4 Ways to Start B2B Blogging Without Tech Support

Any marketer who works in a B2B company, no matter the size, can have run-ins with the I.T. department as they start social media planning. Forget locked down devices, blocked social media sites, control of digital assets, and what do you do if you want to start a blog. Many would suggest that the blog be created as part of your website so you can get maximum SEO benefit from your blog. I would be included in that category.

But let’s say you are never going to get anywhere with the I.T. department, or maybe you work for a small company and you just don’t have the resources to go back to your web development shop, and you need a non-technical solution to starting a blog. There are many other benefits of starting a simple blog that is easy to manage. You can create an editorial calendar and learn what it is like to create and curate content on a regular basis. With a content hub, you can begin sharing information with customers and prospects. Link an email newsletter to the new blog and create some interaction with your subscribers. Include calls to action in each post to drive traffic to landing pages or back to your main website. All these solutions allow multiple users to post, so you can develop of team of bloggers. The following are four solutions for non-technical based blog platforms.

One of the most confusing things about WordPress when B2B marketers learn about it is the two different versions: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The first one means that WordPress hosts your blog, while the second one means you need to host it yourself. If you know you will eventually move to a self-hosted blog, WordPress.com is great solution. It will allow you to get used to the platform and how many of the features work. While the basic hosting is free, there are many add-ons that carry a fee, including using your own domain name instead of companyblog.wordpress.com. There are a limited number of themes available to style your blog, and you cannot change the design code of the site (CSS) without paying extra. But that’s okay for a non-technical approach. Another limitation is you need to use the integrated statistics package in WordPress, and you cannot run Google Analytics, which has become the base standard for managing websites. Many major websites are hosted on WordPress.com utilizing their VIP package. Here’s a getting started guide for WordPress.com

Another hosted solution for an easy blog platform is Tumblr. It provides more theme options, plus it has the ability to fully customize themes. You can use your own domain name, rather than companyblog.tumblr.com without an extra charge. It also supports Google Analytics, so you can become familiar with the platform if you are not. It is super easy to post any type of content to a Tumblr blog from the platform itself, email, a smartphone and a browser bookmarklet. You can even have content from other sites like YouTube automatically post to Tumblr through RSS. There is a huge community aspect to Tumblr where people can easily re-post things they find on other Tumblr blogs to their own. While you may not be learning a similar platform, if you eventually plan to move to self-hosted WordPress, you can export all your posts so they can be imported into WordPress.

Posterous is another really easy platform to get started blogging. You can post by email, which is great way to share mobile photos, audio podcasts or videos from your smartphone. Make sure you remove your email signature before sending, or all your contact information will appear at the end of the post. It’s great for short posts written on the go, or fully developed posts that you write at your desk. Posterous integrates with other social platforms, like Twitter and Flickr, and your posts can autopost to your other sites. A limited number of themes are available, but you can customize the look of the site. Your own domain name and Google Analytics are available. And again, all your content is movable to WordPress if you decide to do that later. Or you can just integrate Posterous with WordPress and have it update your WordPress blog.

Facebook Page
And finally, the simplest solution for blogging for a B2B company with no technical overhead is a Facebook Page. Once you create the page, you can create an editorial calendar for content, links and status updates. You should do this for any Facebook Page anyway. You and your team can still write posts that you can publish as notes on the page. These posts can have calls to action that drive traffic back to your website. You can still encourage comments and engage with customers and prospects who are interested in what you and your company have to say. More and more B2C companies are driving people to Facebook as a primary means of engagement, so it makes sense to communicate with B2B customers on the platform if they are already there.

Have you tried any of these blogging solutions or any others that have worked to created a simple, non-technical blog?

5 Recent Posts about B2B Social Media

The Top 5 Questions for B2B Social Media Campaigns
(from @OurSocialTimes)
I had a meeting with one of our newest (yet to be announced) clients on Friday. It’s a solid B2B business that’s seeking to leverage the power of social media to connect with senior decision-makers in various industry sectors around the world. It’s becoming a familiar request – and the questions they asked are becoming really familiar. Here are the top social media five questions I get asked by B2B clients.

