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Inbound Marketing Age

How to maximise the potential of seasonal marketing for B2B

Written by Nicola Risi  |  21, September, 2017  |  2 Comments  Subscribe

It seems September hit us with a bang.

The heat from a couple of weeks ago is a distant memory, the kids are back at school and already talking about Halloween, and the realisation dawns that we’re only three paychecks away from Christmas (you’ll thank me later, promise!).

What that also means is it’s time to start thinking about how these changes in buyer thought patterns, interests and behaviour can affect your content marketing strategy. And what should you be doing right now to garner more customers in your business?

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The essentials you need when blogging for manufacturing

Written by Katie Hughes  |  15, September, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

There are many reasons manufacturers are taking to blogging. It helps their company get found, creates customer engagement, demonstrates expertise, and enables them to build trust with prospective buyers.

But how can manufacturing companies make sure their blog posts capture and retain, the attention of their customers and prospects? 

Research shows that the average human attention span is just eight seconds. And it’s no wonder we struggle to hold our attention for long. In an always-connected world, we’re faced with an unprecedented amount of content. For B2B marketers, getting prospective buyers to pick out your content over competitors’ can be challenging, but is key to your inbound marketing success.

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3 reasons blogging works for professional services

Written by Katie Hughes  |  9, August, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

As a B2B marketer in the professional services industry, pressure from partners to bring in new opportunities means you need to deliver. But referrals aren’t what they used to be, and you can’t afford to sit and wait for them to come in.

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How to establish authority and trust when blogging for B2B

Written by Keith Errington  |  29, June, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

For many companies, their reputation and standing within their industry and amongst their customers is the key to winning and retaining business. Establish a good reputation and the prospects will come to you.

In the past, you could establish a reputation by networking and through word of mouth, but in today’s ultra-competitive, online world it’s much harder. You need to cast a wider net and attract prospects you have never met – so you need those prospects to find you and to listen to you, allowing you to gain their trust and win their business. It makes sense then, that modern content marketing focusses in the initial stages, on brand awareness and establishing authority. The first helps you to be found and considered by prospects, and the second adds credence to your content and makes them take you seriously.

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Your 2017 B2B content marketing plan: let go of the fear

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  16, December, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

“You know what keeps most of our content from attaining epic status, don't you?

Fear.

Our fear of looking foolish. Of negative responses on social media. Or, worse, of getting hardly any visits, social shares, leads, or sales from our best efforts.”

Hunter Boyle, Content Marketing Institute (CMI)

It's that time of year when that dreaded word starts to do the rounds: "resolution". What do you plan to do (or not do) once the clock strikes midnight on 31 December?  It's all rather exhausting. But, when it comes to your content marketing plan for next year, there's one resolution that's well worth making: to let go of your fear.

Ask yourself: how many times have you shied away from creating a piece of content because you didn't think you could pull it off, or because it was a bit too "out there"? How many times have you delayed publishing your work because it's not quite polished enough? And how many times have you doubted your expertise – or even held back that expertise for worry of giving away too much?

In 2017, it's time to believe in your content marketing skills.

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4 useful (and mostly free) online tools for the best content writers

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  10, August, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Content writers are the builders of your B2B content marketing strategy. The content that they create enables you to connect with - and build lasting relationships with - the people for whom your business was made.

But even the best content writers need a little help sometimes. Whether freelance, in-house or part of an agency, they usually have lots to do and not quite enough time to do it

So we've identified four useful online tools that will enable the content creation process to run that little bit smoother - and add even more brilliance to the work of the best content writers.

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6 ways to connect online with potential customers

Written by Keith Errington  |  8, August, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

One of the hardest tasks any company faces is finding and connecting with potential customers, then nurturing those initial contacts until they become actual customers. The development of new marketing channels, the revolution in customer knowledge, and the subsequent changing demands of the customer have made this task simultaneously easier and more challenging. 

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How to come up with new blog ideas to fill your sales funnel

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  5, April, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Coming up with new blog ideas is something that we have to do on a constant basis as content and inbound marketers. But that doesn’t mean it’s always an easy task. From feeling that creativity has eluded you to simply not having enough hours in the day, it can be difficult to keep on top of your editorial planning.

On the other hand, we know that blogging regularly is crucial to our marketing efforts. It’s one of the best – and most cost-effective  ways to attract new visitors to your website and turn them into leads. In fact, according to HubSpot, B2B marketers that blog receive 67 per cent more leads than those that do not.

So how can you keep the creative juices flowing and generate new blog ideas that will fill your sales funnel?

