This post has been updated in 2019.
How often does your executive team take stock of the company blog, and determine how it is helping to increase business?
This is not an easy discussion for many B2B companies.
A lot of marketers are going through the motions of updating content on at least a semi-regular basis, but they don't have a clue of what it's doing for them.
You can’t get sustainable results flying by the seat of your pants. Not anymore.
Months ago, we wrote an article asking why do marketers bother with blogging anymore. It’s a valid question. Businesses today are putting out far more content than people can consume in a lifetime.
Even though content saturation is a daunting challenge, we need to keep putting words on the page for one important reason: Organic search engine traffic is the number one source for B2B lead generation.
Blogging is still the most effective way of optimizing your website and attracting leads, but you can’t make the mistakes most bloggers put behind them years ago. Here are a few common problems we still see today:
Using the blog as a channel for company news is the best way to ensure no one reads your content.
Every business wants to share what's going on inside their walls, but if you want to attract new customers, you need to flip your strategy on its head.
Instead of being company-centric, your blog should be customer-centric.
Posting updates about your new hire or some new award that your company just received might be interesting to a few established customers, but this information is completely irrelevant to new buyers you are trying to attract.
Focus on helping them, not talking about your company.
I’m not saying you can’t toot your own horn on your blog, but do it in a way that adds value to your visitors. Write a case study that tells a story about new strategies you’ve tested and what you learned from them.
Whenever you sit down to write, ask yourself: Why will our buyers care about this?
If you don’t have a good answer, pivot to something you know they care about.
This problem is related to a much bigger issue.
The C-suite often has unrealistic expectations about what one or two marketers can realistically accomplish on their own. You will never find one person that is an expert brand strategist, blogger, SEO manager, email marketer, social media and PPC specialist, PR manager, web developer, and graphic designer.
Instead of outsourcing certain tasks and allowing their team to flourish at what they do best, business pile responsibilities on their marketers. The blog often gets placed on the backburner while the team is busy putting out fires, and before long, their entire content strategy is falling apart.
Getting other people in the organization involved is a great solution to this challenge.
Not every colleague is a great writer -- and even great writers often do not make great bloggers -- but everyone loves to share their knowledge and expertise. Try interviewing your co-workers about subjects they know a lot about, and then use them to create fantastic blog posts. This accomplishes several things:
✔ It helps other team members to buy into the strategy and get involved.
✔ It makes the process of content creation a lot easier.
✔ It ensures authenticity. Your blog will reflect your true company values, processes, and expertise.
Poorly written blog titles are another huge mistake marketers are making.
Do not, I repeat, do not get cute or witty with your titles. They may be clever and creative, but if they don’t immediately communicate a specific benefit to visitors – you’ve lost them.
Think of it this way, when you visit a website you have a goal in mind. You’re scanning through pages of content, looking for answers. You have absolutely no time to look at posts with vague titles and figure out if they might be useful. Every single title in your blog should be crystal clear about the value will deliver to your reader.
Another problem with vague titles is that they will never get found on search engines. If a healthcare provider is looking for strategies on how to migrate data to a new business intelligence platform, they’re going to search for answers on Google. A blog posts titled, “Look Ma! New Healthcare App!” will never get seen by them (yes, I have actually seen posts like this).
Lastly, make sure your titles are concise. Long, convoluted titles get cut off on SERPs. Limit each title to no more than 60 characters, including spaces, and you’ll be in good shape.
How many blog posts have you read and then clicked on the “Contact Us” button at the very end? None?
Marketers often use “Contact Us” as a default call-to-action (CTA) at the end of every article. Do they really assume everyone who reads the article is ready to talk to a salesperson?
When someone realizes they have a challenge, they may visit your website looking for answers, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to talk to you about a plan.
Most people coming to your site are at a different stage in their journey – they may be in the early phase where they are first exploring possible ways they can solve a problem, or they may be further along in the process, comparing costs and features of different solutions.
You should take into consideration how the content is going to relate to your buyer persona at each stage of the sales process, and your calls-to-action should reflect that.
Marketers used to believe that creating content other platforms instead of owned media was a no-no, but now people are rethinking this idea.
It's a big Internet out there. No matter how strategic and niche oriented we try to be with content creation, it is getting harder to earn the attention of buyers.
Building your on-site content is a priority, but you should also consider alternative means to reach your audience. Collaborating with industry influencers is a step in the right direction. And don't underestimate platforms that can help you reach new audiences, like Reddit, Quora, LinkedIn, and Medium.
Speaking of LinkedIn, if you haven't been there in a while, you may want to give it a fresh look. The platform used to be a ghost town where people buried their resumes and never came back, but today, LinkedIn is a thriving social network with lots of interaction between professionals.
There is a huge networking opportunity there, but if you think you're going to schedule your posts and get tons of traffic to your website, you are in for a disappointment.
Most people are attracting leads by networking and building their personal brands. Authenticity, humility, and transparency are valued above all else on LinkedIn, and like all aspects of marketing, you need a strategy. Make sure that you are curating your network with people you would want to meet at a business function, and engage them in actual conversation.
The golden rule of social media still applies – don't expect people to like and share your content if you aren't sharing and commenting on theirs. LinkedIn is a natural and important extension of your blog. Even though the platform favors native content, you can still deliver traffic to your site by building your following and creating intrigue about what you do.
Blogging is still critical to success, but the days when it was easy are long gone. We cannot afford to lose focus on the people who can make a real impact on our growth. Keep your content aligned with their needs at every juncture of their journey, and create for all viable platforms – not just your blog.
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