Blogs, the (relative) granddaddy of inbound PR and marketing, remain powerful today, even as some of the best practices around corporate blogging have evolved. A company blog can be a perfect showcase for other activities, including news, coverage, premium content, thought leadership and more. Business-to-business companies seem to have gotten the message about why blogging deserves their attention, time and budget. In the “2014 Hubspot State of Inbound” report, the company reports that B2B marketers put more value on educational content creation, such as blogs and webinars, than their B2C peers. The same report states that overall, “marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.” You know you need to blog. Here’s how to do it well. By now, B2B marketers should be convinced of blogging’s relevance to their strategic goals. That doesn’t mean they know how to build and sustain an effective blogging program. In order to make the most of your resources, follow these best practices for your blog program:
Find the right people to support the blog program. Encourage your employees to blog. Ask partners, customers and others in your network to guest blog. Tap a dedicated content creator inside or outside your organization. Once this team is in place, make sure you have someone ready to support them by participating in brainstorming, approving content calendars and drafts, coordinating visuals, managing the posting process, and working with the social media lead on distribution.
Remember the importance of images. Blogging is about more than words. Be ready to tell your company’s story and demonstrate your thought leadership through photos, many of which you can find for free or at low-cost for commercial use. Other visuals to consider include embedded SlideShares, infographics or videos.
Speak to your target buyer personas. As you develop the strategy for your blog program, keep in mind who your buyer personas are, what questions they need help answering, where their pain points are and how you can help them. These details should inform your content calendar, as well as your calls to action at the end of each blog. Consider the content beyond the blog that will help you:
Continue providing educational resources for prospects; and
Move prospects along the marketing funnel.
Plan to measure and measure to plan. How will you track traffic trends and engagement? Answer this question before you invest time in launching your blog. You’ll want a mechanism for analyzing where visitors go after they read your blogs, which calls to action result in clicks and what those results yield. Revisit this data regularly and use it to adjust your content calendar as necessary.
Grow your subscriber base. Blog subscriptions allow you to deliver posts directly to interested readers and nurture relationships with prospects. Encourage subscriptions with an opt-in button on your website, as well as in other marketing assets.