What’s the Difference Between a B2B Blog Post Topic and an Ebook Topic?

b2b-blog-post-ebookB2B marketers are trying to produce and publish more content than ever before. More social media channels mean more content. More followers mean more content. More content from others means more content. And ever increasing goals mean more content.

In this ongoing battle between more content and better content, B2B marketers sometimes choose the volume side of the fence. When your boss is looking for more leads for the sales team, one way to get there is by producing more ebooks. Even though this can sometimes create an unsustainable model of content that can spiral out of control, I have seen the result of heading down this path.

Blog posts masquerading as ebooks.

Since ebooks are often gated content hiding behind lead forms, it is easy to think that you should turn some of your blog posts straight into ebooks. But that is not the way to build trust in your content or your company. Blog posts drive traffic to your site and the ebook offer converts the visitor. They are not likely to fill out a lead form for lightweight content. The ebook offer needs to provide more depth to the blog post topic, not just be a blog post prettied up by a designer and converted to a PDF.

Here are 10 characteristics of a good B2B blog post topic (Tweet This)

  1. It is about one simple idea.
  2. It can be based on another blog post.
  3. It can be based on one product update.
  4. It can solve one customer problem.
  5. It can easily be divided up into several small sections.
  6. It can easily be presented as a short list.
  7. It doesn’t need complex graphs or charts to explain it.
  8. It doesn’t require more than one author.
  9. It can easily be read on a mobile device…
  10. in a short amount of time.

Here are 10 characteristics of a good B2B ebook topic (Tweet This)

  1. It is about a big or complex idea.
  2. it can be based on several blog posts.
  3. It can be about something one level more general than your product category.
  4. It can solve several customer problems, or one big problem with multiple steps.
  5. It can be divided into multiple chapters.
  6. It can contain lists as examples within chapters.
  7. It can use charts, graphs or graphical elements to better explain or divide it up.
  8. It can have multiple authors to bring multiple perspectives to it.
  9. It is substantial enough that it needs to be downloaded…
  10. and maybe even printed out to read it.

Have you considered creating a PDF of a single blog post idea just to get leads? Did the short term result of leads pay off in the long run with sales?

Photo Credit: Flickr

Increase B2B Traffic and Reach with a LinkedIn Blog

b2b-LinkedIn-LogoLinkedIn has long been the place where B2B marketers could build a professional network, create an online resume and share compelling content with that network. As part of LinkedIn’s content marketing push, they launched the Influencer program to bring top quality content from thought leaders across multiple industries into the platform. And they picked who could participate. And they worked with editors.

Now that this program is well established, LinkedIn is opening their platform up to all members. This doesn’t mean you and I can become part of the Influencer program. It doesn’t mean that you will instantly become a thought leader. It does mean that you can now blog on the LinkedIn platform and have it associated with your profile. Following will now become part of the regular vocabulary on LinkedIn. Someone can follow your posts without asking your permission to connect.

Create a Plan to Drive Traffic

Now matter how starry-eyed you become about the potential, and I mean potential and not real, reach of these blog posts, you should create a plan that still drives readers back to a site you own, like a company blog or web site. LinkedIn is still a platform that you cannot control. As they roll out this platform, things will change.

Write Unique Content

Your plan needs to focus on great content. If you really want to make an impact on LinkedIn look at the popular Influencer articles and see what resonates with professionals. There are no cat videos or list-based articles. It’s a look of good, solid advice that appeals to a general audience, but with a focus on careers, business growth, technology and entrepreneurship. Don’t syndicate your content between your blog and LinkedIn. Create unique posts for LinkedIn and offer more on your own blog. If your LinkedIn posts are general, your content on your blog can be a bit more specific and focused on your prospects.

Include Calls-to-Action

Have you seen what many of the influencers do on their posts? Subscribe to my blog. Follow me on Twitter. Sign up for my newsletter. While this overload of actions can cause readers to do nothing, the idea is still sound. Blog posts need calls-to-action. A connection to stay informed about future posts or activities is fine. Connecting them to another post you have published is great. Driving them to a landing page to download additional content works too. View these posts as above the top of your funnel and think how can you convert them with content and identify those who are prospects.

