Blogging is a powerful platform for B2B companies to attract and engage their target audience. And it plays a critical role in a company’s content marketing and digital efforts. But to be successful, a B2B blogging program requires the right approach.
According to Demand Metric, 59% of B2B marketers consider blogs their most valuable online channel. And that’s not surprising. Blogging is a cornerstone of content marketing; it builds thought leadership, fuels SEO, propels social media marketing, drives website traffic and helps to generate and nurture leads. So what does it take to build a successful B2B blogging program? Here are 5 key steps to follow.
Don’t make the mistake of running a blog without knowing where you’re going. Instead, develop a game plan that dictates who you’re writing for, what messages you’re trying to convey and what you’re trying to accomplish. And understanding how your blog fits into a larger content marketing strategy is crucial and will greatly impact everything you do on your blog.
Stick to your content marketing mission
Your content marketing plan should include a mission statement. Much like magazines have editorial mission statements, a content marketing mission statement will help you cast the vision for the focus of your content. It succinctly conveys the who, what and why of your content, which greatly extends to your blog.
Focus on your audience
We recommend developing buyer persona profiles to help you visually picture the type of people you’re trying to reach and understand them on a deeper level. Once you have a profile of your ideal buyers, you’ll want to focus your content creation efforts on what they’ll be interested in reading.
Define your blog’s niche
Don’t try to cover everything you could cover. Instead, you need to carve a niche for your blog—such as key industry verticals you want to address or specific areas where your firm has the most subject matter expertise. Use your buyer personas to help you narrow the focus. As the saying goes: aim small, miss small.
Set goals and metrics
Be sure to set specific goals and objectives for your blog. What do you want to accomplish? What does success look like? You’ll want to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) and create a dashboard of metrics to measure regularly.
Getting your content right is half the battle and arguably the most challenging part of building a successful B2B blogging program. Content is after all the reason people will visit your blog, so its paramount to make sure when they get there, they like what they read.
Planning plays a critical role in the success of your blog (and it also is the antidote for conquering writer’s block). So with your game plan in mind, create an editorial calendar that at a minimum identifies the target audience, topic, author and or subject-matter expert, due date and publish date for each post you plan to publish. This should be a running calendar and it’s best to plan at least a month out, ideally 2-3 months out if possible.
It’s important to remember that the purpose of a B2B blog is not to regurgitate company news, talk about your services, brag about accolades or even highlight your people. The purpose of your blog should be to build trust and establish thought leadership by helping your target audience. Answer their questions, educate and inform them and provide the content they are interested in and searching for.
Focus on quality
Remarkable content is defined by the reader, not the writer, so be sure you always keep your audience in mind when developing your content. Remember, creating quality, remarkable content is the whole point, so if your content is either not client-focused or lacks substance (or both), your blog simply won’t be successful.
Optimize your posts
Your posts need be well crafted from top to bottom. That means everything from a compelling title, a solid introduction, engaging body copy, supporting visuals and a closing paragraph. And you’ll want to make it easily skimmable by breaking up the text with sub headlines, bullets and short paragraphs that get to the point quickly. Be sure to consider on-page SEO best practices as well.
Depending on your company, you may or may not have a lot of marketing resources, but you’re definitely going to need to recruit help. So seek out subject matter experts in your company who are willing to contribute. If you simply don’t have the internal resources, you might want to consider enlisting the help of an agency or hiring a freelancer to help with execution.
One of the keys to successful blogging is consistent and regular content creation. You should aim to post at least one blog per week but ideally you should try to aim for 2 or more per week. With that said, one remarkable blog post is worth five average blog posts. Don’t let quality suffer for the sake of quantity. It’s also important to maintain consistency in publishing cadence from week to week, even during the holidays and vacation season. So you simply have to set the necessary time and resources aside to get it done and stay committed.
One of your top goals is to generate web traffic and have your articles read by as many people as possible. But you’ve got to get the word out first. You’ll want to share your blog posts on all your social media channels and have your employees do the same on theirs as well. You should also include a subscription feature on your blog so visitors can sign up to receive regular blog updates. And be sure to include social sharing buttons on each article to encourage your readers to spread the word and promote your blog posts on their social channels. You’ve worked hard to create great content and it deserves to be read, so look for as many ways as you can to spread the word and drive traffic to your content.
If you’re going to get serious about blogging, and you want your B2B content marketing program to be successful, you have to commit. And part of committing means you make blogging a corporate priority. Your blog should be viewed as an ongoing program, not a campaign. So everyone from the CEO down to the marketing department needs to buy into not just the benefits of blogging, but the understanding that it’s going to demand persistence and patience to do it successfully.
Many B2B companies just aren’t prepared for what managing a successful blog is going to involve. However, blogging represents a huge opportunity for B2B companies, but you’ve got to have the right approach for it to be successful. By following these 5 steps, you’ll be on the right track.