B2B blogs: Why blogging is good for business.
Blogging is one of the most powerful B2B lead generation tools that any business can deploy. With the right content marketing strategy and quality blogs you are guaranteed to generate higher traffic to your website, increase B2B leads and most importantly, sales.
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses and content marketers are putting a concerted effort in, but seeing very little return on their investment. All too quickly they jump to the conclusion that blogging doesn’t work for their business. We want your business to reap the incredible rewards that can be achieved when you get B2B blogging right. So sit tight, we’re going to take you on a whistle stop tour that explains what a B2B blog is, why your business needs to blog, and how to create the perfect blog.
What is a B2B blog?
A business blog is an article that is published on your business’s website – usually in a specific section of the website allocated to such resources. It should not directly sell your product or service, but instead educate and inform your customers and prospects in related subject matter. In case you hadn’t guessed, you’re currently reading a business blog.
Here at Brightly we are a B2B digital agency specialising in lead generation. B2B blogs are one of the primary tools in the B2B lead generation toolkit, and so providing our audience (that’s you) with a blog on how to create the perfect business blog (that’s this), is a great way to draw traffic to our website and build trust (with you – our audience).
But now, we’re beginning to touch on the next part of this blog, which is why you need a B2B blog. So let’s take a look at that in more detail.
Why create a B2B blog?
As we mentioned in our introduction, a B2B content marketing plan with business blogs has an incredible capacity to generate higher website traffic and more leads. It’s one of the most effective content marketing tools there is, which is why businesses using blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67% more leads than those who don’t.
One of the reasons that it’s so effective and has gathered so much traction over more recent years is because it delivers on so many levels.
First and foremost B2B blogging can have a seriously positive impact on your inbound website traffic. Why? Because if you’re doing it effectively, then you’ll have optimised your blog so that it is found by Google (other search engines are available) and ranked highly. If it’s well thought out, your blog’s title and subject matter will address a question or concern that your prospective audience are looking for answers or information on – so if all the stars align, they’ll land neatly on your blog post when they type in their search query.
We’ll talk more about how to optimise your blog, the kind of subjects you need to be blogging about and the sales and marketing tools you need later. Right now we want to focus on the many other reasons why you need a B2B blog.
But before we crack on with the list, there’s one more thing to cover off in relation to inbound traffic. The fact is, the more regularly you blog, the more inbound traffic you will generate.
The other thing to mention is the importance of inbound leads. These are leads (prospects) that are voluntarily depositing themselves on your website, all of their own accord. Apart from posting good content on your website, you’re not necessarily proactively doing anything or paying anything towards them finding you. The reason we like inbound leads are because they normally cost less than outbound leads (because you’re not doing anything) and they’re ten times more likely to convert to a sale.
Another reason why blogs improve your website traffic is because they are essentially expanding the size and depth of your website. Each blog is a whole new webpage. And when you’re blogging regularly, that’s a whole host of new webpages and B2B content that’s ready and waiting to be indexed.
You know how we said that blogs are great because they create inbound leads to your website. Well that’s absolutely true. But if you’re blogging regularly then we should also mention that you’re missing a trick if you don’t maximise the mileage you get out of your blog. What do we mean by that? Basically, you’ve gone to the trouble to think about a subject that you know your audience is going to be interested in. You’ve taken the time to research it and write about it. So don’t just post it on your website. Give it legs and let it wander off and promote your business, by emailing it out, posting it on social and business media channels or even in online and offline press. Maximum mileage equals maximum return on investment (i.e. your time).
Traffic and potential sales leads are beyond a doubt very important to any business, but so is building trust and credibility. People buy from people and in the wonderful world of sales, that’s something that is unlikely to ever change. They may now be turning in droves to the World Wide Web to find their next supplier, but they are still unlikely to commit if they don’t trust you. Which is where B2B blogs are so powerful. They allow you to wax lyrical on subjects that you know everything about and to share that knowledge in order to educate and inform your prospects. By sharing knowledge through blogs you’re building credibility, authority and trust. And when your prospects trust you, then you’ve got them eating out of the palm of your hand.
Why else should you have a B2B blog? Yes, there are yet more reasons. In fact we could go on for days, but we’re conscious of your time, so just a couple more points of note. A blog means you’re posting fresh content on your website. And the search engines love a bit of fresh content. A blog also gives you an opportunity to include lots of links to other content on your website. And the search engines love a bit of link juice. And finally, for now, a blog is shareable and isn’t going anywhere. That means it will continue to work hard on behalf of your business for as long as it’s available, and unlike paid ads, can provide a return for many years to come.
