Head of Marketing
The way individuals consume content online is constantly changing, and we typically see more short-form content being favoured – from Instagram to Tiktok, short and snappy content pieces have been on the rise for years. So where does this leave blogging?
While people may not read blogs for entertainment purposes as much as they once did, blogging still has an important part to play for users who are looking to purchase a product or service. Longer form content such as blogs plays a huge part in the research decision, as it allows users to understand what it is they are buying, and who they are buying from, in much more depth than they would from a post on social media.
Blogging is just as crucial (if not more) for B2B businesses as it is for B2C, but it often falls behind in lieu of other marketing activities such as events and direct outreach. Only 43% of B2B marketers even have a documented content strategy, and of marketers who do produce content, just 7% think their content is exceptional.
The B2B customer journey can be much longer and much more complex than the B2C customer journey, with multiple decision-makers involved in the purchase decision. Decision-makers typically spend a lot of time in the research phase of the journey, and this is where a business blog can really help your company to stand out. One study found that B2B brands that blog generate 55% more organic leads than those who don’t have a business blog. Unlike leads that come through from advertising or events, organic leads are free, and as blogs can stay online indefinitely, it is a long-term source of lead generation.
Building a blog allows you to get in front of potential customers who are making their way through the customer journey. Blog content is a great way to provide valuable information and rank for those top of funnel searches, building awareness and trust for those who are looking to buy a solution you provide.
Creating free, valuable content for your audience is an excellent way of generating leads; leads from those who are in the market to buy, either now or in the future. There are several ways to capture leads through blogging, from encouraging your audience to sign up to a newsletter subscription so they are the first to know about new content, to using download forms for longer-form pieces of content.
Blogs allow you to show off your business’ expertise and authority, factors which influence whether another business wants to choose your business over a competitor’s. Regardless of whether you sell a service, technology, or a product, businesses want to know they are buying from experts who can genuinely alleviate their pain points. Producing high-quality, relevant content via a blog is a great way to prove that you know that you are an expert on this topic.
While blogging can yield a high return, it needs to be carefully and strategically done for it to attract, engage, and convert your audience.
Before you get started, you need to map out the customer journey for each of your ideal customer personas and identify what their pain points are, then carry out keyword research to see what it is they will be searching for. This will help you to create a blog content calendar that genuinely answers your ideal customer’s questions, and ensuring you rank in the SERPs when they search for these questions.
There are a few reasons to have your blog posts authored by real experts from within your business.
For one, it allows you to build up these experts as thought leaders which in turn leads people to your business. If your B2B business offers several services or products, having a thought leader associated with each area can lead to them developing a following of people who are only interested in that one topic and may not have followed for general content.
Another reason for using thought leaders to author your blog content is that it allows you to build up their profile both on your site and on external publications. Having external publications link back to these authors on your site shows Google you are a trusted expert.
Internal linking is a great way to both pass on authority a webpage has built, and to help users find the information they might need next. When creating content for your blogs, consider what other pages they naturally fit in with. This might mean linking to previous blogs which expand on the same topic or linking through to landing pages that talk through a product or service you offer in greater detail.
Blogs are a great place to host your content, but that doesn’t mean you should house all of it there. Blogs lend themselves best to top- and middle-funnel, thought leadership content. Before you put the content live, consider other areas of the site you could place these.
For example, we use our “insights” hub to house all of our digital marketing informational content and choose to keep our “company news” separate. The purpose of these content pieces are completely different – our digital marketing articles aim to educate and inform our audience who are at the top- and middle- of the sales funnel, while our company news posts are really catered towards those who are researching which digital agency to go with and want to learn more about Search Laboratory as an agency.
We also create “knowledge hubs” to house content on specific concerns our audience might have. We currently have a data and privacy hub which holds all of our content relevant to privacy updates that affect how marketers can track and target users. This is a huge topic in the industry right now and having this outside of the blog in its own hub makes it much easier for our audience to find the information they need.
Different users prefer to consume content in different ways. For blogs that are driving high volumes of traffic or even high levels of conversions, consider how you can repurpose this content to be more appealing to a wider audience. Videos, whitepapers, “cheat sheets” and webinars are all captivating content formats that can be created using content from high-performing blogs.
Building a business blog can drive traffic, build brand awareness, and generate leads. Having a data-driven content strategy will allow you to build a blog content calendar that converts your audience into customers.
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