Use the Platform to Grow Your Reach

Posts will show up on your personal profile, so make sure you share them on the company page and within any active groups. Ask your colleagues, partners and customers to share these posts on their LinkedIn profiles (and other social channels) to get more reach on LinkedIn. There may be a most popular posts, like the Influencers have, so it will be beneficial to get lots of views on your posts. And don’t forget that you can tag people in updates that include a link to the post to make them aware of it, but don’t go overboard. You can also follow others and they may see you followed them. Until this is fully rolled out, we don’t know the complete functionality.

Share Your Unique Posts on Other Platforms

Each LinkedIn post has its own URL, which means you can share these posts on Twitter, Facebook and any other platforms where your prospects spend their time. You can even include them in an email newsletter to drive more traffic to them.

What are you thinking about the new blogging platform embedded in LinkedIn? Are you working on that plan yet?

10 Questions about B2B Blogging Answered

b2b-blogging-questionsB2B marketers understand that one of the keys to their social media success is to create and host a blog on their corporate site. But even with this knowledge, they still have many questions about how to go about it. Below are some common questions that I have been asked about B2B blogging.

1. How Do We Get Started Blogging?

Blogging for B2B companies starts with personas. Who are you trying to reach with your marketing and what do you know about them? If you understand their pain points and the struggles they go through in their day, you can begin to think through the kind of content to create for your blog. It must be helpful, compelling and shareable. Once you have some content direction, you need to create and commit to a calendar. If you plan to blog once a week, start by writing four blog posts before publishing. This way you will be 4 weeks ahead. And keep an idea file (digital or analog) so you are never at a loss for specific blog post ideas that will resonate with your audience.

2. How Do We Get More People Blogging?

Many blogging efforts start as a solo activity. Getting more people blogging involves lowering the bar for entry for those you identify as potential bloggers. Have them send emails or word docs with their blog posts initially, rather then creating them in the blogging software. This alleviates the technical hurdles (which are pretty low already), but doesn’t deal with the lack of time required to blog. If your industry experts just don’t have time to write a separate post, use what they are already creating for other purposes, like powerpoint decks that can be uploaded to Slideshare or external articles. You can write an intro, summary and conclusion to bracket these. You can also do a series of one question videos that you post over time.

3. How Do We Get Less People Blogging?

As a blog gets more successful, or at least gets noticed, there are unqualified people who want to write for the blog. Let’s face it. Everyone is not a great writer. There are people who are not even good writers. If you need to turn people down, you should do so honestly. You can say that it’s not right for the audience. It’s off topic. The tone is just not right. But there will always be someone who is so earnest that they will keep trying. Some of these posts require a great deal of editing time to become publishable, and that is another way to move them along, by saying you just don’t have the time to edit their posts adequately. This conversation gets much harder when the person in question is an executive, or someone on the PR team who wants to publish company news on the blog. These issues must be solved on a one-off basis, but leave room for a future rejection. Say it’s not really right for the blog, but we can post it this time since it is part of our latest corporate initiative.

4. How Do We Simplify the Approval Process?

B2B marketers who are used to traditional marketing activities like print collateral, full featured websites and trade show booths are usually saddled with complex approval processes where a number of executives must sign off on the copy, the design and even the layout. Everyone operates in an environment where they are scared that the wrong thing will be produced, and in public companies the wrong thing affects the stock price. Blogging needs to be a lightweight process. While you are writing those early posts to get ahead is the time to establish this simple approval process. Share the plan with executives, which should include targets, topics, tone and even a sample article. And let them know that standard approval process will not be happening. It’s just not practical for a blogging program. And if you still need mutliple levels of approval, you are at least working 4 weeks ahead.

5. How Can We Drive More Traffic To Our Blog?

This is a huge question, because some B2B marketers get disappointed that social media is not an “if you build it they will come” activity. Once you start creating complelling content that your prospects and customers would respond to, you need to let them know about it. Social channels work for amplification, but so do internal newsletters, external newsletters and links in email signatures. You need to leverage all available channels and communication touchpoints to let people know about your blog in general and even specific relevant posts.

