I’ve talked about having a strategy for your blog in the past, and the importance of having a reason to blog.
The first reason I suggested for blogging was to establish authority, giving clients and prospects a reason to trust your judgement, see you as a valued partner, come to you/your organisation for help and advice and choose you when it comes to purchase.
So how do you establish authority with your B2B blog? What approach should you take so that clients respect and listen to you?
To establish authority you have to write about the big issues - the issues that your industry faces - or those problems that every client has to deal with. You can write about the direction your industry is taking and the implications for clients and suppliers. You can discuss the crucial factors that affect decision-making at senior manager and board level. Clients and prospects will respect you as a thought leader if you consider the big picture and offer them guidance on the strategic questions.
This strategic-level writing demonstrates that you and your organisation are thinking about your audience, and helping them to face the future. This all helps you to become a trusted strategic advisor.
Always suggest solutions to these issues, even if you list a couple of alternative approaches. Readers are looking for advice they can act on - just listing the problems they face is probably going to be stating the obvious and not at all useful.
Don’t get involved
Criticising competitors, being negative and discussing small details are all examples of approaches that will work against establishing authority. You should rise above such things. Nobody likes a negative approach - it’s not helpful, and doesn’t help solve the problems that clients and prospects face.
And attacking competitors will only make it look like you are worried by them and can’t stand the competition. Ignoring them is a more confident approach. Demonstrate to your clients that you are head and shoulders above your rivals.
Check your facts
There is nothing worse than getting something that is easily checked wrong, and this is probably one of the fastest ways to lose authority.
So if you state a fact or quote someone, make sure you have the details right. With the resources of the internet at people’s fingertips, there is no excuse not to check your facts before your readers do. Getting things wrong is a guaranteed way to lose trust and shows a lack of quality control and attention - a failing that will send the wrong messages to clients and prospects wanting to trust you with their valuable business.
If there is some doubt over a fact or figure, state that and give the circumstances surrounding its veracity - let your readers determine whether to believe it or not.
Advise and suggest - but don’t get opinionated
Offering high-level advice on strategic issues and suggesting solutions to problems the industry or clients face is great, but offering opinions without any facts to back them up is not liable to impress your readers, and may alienate many of them.
Strongly held opinions about a subject are fine - as long as you can construct a valid argument or sensible hypothesis for your stance. And always qualify your opinion, giving an outline of the alternatives. Having a balanced discussion and then expressing an opinion is a more convincing and reasoned approach than just telling readers what they ought to think.
Survey and Statistics
Commissioning surveys and research about the big issues, and writing a blog about the results is a solid way to establish authority - it shows commitment to the industry, is often of great interest to your readers and, more importantly, could prove useful to them when making their own strategic decisions.
If you don’t have the resources to commission surveys and research yourself, then finding relevant surveys and commenting on the results is the next best thing. With either approach, try and suggest what the results might mean to your customers and/or the industry, rather than just presenting the plain figures without explanation.
Develop a personality - trusted and fair
When writing your blog try and develop a bit of a personality - this is not easy to do, but a bit of character to the writing will make a huge difference to its readability. If you are going for authority, aim for trusted and fair - so nothing too flippant or ill-considered.
But, in doing this, don’t fall into the trap of making the blog about you, about your amazing experiences or the people you know. Always make the subject of your blog something that will help your readers; be of benefit to them.
Promote yourself in other channels
Becoming a trusted authority is easier if you promote yourself in other channels. At the very least, be active on social media - not only promoting your own content but sharing useful content too. Other useful steps would be becoming a speaker at conferences and seminars, publishing books, or eBooks, broadcasting podcasts or making videos. Anything you can do to become a known personality will help establish you as an authority and naturally boost the readership and reputation of your blog.
Offering useful, actionable advice on big issues that is considered, fact-checked and genuinely helpful is the fastest route to establishing authority. A blog is an ideal medium to do this. If you get it right, then you will become a trusted partner of your clients and prospects, ultimately leading to more enquiries and more sales.