What do B2B blogs and B2B blogging add to a company selling its services in the business-to-business arena?
To some organisations B2B blogging may well be equated with social media, and that’s just “something we don’t do here”. But, as eminent Stateside marketing consultant, Mark W Schaefer puts it: “You don’t think blogs have a place in the B2B world?…Think again.”
According to the mouthful that is the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends North America report, 77% of B2B content marketers are using blogs as part of their marketing activity. That said, only 59% are currently finding it effective.
So, what can you do to make the most of B2B blogging for your business?
1. Have a regular B2B blogging schedule
Blogging once a week is better than not at all. A regular, quality blog post – distributed effectively – increases your visibility as knowledgeable in your area of expertise and gradually builds an audience. It also increases the potential for other online sites to reference your blog, as readers recognise and reward your authority with inbound links, which remain an element in how search engines rank your site. If you can, create a blogging team to ensure a regular flow.
2. Optimise your blog post for search engines
Blog platforms, such as WordPress, have in-built help to optimise your blog posts for search. But you need to consider for what you want to be found in search. Using keywords judiciously in blog post titles and introductory paragraphs are important for search recognition, but be wary of engineering a keyword explosion across your blog post –a transparent turn-off for the reader.
3. Providing downloadable content
Text-based content rendered as a PDF and downloadable not only carries high value in search, but gives your reader something to do as a result of reading it. It also gives you an opportunity to demonstrate the depth of your knowledge and expertise in the field; a “series of…” relevant topics gives visitors a reason to return and consume your brilliance!
4. Liven it up with multi-media content
Embedding video or audio content gives your visitors a more varied blog experience and allows your experts’ personalities to come through; after all, people are not just buying knowledge and skills, they’re buying the people they want to work with too.
5. Distribute widely and effectively
Even if you don’t wish to use social media platforms for engagement (heaven forbid customers or prospects might talk to you!) they can be effective channels for sharing blog content. And so, building a following or connections on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and participating in Google+ Communities and LinkedIn Groups can be an avenue for your blog posts. Be mindful, though, of online community rules, whereby brazen promotion of your company or product can be frowned upon.
6. Follow B2B blogs/bloggers and learn from the best
Take blogs like those done by construction equipment company, Caterpillar: as Mark W Schaefer says, it’s about “problem solving, community building and loyalty”, showcasing their customers’ business strategies, providing advisory articles about getting the best out of equipment and hosting video tutorials.
Clearly, a company of Caterpillar’s size can throw substantial resources at its blog. But even a modest investment in creating blog content for your market is becoming an increasingly powerful, all-round marketing communications tool.