6. Is it Okay to Ghostblog for Our Executives?

There are many ways to ghostblog, but the most important thing is that these posts represent the thoughts and opinions of the executive. And they need to read them before they are published. The worst position you can put an executive in is to have someone ask them about a particular post and they are not familiar with the ideas.

7. Do We Need Calls-To-Action on Our Blog?

Yes. A blog that does not give a visitor the opportunity to raise their hand and let you know that they are interested in what you have to say is missing the point.

8. Should We Have a Separate Blog for Each of Our Target Industries?

From a managment of resources perspective, you should have one blog and separate the industries using different categories. Make sure visitors can subscribe to the blog by category. That means each one needs its own RSS feed.

9. How Do We Keep Blogging?

Once you get in the groove of blogging and you start to see some results, it is easier to keep going. With other writers on board, it is also easier to keep going. The only reason to ask this question is if your B2B company is not getting any results from your blogging efforts. That means you need to step back and examine what you are doing to make sure you understand the blog’s shortcomings so you can make some changes.

10. What Metrics Should We Track?

There two kinds of metrics you should look at: optimization metrics and success metrics. Optimization metrics are the ones that are only reported within your team, while the success metrics are the ones reported up to the executive level and are the metrics that others in the company care about. These are high level metrics like blog traffic, click-through rate of calls to action and form completes. But if your team wants to understand how your content resonates with your audience to improve on that, you can look at blog traffic as a percentage of overall website traffic; percent of traffic from search, social or other specific sources; and even social shares of specific posts as a relative number compared to other posts, not as an absolute number.

If you have more questions about B2B blogging, please ask them in the comments below.

Photo credit: Flickr

How to Create a B2B Content Culture

b2b-content-sales-lionB2B marketers know that content creation – and blogs in particular – is a critical part of the marketing arsenal. Yet many balk at the thought of creating new content on a consistent basis. How do you get enough ideas? How do you create content that keeps readers coming back? And how do you do it all when content isn’t the only thing you’re responsible for?

At MarketingProf’s B2B Marketing Forum, Marcus Sheridan (otherwise known as The Sales Lion provided some answers to those questions.

As a person who runs a blog or two and is a contributor to several others, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas on how to keep the content machine going. Here are some of the points that really resonated with me.

Learn to Teach

When I have a business decision to make, I start by doing my research online. I would guess that you do too. With that thought in mind, Sheridan advises that you begin to think of yourself as a teacher, with your blog posts being the classroom material.

Consider the questions your customers ask when they’re researching your products or solutions. Do they want to know about something that’s related to your industry but doesn’t directly have to do with your products? Write about that. Do they want to know about how you stack up vs the competition? Write a fair and honest comparison – without shying away about the pros and cons of everyone, including you. Do they want to know about pricing? Write about how much your offering costs. (Sheridan says it’s also OK to answer “it depends” on that one – as long as you explain why.)

Be the best and most honest teacher around and you’ll gain customer trust. Gain customer trust and you’re on your way to making a sale.

Be Honest and Transparent

I mentioned this in the section above, but it was something Sheridan stressed repeatedly and I heartily agree with him. You MUST be as honest and transparent as possible. The moment a customer feels like a business is hiding something, the trust is lost. And it’s not something you’re going to get back.

Don’t shy away from hard topics just because you’re worried about what the customer will think. Not talking about a subject as nearly as bad as being dishonest about it. For example, say on your website who might not be interested in being your customer and why that’s so. Sheridan even went so far as to say, “It’s more important to say on your website who you’re not a good match for than who you are a good match for.”

Keep It Simple, Stupid

The goal of great content is to keep it accessible. Don’t get caught up in technical speak. I find this often happens when I’m working with bloggers. They are super smart people, but they are so caught up in being experts in their space that they forget that the rest of us don’t know every acronym in the book.

This is not to say that you can never go into technical detail. However, be aware that many of your readers won’t understand you unless you explain what you’re saying in clear and straightforward language.

