Okay, folks. Lace up your sneakers, pack your brown bag lunch, and hop on the bus. You're off to school today, and we’re starting you off with a quick refresher course in B2B blogging basics.
Kicking off a new blog or fixing up an existing one may feel daunting at first, especially when you consider the incredible number of successful blogs on the Web today. But the blogging valedictorians of their respective industries had to start somewhere, too. To help you achieve high honors next quarter, we've broken down a list of 26 building blocks to better B2B business blogging! (Now, say that five times fast…)
Class is now in session. Time to study up on the ABC’s of B2B business blogging so your content marketing efforts pass the test!
Answers – These days, most people first consult the web for answers to their questions about products & services, trending topics, and problems for which your business may have the right solution. In fact, 71% of consumers assert that blogs influence their purchasing decisions. So utilize your blog to showcase your smarts and respond to industry FAQs!
Buyer Personas – Always craft blog posts with your target customers in mind. What are their needs? What material are they looking for? Write for the readers first, and then for the search engines. Have you created your own target buyer personas yet?
Call-to-Action – Every blog post should be accompanied by a clear, compelling and relevant Call-to-Action positioned at the bottom of the page. This CTA should link to a dedicated landing page, used to serve up an additional resource or offering to your interested prospects.
Design – Your blog should incorporate a responsive design, so that readers can easily access your juicy posts while on their mobile devices. What’s more, ensure that your blog’s formatting (fonts, colors, sizing, etc.) is consistent across entries. Consider establishing a style guide for your employees to follow in order to avoid design discrepancies.
Evergreen – Though it’s important to write those spur-of-the-moment newsjacking pieces that tie in current events, make sure you mix in some evergreen content, too. Evergreen blog posts remain relevant long after being published, and they can be recycled into other marketing materials down the road. Think blogging sustainability!
Frequency – Establish a publishing frequency that works for you, and stick to it! The important thing is to blog regularly so your readers know when to expect a new post. Develop a content calendar to keep yourself on track, and create a backlog of prepared entries so you don’t leave your audience hanging during a particularly busy month or two.
Guest Posts – Need a fresh take on a topic? Looking to increase your visibility? If it works for your company, it’s not a bad idea to partner up with a talented guest blogger who already sports a respectable following.
Headline – Coming up with catchy headlines is easier said than done. As for basics, Top # lists and How to’s tend to perform well. Always include the target keyword, preferably towards the beginning – and keep your titles to under 55-65 characters, so they’re not cut short in the search results.
Inventory – Some of those old eBooks or slideshows of yours may be more timeless than you thought! Check your content inventory for any previously used materials you can repurpose into shiny, new blog posts.
Jargon – Avoid overusing complex industry jargon throughout your blog. Even if your business is highly technical, maintaining a conversational writing style holds your readers’ attention. Save more intricate content for specific site pages or more advanced downloadable resources.
Keyword – Each post should feature one keyword for which you are trying to rank. Include this keyword in the headline, the page URL, the meta description, the image ALT text, and a few times throughout the body text, as well (without sacrificing readability, of course).
Links – No doubt, quality blog content attracts inbound links from other websites. Nevertheless, including internal links within posts to other pages on your own site still increases traffic and opportunities for conversion, too. Blogging is certainly a vital component to any viable link-building strategy.
Meta Description – Always complete a catchy meta description for every blog post, as it supports your headline in search result listings. Limit this text to 150 characters, include the keyword, and make sure the description entices a reader to click!
Numbers – Every month, measure your blog’s performance. Your data analytics are there to help you! Which of your posts is generating the most views and discussion? Which has the highest click-through rate? The numbers tell a story.
Optimization – A well-optimized post is the key to ranking higher in the SERPS. Use blogging as a tool to index more site pages and pump up your traffic.
Promote – Add social sharing buttons to your blog to encourage readers to repost your content. Cross promote your blog via multiple channels: LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, etc. Need some ideas? Check out these suggestions for achieving your social media marketing goals.
Questions – Don’t be afraid to ask questions in your blogging headlines or the social posts that endorse your blog. This tactic typically inspires clicks, comments, and replies.
Relationships – Particularly in B2B buying cycles, building relationships with your prospective customers is important; purchasing decisions are normally less impulsive. A blog enables you to educate your audience, build trust, and facilitate points of interaction.
Subscribe Button – Don’t forget an opt-in subscribe button! That way, enthusiastic readers can select to have your blog posts sent directly to their inboxes.
Thought Leadership – Positioning yourself as an industry thought leader is a key to B2B blogging success. Demonstrate your expertise in your writing. Interact with other social influencers. Put your own spin on the hot topics in your field. And curate some content by other writers and explain why you agree or disagree. In the long run, you want to become a reliable go-to source of information.
Utility – Above all, your information must be valuable and useful. Don’t worry – people will still buy the cow if you give them a little milk. In fact, they’re more likely to buy if they consistently see hard proof of how helpful your posts can be.
Visuals – An absolute must, include a graphic in each of your blog posts. Not only does this make your posts more memorable and “clickable” across social media platforms, visuals – whether they be images, infographics, or strategically placed GIFs – make your posts pop!
Writers – Sometimes multiple authors or contributors make the workload A LOT lighter – and your blog more interesting. If time is an issue, it may be worth looking into blog writing services.
X-factor – Even if you think your field can be a little boring to outsiders, you are not boring! What makes your business tick? Pinpoint what differentiates you from the competition and showcase that je ne sais quoi in your blog.
You – No putting on airs. Be yourself. Originality is important. Particularly when marketing to prospects looking for a long-term business relationship, your personality counts tenfold. Readers appreciate honesty and transparency.
Zero – Zero reasons for you NOT to blog, that is. Blogging is an essential piece to any inbound marketing puzzle. It’s just a matter of finding where you fit in!
There you have it – B2B business blogging basics traversing the alphabet from A to Z. Consider these tips to be a checklist that gives your blogging program a solid structure. Now that the first semester is coming to a close, it’s full steam ahead! Time to get your content back on track so that you make the grade.