July 10, 2014

Writing to Stay Relevant: The Keys to B2B Blogging

Staying relevant means constantly creating new material. Just ask Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen, who said to remain relevant, you need to “write well and engage yourself in the issues of the day. And you have to continue to make good, relevant records.”

While it’s fair to say the B2B market is fairly different from the Boss’ field (I haven’t heard a B2B manufacturing business turn out an album as good as “Nebraska,” for instance), your company should take a cue from this and keep creating good, relevant content.

B2B organizations know that they must be crafting new forms of content to thrive. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute said 93 percent of B2B businesses are already on the content creation train. But what separates your company from the rest and drives the best results on the company blog?

The answer, of course, depends on whom your base is and what they want to see. Go to any number of B2B websites and you’ll see a different strategy from each company, some good and some bad. To be truly successful, your organization will need to figure out what creates awareness and generates leads among the target audience. These are both at the heart of any great content strategy.

A company blog is your opportunity to position the business as a thought-leader in the field. Not only this, but it will give customers, employees and on-lookers and ability to get to better know your personality, something that is often sorely lacking in B2B. Here are some methods to do this on your company blog.

Look at the Issues

To showcase your business’ personality, have an employee write or ghostwrite a blog post on an industry issue. This also has the potential to frame your company as an expert on an issue.

Try to engage readers and customers in the piece by asking their opinion or about their experiences. Reader comments could help increase the rank of the post even if it is shorter, according to what John Mueller, a Google representative, told the Online Marketing Institute.

It will also be prudent to keep abreast of industry news and post about the stories that are pertinent to your industry. This will let customers and clients know that your business is in tune with what is happening and is always looking to the latest issues and trends.

Be sure to put your own spin on these posts; simply reposting the same information doesn’t cut the mustard. You will need to repurpose this news with your own company’s spin on it to show why it has been posted and why customers should care about that particular item.

Your Special Guest

Whether you’re having someone take over a post on your blog or you’re being featured on someone else’s website, guest blogging can be a great way for a B2B company to spread its message across the online world.

If you’re looking for someone else to create a blog post on your website, be sure the connection makes sense to customers and your business. For those organizations who are more social and like getting their members out there on other website’s blogs, be sure to link to their post from your website as well!

It also may be helpful to have a regular round up of blog posts the company has been featured in from around the web, whether someone from your company wrote the piece or the business was simply mentioned. Be sure not to copy the content of the guest blogs too closely on your website; this may end up harming the search engine optimization of that post.

Creating Buzz and Showing the Way

Posts that exhibit why your company is special and exciting will always be good for the website, from both a search engine and informative point of view. Whether you’re showing off a new product, unique service, employee achievement, special event or something else, writing up a blog post about it can generate buzz among your customers.

Along the same lines, your business could be well served by creating posts that show clients how your products and services can work for them. How-to posts (or videos, which also provide fantastic results) can be a fantastic platform to show your audience how your company can save them time, money or perhaps both. After all, isn’t this the end result of what most every company is looking for in a partner?

Get Social With the Customers

The heart of B2B is personal relationships with clients; this needs to carry over to the blog space as well. Be on the look out for any questions, comments, concerns or anything else your customers have about your business or the industry at large.

Use this to open up a conversation on your blog by answering questions or addressing specific comments, even if they weren’t addressed to your company in the first place. This will allow the client to see that not only are you a business looking to serve their interests, you are also a group of people looking out for them. It will also drive back and forth communication, something that normally goes a long way toward building a greater level of trust.

Always Strive for a Better Tomorrow

The CMI report found that 42 percent of B2B companies believe they are effective at content marketing, a 6 percent rise from last year. However, that’s still a long way off from the 94 percent of B2B organizations which report to be creating blog posts for their website and leaves 52 percent who are not all-the-way confident about their strategy.

It’s important to constantly be evaluating your company’s blog’s purpose, goals and effectiveness to have a better handle on how it is working. Keeping an eye on metrics and analytics is always a great idea, but it is essential to be sure you are getting the information you want to the customers and clients who will actually spend money with your company. This is the key to staying relevant in the B2B blogging world.