16 December 2019
If you are a B2B marketer and are using business blogging for content marketing, you are among nine out 10 marketers to do so. And considering that over two million blogs go live in a day, your post needs the backing of a well-thought-out blogging strategy and a well-executed plan to grab attention online.
From Fortune 500 companies to small and medium enterprises, businesses are using this platform to create useful and engaging content for its users.
The use of corporate blogs among Fortune 500 companies went up to 53 percent in 2018 from 42 percent the year before. As many as 89 percent of B2B marketers now rely on business blogging for content marketing.
Blogging for business is indeed serious business.
Benefits of business blogging
What can a blog do for your company?
A HubSpot study in 2019 showed that marketers who prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to see return on investment. Here are some other interesting statistics – 67 percent more leads, 60 percent less costly than traditional marketing tools and 61 percent of consumers influenced into buying based on a blog post.
Essentials of a successful business blogging strategy
But for strong positive outcomes such as the above, you need more than a good idea and a flair for writing.
An eye on the end goals – Start by defining the business objectives behind this exercise. Is it to position your senior executives as thought leaders and trusted sources in the market, develop a community of loyal users through regular engagement or improve your search ranking? It could even be a combination of these business objectives. Once you have articulated those, you can proceed to determine the content, blog categories, tone and style.
Content to fit user needs – Find out what your users are looking for online. Determine the type of content that could attract your target audience. Some research and smart thinking can be useful here. If you are in a consulting business in an industry that is fast developing, use the business blog to help your target audience make sense of the changes. Don’t stop at reporting developments but also add commentaries that simplify new regulations and industry trends, and explain how they are likely to affect someone’s business. If the intended users are looking for information that they can use, make the blog educational and instructive. It could be a step-by-step guide on what they must do or not do, or include recommendations to overcome common challenges.
Have a review mechanism – In the business world, nothing is cast in stone. Change is even more frequent in the online space, and your business blog must keep up with it. Search periodically for new keywords to be inserted in the copy, review the Google analytics results of your published blogs, keep an eye out for what your competitors are doing and closely monitor emerging trends in content marketing. Be ready to experiment and change course when required.
Decide on the measurement metrics – How do you know if your blog has performed well? Some common ways to measure success are the number of visitors who have read a post, the amount of time they have spent reading it, the number of people who have subscribed to your blog (if you have that option), and the number of shares and other engagements that a post has received on social media. However, what metrics you track will differ depending on your end goal – if you are looking to improve customer engagement, it is good to have likes and comments. But if you are looking to generate business, the most important success criterion will be the number of leads a post produces.
Putting the plan to action
Now that you have the strategy worked out based on the end purpose, the target audience, measurement and improvement tactics, and ways to amplify your reach, it is time to put an execution plan in place.
First, keep a budget aside. Depending on the funds you have, you can decide whether to outsource the work or manage it in-house, or engage other creative resources for infographics and video clips to go with it.
Second, decide on a frequency of blog updates that is feasible for your team. Posting often is definitely a plus if you want to increase traffic to your website. But do you have good content that will add value to your website users? Poorly done content will dilute your brand and not bring you any benefits.
Third, create a calendar with topics and identify people who will be responsible for providing inputs for each topic. Drawing up a list of blog ideas could be a struggle, and this is where a content writing agency will be of help. Experienced content writers are trained to look for story ideas or new angles to topics that have already been explored by others. Use a variety of resources to narrow down the topics and fix the storyline – media articles, industry reports, analyst reports, competitor sites, the company’s own case studies and white papers, presentations in conferences, or even interactions with colleagues from other teams.
Fourth, by publishing a blog, you have accomplished only a part of the job. Do some research on how to optimise it for search engines – such as inserting plugins, adding meta tags and keywords, inserting alt text for images, providing links to other pages on your website and external links to articles published by authorities on the subject. The right headline will also give you an advantage, so learn the art and science of writing one.
How else can readers discover your blog? Publish it on your social media pages, provide social media buttons for readers to share it, email the link to customers who may benefit from it and recirculate it through your newsletter. Also consider repurposing some of the blogs for podcasts, videos or infographics. Read our blog on how to repurpose content and get the most out of what you already have.
From our files – examples of 3 different blogging styles
A business blog humanises your company and lets the reader form a deeper connection with your brand. Blogs are also considered to be trusted sources of information. But to win readers’ trust, adopt a voice that goes with your brand’s personality, keep your readers’ interests and concerns in mind, avoid hard-selling and be authentic.
Of course the stance, tone and writing style must be appropriate to the nature of your company’s business.
Scroll down to find out the vastly different approaches that we took to write blogs for three clients with different objectives and target audiences – a car maker, an enterprise technology provider and an equipment manufacturer.
The global car manufacturer had flagged off a cross-country roadshow to cover 100 towns and cities in India across 100 days to celebrate a milestone that its newly launched compact car had achieved. The company wanted to cover the journey and bring alive the excitement and adventure associated with it through a daily blog.
So for 100 days, our writers used inputs that the client’s team on the ground provided over phone and combined it with research on the towns and cities that the cars passed to capture the mood and the setting. Written in a narrative style, the blogs were more of travel writeups. While talking about the dirt roads of interior India and long tiring journeys, we subtly pointed to the car’s selling points such as ruggedness, comfortable interiors and ease of driving.
The blogs were published on the company’s website and promoted across its social media communities.
The technology leader wanted its senior executives in Asia Pacific to be positioned as experts in the latest digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), hybrid cloud, edge computing and blockchain.
Since the blogs were appearing under the byline of business leaders, the writeups needed to take a high level view of technology trends and their impact on businesses, governments and economies. However, different countries in APAC are at different stages of tech readiness. For example, Singapore is an early adopter of AI and has made significant progress, whereas Australia is taking tentative steps towards AI. Hence, significant research went into writing each blog, so that the outlook and recommendations that a country head made through a blog matched the country’s appetite for that technology.
Promoted on LinkedIn, the blogs helped establish the business leaders as tech influencers, break down corporate messaging into user-friendly content and develop a deeper connection with its LinkedIn community through personalised content.
An equipment manufacturer with presence across the world sought to talk about the versatility of its machines across industries and application categories. The company decided to use its business blog as a showcase for these application stories.
The marketing team had prepared drafts for some of these articles but they were not fit for blogs. The articles were packed with information, but lacked style and read like marketing literature. We adopted a storytelling approach, added fun facts along with details about manufacturing processes and performance metrics, and toned down the marketing jargon. These blogs have appeared in both the corporate site and the company’s annual magazine.
If you have not considered starting a blog for your company or you do have one but you are not satisfied with the results, it is time to rethink and rejig. Spend some time on getting the blogging strategy right, source business blog writers who can take the pressure of producing blogs according to schedule off your team, define the metrics you want to measure and get ready to roll.
How can we help? Read about our blog writing services and tell us what we can do for you.