Well-crafted, purposeful and informative B2B blog posts are essential tools to help build your community and create the foundations for long-lasting relationships.
But in the midst of a demanding blogging schedule it can be easy to lose sight of why it is you're doing what you're doing; who you're doing it for and what it is you're looking to achieve.
In this blog post, we highlight five key questions that can help keep your content creation efforts on-task and on track.
1) Why are you doing what you're doing?
So what's it all for?
At the heart of a successful blogging strategy is a commitment to providing high-quality content that's educative, relevant and helpful to your prospects.
Inbound leads have also been shown to reap nearly nine-times the close-rate of outbound leads (with a 14.6% close-rate for inbound marketing leads when compared to outbound methods such as direct mail or print advertising.)
Great inbound content is committed to identifying (and finding solutions for) the very real needs or challenges that your customers are grappling with.
And it's also an opportunity to "tell your story", to communicate your company culture and to affirm your knowledge authority in your sector.
2) Who are you writing for?
Within the inbound methodology we're always keeping in mind the needs of our Buyer Personas - those two or three "ideal" customers who best typify who it is that we're trying to appeal to.
Understanding who you're writing for (and the challenges or pain points that they're looking to solve) is going to be at the core of everything that you do.
And creating content that appeals to all stages of the buyer's journey (from awareness through to decision-making) will ensure you're addressing our prospects' key needs, answering their objections and retaining their interest long before that first person-to-person contact takes place.
3) What's it costing you?
When it comes to creating content, one of the biggest resource constraints is time.
If you're opting to produce your own B2B blogs in-house, then just how long are you spending conceiving, researching, writing, editing, uploading and optimising your blog posts?
And how much is it costing you to source the visual assets that are key to your blog's success - be it professional photography, videography, illustration, design or high-quality stock images?
4) Have you got visual appeal?
According to 2018 Global Content Marketing Infuencer Jeff Bullas, blog articles with images get 94% more views than those that don't contain images.
What's more, the better the quality of the image, the more effective those blog posts are in driving engagement.
67% percent of consumers say that the quality of an image is "very important" in their decision to select and purchase a product or service.
It's also not surprising that 71% of marketers report the value of visual assets (photography, video, GIFs, infographics etc) in the success of their content marketing strategy.
5) How can you tell it's working?
All too often we can find ourselves creating content for content's sake.
Setting a target for the volume or frequency of posts that we want to generate over a set time period is one thing.
But if we don't have a means of measuring the outcomes of our effort how can we objectively assess success or failure?
The total number of visits to a blog might seem an appealing metric in demonstrating how our blog posts are ranking in search engines.
But the overriding challenge lies in getting our visitors to stick around, to engage with our content and to take action.
In a Hubspot compilation of inbound marketing statistics for 2018, 47% of buyers reported that they'd viewed between three and five items of content before choosing to engage with a sales rep.
Well crafted, relevant and considered blog posts can serve as a vital entry point into your sales funnel.
And providing compelling calls to action (CTAs) will encourage your prospects to take the next step - whether it's subscribing to your blog, downloading an eBook, requesting a sales call or making a purchase.