site’s ability to show up above or below other sites in search results
Domain authority is a 1-100 score of how likely your site will rank toward the top of search results. A score of 100 is the best possible score. But you don’t need a score of 100 to have “good” domain authority. You just need a better score than your competitors.
Moz, a software company for search engine optimization, maintains and runs this scoring system. You can use it for free. This number isn’t in your Google analytics. Calculate your score with the Moz SEO Analysis Tool.
When a blog ranks well, all the other pages come along for the ride – including the contact and sales pages.
So when a person with buyer intent is searching, that person is more likely to find the company with the most helpful posts in the search results. And that company’s sales pages are more visible too.
The important idea is that links, shares, and traffic help drive up visibility (domain authority). That’s how more buyers find your site.
Among the top benefits of blogging is to out-help your competition. That’s how you raise your visibility, aka domain authority.
3 Benefits of Blogging for Business: Traffic, Email List Growth, and Social Media Engagement
The first of many benefits of blogging in 2020 is to help you rise above the noise.
1) Traffic is the main benefit of blogging.
The only way to get traffic is to publish content designed for those with search intent to find.
Yes, the web is a busy place. But that’s a good thing. One reason it is busy is because it’s a valuable place to get information and find products and services. Your audience and clients are out there.
It takes work and courage to put yourself out there to be found. When you are strategic about search intent, you help more people find you. Then you can interact with them.
A main benefit of posting content (such as a blog) is to build an audience. That’s a group you can invite to take the next step. You can invite them to engage further – such as to join your email list.
2) The opportunity to build an audience (email list) is another big benefit.
Email is a great way to keep in touch with blog visitors, and stay engaged as some of them enter the buying stage.
It’s a common way to build a sales funnel. Email marketing is a powerful channel to interact with readers. You keep helping them reach their goal and build trust. You can guide them to your offers when they are ready.
You can learn about your market through your email subscribers. You can offer more ways to interact: webinars, surveys, even direct contact in a personal email.
There are so many ways to turn visitors to subscribers. One of my favorite strategies is to offer a “content upgrade. ” Place an offer to download a free resource or newsletter – featured as a callout — in your more popular posts.
Email marketing helps you keep in touch, re-engage readers, and find out which ones are buy.
3) Building awareness and reach through social media is big among benefits of blogging.
Most content is found in search results, by referral through links, or shared through social networks and email.
Blogging opens up the option to engage on social media and other channels like email and referrals. Each time you publish a post, you provide something new for people to share. Their engagement can:
- Attract new visitors you can help
- Bring repeat visitors who already follow you
- Build your authority
- Help you connect with fellow influencers, who may introduce you to their crowd
Each time you publish a post, you provide something new for people to share.
A business blog marketing strategy supports sales through visibility and credibility.
Even if readers don’t buy many companies like Orbit Media still work hard to reap the benefits of blogging.
A healthy stream of readers helps a business gain every visitor’s trust and goodwill. By reading and sharing content they find helpful, blog readers can help future clients find your site and trust you more easily.
A direct blog-to-buy-button path isn’t one most buyers take.
A more realistic buyer journey might look like this:
- You create content designed to answer the need for information in your business area. It’s as helpful, easy to understand, and easy to find as you can make it.
- Traffic and engagement goes up. People your blog helps like it, share it and link to it –driving up the authority of your whole domain.
- Buyers find you because your site ranks well. They visit your contact and sales pages.
- Your sales pages work better as transactional-intent visitors know like and trust you better. The social proof is in your web content – your blog and your chosen web platforms.
Understanding the difference between readers and buyers is key to a sound basis for a content strategy:
- Most web visitors just want information. They rarely buy.
- You can raise your visibility and social proof with buyers by better engaging blog readers.
- Sales pages are going to work better for buyers who know like and trust you.
- Buyers know like and trust you because of the helpful evidence in your blog.
A content strategy that’s built on turning readers into buyers isn’t likely to work. A content strategy that is optimized for with intent has more opportunity to engage all types of visitors.
Great content can position your business to build an audience. That audience of email subscribers, returning readers and social media fans can help buyers find you.