How to create the perfect B2B blog
Just because you or one of your esteemed colleagues happens to be the authority in their field, doesn’t mean that they can or will produce a business blog that works. And when we say works, we mean, it’s optimised so that it’s found by your audience; it encourages them to click through and read the blog; it engages them so that they save, like and share it; and it keeps them coming back to your site for similar content. And even better, it ensures they are fully warmed up and receptive to hearing from you when you decide to activate an outbound marketing activity.
That’s a very big ask of anyone who is not a professional copywriter. And so, our first point would be – if you can, engage a professional copywriter or digital agency that specialises in B2B content marketing and lead generation. It will cost you, but in the time that you’ll save and the results that you get, it should be worth every penny. A professional copywriter will do everything that we are about to outline in this blog, as a matter of course. They’ll be objective. It’ll take save you a LOT of time and if they’re any good, then they’ll produce blogs that engage, resonate and convert your audience into solid B2B sales leads.
If you decide to go it alone, then here are some key points that you need to follow:
Create original content – The two main purposes of creating a business blog is to drive traffic to your website and to build credibility and trust. How do you do that? By creating content that your audience is looking for and that’s content that answers questions, offers help and advice and/or allays their concerns. Your aim is to influence a sale by delivering content that they are looking for. There are probably (or there should be) at least a dozen subjects that trip off your tongue. But first you need to make sure your chosen subject is going to push the buttons of the right people and that you have a robust schedule in place, to ensure your B2B content strategy doesn’t lose momentum.
That’s why we’d highly recommend investing time in producing customer personas or profiles and a comprehensive B2B sales lead strategy.
Plan your structure – Fundamental to your blog’s success is how easy it is to read and how easily it flows. It needs to be effortless. That means your audience needs to quickly understand the subject and the purpose of the blog, and easily digest the salient points. That’s where a carefully constructed and coherent structure is absolutely essential. What’s more, spending time planning the structure will not only help your blog flow nicely, but it also makes the writing process a lot quicker and easier.
Our advice would be to make a list of the points that you want to cover and then the information that you are going to provide to support those points. The next step is to re-jig them into a logical and smooth flowing structure with the most important points first. You want to keep your reader engaged and if you’ve done your persona profiling properly you should know what is going to interest them and push their buttons. That’s the information you want to shoehorn in upfront.
Optimise it - One of the main reasons for posting blogs is to help with search engine optimisation (SEO). Your blog’s title should therefore contain keywords that a reader will type into a Google search query when searching for related information and material (such as B2B blogs). Again - keep it simple. Clever word plays won’t help with SEO. So long as you know the subject and the structure of your blog, then don’t sweat over the title. It’s better to start writing and get some words on paper than stall at the first hurdle. You can always come back to it. Optimisation also involves considering the blogs’ title tags, meta descriptions and image alt text. If you’ve done your keyword analysis and you know what you’re optimising the blog for, these should be easy enough to complete.
Subheadings and bold text - It’s important to remember that people read very differently online. Think about how you read pages online. You don’t necessarily read from left to right. You’re likely to scan pages rather than read every word. You’re also likely to focus on subheadings, bold text and links. So make sure you break up your text with relevant subheadings and don’t forget to include keywords in them.
Paragraph and sentence structure - Keep sentences and paragraphs short. It helps with readability. An average of 12-15 words per sentence is recommended.
Add links - You want your web visitors to take a look around the rest of your site and learn more about your business. That’s why you should always include internal links to other relevant website pages. The other reason, as we’ve already mentioned is that search engines love to follow the links to take a look at more relevant content.
Tone of voice - Blogs are informal opinion pieces so don’t be afraid to be conversational and to inject some personality and humour into your post. But don’t force it if it doesn’t come naturally. It’ll be as uncomfortable for your reader as listening to Dick Van Dyke’s fake cockney accent in the original Mary Poppins.
Hopefully we’ve persuaded you how powerful a regular and carefully thought out and crafted B2B blog can be. No one is suggesting it’s a small task. There’s a lot more involved than you may first presume, but if you do it correctly, you will reap dividends. And over time, we promise you, the process will become easier and the rewards will build so that eventually your sales team are converting warm lead after warm lead and your blog will be one of the hardest working assets in your business.
If you’d like more information on how to generate B2B sales leads, then get in touch.