By chance it seems - a number of people, ranging from family members to work collegues and friends have recently asked my opinion on the concept of B2B blogging. So instead of duplicating my efforts over email and Facebook I've decided to spill all my trade secrets right here. Hope this helps!
To generate thought leadership – good blogging has a similar effect to white papers – it helps a company talk about their offering or unique value in a non-sales oriented environment that websites find hard to do. Also, consumers today have learnt to ‘filter’ out the sales pitch speak of websites so blogging has that potential to generate greater credibility and maintain a reader’s attention span for longer.
To drive traffic to your website – every single blog post acts as a standalone web page that is indexed by Google and other search engines – helping potential customers find your company or offering in a general web search. It is also much easier to build up and expand a blog than a website. For web optimization, quantity of pages is almost as relevant as quality. Over time then, a blog can become a far greater source of exposure for a company than a website.
To boost sales leads – blogging is a vital tool in the ‘lead nurturing’ toolbox. Potential customers may follow a blog for a few months to ‘test’ the credibility of a company or offering. A good blog that mixes in product demos and technical insights will help customers and potential users decide in their own time and in their own way that your product is right for them.
To build brand loyalty – regular blog postings encourage existing customers to remain in-touch with a company – helping to keep them abreast of upcoming events and new offerings as they happen. Sometimes this can be far less intrusive than a customer relations call..
How to get the most from your blog..
- Ensure the blog becomes an insightful resource that readers can learn from and refer back to again and again.
- Research around your subject and make your blog a collection or archive that readers can refer their friends and collegues to.
- Provide interviews and opinions from other industry experts andthought leaders. As great as you are - a blog cannot be all about you, all of the time.
- Write posts of a professional editorial quality – bad English will kill a blog before anything else does.
- Provide videos and other visual aids to help make your point. Adding YouTube clips is a great way to illustrate a case or highlight an existing problem - even if you're selling billing software and the video clip is from an old beer commercial - sometimes an analogy works best.
- Avoid masses of unbroken text – people read screen-based text at only half the speed of printed text – so make it an easy read with bullets, bolding, graphics and paragraph headers to break it up.
- Provide web links in the text – both to other blog posts, your own website, external opinions, up-to-date newspaper articles and professional research analysts – anything that will help corroborate your opinions and establish your credibility.
- Ensure that every blog post is supported by social media –a blog should have associated company/product pages in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. Every new blog post should be automatically posted to your social media walls AND posted to a range of relevant target user groups from those social media sites. Encourage readers to ‘digg’, comment and write reviews of your posts – it all helps to make your blog stand out from the rest.
- Try to avoid direct sell – remember, nobody likes to be 'sold to'. That's why the sales guy is paid the big bucks.