A Rough Guide to B2B Blogging

by Matt Batterham, Browser Media

 Blogging, like many other modern marketing activities, can be an effective way of promoting a business, building brand authority, communicating with customers and even helping to improve search visibility. However, like other marketing tools, you only get out what you put in. Where as an interesting, well managed blog can present many potential rewards, a bad one can be equally damaging to a business. Here are a few considerations to ensure you get the best from your blog.

What and why?

First and foremost, decide what you’re going to blog about and why you’re going to do it. Too many businesses dive head first into blogging with no clear objectives, churning out irregular content with little value. Your content should mostly reflect the goals you set for your blog, be it to boost seniority on a certain subject, share new services with customers or increase site traffic.

For example, if you’re looking to build thought leadership, a blog filled with internal company news probably won’t help. However, publishing helpful, informed content such as how-to guides, walk-throughs and opinion pieces will prove much more successful.

Creating regular, quality content is easier said than done, so start by doing some research;

  • Identify common issues; identify common industry issues, misconceptions and FAQs by listening in on forum discussions, social networks and other related blogs. You will soon gauge a good understanding of the wants and needs of your target market and fellow industry professionals. Take note of these discussions and create content that provides answers.
  • Scope the competition; researching your competition can be a useful way of seeing what type of content works and what doesn’t. If, for example a particular subject on their blog regularly receives lots of social interaction, take note and incorporate similar content in to your own blog.
  • Comment on industry news; many blogs will simply republish news stories, but give your readers a little more to chew on by adding your own opinions and thoughts. Give your news the ‘so what?’ factor.

Who and when?

Once you have decided what you’re going to publish on your blog, you need to decide who within your business is responsible for researching, drafting and publishing that content. This is an important consideration that should be thought through, not only because you want your best writers for the job, but also because of the time requirements associated with managing it.

You may deem it necessary for multiple employees to contribute to the blog, which can be good for injecting diversity as well as spreading the work load. If this is the case, it will pay to assign one individual to the role of managing the blog to ensure consistency.

Inevitably there will be times when the flow of content is temporarily disabled, due to staff absences or holidays. To avoid the blog going completely quiet during these times, create a stash of timeless content that you can draw from when needed. How-to guides are good for this.

It also pays to create a blogging calendar, where you can plan content pieces in advance, plan time allowances and keep a record of past posts.

Be social and monitor success

One of the greatest things about a blog is the potential for social interaction. If your blog is churning out great content, readers may feel inclined to leave a comment, which can present some amazing opportunities to carry on the discussion, build relationships and further stamp your authority on any given subject. Just make sure you have the resources to respond when necessary. 

A point that’s often overlooked is blog performance analysis. Using Google Analytics you can see how much traffic your blog receives, which topics drive the most traffic and which posts are falling on deaf ears. By learning which posts drive the best traffic, i.e. which blog posts lead to the most comments, onwards site exploration or conversions, you can apply findings to future posts, constantly improving the quality of your content.

The same can be applied to social media monitoring tools, with which you can track how your posts are being shared online and if and where they’re being republished. 

And finally

While a well managed blog can serve as an effective multi-purpose tool, it’s no magic bullet and probably won’t solve all of you business issues over night. However, with clear objectives, the right people on the job and long-term commitment, a blog can serve as an invaluable addition to the marketing toolkit.

 

About the author

Matt Batterham is Senior Account Manager at Browser Media – a UK SEO agency specialising in SEO, PPC, online PR and social media.

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One Response to “A Rough Guide to B2B Blogging”

  1. JPD Buckley
    August 28, 2012 at 17:22 #

    Interesting blog and one that addresses a topic that we wanted to find out more about. Namely is there a way in which a blog could almost replace other marketing communications in the B2B sphere.

    Our inspiration for looking at this was was last year’s suggestion by the Prime Minister’s ‘blue sky thinker’ Steve Hilton that government press officers could be replaced with a single blog. The idea was to see if a similar strategy might appeal to cash-strapped marketers.

    So we polled around 50 B2B SMEs to see what they thought about this. Asked how they would have responded to Steve Hilton’s suggestion to shift communications to a blog, the consensus seemed to be that it offered enormous potential but not at the expense of other disciplines:

    • One in five said they would have fired him or ‘sent him to Coventry’
    • Over half would have ‘rolled their eyes’
    • Nine would have rewarded the keen cyclist with a new bicycle
    • And three would have given him a knighthood.

    We did produce a short report called Blog the Brand Builder?. It looks into current practice in B2B marketing communications, the importance of online reputation, and the opportunities offered by social media.

    It is subtitled – Talking Point: Have Your Say – because it aims to prime a bigger conversation. To this end, we are asking more marketing professionals to take a couple of minutes to complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9PVG8C2 .

    For the moment however, results suggest that for B2B SMEs:

    • PR is the most popular communication discipline with increasing focus on thought-leadership. Four out of five businesses considered PR and events as a key part of their marketing communications mix and three out of five aimed to provide thought-leadership in their industry sectors.

    • Social media is increasing in importance for monitoring and engaging with audiences. Around two in five are using social media to engage with their markets and over three quarters are monitoring their reputation online.

    • Blogging suits the smaller business looking to build brand and thought-leadership profile. Smaller companies and thought-leaders are most enthusiastic about the publishing online. Thought-leadership, brand-building and SEO were considered the big benefits.

    The advice in your post provides a very good and rather more sophisticated suggestion for business wondering how to get started. We kept it simple with: ‘Be clear on your business objectives and then map the social media terrain to locate your target audiences and their communications channels. Engage by listening to the online conversation and when you are ready join in.’

    Please follow these links for:

    • Report: http://www.saycomms.co.uk/blog-the-brand-builder

    • Infographic: http://www.scribd.com/doc/102725118/Blog-the-Brand-Builder-Infographic

    • Video presentation available here: http://youtu.be/6iFFXK0XE9E

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