According to InsideView, B2B marketers who blog generate 67% more leads than those who don’t blog. However, many B2B marketers struggle to engage their target audience and increase their conversions through their blogs. Check out the webcast below, where I discuss how to build a B2B blog that attracts high-quality leads and motivates them to opt-in for your premium content.
The following is a summary of the webcast. If you would like more detail, please view the webcast.
Why should you blog?
The B2B sales cycle is getting longer, and buyers are doing more research online before they speak with sales. The Global Media Consumption Report found that 65% of IT buyers require at least four pieces of content before they make a shortlist of vendors. A blog can provide your audience with a steady stream of content that they can use when they make buying decisions.
3 questions to ask before you blog
These questions are also good to ask if you already have a blog but would like to improve its results:
- “Why are you blogging?” Is that to generate leads? Do you want to provide content for your existing customers? Do you want to become recognized as a thought leader in your industry? Do you want to get your name in front of more people? Your answers to these questions will help you determine what type of content to produce for your blog.
- “Who are your ideal readers?” Every piece of content on your blog should focus on your ideal readers. Who are they? What are their needs? What are their biggest challenges?
- “Do you have the resources to blog?” You might want to publish new blog content every day. However, do you have the resources to do this? Do you have enough writers, graphic designers and web developers? Do you have a social media manager who can share your content and make sure that that’s reaching the widest possible audience?
What should you blog about?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Answer your customers’ and leads’ biggest questions
- Share customer success stories
- Comment on industry trends
- Cover events – interview speakers, provide summaries of panel discussions, etc.
How often should you blog?
V2 Marketing Communications found that 78% of businesses that blog on a daily basis have acquired a customer from it. If a daily basis is too much for you, the study also found that 70% of companies that blog two to three times per week have acquired a customer from their blog. However, always focus on quality over quantity. Don’t publish bad content just for the sake of publishing.
How should you organize your blog’s content?
Create an editorial calendar to help keep your blog on track. An editorial calendar is particularly important if you want to align your blog topics to a specific event, such as a product launch, conference or webinar. It helps ensure that you have enough blog content to support your larger business and marketing goals. Here’s an editorial calendar template that you can use to get started.
How can you get your internal subject matter experts to contribute to your blog?
You probably have lots of people on your team who are very knowledgeable about your products and would be great contributors for your blog. However, translating their knowledge into blog posts can be challenging. Here are some ideas that will make it easier:
- Bribe them. Explain why becoming a blogger is beneficial for their career and show them the personal branding benefits of blogging. Let them know that they will get an author bio with their picture and links to their social media profiles. You can also provide them with incentives to blog, such as a gift card when their first post goes live.
- Teach them. Give your internal experts your blogger guidelines, so they know what types of posts you are looking for. You can also bring in a professional blogger to give them a “Blogging 101” workshop.
- Do it for them. Hire a ghostwriter to interview your subject matter experts and write posts on their behalf. This may be the best option if your in-house experts don’t have the time to blog.
How do you generate leads through your blog?
Here are three steps to generating leads through your blog:
- Create content that is relevant for your target audience. This goes back to what we discussed earlier – creating content that relates to your target audience’s needs, wants and challenges. For more information on how to determine what matters to your ideal customers, see my blog post on “15 Ways to Get to Know Your Target Audience”.
- Get leads to view the content. Start by emailing your list whenever you publish a new blog post. You should also participate in the same social networks that your customers use. For example, become active in the LinkedIn groups that they belong to or use targeted advertising to reach them on LinkedIn. Google+ is also becoming an important social network, and companies that are active on it see SEO benefits.
- Get them to take action. Make it easy for leads to take action after they read one of your blog posts. All of your posts should have a call to action – whether it’s sharing the post, leaving a comment or opting in for your premium content. A smart way to increase your opt-ins is to advertise related premium content on all of your blog post pages. For example, if you have a blog post about increasing e-commerce sales, run ads for a webinar on the same topic on the post’s page. Your readers are already interested in the topic, so they would be more likely to opt-in.
How do you measure the success of your blog?
Getting a lot of traffic doesn’t automatically equal blogging success. For example, you might have some articles that are popular on StumbleUpon, but is this site bringing you high-quality leads? It might be more important to look at how long people are spending on your blog, how many are sharing your content and how many are opting in for your premium content.
- Editorial calendar template (Excel file)
- Slides from the webcast
What are your thoughts on building a B2B blog that attracts leads?
Hi Rachel, my first reaction is “Oh no, another one taking the easy way out with a video.” But seriously, have you noticed video converts better than text? I bet I’ll read a transcript of the video in less than half the time it takes to sit through the show, let alone if you condense it into a structured article. Then again, maybe it’s just my quirk. I know I’m a text person. Would be interesting to hear about your experiences!
Thanks for the comment. This is maybe the second video I’ve made for my blog, so I don’t have much to compare it to.
I plan to update this with a structured article within a few days. My personal preference is for videos that have written summaries (in article format) below them. I hate reading transcripts.
Since I’m a writer, most of my blog content will be articles. However, I’m going to test mixing it up with some webcasts and slide presentations. One of the benefits of mixing it up is you can share these things in different channels (SlideShare, Vimeo, etc.) and reach a wider audience.
Studies have also shown that people retain info better when it’s presented to them in video format. So, if you want to educate folks, video could be a good bet.
I’m also not sure if videos are an “easy way out”. For this one, I had to develop a slide deck, record the presentation (twice), figure out how to edit it, upload it to YouTube and put it in my blog post. Plus, I still need to get it back from the transcription service and edit it for easy reading for my blog. For me, it’s so much easier just to write something.
I’ll keep you posted!