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How to generate great blog ideas when you have run out of steam

Written by Keith Errington  |  8, February, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Inbound Marketing could be thought of as a huge monster with a massive gaping mouth, devouring content at a rate of knots – never satisfied – always hungry. Whilst this might be overly dramatic, there is no doubt that if you are doing it well, you will be producing lots of blog posts. This is not easy. After a while, you may struggle to come up with new posts, new titles, new ideas.

If you feel that the well of creativity has dried up, here are a number of ways to generate blog ideas.

Ask – research sales – customers 

A great way to get new topics for your post is to talk to people in your company. Talk to customer services and see what issues customers are having. Maybe write a post on the top five questions customer services are asked? Do the same thing with your sales team – what are the most common questions prospective clients ask? Talk to product development or senior management and see what’s planned – is there anything you can talk about?

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3 simple ways to remove the stress from your blog management

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  13, January, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

A B2B blog is one of the most valuable assets your company can possess. According to HubSpot, B2B companies that blog generate 67 per cent more leads per month than those who don’t. 

Maintaining a blog allows you to create valuable content that is directly targeted at the people you want to connect with. And the only real investment a blog requires is your time.

However, that’s easier said than done because, of course, time is a precious resource - and, as the saying goes, time is money. With various calls on your time during the working day, it can be a challenge to keep on top of your blogging schedule - and that can make the whole endeavour start to feel stressful.

But there are ways to restore calm to proceedings. The processes we will consider in this post can help to streamline and focus your efforts so that you can ensure you are creating the valuable content that your audience hungers for.

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3 fears about B2B content marketing that we need to face

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  30, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." (Nelson Mandela)

The fears that most of us face on a day-to-day basis are hardly comparable to those faced by the late, former South African President. But his famous words tend to be applied to a myriad of situations, and the point remains: often, fears must be faced.

So what are you afraid of?

Perhaps you’re terrified of spiders; maybe you break out in a cold sweat at the mere mention of an elevator; or have nightmares about public speaking.

But that’s for another post. Here, we’re talking about B2B content marketing.

Perhaps you’re worried you’re not good enough to take on the task at hand; maybe you think you’ll never be able to produce the amount of valuable content your organisation needs; or you have more deep-seated anxieties about making a fool of yourself.

It’s time to cast off the albatross and take on your fears.

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5 simple ways content writers keep their readers hooked

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  25, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master." That quote is attributed to Ernest Hemingway. On the contrary, many people would argue that the novelist was a "master" of his craft. 

Nevertheless, his words raise an important question: what makes a writer great? The answer is a myriad of things, many of which can’t be pinned down. And many others which are subjective.

As a content writer, you don’t have to be a master - it's perfectly okay to feel that you're learning as you go. But you do have to keep your readers’ attention.

In previous posts, I’ve discussed how to attract people’s attention in the first place. But once your post, eBook or the like is in front of them, how do you keep them hooked? Here are five tips for keeping your reader engaged.

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5 steps to becoming a better blog writer

Written by Keith Errington  |  24, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Blogging is getting very competitive these days, and there are more and more blog posts clamouring for attention - 56.6 million per month (or 1,268 per minute) on the WordPress platform alone. That’s a lot of posts. Increasingly, the emphasis for bloggers has to be on quality rather than quantity alone.

Here at Equinet, we have offered a fair amount of advice on how to improve the quality and content of your blog posts, but let’s get to the root of the issue - how do you, yourself, become a better blog writer?

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3 reasons why inbound results in more effective B2B lead generation

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  18, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

When it comes down to it, inbound marketing is geared towards gaining leads. But sometimes, particularly at the beginning of a new strategy, it can feel like a rewardless task.

You’ve been writing blog posts each week, sending out targeted emails, and you even have an eBook to offer to your readers. So why aren’t the numbers reflecting your hard work? Why aren’t the phones ringing off the hook? Why do you feel a bit, well, flat?

In fact, it’s perfectly normal for it to take some time for you to see results from your inbound efforts. But, when you do, the wait will have been worth it.

That’s because inbound marketing results in more effective B2B lead generation than traditional outbound tactics, such as cold calling and advertising. Although the process takes longer, inbound delivers leads that are more pertinent and more valuable to your organisation.

And the content that you produce is an evergreen asset that will transport these vital leads to you time and time again. 

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10 steps to the perfect 'How To' post for your B2B blog

Written by Keith Errington  |  13, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In order for your B2B blog to be successful in its inbound marketing mission, you have to get people to read it. And how do you do that? By providing content that is both readable and useful. And what could be more useful than a "How To" post - a helpful article guiding your readers through a product or process.

So setting aside the imminent danger of becoming incredibly recursive (you’ve seen Inception, right?), here is a How To guide to How To posts.

