5 ways blogging supercharges marketing efforts and best practices to maximize the potential of your blog
Long before Facebook and even years before Google, we had blogs.
Fast forward to today — 22 years after the first blog entered the scene — and blogs are still a central part of the modern web experience (even if their content does typically come to us via social media and search engines). Blogs are especially prevalent in the B2B space, with 81% of marketing teams using blogs to share content as of 2016.
This history begs the questions: In a world where technology changes at the drop of a dime, why do blogs have such staying power, especially for B2B marketers? And how can you capitalize on the power of blogging?
5 Reasons Why Blogging is so Powerful for B2B Marketing
The list of reasons why blogging benefits B2B marketing strategies goes on and on. For example, blogs are so powerful because they:
- Allow for regular and timely conversations: In order to attract visitors to your blog, you need to update it frequently, but that’s not the only reason to post new content often. Having a blog ensures you have a place where you can regularly converse and share ideas, tips, etc. with your target audience. Sure, you can do the same on social media, but not to the same extent that you can on a blogging platform (try fitting your top 10 best practices into 140 characters and you’ll understand). Similarly, blogging allows for more timely conversations than other types of content like white papers because blog posts are time-stamped content and because you can typically publish new posts fairly quickly.
- Create a steady stream of content to use elsewhere: What content do you share on social media? How about in your email newsletters or nurture campaigns? Those are all excellent places to share blog content. Blogging regularly not only provides you with a steady stream of fresh content to use throughout campaigns on other channels, but it also provides you with content that you can repurpose (try turning a “top 10 list” post into an infographic or a “how to” post into a video) in order to feed the content beast without having to reinvent the wheel every time. One of the best ways to capitalize on this benefit is to use your blog as a litmus test to determine which topics work and which don’t. You can use your blog in this way because the barrier to entry for publishing a blog post is much lower than it is for producing content like a webinar or a white paper and because it’s easy to collect feedback via comments and analytics from your site and social accounts.
- Drive conversions and nurture leads: A blog is arguably one of the best channels for driving conversions and nurturing leads. When someone likes what they see on your blog, they’re likely to come back for more. This might mean following you on social media, signing up for your newsletter or even exploring other content on your site, and the more they come back, the more opportunities you have to keep them moving along the buyer’s journey. Additionally, blog posts are a great way to wet your audience’s appetite for more in depth content, like a white paper, webinar or even an event, that you can use as a call to action to drive conversions.
- Improve SEO: Creating a stream of fresh, high quality content is a key tactic to improve search engine optimization, and that tactic aligns perfectly with blogging. The SEO benefits become even richer when you add internal links among your own blog posts and pages on your website as well as when external sites link to your blog posts.
- Increase brand awareness: Regularly blogging is a great way to join the conversation on hot topics and to create shareable content. As a result, blogging can help boost brand awareness for both your company and your individual bloggers. This increased brand awareness can help attract new leads and improve the status of your company and your people as thought leaders in your market.
5 Ways to Maximize the Potential of Your Blog
Although blogging can prove a powerful B2B marketing tactic, the results you see most certainly depend on your strategy. With that in mind, we recommend the following five best practices to boost effectiveness:
- Document the logistics: First and foremost, you need to outline your plan of attack. Specifically, you need to determine things like where your blog will live, what topics you’ll discuss, who your authors will be, how often you’ll post, what type of content you’ll post (is your blog more of a vlog or a podcast?) and the tone of your blog. Make sure all of this information is well-documented so that you can refer back to it down the line.
- Develop (and stick to!) an editorial calendar: One of the most critical components of any blog is an editorial calendar. At the most basic level, an editorial calendar sets when you will publish posts to help you meet the appropriate deadlines. But there’s actually a lot more to it than that. An editorial calendar should also help you ensure an appropriate mix of topics and authors, align blog content to campaigns on other channels and create transparency for contributors and other interested parties internally.
- Commit to keeping your blog fresh, varied and engaging: No one wants to visit a blog that has stale content or keeps posting more or less the same thing over and over again. Therefore, attracting visitors requires keeping your blog fresh, varied and engaging. In terms of freshness, a good place to start is one post a week, and you can always work your way up from there. If you’re just starting out, it pays to have several posts ready and published when you launch, that way visitors can get a feel for what to expect. When it comes to variation, look for opportunities in your editorial calendar to mix up different authors or topics — within reason of course, as you still want to stay true to the theme of your blog. Finally, you need to engage visitors in order to keep them coming back. This might mean adding visuals, formatting content so that it’s easy for people to scan or read on a smaller screen or adding interactive elements like quizzes or click-to-tweet functionality.
- Make your blog a responsive environment: Just like people don’t want to visit a blog with stale content, they also don’t want to visit one with static content. The best blogs are responsive, and they’re responsive in more ways than one. To build a responsive blog, you need to make it a priority to respond to comments in a timely and meaningful manner (including comments that come in via other channels like social media). You should also use the timely nature of blogging channels to respond to articles posted by others, breaking news or events when appropriate.
- Promote, promote, promote: If you’re following SEO best practices for content development, then chances are a good amount of your blog traffic will come from organic search, but you can do better than that. As with any piece of content, promoting your blog posts is paramount to success. With that in mind, you need to create a promotion plan that covers multiple channels and promotes each blog post in both the short and long terms after it’s published. You should also consider promoting your blog in general (or its RSS feed) as well as any newsletters of blog post roundups you might send.
Consider the Big Picture
Finally, the most important thing you need to know about blogging for B2B marketing is that your blog should not be an isolated channel. Rather, your blog content should help feed campaigns across all other channels and pull people into your overall marketing message. In other words, your blog should serve as the front door to all other marketing activities you have planned.