As you will be well aware, business blogs are hugely popular, and more widely read, every day. According to research by eMarketer, based on recent trends, an estimated 60 per cent of internet users will be reading blogs by 2014. And, as successful B2B bloggers know, keeping your blog alive with useful, interesting and relevant content offers a fantastic opportunity for people out there to find your business, to stimulate dialogue with your industry community and create a reputation as a business voice to listen to.
Quite simply blogging is good business.
But Joe Pulizzi was reported as saying at a conference this week that “85% of corporations with blogs have 5 or fewer posts”. So there is obviously still some reticence amongst the B2B community around blogging; some worry about what they will find to write about (if I told you that one of the most interesting and well-read B2B bloggers out there – Marcus Sheridan – is a swimming pool builder, you wouldn’t believe me right?), others are nervous about a loss of control of the brand, whilst some are concerned about the time investment required.
But, let us forget the barriers, dear friend, for the rewards of B2B blogging far outweigh the troubles. And here are six reasons why...
A good blog is all about:
1) Communicating with your customers
A blog allows your customers and prospects to see into the heart of your business and get expert insight about the things they care about. Allow your business to really shine; use your blog to tell your audience who you are, what issues matter to you, enlighten them as to what you offer and what sets you apart from others in the same field.
Think always of your buyer persona when you create your posts. As we’ve said previously, your sales people can prove an excellent resource here, with their in-depth knowledge of what questions customers are asking, what problems they are facing and what they love about your products or services. Use this internal expertise to write posts that speak to your audience, offering advice, putting forward ideas, and providing solutions. An effective blog is a powerful tool for building new relationships and enhancing existing ones.
2) Driving traffic to your website and generating new leads
Informative, non-salesy, and pertinent content will be consumed by your existing and potential customers and likely shared socially with their wider networks. A broader reach for your blog posts will generate more visitors to your website, indeed according to inbound marketers, Hubspot, “Companies that blog have 55% more website visitors.”
Build on this rise in visitors by optimising your blog posts: include a relevant and compelling call-to-action (e.g. if you liked this post, you might find our eBook on “x subject” useful) or a “subscribe to our blog” button, so that you can capture simple contact details from leads for future lead nurturing activity.
3) Improving your search engine rankings
Seemingly, search engines love blogs; they rate them as regular producers of new and original content, for their shareability, and for the fact that they generate links to similarly valid content elsewhere on the web. From your business's point of view, blogging is also one of the very best ways to generate link-backs, which builds your website authority and improves your search engine optimisation. And remember, your contributors will become an asset in this regard too – with Google Authorship growing in stature, regular writers in your company will pop up in searches with their own profile, authoring history and links to their posts.
4) Raising your profile and establishing you as a leader in your field
Writing a B2B blog can be one of the purest expressions of your expertise and enthusiasm for your business, something that will be appreciated by your audience. Speaking knowledgeably and perceptively about the issues affecting your industry, and providing useful, educative content will lend your business a position of trust. Further along in your blogging journey, when your readership has grown, it is hoped that your B2B blog will become synonymous with competence, influence and leadership. An enviable position indeed.
5) Shaping the conversation about your business or your sector
B2B blogging can provide a useful tool for enthusing about what’s great about your industry and equally, what your frustrations are with the constraints on your sector or the regulation you are encumbered with. If you’re feeling this pain, the likelihood is so are others; consider writing about the topics which you are fairly confident will find resonance in your audience.
Use as many resources as possible to come up with topics for your blogs: track questions from your customers and prospects; follow conversations in your field, on social media forums and other blogs; think of topics that allow you to answer questions with a solution that your business provides.
And don’t just write your blog. Write on and about other people’s blogs, too. Make comments directly on posts that have interested or inspired you, interact with your wider business community, and contribute professionally and positively to other people’s discussions. This is all about starting a conversation and keeping it going in a way that benefits both your customers and your business.
6) “Humanising” your business
In this increasingly “social” era, businesses should be ever conscious that their communities (customers, suppliers, employees, competitors, etc.) are made up of real people, and these people want to read about and listen to those who can speak authentically to them. For this reason, it is crucial that when writing your blog, the words and the tone are an absolute representation of your business, and also of your brand. Be brave here: give your business a real voice, write from the heart, and write about things you know and care deeply about. But this isn’t just a soapbox. Be sure you are giving your readers information they want or need.
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