There are five golden words that every MSP marketer has heard or asked at least once in their career: “Should we have a blog?” Typically this question leads to a discussion about how many competitors have blogs, how frequently they’re posting, whether or not the competitors’ blogs are even contributing to the bottom line, etc. After a lengthy discussion, a new game plan is developed in which the thought leaders at the MSP will be responsible for contributing to the blog on a regular basis. On the surface, everyone likes the idea of having an active blog and is willing to pull their weight. “Sure, I can find a couple of hours each month to contribute to a blog.” The plan launches and stays on track for the first month or two. Everyone contributes a blog post when they’re supposed to and, for the first time in years, your MSP’s blog is active!
This is the part of the story where the leads start pouring in and everyone sees immediate value from donating their time to writing blog posts, right? Not quite. It’s at this point that the same people who were so enthusiastic about contributing to the blog just a couple of short months ago start asking themselves if it’s actually worth it. “We’ve been keeping the blog active for months now, but nothing is happening!” Contributors start dropping like flies. Before you know it, your last blog post is from six months ago.
Sound familiar? You’re definitely not alone. Between the amount of time it takes to write each blog post (about four hours on average, according to Oberlo) and the lack of measurable results it drives in the beginning, it can be tough to justify spending valuable time to keep your blog active.
All this said I’m here to tell you that dedicating time and energy to keeping your MSP’s blog active is absolutely worth it. Here are five reasons you should update your blog on a weekly basis.
Like all good things, driving traffic to your site via a blog takes time. In fact, our MSP’s highest-traffic page (after the homepage) is a “how-to” blog we published in 2015. To this day, it accounts for about 10% of total website traffic. I know what you’re thinking: “Traffic on its own doesn’t make me money.” And that’s true! Using traffic alone as a KPI for marketing success is antiquated. That doesn’t mean this traffic is entirely useless, though. In fact, there are plenty of ways to generate value from blog traffic. One option is to offer high-value gated content on your blog pages. This gives the user the opportunity to engage with your brand even further by providing you with their information in return for a downloadable piece of content like an ebook or a whitepaper. Getting the user’s email address in return for gated content provides huge value to your MSP by the simple fact that it allows you to identify previously anonymous traffic. Once these visitors are identified, you can add them to your marketing funnel and nurture them. In addition to gated content, visitors to your blog are also eligible for any remarketing initiatives you may have running. This keeps them in your ecosystem so that you’re top of mind if/when it comes time for them to shop for an MSP.
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Authority and Thought Leadership
Another big benefit of keeping your blog up to date is that it shows prospects you know what you’re talking about. This benefit is more qualitative and difficult to measure, but it’s still incredibly important. Imagine a blog post on your site perfectly answers a crucial question for a prospect. This one seemingly small win takes you from being “just another MSP” to “the MSP that helped me with that difficult problem”. Even if this individual isn’t in the market for your services right now, they likely will be in the future. And once that time does come, you’ll have a leg up on the competition since you earned a sliver of their trust.
One of the biggest struggles I face as an MSP marketer is the education component. IT is a complicated world, and it can be difficult to digest for prospective buyers. “What services does an MSP offer? How much does it cost to work with one? What can I expect from the relationship?” While the answers to these questions should be easily accessible on your website outside of the blog as well, a blog is a great opportunity to supplement that education. A blog post can elaborate on some of these concepts far more than a sales-heavy landing page can because you aren’t limited by things like word count, real estate, and calls-to-action. Blog posts are also easily shared, so they have a more viral element to them than a traditional webpage does. A well-written, educational blog post can be the missing link that gives a potential customer enough information and confidence to contact you.
While a blog generates plenty of value living on your site, that value is multiplied when you consider where else you can leverage the content. Posting a new blog to your site every week means you now have a fresh piece of content that can be shared across your channels. Send it in an email to prospects and customers to reinforce your thought leadership. Post it across your social platforms to educate your followers. If it gets good engagement, you can even sponsor it to reach new audiences. Having an arsenal of new, relevant content to promote every week is a priceless marketing tool!
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The Gift That Keeps on Giving
This is arguably the best part about blogs: their value grows over time! Now, this may not be the case for every blog you write, but many of them will continue to get even more traffic and engagement as time goes on thanks to our good friend SEO. As your post continues to get traffic, Google will see it as a viable resource and boost it in the rankings, which then drives even more traffic. This creates a snowball effect of traffic and engagement without you needing to lift a finger! Remember that 2015 blog post we wrote that I was telling you about earlier? Check out its traffic trajectory over the past three years:
We haven’t done anything to promote this blog outside of the occasional email or social post. The growth you see above is simply thanks to SEO. And like I said above, this one blog now drives roughly 10% of our total site traffic. This allows us to show our knowledge and promote our gated content to tens of thousands of potential prospects every year who otherwise may have never found our site. All this from one blog we wrote almost six years ago!
I view blog writing like I view going to the gym. It’s a lot of work for very incremental rewards that can be difficult to see in the moment. But if you stick with it and are consistent, one day you’ll be able to look back and see long-term, measurable results. If you’re beginning from scratch and don’t have much blog writing experience, I recommend starting small and working your way up so you don’t burn yourself out. Just write one blog a month. When you’re comfortable, bring that up to two, then to four. You’ll be writing a blog per week like it’s second nature before you even know it. One other piece of advice: don’t overthink the topics. Write about what you know. If it’s something that your audience finds interesting and/or valuable, you’ll see positive results every time.
Questions? Comments? Just want to talk shop? I’d love to connect.