10 Rules for Epic B2B Blogging

Blogging is a core component of a B2B company’s approach to social media. Not only does it show how the people at a company think and what is important to them, but it provides regularly updated, keyword-rich content that search engines like. Expanding reach by building followings on social media networks is important, but it is more important to drive those contacts back to your blog. This way they can respond to offers through calls-to-action and share your remarkable, and educational, content with their networks.

Follows these 10 rules to build an epic blog for your B2B company.

1. Blog on Your Own Domain
This cannot be said enough times. Do not create a standalone blog at a different domain, including blogger.com and wordpress.com. Your business blog should be located at blog.companydomain.com or companydomain.com/blog. This search engine-friendly approach provides regularly updated content for your website. This way you can get maximum benefit for your website from the traffic that you drive to your blog.

2. Create an Editorial Calendar
Planning is the key to any large, ongoing project, and blogging is no exception. An editorial calendar can help you determine how often to blog, what topics to cover and what kind of content to create. This can also be overlaid with upcoming marketing activities and industry events for maximum impact of your other initiatives.

3. Use Keywords in Your Titles
You want your blog posts to be found and read, and whether that is through search or on social media platforms, keywords help readers discover them. While search engine discovery may be automatic, social discovery happens when you use words that describe what people are looking for or topics they are interested in.

4. Be Human
Writing a blog post is different from writing a press release. While you should seek to educate your readers, you should also try to create a connection. An informal writing style, personal anecdotes and humor can start to make those connections. If they like you, you increase the possibility that they will come back to read another day or that they will share your posts.

5. Educate Your Readers
The difference between a good blog post and a great blog post is what the reader takes away from it. Build regular readerships, and potential customers, by providing quality educational content that helps your readers in their business. The more you can educate them, the better prepared they will be if they become a prospect for your products or services.

6. Break Up Your Posts With Headers
Scanning is the way people read on the web. Make it easy for readers to scan your blog posts by providing headers to break up the copy. Creating section headers will also help you organize your writing into appropriately-sized chunks. If you have a list (like this), make sure the headers have numbers.

7. Speak in Your Customer’s Language
Marketers frequently stick to company preferred terms in their communications, but a blog is a place to test alternate terms, especially those that your customers use. Be aware of how your customers describe your products or services and adopt some of that language in your posts. It is likely that company prospects use similar terms, so using them can make your blog posts more accessible and discoverable.

8. Make Posts Easy to Share
The nature of social media encourages sharing, even for B2B companies. Make sure to include sharing buttons so your readers can share your posts with others in their networks. Test which buttons work for your readers, and keep them to a minimum. Too many buttons could reduce how it’s shared. Also ask yourself if the content is worth sharing. Would you share it with your network? Is it helpful, valuable and educational?

9. Include a Call-To-Action
Blogging is the best method for generating leads using social media. Oh yeah, we did write a book about that (The B2B Social Media Book). But the only way to generate those leads is with a call-to-action at the end of every blog post, or at least in the side bar of the blog. What can you offer your readers to turn them from prospects into leads? Is there an ebook or webinar that extends the content of the blog post? What about a case study that shows how other companies dealt with industry situations? What would your prospects trade their contact information for? That’s what you should offer as a call to action.

10. Publish Consistently
Once you decide to start a business blog, the pressure to publish is on. The way to develop good habits and readers is to set a schedule and stick to it. Start with one day per week. Once you have worked that into your schedule, see what it takes to add a second day per week. Start looking for others in your company to blog to expand beyond what you can do on your own. Do not scale too quickly, as you want to maintain the schedule you set, not slide backwards.

What other rules of B2B blogging have you written on your whiteboard and followed?

Comments

  1. says

    Great post — thanks, Jeff! I really like #4, “Be Human,” because in the B2B world, we tend to forget that we are connecting with human beings first and companies second. Good stuff!

  2. says

    Great read. Hard to maintain a daily hit rate so points 2 and 10 are really important. It takes time to build an audience, and its quick to wreck. So having a calendar and writing consistently are key.

  3. says

    This year, we are going to schedule our blog posts to coincide with the editorial content of outbound print publications and trade shows.

    Gives the crossover of outbound and inbound.

    We have done this in the past and it has been successful.

  4. says

    Great points here, a reminder for any successful blogger and a good starting point for beginners. While this is pretty straight forward common sense, it is amazing how few companies adopt many of these principles. Especially in the B2B space where blogging is not considered vital (hello-it is!)

  5. says

    Great post! We recently started our blog on our website and have been looking for tips. I think number 10 has been our biggest challenge. Thanks a million!

  6. says

    This is a really good list, worth sharing (and yes, I did!) – Thanks for taking the time to succinctly break down what the key components are in creating a follow-worthy blog. And Samantha is so right. It’s suprising to me how so many companies still don’t understand the importance of bloggging.

  7. says

    Great tips. I agree with Rachel, “Be Human” is critical, especially in the B2B space. Even though your customers may be engineers or high-tech manufacturers, they’re still people and your content must be engaging if you expect them to read it.

  8. says

    Thank you for this post – I shared it on yammer with my company. We have got a lot of bloggers writing interesting and relevant posts. Our Corporate Blog is planned and hopsfully alive next year. I keep in mind these rules.@C. Dunmars – I was looking for a link to your new blog – it could have been inspiring.

  9. says

    I have the most trouble with #2 Planning is the key to any large, ongoing project, and blogging is no exception. An editorial calendar can help you determine how often to blog, what topics to cover and what kind of content to create. This can also be overlaid with upcoming marketing activities and industry events for maximum impact of your other initiatives.

    I write by the seat of my pants and don’t want to limit myself so far in advance. What if something new happens, like Timeline? We also don’t have marketing activities or industry events. Maybe I should just try for a calendar for a month to start with?

    Thanks for the blog.

  10. says

    Great points about making your content rich and easy to digest for the clients. Publishing on a consistent basis, ensures to your readers that you are serious about sharing information, that can help them decide if and when they should deploy your products or services. A rule that I tend to stick with is never bash a competitor by name or directly but a point towards the specific industry weaknesses. Great post. Thanks for the share.

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