A blog can prove a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, capable of exposing millions of people to their ideas, concepts, and advice. That potential influence means that starting a blog can strengthen (and grow) an entrepreneur’s reach, by allowing them to differentiate themselves from the ever-growing pack. A widely-read blog can generate opportunities that don’t come in from traditional means.

The importance of standing out in business is not something for entrepreneurs to take lightly.

As an entrepreneur that started my company while still finishing an MBA, there was not a lot of money on hand. Bootstrapping was the route I was forced to take to fund my startup. So, I know firsthand how powerful a tool blogging can be.

In fact, my first ten customers were a result of leads generated from my blogs.

Other entrepreneurs have also found blogging to be a highly effective tool for having their business be discovered online. Entrepreneur and technical data analyst, Karthik Rajan, is one example of an entrepreneur that is using a blog to boost his personal brand and market his talents to a global audience.

Since he started writing regularly, he has been invited to publish in Forbes, Huffington Post, and Entrepreneur. “What Apple is to products, a blog is to your branding,” he said. “Both employ an inbound strategy–drawing people to what you have to offer and increasing SEO.”

Rajan’s writing has led to recruitment interest, with people periodically reaching out to him with business opportunities; before blogging, it was the other way around, with him doing the pursuing.

Here are the reasons why blogging is a viable avenue for business growth

Blogs provide an additional channel for demonstrating expertise, showcasing talents, and telling success stories. Everyone has a resume and a few social media accounts; bloggers have a full “library” of relevant material they can use to create inbound traffic to their sites and establish influence.

Creating original content enables entrepreneurs to establish thought leadership in their industry and evolve into a trusted name for advice. Once becoming an established expert in his or her field, opportunities come along more frequently.

A blog gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to effectively explain the technical concepts of their business in a way that is clear and concise. A good entrepreneur is effective in explaining how their product or service solves a problem in the marketplace. Blogging gives them a voice and an opportunity to be heard.

A blog is often the missing piece in a company’s social media strategy

When entrepreneurs write good content, it gets shared on social media giving their brand free exposure. Writing a well-read blog is like having a full-time personal branding marketing assistant.

Denver-based entrepreneur and owner of Transcription Outsourcing, Ben Walker, uses a business blog to improve his SEO:

“Before blogging, I was only sharing other’s content on social media and my results were dismal. I was directing my followers to their sites and helping others establish credibility, but it was doing little for my own marketing. Since I started blogging, I have been able to use social media much more effectively to direct traffic to my own site, which has improved my SEO and increased web inquiries by 75%.”

A blogger who attracts attention to their personal brand also boosts their company brand. Successful bloggers develop large followings that can result in massive traffic boosts.

Blogging can be a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, but it isn’t something to do for just a few months. Rather, blogging is a long term commitment for sustainable growth in your company’s SEO and online branding.

While it’s not for everybody, self-publishing sites like LinkedIn, WordPress, Blogger, beBee, and Medium make it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to start or restart a blog and begin growing an audience of potential customers for their business.

Originally published on Inc. Magazine. Republished with permission.