Don’t Go It Alone

Eliminate the barriers between sales, marketing, customer support, and any other group that talks to customers. These are the best people to get blog topics from, because they hear the questions your clients and prospects ask every day.

Get a group of customer-facing employees together in a room and take an hour to brainstorm a list of questions they hear on a consistent basis. Write them all down and you’ll likely have enough blog post topics to take you through the next few months, if not the next year.

There is power in using multiple employees to produce content and build the company brand. Develop a corporate culture of listening and teaching – these are powerful tools.

Moreover, understand that there are different personality types in your company. Some people are better for taking on certain jobs than others. For instance, there are writers who can produce text-based blog posts. But there are also actors who would do better with video, talkers who could create great podcasts, and questioners who are great for brainstorming about new topics. Each person is valuable. Use their strengths to your advantage.

A final, bonus tip: recognize that developing a content culture isn’t a one-time thing. Keep the content culture going through newsletters and trainings throughout the year. No doubt it adds to the workload, but persevere – it’s worth it!

5 Smart Tips for B2B Content Marketing

b2b-content-marketing-hand-5-tipsAccording to a recent study, buyers contact a sales representative after 70% of the buying decision is made. What does this mean? People do their research online before they even begin to talk with you. So if you don’t have content that interests them, you’ve lost the sale before you’ve begun.

Shelly Kramer and Amy Vernon discussed this subject at the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum. As Vernon says, organizations need a content strategy, a social media presence, and an understanding of how to connect them both to business objectives. After all, Kramer adds, today’s marketing process, known as “inbound marketing,” is all about attracting people with good content, converting them to prospects, closing the deal, and then continuing to delight them so they return for more.

According to Vernon and Kramer, here are the five steps you need to take to make that process a reality.

1. Develop and Implement a Strategy

Know what your end-game is, because if you don’t know what your goals are, you’ll never reach them. And in order to accomplish your goals, you need to have a strategy.

It’s important to note that developing a content strategy should never be done by marketing alone. You need to talk with sales, customer service, and product management as well. Everyone needs to work together to develop the strategy and everyone needs to contribute knowledge to your ever growing content repository, even if marketing eventually does the writing and/or editing.

2. Produce Good Content

Producing good content involves a number of factors: smart people, good writers, editors who can make the pieces more search-friendly, and more. The most important thing to remember when producing content is not to stop. As someone once told me, the biggest reason corporate blogs die is because people stop writing in them.

Having trouble figuring out what to write each week? Vernon and Kramer suggest putting together an editorial calendar, so you can more easily map content to strategy. For instance, you can easily write several posts about a single event your organization is attending: one pre-event post, one during event post, and one after-event post.

It’s also important to remember that posts can be simple as long as they’re useful. For example, you can put together a “blog posts greatest hits,” where you highlight a group of related posts that got a lot of views in the past. Posts don’t have to be complex; they just have to be consistent.

One other point – you have to be viewed as authoritative. One way to do that is to make your blog into a resource by linking to additional content outside of your material (such as a relevant blog or news article).

3. Be Where Your Customers Are

Social media alone is not enough – use it as one of your tools, not the only tool. As Amy Vernon says, ”Figure out where your audience is and go there.”

A multi-channel approach allows you to include everything from email to Twitter to advertising to guest posting and more. Wherever your audience does its research is where you want to be seen.

At the same time, don’t worry about the number of followers you have on each channel. In the wise words of Vernon, having the right 500 connections is better than having thousands of followers who aren’t engaged.

Furthermore, B2B companies must have a strong presence on LinkedIn. According to Vernon, it’s the most important platform for B2B. Kramer added that Google views LinkedIn as very credible – don’t disregard its power.