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Is your B2B blog looking tired and uninspired?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  9, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

A change is as good as a rest. So if you think your B2B blog is looking a little tired or uninspired, perhaps it’s time to make some changes.

The crux of a good blog is educative and valuable content that addresses your audience's needs.

However, that content should also be presented in a delectable way. And it should be written in a clear and accessible voice that strikes a chord with your readers.

Yes, of course, looks can be deceiving. Just because something seems attractive, that doesn’t mean it has substance. But appearances are important online - people will often judge the book by its cover before they make a decision on whether it’s worth reading.

And even when they've committed to reading your blog, if the topic isn't delivered in a way that keeps them fascinated, they'll be gone. 

So how can you inject some energy back into your B2B blog?

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How to establish authority with your B2B blog

Written by Keith Errington  |  3, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

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?

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How to write your first B2B blog post

Written by Keith Errington  |  26, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

With the rise of blogging as a proven and profitable inbound marketing tactic, more business people than ever before are laying their hands on a computer keyboard and publishing their words of wisdom online.

For a few this is a natural process, and they will feel entirely comfortable with it. Many more will struggle, but with perseverance they will be able to blog relatively easily. But then there will always be some who will find it difficult to start and may well abandon the enterprise at the first hurdle.

But as a valuable – we would say essential – method of marketing, you cannot afford to let your fears or lack of experience stop you from blogging.

So in this article we are looking at your first B2B blog post. Everyone has to start somewhere, so here is some help with that initial step.

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5 things that will make your online writing unique

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  21, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Writing for the web is a beast that we’ve had to learn to grapple with in recent years. And it’s certainly a different one to writing for print. It comes with specific guidelines.

You can be a talented essayist or poet and still find yourself struggling to connect with an online audience. That’s because many of the rules go out the window. Forget long drop intros, intricate descriptions and digressions.

We need to get to the point. Now.

So, without further ado, what is it that makes online writing unique?

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4 stages of creativity: why the best blog writers stop first

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  8, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Content never sleeps. In a 24/7, global world, it’s always at work, drawing in people who are looking to solve their problems or find solutions for their needs. But that doesn’t mean you need to have your nose to the grindstone at all times.

In fact, the best blog writers give their work room to grow and mature. That means taking a step back and returning to posts later.

This approach may seem counter-intuitive when you’ve got a lot to do. Why put something off when you can get it completed now?

But creating great content should not be rushed. If we want to deliver real value to our audience and, ultimately turn them into customers, we need to take our time.

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7 do's & don'ts when using stock photography

Written by Keith Errington  |  28, September, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

We know that blog posts without images are not nearly as attractive as those with images and will suffer a lack of readership as a result. Very few bloggers have the time, resources and skills to go out and either shoot or commission original photography for every blog post they write. So stock photography is a necessary evil that almost every blogger will resort to at some point in time.Why do I say necessary evil? Well, as bloggers, we’ve all seen stock images in blogs, and most of us will have used them at some point or another, some of us maybe every day. But we have all seen images that look uncomfortable next to the associated content or are just too obvious. Poorly chosen, or poorly used stock photography, just seems cheesy or glib. At its worst, it can stop the reader in their tracks or fight the central message of the post.

Some stock images are just downright weird or inappropriate for almost any purpose - there's even a blog dedicated to those. And earlier this year, to promote the movie Unfinished Business, a set of deliberately cheesy images were created, which photoshopped the lead actors into existing stock images. 

So given that most bloggers have to use stock photography at some point, here are a few quick pointers to ensure that you get the best out of using stock images.

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How to make your B2B blog posts more reader-friendly

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  21, September, 2015  |  2 Comments  Subscribe

If you’ve ever published anything online, you’ve likely asked yourself: “Who’s reading this?” The answer may well be lots of people. But perhaps the numbers are, instead, disheartening.

The internet is full of distractions and amid the viral videos, news articles and blogs, it can seem a real challenge to attract attention - and keep it.

Of course, in the first instance, we need to be writing about topics that are interesting to our target audience - but that’s not enough on its own. Our B2B blog posts also need to be reader-friendly.

Imagine you are searching for a recipe to make a dish you saw featured on a cookery programme. You find two that are suited to your purposes: the first is composed of very detailed instructions that are presented as a block of text; the second features an image of the dish and tells you how to make it in concise, numbered steps. Which one do you use? Most likely, the second one - because it is clearer and easier to understand.

So how can we apply this kind of logic to our B2B blog posts?

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What one thing do the best bloggers have in common?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  11, August, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

What makes someone a great blog writer? Perhaps it’s their in-depth knowledge of a topic, their pithy turn of phrase or their clear-cut descriptions.

