According to research in The State of Inbound Marketing 2013 by Hubspot (sample 3,339) 62% of marketers published a blog in 2013 and almost 80% reported inbound ROI, proof that they can be ultra-critical to the success of your business.
A good b2b blog has multiple benefits and can be a great way of projecting an authoritative and trustworthy company personality to your existing customers as well as helping you get found by new prospects, too.
If it contains relevant and useful insight, helpful advice, and intelligent opinion, it will get shared, extending your reach. And, each time you publish a new post you are adding a new page to your website, so you become more visible to the search engines.
Gradually, search engines will start to take more notice as your site grows and your posts gather social proof. But equally, each time you publish an insightful and helpful post you create new opportunities for valuable links back to your site building your site authority. And this is where your business absolutely needs to be.
Can you still rise above the noise?
Blogging is by no means a new marketing phenomenon and is not exactly in radical, fringe territory any more. Everyone now wants a piece of this blogging action – so your b2b blog has a lot of noise to cut through, and in order to succeed you need to consider why you are blogging from every angle.
To ensure you get found by the right people you first need to define your primary personas (profiles of your perfect customers), identify the problems they are trying to solve, the issues they are seeking to understand, and the questions they need answering.
Then you can create a content pipeline of unique and informative topics that your customers will want to read and share.
Seven considerations for a successful blog strategy
- Working from the in-depth exploration of your key personas you need to do extensive keyword research identifying related terms where there is high enough search and low enough difficulty for you to rank.
- Include your primary keyword in the title (closer to the front, the more juice it has). Also include the keyword in the body copy two or three times but avoid overdoing it and keep it ‘for humans’, not search engines.
- Speak to your sales department and compile a list of every question they have ever been asked about your product or service, taking particular attention of those questions that come up again and again.
- Plan your editorial pipeline with internal writers as much as possible as this holds more authenticity and reflects the company DNA, but be sure to sub edit the output prior to send. (Consider blog writing training if budgets allow).
- Supplement your output with commissioned posts if needs be but make sure you have defined your expectations and created a comprehensive blog brief or you risk harvesting content that is simply too vanilla to ‘rise above the noise’.
- Source and upload appropriate photographs and illustrations with associated links and alt tags. You are more likely to keep a readers attention by breaking up the text with great pictures than with a solid block of text.
- Create a call to action linking to a landing page where you ask for the reader’s details at the end of each post in order to create an opportunity to convert a visitor to a lead from each post.
A well managed and well written blog will not only establish you as a thought leader in your market, but also enhance your position as trusted adviser, keep you top of mind with existing customers and drive more relevant traffic to your website.
But getting prospects to read your blog time and again is only one aspect of a fully functioning inbound marketing strategy. In order to succeed you need to have a plan for converting interest to action in order to turn visitors into leads.
This is not the right place to talk about the features and benefits of your products and services. Indeed to do so is more likely to drive people away than attract them in the first place.
No, in order to capture and keep the interest of your hard won readers you need to think about what really matters to them, rather than what matters to you. If you get that right you earn the opportunity to flag a potentially useful resource at the end of that post.
Like this one below for example!