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How to Shape a Successful Small Business Blog in 2014

2014 is going to be another big year for eCommerce. Most recent statistics show that 2014 will continue a 13.8% growth trend expected to last until 2017, when American eCommerce is set to eclipse $440 billion in sales. Content marketing, the method of offering useful, blog contentengaging articles, videos, infographics and more, can help small businesses harness increased revenue potential in the new year. In fact, 82% of marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets in 2014. The most important small business content marketing tool? Blogging. 

Look at the Numbers

 Producing well-written, engaging, and useful content is shown to increase lead generation by 126%. As you well know, leads don’t mean much if you can’t close them. However, content marketing shows a remarkable capacity for transitioning those leads from potential clients to actual clients. 61% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase a product or service from a company that produces high-quality, custom content that teaches them something interesting about the product or answers any questions they might have. In a nutshell, quality blogging leads to higher lead conversion and sales. 

Don’t Write Content for the Sake of Content

The key terms in the discussion about content marketing and blogging are “high quality” and “custom.” Not only does content quality influence your readers, it also shapes how you’ll be perceived and ranked by huge search engines. Google has implemented many big changes to their search engine over the last few years; algorithm updates Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird were designed with the purpose of weeding out mass-produced fodder. The most recent, Hummingbird, is estimated to affect over 90% of search results, meaning if you’re not designing and producing content that’s useful to web surfers, you’re going to see your traffic drop rapidly, along with your web ranking. 

Writing Quality Content isn’t Quantum Physics 

Writing content that will please your readers and improve your traffic and revenue potential doesn’t have to be difficult. Just keep the following in mind:

  • Write in Your Voice - One of the rules of writing anything worthwhile, regardless of whether it’s a newspaper article or blog content, is making your content unique. Your business’s culture and vision should be evident in your writing. Don’t just write marketing pieces. Instead, try to produce content that shows how you feel about each topic. That human connection will go a long way in earning regular readers.
  • Design Content to Answer a Question or Otherwise Educate - When writing content for your blog, you need to step into the shoes of your potential customers. What questions will they have? What sort of extra information are they looking for to enliven their shopping experience? Imagine you run a restaurant specializing in seasonal foods made from seasonally available ingredients. Your customers will want to know where the produce comes from, how it was produced, and so on. Take this same role-reversing approach to come up with ideas for great content on your own blog. 

Looking Beyond the Words 

There shouldn’t be any doubt that quality written content is essential to your marketing efforts. However, making that content and your site more memorable overall is equally important. 

Creating a brand image, unique icon, or mascot can go a long way in making your page more memorable, thereby increasing readership. Take Twitter, for example: whenever web users see the company’s simple bird logo, they know exactly what they’re getting. It’s a simple, well designed image that sticks in users’ minds. 

Maintaining a blog full of custom, high quality content is essential to generating traffic, readership, and sales potential in the eCommerce landscape of 2014. Writing with your company’s unique voice in mind and considering the perspective of the consumer can help you create that content, but remember to synergize the written word with a visual hook for the biggest results.

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