Different people shine in different areas when it comes to content creation. But it is almost guaranteed that the best bloggers all have one thing in common: they are voracious readers.

Reading widely is an assured way to improve our writing skills. And while it’s important for us to read around our industry and specific topics, all subject matter is worthy of our perusal.

You may already be a keen reader or you may find it difficult to dedicate specific time each day. Either way, we can all aim to become "better" readers.

There are a number of techniques we can employ that can not only help us to read more, but also to read in a more focused way.

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Why your company has more content writers than you might think

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  31, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

One of the first things you may have considered when embarking on a content marketing strategy is: who will our writers be?

There may have been some obvious choices, but it can often be impractical for just a few people to take on responsibility for all of a business' content creation.

So where can we find more writers? In fact, we may not have to look that far – because everyone in a company has the potential to become a content writer.

For example, consider the head of a sales department: they know the product or service they are selling inside out and understand the kinds of problems their customers are facing; they know the most common questions your company is being asked time and time again. All of this knowledge could be channelled into blogs, eBooks and other multimedia content.

"I'm not a writer," they might say. But, when it comes to content marketing, everyone can be just that - in one way or another.

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5 simple ways to come up with blog ideas

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  16, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

It’s all very well committing to a regular blog schedule - but coming up with fresh ideas can often be a challenge. Even the best B2B marketers can find themselves scratching their heads in puzzlement at times.

But the secret is to have an arsenal of techniques up our sleeves that can help the ideas to flow. These methods won’t necessarily make forming blog ideas an effortless process, but they can help to guide us towards the answers we’re looking for.

And if we can reduce the time spent chewing the tips of our pencils – or tapping pensively at our keyboards – we can dedicate more hours to actually creating the content that our audience is searching for.

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Why promoting your blog is an essential part of content marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  1, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

The struggle is real: it’s hard to be heard above the noise when it comes to online content marketing.

We know, from our own experiences, that the web is full to bursting with content: from blog posts to magazine articles; viral videos to memes.

Everyone is jostling for attention and it can be difficult to find the gems among the stones. So how can you get your blog posts noticed?

While we don’t want to impose our message on an unwilling audience, there’s nothing wrong with a little gentle, targeted cajoling.

If you’ve spent time producing useful content, isn’t it worth publicising the fact? After all, this is information that your readers want and need.

And promoting your blog helps them to find your content - and your business.

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Five assured ways to create catchy headlines for your B2B blog

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  25, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Perhaps you’re reading this post because the headline caught your attention.

From the front page of a newspaper to the title of a book, headlines are the first thing we see - and they are even more crucial when it comes to online content.

We make snap judgements when browsing the web: if a headline doesn’t catch our attention, more often than not, we won’t click through to the content.

According to a Microsoft survey carried out this year, the average person’s attention span is just eight seconds. By comparison the average goldfish’s attention span is nine seconds!

So how can you create catchy headlines for your B2B blog that get your reader on board quickly?

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4 ways to overcome blogger's block in B2B content marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  18, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.”

Those are wise words from Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, about the importance of not putting things off.

So, ask yourself, if you are committed to B2B content marketing, how often does your company blog?

We've all been there: you get to the end of the week and realise you haven't published as many pieces of new content as you planned - or maybe none at all. Do you need to overcome blogger's block?

Perhaps you didn’t have time; you weren't sure what to write about; you didn’t think anyone would read it; or maybe you were worried your attempts would result in failure.

But, while these are genuine concerns, ultimately they are excuses we use to avoid starting. They are all forms of blogger's block - a problem for sure - but one that can be solved.

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Why content writing for "boring" industries never has to be dull

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  15, June, 2015  |  2 Comments  Subscribe

Some industries seem like they were made for content marketing.

But others, particularly in the B2B sector, can appear to present more of a challenge.

Perhaps you love your job and the company you work for but, when it comes to content writing, you feel the subject is quite, well… dull.

But is it time to take a fresh look?

Is there really no such thing as a "boring" industry – just boring content?

When people have a problem, they seek out information. And content that helps them find a solution can be highly interesting, whatever the subject.

So here are three questions to ask yourself.

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Developing your writing voice: three things to keep in mind

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  4, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Whatever industry you work in, it’s likely that you want to be influential. But getting the right people to take note of what you have to say isn’t always easy.

The world’s greatest writers, from Jane Austen to Louis de Bernières, have a distinctive voice that resonates with their readers. They convey something that others can’t.

As a B2B content writer, you also need to develop your own voice – one that captures the attention of your ideal customers.

However, it’s not easy – there’s a fine balance between letting your personality show and producing something that your audience actually wants to read.

Here are three things to keep in mind.

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