4. Use the Tools Available

There is an ever-growing list of tools available for monitoring and utilizing social media. Kramer and Vernon listed quite a few in their talk. Here’s a sample for you to explore:

Free tools to evaluate your website: HubSpot’s Grader, WebsiteOptimization.com, HubShout

Paid tools inbound marketing tools: HubSpot and Moz

A globally-recognized avatar for use when commenting on blogs: Gravatar

Alerts regarding news that is good for enhancing content: Newsle, Social Mention, TalkWalker

Tools to build your social networks: FollowerWonk, WeFollow, Twibes

Tools for building an editorial calendar: DivvyHQ, Kapost

5. Track Your Success

Although it’s listed last, this is one of the most important steps. If you don’t track your accomplishments, you’ll never know if you hit the goals you set for yourself when developing your strategy. Use the tools listed above to make decisions based on your audience’s actions. Become data-driven, and let that drive tweaks in your content strategy.

Photo: Flickr

What is Harder about B2B Blogging? Starting or Continuing?

b2b-blogging-getting-startedThere is no doubt that blogging for a B2B company is hard. Every day, or every week if you are getting started, you need to publish well-written, thoughtful posts that speak to your audience about their own business issues, while at the same time avoiding product-focused sales pitches and repurposed press releases. Seasoned content marketers don’t see this as a problem. They create content all day long. Night and day. With eyes opened and closed.

But for traditional marketers it is not that easy. And team-of-one marketers. And small business owners. It can be hard to find the time. Or the existing content. Or the creative ideas. But if you start dedicating a bit of time each day or week to focus on creating great blog content, it will become easier and more natural.

Trying to figure out how to get started? The links below provide different perspectives on blogging that are relevant for B2B marketers, and will get you thinking. But don’t just sit around reading blog posts on the internet. Talk to your salespeople. Talk to customer service. Learn what issues keep customers and prospects awake at night. Can you provide resources that can help? Not product pitches, but education. Use your blog to become a trusted resource.

Remember that B2B blogging is a long game. Whether you are looking at the ongoing search traffic or supporting a long sales cycle, both ideas should inspire you to keep blogging. Several of the posts below should provide some new inspiration to keep you going. And if you are the kind of person inspired by stats, according to Hubspot, 92% of companies who blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog.

Are there other recent resources that have inspired your B2B blogging? Share them below.

People Do Not Follow Blogs – They Read Articles
What do you do when you enter the URL of a highly established blog into your browser? Do you read every article you see on the front page? Likely, you don’t. Instead, you quickly skim through the headlines to see if there is something that actually interests you. You click on those headlines that seem relevant or intriguing, then you read the first several lines.
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Blogging best practices: 8 ideas for curated blog posts
The blog is a critical centerpiece to your content marketing efforts. And it is also the content platform that is most difficult for organizations to maintain the pacing and quality necessary to compete. One of the best things you can do is curate. My only warning is that curating done poorly and cheaply can turn people off. However, curating done well is a scalable way to create great content.
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Is Blogging Still Relevant in a World of Social Media?
I must hear this question – or a variation of it – at least once a week. So I thought I’d open it up for some discussion to the wider community. My feeling is that blogging is a very relevant option for developing a web presence but as the question states – there are other legitimate options too.
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13 Dumb Mistakes Making Your Business Blog Drab, Smelly, and Sleazy
Let’s be honest. Creating a blog is tough. Blogging requires writing skills; enthusiasm about your company; and industry expertise. It requires energy, creativity, and perseverance. You can’t expect your blog to produce results straightaway. Depending on your industry and online competition, it may take three to six months, or sometimes even longer to generate results.
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The Unremarked Death of Another Business Blog
The biggest issue with content marketing is, clearly, THE CONTENT. There are many great tools to solve the issue of how to promote and manage your content: Hootsuite, TweetDeck, and the social networks themselves. For most organizations though, as we can see, that is the least of their worries … as they have no content to manage and share.
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Photo credit: Flickr

Make Your B2B Social Media Headlines Compelling and Clickable

Every B2B company wants their social media posts read, clicked and shared. These are not just tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn updates, but the blog posts, ebooks and webinar offers they lead to. A couple of the following articles focus on the art, science and data of writing the best headlines to make followers, and casual passersby click. Social media headline writing is part marketing, part journalism, part SEO and part sensationalism. And all of them need to pay off expectations with the article itself. That is how you build credibility, authority and ultimately, trust.

