Lots of B2B companies can benefit from having a blog. Whether companies treat it as a friendly, accessible way to connect with devoted fans or as a newswire to communicate important messages – there are some key benefits to having a blog. B2B companies that blog are able to increase awareness, credibility, search engine ranking, and leads – all while linking marketing efforts back to overall business goals.
So, what is a blog? The word “blog” is actually short for “weblog.” The Content Marketing Institute describes a blog as “an easy way to present brief chunks of frequently refreshed web content.” Blogs are often the centers of social media plans that incorporate SEO strategies and community-building campaigns.
According to HubSpot, blogs are among the primary three forms of media used in content strategies today. In 2020, 89% of content marketers used blog posts in their content creation strategy. But building up a blog from the ground up can be daunting, where do you begin? Here is a beginner’s guide to creating a quality B2B blog.
Create a Content Plan
Before you jump into blogging with both feet, ask yourself a couple of questions:
- What will you be blogging about?
- How often?
- Will you include photos, graphs, or videos?
These are just some of the things you’ll want to iron out before starting your company’s blog. Create an editorial calendar to outline both the types of posts you would like to see on your blog and the post topics. The best practice is to make sure you’ve got at least two months of blogging covered at any given time. You should make sure that it’s clear who will be doing what in regards to your blog, including who will actively maintain the editorial calendar.
It’s imperative that you remain consistent with blogging to see long-term growth and ROI. So, along with an editorial calendar, you’ll want to come up with a realistic posting schedule. One blog post per quarter is a good starting point, and it can go up from there based on time and resources.
Get Your Team Involved
This tip falls in line with determining what your blog will consist of. A great place to start brainstorming content ideas would be getting your team involved. Ask the sales team what questions they receive on a regular basis and use those questions to formulate blog posts.
Also, search for the experts at your company and set up short interviews to get answers to more complex industry-related questions. Use your team to figure out the common pain points of your target customers and then explain how to solve that problem or pain point they’re experiencing. But again, this isn’t a sales pitch. This is meant to be informative. Leads can be converted through related offers on the blog, and when that prospect is ready, you can chat with them about how your business and its product or service might help them specifically. This process will result in a warmer lead, where you’ve developed trust in your brand throughout the sales funnel and consequently higher close rates.
Optimize, But Not Too Much
Your SEO practices should have a very simple goal: rank high in search results for the things that your company’s customers are looking for. According to Hubspot, search is the number one traffic source to blogs across all industries.
But before taking to the keyboard to write your first blog post, be sure to first complete a keyword analysis. Use services like SEM Rush, Raven Tools, WordTracker, or Google Adwords’ keyword tool to find the words or phrases that you should incorporate into your content.
Make sure that your blog posts are rich in keywords and optimized, but not too much. There are several SEO tricks, such as “keyword stuffing” that can do more harm than good. Keyword stuffing is defined as placing as many keywords as possible, as many times over, in a single post.
Using as many keywords as possible in hopes that Google will show your blog post in those search results, or even rank it first, will likely have the opposite effect. Google has learned to recognize overly-optimized sites that focus more on SEO tricks, like keyword stuffing, rather than creating content users want to see. This can result in your search ranking decreasing, instead of seeing a boost.
Promote on a Variety of Channels
You may be surprised that the most common content marketing strategies utilize a ratio of 20% of time spent actually creating content and the other 80% of time spent promoting said content. But, think of this way: If you are spending time to create blog content for your company or brand, it’s imperative that you invest significant thought and effort into distributing it, and through a variety of channels – your website, LinkedIn, Facebook, emails, and lead nurturing campaigns.
The logic behind the ratio, and increasing the efforts in promoting your content, is simple. It can be really difficult for bloggers, especially B2B companies, to find an audience for their content. That means that when first starting out, you may not need to spend as much time creating content as you would getting people to consume and share it.
The content you create may be amazing, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that readers will flock to your site on their own – at least not at first. Content without a clear and result-driven promotion strategy is just content. Unless you already have a large, dedicated, and active audience it is very unlikely you will see any kind of ROI without promoting what you’ve created.
Make it Worth Sharing
Another simple goal to have when starting a B2B blog is to make your content worth sharing, which means that it needs to have a variety of quality content. Your blog isn’t just a sales pitch and should exist beyond pitching your products and services.
Quality content will appeal to and engage your readers, which will in turn help further your reach. Share optimized educational posts, as well as guest contributions, case studies, infographics, photos, and more.
There are plenty of ways to develop an ongoing flow of engaging blog content. Don’t be afraid to talk about something other than your company – pulling in experts for Q&As, giving spots to guest authors, responding to news and timely topics within the industry, and sharing the spotlight with partners and customers are just a few ideas on where to start.
When thinking about content worth sharing, try and answer the following questions:
- Who is going to read it?
- What topics do they care about?
- Why do they care?
Providing the answers to those questions will lead to the creation of content that a reader will be more likely to share with others.
Position Yourself as an Authority in Your Industry
Blogs are a great way to establish brand credibility and provide consumers with the confidence that your company is the expert in its industry. I know what you’re probably thinking, “How is my B2B blog going to stand out on the internet that is overrun with content?”
Establishing this kind of credibility and resounding voice in today’s digital world may feel impossible, but it’s attainable through consistency and quality. Stay true to what you know and produce consistent, high-quality content to build a reliable reputation online – all of this combined will make your company the go-to source for certain industry information.
Your customers and leads are online searching for help, guidance, statistics, and answers. With consistent blogging, those prospects will find your blog when they hit "search." And if the information is honest and educational, it will nurture those leads, moving them through the marketing and sales funnel.
Turn Your Readers into Viewers
If your company has the time and resources, implementing video into your content and blogs are a great way to engage an audience and overall maximize your marketing strategy. 78% of people watch online videos every week, and according to Insivia, mobile video consumption rises by 100% every year.
►Read more tips on how to maximize the use of video throughout your marketing strategy here.
Whether it’s a how-to video, a customer testimonial about your business, an employee explaining why people should want to work for you, or the CEO talking about the company vision – video tells a story in a way that text can’t match. Experiment with the kind of video that can be weaved throughout your blog and repurposed in other places. Having high-quality and engaging content, including video, is what will transform frequent visitors into readers and readers into loyal viewers.
Include a CTA
Always include a call-to-action (CTA) in every blog post. The blog is meant to attract “unknown visitors” to your site. Those visitors are people who are interested in the topic you’ve written about and the CTA will send them to another landing page for a related offer or other opportunities to convert.
CTAs can take many forms, they can be a button link, a form to fill out, or any other relevant, useful information to the reader.
If you don’t include a CTA in each blog post, you will lose out on valuable opportunities for lead generation. A CTA is a way for readers to interact with your site beyond landing on your page and it's an invitation to continue the relationship – presenting you with the opportunity to nurture the lead.
Go Forth and Blog
These are just a few of the beginning steps to creating a successful B2B blog. The main takeaway is to consistently post quality content that is optimized for search engines, worth sharing with others, and positions your company as an authoritative thought leader in your respective industry. Utilizing these tips will help to nurture your leads and turn them into prospects.
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