So you’ve decided that it makes sense to start blogging as a way to boost your company’s online presence. Now what?
It’s time for your first assignment: to seek out blogs written and managed by the major social influencers and thought leaders in your industry. And to get in touch with what they’re saying and doing that resonates with readers.
Marketing Profs and the Content Marketing Institute report that as of 2014, a whopping 76% of B2B marketers incorporate blogging into their content marketing programs. With that said, many of these companies aren’t developing an actual blogging strategy.
Before you start writing your business blog, it’s important to know what’s trending and what’s not – and to know how to find bloggers worth monitoring and engaging. Use these 4 steps to dive into the blogging conversation and give your own following a kick-start!
Step 1: Select 5-10 relevant bloggers.
Okay, sounds great! But again, how do you go about selecting these bloggers?
Your first step should be to consult relevant trade publications for well-known authors in your industry. There may even be publications or articles that conveniently rank the most influential bloggers in your field. Next, check out who is speaking at industry conferences and events – and subscribe to their blogs or follow them on social media. You may even receive suggestions from Twitter etc. for related accounts you might be interested in following. And of course, you could always try Googling a phrase like “top bloggers in XYZ industry” and see what pops up!
Another great resource for finding popular bloggers is Bloggeries.com. This website reviews and tracks the most influential blogs by industry/category, and allows users to publicly rate the blogs, giving others more information about the value the writing provides. And if you’re still looking for a few more ideas, we suggest following some marketing blogs! You can never have enough insight into what’s happening on the B2B marketing landscape.
Once you’ve subscribed to some industry blogs and their respective social media channels, you should be able to determine which ones appeal to you and are most relevant to your business. Choose 5-10 bloggers to actively follow and regularly check out the conversations they are having with their followers.
Step 2: Monitor blog interactions.
Once you’ve narrowed down your target blogs, it’s important to recognize what makes them interesting and successful. Why is their readership high? And what are people saying about them? Digging into what makes these blogs tick will help you when building your own strategy. We recommend reading from their blogs once per week (depending on how often they publish), and checking in on their social media channels 1-2 times per week.
Consider these questions when monitoring blogs:
- Which topics generate the most buzz / commentary?
- Which topics are shared the most in social media channels?
- Are the bloggers responding to the comments and social messaging? If so, what are they saying?
- Do these bloggers link to specific sources or other bloggers in their posts?
- On what days do they publish – and do you find this timing effective?
- How are these blogs formatted?
- Do shorter or longer posts work better for the blog?
Step 3: Participate in the conversation.
By participating in a business blogging conversation, you have the chance to increase your social reach and reliability and present yourself as a thought leader. If you feel you can offer credible feedback about a particular topic, go for it!
Do you agree with the author? Do you disagree? Why? Make use of the available comments section on the author’s blog. If you are presenting a counter argument, always be sure to use a respectful tone. It’s best to follow the Golden Rule here – Comment on blogs in a way you’d appreciate others commenting on your own blog. And be sure to steer clear of outright self-promotion via comments sections. Remember that at this point, your goal is not to sell your products or services; it is merely to introduce yourself to the blogger’s audience and to hopefully accrue some visits to your own business blog. Besides, most blogging platforms offer the author the option to block your comment if they deem it inappropriate.
Step 4: Give back to the bloggers.
After contributing some comments, it’s great to share these fellow bloggers’ posts via social media and write a new post of your own taking into account the information you’ve learned from them. Did you find out something cool? Give credit where credit is due. Do you have another perspective on this topic? Take a side and write your own blog post with a link back to theirs. You can even compile a few articles relevant to a particular topic in a curated blog post and summarize the most important points.
To wrap up this post on how to find bloggers, I leave you with this quote from Brian Kardon, CMO of Lattice Engines.
“It is critically important to continually engage with influencers, especially when you don’t need help. […] It used to be that the influencers were a fairly concentrated group. Today, almost anyone can quickly become an influencer if they have a well-respected blog, newsletter, conference, or consulting practice. In the tech space, the dominance of Forrester, Gartner, and IDC has been eroded by new influencers like Altimeter and Constellation.”
Don’t be nervous about engaging with your blogging peers. By putting forth a consistent effort, you’ll gradually start to see positive changes in your traffic, conversions and social media exchanges.