As you are creating content for your B2B company, especially blog posts, you need to know what kinds of posts to create. Move beyond company news and product announcements with the below guide to types of blog posts. And finally, we share a review of the next stage of storytelling called storydoing and how it elevates companies to be more productive and to drive business results.

These Five Astonishing Headline Writing Secrets Will Make You Cry, Or At Least Click
For most of us in the online journalism business, writing headlines basically amounts to guesswork. Will people click on this? Are there enough nouns in here for Google to find it? Does this line break look weird? Should I use a question mark? An exclamation point? For Upworthy, it’s more akin to a science — and not one of those mushy sciences like anthropology or psychology, either. We’re talking straight-up particle physics. For every article they publish, its writers come up with 25 headline options. They then A/B test the four most promising before settling on a winner.
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5 Data Insights into the Headlines Readers Click
With the growth of online marketing, both the channels and volumes of content competing for our readers’ attention has exploded, making it increasingly challenging to stand out. Given how significant a headline can be to click-through rate in both search and social online channels, here at Conductor we decided to test different headline types to determine those that resonate most with readers.
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Which Format Is Right for Your Next Blog Post?
When it comes to choosing the right format for your next blog post, there’s quite the smorgasbord to choose from. Perhaps how-to posts are your forte. Or maybe you just can’t resist the list. But just because you have a signature format, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for the topic you’re blogging about.
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Good Companies Are Storytellers. Great Companies Are Storydoers
Discussions about story and storytelling are pretty fashionable in marketing circles. I have ambivalent feelings about this. On the one hand, as a lifelong advocate for the power of story in business, I find this very encouraging. For all companies, having a story and knowing that story are crucial steps to achieving success. On the other hand, I’m worried that too many marketers think that telling their story through advertising is enough. It’s not.
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Photo credit: me

10 Ideas to Make Boring B2B Social Media Posts Captivating

Many B2B marketers are still trying to figure out social media for their companies. Years of product marketing driven writing, or content as we now call it, has honed their skills on features-based marketing. No matter how exciting your products and services are, this kind of marketing is boring. And it is not going to work in a social media context.

Prospects and customer want solutions to their problems. They don’t want to hear about your products in a blog post. Once you identify your target audience and their pain points, you can begin creating top-of-the-funnel content to connect with them by solving their problems. With the right content in mind, on paper and on screen, how do you make sure that your content is found, read and shared by your audience?

Start by making it remarkable!

And then here are 10 ideas for make it captivating:

1. Use Keywords in the Headline

No matter what you writing about, you have to include the words that your prospects and customers use when talking about your solutions, business and industry. These are used in the questions they are asking in search engines and of their social network connections. The most important keyword location is the headline. See the headline above (and most of the ones on this site) for an example. They always include B2B Social Media or B2B and relevant terms. That’s how B2B marketers find what they are looking for on this site. Posts without those obvious keywords are just not found by the audience.

2. Use Adjectives in the Headline

Even keyword-based headlines need to be interesting and compelling. Or captivating. As this one is. No matter where you prospects and customers see your headlines, they are looking for something that will be worth their time. As you are establishing your authority on your subject area, every post is an opportunity to draw in new visitors. Interesting and different descriptive words, like adjectives can do that.

3. Find a Compelling Image

In this post I used a recent Instagram photo I took of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. While not entirely relevant to this post, it is a captivating image, which relates back to the headline. Rather than use the same stock photography images of light bulbs or the diverse team around a conference room table, look for interesting images that set the tone for a post. Search Flickr for Creative Commons images and make sure you give credit back to the photographer. Hone your own skills as an Instagram photographer and use your own images. You want to use images that will draw someone in, make them click and make them keep reading.

4. Don’t Talk about Your Products

Successful blog posts are not about products. Your website already does that. Provide real value to prospects and customers by providing solutions to their business problems. Demonstrate your industry expertise by giving them something they cannot get elsewhere.

5. Solve Prospects’ Business Problems

One of the reasons “How To” posts are so popular in different industries is that they answer people’s questions. Search engines are designed to provide the most relevant results to every search. If B2B prospects are trying to find answers to their problems, your posts have a better chance of showing up if you are answering their questions. And using their terms.

