If you don’t do it yourself, you very likely know someone who does. Blogs and blogging have been around for decades, but the concept is still relatively new to many. Blogging for business – as opposed to having a personal blog – can be a game changer when it comes to your content publication strategy. But just like any other part of your business, creating a successful blog takes planning, perseverance and a helluva lot of time (or so it may seem). Blogging is about playing the long game; it may take awhile to start seeing any ROI.

So, is it even worth it?

You bet it is.

Blogging is the art of creating short-form content. A business blog is part of your marketing strategy and is used to get your business more visibility online. The purpose of your blog is to create lots of (good, useful, non-boring) content that search engines can find and rank, thus driving more traffic to your website and cranking up your visibility.

You do not need to be toiling for hours upon hours to write tome-worthy articles every week to have a great blog. In fact, you are strongly encouraged not to do that because nobody has time to read War and Peace on the Internet. No one has that kind of time whether you’re reading or writing. Take an hour or two and make a plan.

What do you want to write about? Who are you speaking to as you write? Why do they care? How often do you want to post new content? (For the record, a minimum of one post per week is a solid starting benchmark.)

Answering these questions and developing a content calendar will smooth out the writing and publishing process, so you don’t find yourself scrambling for something to write two hours after a new post should have been up. Speaking of which, each time you do put up a new blog post, it creates more shareable content that is available to circulate the web and – all together now – increasing your visibility online.

For most business blogs, it’s best to host your blog on your business website. Doing this will add pages to that site which is especially useful if there isn’t much happening on your site right now. Since you’ll be updating your blog consistently, the pages you post will update search results, thus keeping you relevant and making it easier for people to find you.

So, you’re blogging and have increased your visibility online. Super. Now what do you do? Turn all that new traffic into leads.

To do this, just include a lead-generating call-to-action into each of your blog posts. That means including a form – or a button that leads to a form – where that unique visitor who’s just read your latest post can willingly enter their information to receive something from you, such as a free eBook, whitepaper or case study (emphasis on free here, folks). Yes, you’re giving them an eBook that Marketing worked semi-hard to write but you’re getting the contact information of a potential new customer,

Yes, you’re giving them an eBook that Marketing worked semi-hard to write but you’re getting the contact information of a potential new customer, and you already know that potential customer is interested in your business (they gave you their contact info, didn’t they?). Capturing this information is crucial to turning traffic into leads so be sure to include a call-to-action in every post.

If you’re still on the fence about whether you should be blogging or not, consider this: blogging establishes you and your business as an authority figure. As you continuously publish great content that answers questions that your leads and customers might have, you become a subject matter expert; your audience will automatically look to you for answers and information, thus raising your level of authority in your industry and business.

Remember, blogging is about playing the long game.

Every time you post a new blog article, it is essentially there forever (the Internet never forgets, right?). Let’s say you put up a new post and it garners 100 views, five shares and ten new leads. Then maybe it drops off for a day or two but picks up two more leads and three more shares a week after it was posted. And so it continues as time passes.

The point is that while it may not sound like much, your blog content will continue to generate leads no matter how much time has gone by because it will continue to rank in search engine results.

Someone six months from now can still turn into a new lead – or customer – based on a blog post you wrote last week.

Oh, the Internet. Isn’t it magical? It is if you’re blogging for your business.

Written by Jess Campbell