As B2B content marketing goes, a blog is absolutely essential and I thought I’d share some thoughts on how to create a blog that helps the sales process.
If you work for an established B2B technology company, then your company almost certainly has a blog already. If you work for a start-up, then pressing priorities might relegate a company blog to your list of things I-know-I-should-be-doing-but-they’re-really-not-an-urgent-priority-right-now.
Either way, there is a chance you have not given much thought to your blog strategy lately. But you should: there’s plenty of evidence to support blogging. According to Hubspot B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not.
That’s a compelling statistic. But remember just going through the motions is not going to help you create a winning blog strategy. And like everything else in B2B tech content marketing, the world of blogging is constantly evolving.
Take a look at these statistics. Do any of them surprise you?
- 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts (Hubspot)
- Blog articles with images get 94% more views (B2Bmarketing)
- The average word count of top-ranking content in Google is between 1,140 – 1,285 words (Searchmetrics)
- Inbound leads from SEO tend to be successful 14.6% of the time, as opposed to outbound leads – which are typically successful 1.7% of the time (Search Engine Journal)
- Marketers who have prioritised blogging are 13 x more likely to enjoy positive ROI (Hubspot)
Even if none of these statistics is news to you, a quick web search shows that most B2B tech companies are not taking all of them into account in their blogging strategy.
So, if you want your blog to play a more active role in lead generation and content marketing for your company, here are a few pointers to help you bring your strategy bang up-to-date this summer:
Understand the changing motivations and behaviours of your buyers
Of course it makes sense to do your own research with your particular audience profile and buyer personas, but in general, highly visual content that works on the mobile screen is going to get more attention than a plain old text-only blog.
And while the tech buyer is looking for valuable content with real insight, he or she is also likely to skim read your blog initially which means catchy headings to signpost the article have real value.
Buyers have different ways of consuming content, so it’s important you appeal to the highly visual reader as well as those who are willing to invest time in reading a long wordy article (more about this later).
Finally, think mobile. Because that is where the majority of your audience is going to consume your blog content a lot of the time.
Make sure your blog strategy is aligned with your SEO strategy
This one might sound obvious but you would be amazed how many people fail to take it into account. Boosting SEO is one of the key reasons for generating online content. If you are not found when your potential buyers are looking for companies like you, then you are missing out big time.
Chances are that if you are writing the type of informed, relevant, thought-provoking – in short – great content that addresses the pain points of B2B buyers, then your blog is going to be using the right long tail keywords anyway. But it makes sense to talk to whoever is in charge of SEO in your organisation and find out if you can work more closely together. At the very least you should have a list of relevant key words to hand when you review blog posts.
Creating content: long form, addressing pain points
It might seem counter-intuitive that longer pieces work best in an attention-starved world, but long form content is consistently yielding more SEO value than its shorter, more punchy cousin. There are a number of reasons for this, but probably the most influential is Google.
There have been multiple studies highlighting that long form content is far more likely to rank on the first page of search engine results. That really is reason enough alone to include it in your strategy; but the fact that readers are more likely to engage with great content written by a subject matter expert should clinch it.
Be more visual!
And I don’t just mean use a standard stock image to illustrate your blog. As well as including headings and signposts for readers, use relevant illustrations and graphics to highlight key points. And make sure your images are visually compelling. It is worth investing the time to find a photo that will grab the reader’s attention and bring your brand personality to life. At Isoline, we’ve been planning a comic for a while now, slightly hampered by the fact that we are terrible at drawing. Maybe one day soon! Watch this space…
Think about the format and experiment
There are so many opportunities to be creative today, but many marketers are using the same tried and tested methods that have always worked. Or have they? Take a look at your blog statistics. Identify those that are most-read. Widely-shared. What do they have in common? This content can be anything from a list-based piece, beloved of tech marketers. Or video content. Or case studies. In fact, keeping it diverse will keep it fresh.
And try out some new approaches to see if they make a difference. Putting just a bit more thought into headings and imagery could lead to a lot more impact. And you really should be considering video, which is set to make up over 80% of Internet traffic this year.
Promote your blog
What’s the point of a blog that nobody can see? I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a reminder to promote your blogs via social channels. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to channel. Tweet the link, pop it on your LinkedIn page, and send it to your sales reps and marketing team to share. Most people are happy to share relevant and compelling content from the company. Write a short e-mail that sales people can forward to clients. Just make sure you put that precious content in front of the audiences who might benefit from it.
Create a blog calendar that allows you to tie it back to your B2B tech content marketing strategy overall. Split up the responsibility so that different members of your team do it at different times. Appoint your most no-nonsense person ‘chief whip’ – to minimise deadline slippage, as one of my colleagues delicately phrases it.
If you follow these tips, then your blog is much more likely to support your lead generation activity and support the efforts of your marketing team over time.
Finally: if you are a B2B tech marketer looking to take your blog to the next level, contact us today for a free blog audit.