6. Share Customer Stories

Leverage your existing customers to tell your story of how your solved their business problems with your products and solutions. These are not just case studies where your product helped your customer reach business nirvana, but a real, human story that is interesting, remarkable and captivating. Ask yourself if you would read the story before you hit publish.

7. Use Video

Video is a powerful way to tell a story, share an important detail or present a point of view. A post with embedded video can capture someone’s attention in a different way than a written post. This is an easy way to share the thoughts of an industry influencer you met at a trade show, but keep it short. Definitely under five minutes, and under three minutes if possible. Video viewing dropoff is pretty significant at two minutes.

8. Experiment with Different Formats

Every post should not always be 500-800 words on a subject. Try shorter posts if you have a simple comment about an industry news story. A link to the story and three takeaways work. Consider an occasional longer analytical post that really takes a point of view. What about an all image post where you show 20 examples of what others in your industry are doing well, where you only have a line or two of explanation. Mixing up your post format keeps things interesting and keeps you from writing the same post over and over.

9. Use Subheads to Make it Scannable

People on the web scan. Subheads make it easy to glean some information from your post without taking the time to read it. That’s why list posts do so well. They match the way people consume information. Scan this post as an example.

10. Remember Social Networks

And finally, getting found in search is just part of the equation. Getting found on social networks is also key. Keep headline length in mind for social networks. Know how images show up on Facebook and Google+. Make sure your post description is captivating, as that may be what shows up on networks.

Remember, all of these ideas will help remarkable content get found, read, shared and clicked, but if your content is not worth reading, none of this will help. And keep in mind that blog posts just to drive traffic are not enough. Include calls to action (CTAs) at the end of every post to bring your prospects into the sales funnel.

What are other ways that you have made your B2B social media posts more captivating?

83 B2B Social Media Blog Post Ideas

Everyone is busy with other things in their work lives and personal lives, but the core of any social media program for B2B companies has to be creating great content on a blog. While this really needs to be a prime focus of you or your team, sometimes it just gets hard to publish that next blog post. Remember that you are creating this content to help your customers and prospects learn something or think about something in a different way. You also need to make sure you are converting this traffic with a call to action.

Whether it’s a shortage of time or ideas, here is a list of curated posts to jumpstart that next post (see what I did there?).

The Only Blog Post Idea List You’ll Ever Need
Examples:
Choose subjects for each day of the week This has probably been my single most helpful way of deciding what to write. Each day from Monday to Saturday has its own category. This means our focus can be more defined each day, rather than having to come up with a random topic every time we write. You can do this even if you only blog once a week—the first week of the month could always be based on one subject, the second week on another, and so on.
Use Google Analytics Take a look at the keyword searches that are bringing people to your site, as this will give you a great idea of what information people are looking for. You may think that the fact that they’ve arrived at your site means you’ve already written about what they’re searching for, but that’s not always the case.
Consider opposites By looking at an issue from opposite directions, you can get two new blog post ideas.

10 Blog Post Tips You Can Use Right Now
Examples:
The Beginner’s Guide to… Even if you’ve not been blogging in your niche for very long, you can write a beginner’s guide. In fact, you’re in a great position to do so: you’ll be able to remember all the questions you had when you were just starting out.
The A-Z Guide To… It takes some work to put together an A-Z guide … but this sort of post can make a fantastic resource for readers. You could write an A-Z guide for your whole niche (e.g. “The A-Z Guide to Blogging”) or for an aspect of your niche (e.g. “The A-Z Guide to Writing Great Content”).
What 5 Experts Say About… Perhaps you know your readers want a post about a particular topic — but you don’t feel you know enough to write that post. Instead of trying to come up with the content yourself, look at blogs, books, or articles to see what experts in your field have said. (Make sure you attribute each quote.)

31 Easy Ideas To Create Content Your Customers Want
Examples:
Take all the slideshare decks you already have and copy the notes into article format and embed it into a blog post
Create a list of the top blog sites for each keyword group
Interview internal employees and ask them to answer simple questions (by email even) such as who they are, what they do and how it serves your customers

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue featuring an infographic below
Examples:
Curate content Find your ten favorite websites, and then find your favorite post on each of them. Publish a post listing these top ten posts, and explain why you like them. You don’t even have to think about being creative, and everyone you feature there will appreciate it.
Create a worst-case study Same thing, but focus on a blog, company or product that you hate. This can be even more interesting, particularly if it’s a popular offering. Explain your frustrations with it, explain why it is successful anyway, and explain what you would do differently.
Go for a walk This is the generic advice that you’ve probably heard a hundred times before. If you just can’t do it anymore, then take a break, go for a walk, and get some fresh air. It’s not quite that simple, but it’s close: we all have routines and practices that are good at triggering high performance mental states. It’s just a matter of finding the right triggers for you.

And if you are still stuck, here is a blog post idea generator. It may not give a perfect blog post, but it is good for a laugh.

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content - Infographic

10 Steps to Creating a Network of Guest Bloggers

Anyone running a B2B blog is always on the lookout for guest bloggers from outside their own organization. They provide much-needed interesting content, they offer support by sharing links with their networks and they widen the pool of expertise on offer to your readers. But how do you get those quality guest bloggers to contribute to your blog? Here are the ten steps to building a network of guest bloggers that I have followed for the B2B PR Blog and the B2B Social Media Guide.

1. Create a quality blog

Seems a bit obvious but, judging by the number of people who have invited me to guest post on their poorly managed blogs, it needs to be said. Ask any blogger – they will be more inclined to write for you if they feel it is worth their while – that means they need to feel they are contributing to something that, at a minimum, reflects the professional standards they adhere (or aspire) to. That means
great content and appealing design.

2. Optimize your blog for search engines

No matter how great your content or how beautiful your design, if Google (and other search engines) can’t read it in their preferred language, then you’re not going to rise up the search rankings and attract organic search traffic. The number of people willing to contribute to your blog is directly related to the number of readers it has, so if you’re not attracting search traffic you’re not going to be attracting the guest bloggers.

3. Drive traffic to your blog

Do whatever it takes to get relevant people to read your blog. I’ve used social bookmarking, shared every post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, guest blogged myself, and offered a weekly prize for the best comment to encourage engagement. The benefit for both my blogs has been a steadily rising readership.

4. Have a contributors page

Any would-be guest blogger should be able to easily establish whether you take contributed content, and if so, what kind of content you take and what form you want it in. Make this prominent so that there is never any confusion.

5. Follow other bloggers

Know a great blogger who you think would be a valuable addition to your network of contributors? Develop an understanding of who they are, their preferred subjects and the types of guest posts they offer by engaging with them on social networks. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to make a targeted pitch.

6. Give something back

Most guest bloggers are happy to be paid in backlinks (the currency of SEO), tweets, Facebook likes or comments. Whatever it is, make sure your offering to the blogosphere is appealing.

7. Find experts in your field

Approach experts or up and coming experts directly on LinkedIn. Look for people in positions of power or influence and invite them (use inmails) to share some of their knowledge with you. If they say no, then why not play the long game and go for their second in commands? They’ll ultimately probably be promoted into those positions of influence, and they might be more willing to share their stories on the way up.

8. Ask PR people

It’s their job to find good guest posting opportunities for their clients. The best way to get them? I send out enquiries asking for experts in certain fields on Gorkana and Response Source – it’s incredibly effective, but only if your blog meets certain minimum quality standards.

9. Ask for specific topics

When you make your approach, be specific – asking someone if they would be interested in contributing a guest blog on something to do with their industry is vague enough for them to say yes without actually having to commit. It also puts them in the difficult position of having to figure out what to write, which, for some people is more of a mission than writing the darn post. Asking them for their top ten tips on encouraging resellers to promote their product over a competitors’ (for example) and they will be less inclined to agree non-commitally, and more inclined to actually write it.

10. Join a blog network

There are a number of blogger networks out there that put guest bloggers in touch with blog editors. Take myblogguest.com for an example. You register your details, and outline the types of contribution you are after, and they come to you!

What are some steps you have tried to encourage guest bloggers to contribute?