Social Media: Transforming Company Culture
(from @merylkevans)
Effective business-to-business (B2B) social media is not just the latest “pretty face” in public relations (PR). It’s also transformational technology with the potential to help company departments work better together — operating in a united yet decentralized environment. Social media provides each area of the company with the power to interact with the outside world.

A Problem Affecting Twitter’s B2B Marketing Adoption (It Ain’t Easy)
(from @b2bbloggers)
Over the past couple of months as we’ve been working with clients at Make Good Media, we noticed a social media trend I thought I would share. It has to do with Twitter. As an active, daily user of Twitter, it is fairly easy to overlook this trend. But repeatedly, we’ve heard the following, “At first, Twitter is really hard to understand, quite confusing, and frankly I don’t get it.” Some have even gone so far as to say, “I’m ready to give up.”
Note: This is the beginning of a Twitter series and they are asking for feedback. If you have specific questions or issues surrounding the use of Twitter for B2B, leave them in the comments on their post.

B2B Social Media – Are we really making a connection?
(from Joan Damico @copywriter4u)
More B2B companies are tweeting, blogging and posting news, but I’m curious… are we really communicating or are we still using a bullhorn disguised as social media?

More Reasons to Like Posterous, especially in a B2B setting
(from Kate Brodock @just_kate)
I recently wrote about using Posterous as a tool for social media marketing, and I wanted to take some time to comment on why it’s a great tool specifically for the B2B space. Three of the nine reasons I had given really stand out to me.

Bonus List
Here’s a resource to find more B2B blogs that you can ever imagine existed. Thanks to Galen De Young at Proteus Marketing (and their interns) for compiling this list of 231 blogs: The Big List of B2B Marketing Blogs. You are sure to find some interesting blogs to add to your feed reader. You are using a feed reader, right?

Let us know in the comments if you have been inspired by other recent posts about B2B social media.

A Guide To Making Corporate Blogging Happen In Your Business

In the past few months I have talked with a lot of people about business blogging. Looking back at those conversations, a couple common questions continually came up:

How Do I Get People Within My Organization To Blog?
Blogging Takes A Lot of Time. How Do I Make It Easier For My Staff?

Like it or not, from my experience, the solution to these questions comes down to two things: work flow and pride. Work flow is the easier of the two to fix and should be the first issue to address. When I talk about work flow, I really mean making something so incredibly easy to do that there are no excuses, and there is a low barrier of entry.

Using Posterous To Fix Internal Blogging Work Flow

Traditionally, one major hurdle in getting someone to adopt a new behavior online was training them to use the software. This seems to be a major delay for companies working to get bloggers from departments outside of corporate communications. The solution is to let people blog using software they already know how to use: e-mail.

Colleagues and I have been using a service called Posterous for a while now. Essentially the goal of Posterous’ creators was to make blogging as simple as sending an e-mail. The platform does much more than facilitate blogging via e-mail. People use it for all types of purposes. I actually use it as a mobile food blog. In experimenting with the platform I realized that it had a lot of potential to solve work flow problems for B2B companies trying to blog.

Posterous - The place to post everything. Just email us. Dead simple blog by email.

Here is my step by step solution to corporate blogging work flow:

Step 1: Set up a Posterous Account for your company.

Step 2: Go to your blog settings and make your Posterous blog a private blog so that only those logged-in with permission can see it.

Step 3: In settings, add e-mail addresses for each member of your team that you want to contribute to your corporate blog.

Step 4: Create a Vcard with the post@Posterous.com e-mail address. Send it to every member of your blogging team and ask that they add it to their address book.

Step 5: Instruct team members to e-mail any articles, photos, links or video that they would like published on the Corporate blog to the Posterous address.

Step 6: Have a dedicated person that manages your corporate blog take the content from Posterous and add it into WordPress or whatever corporate blogging platform your organization is using and format and add links as needed.

These six steps create a private hub that allows everyone to contribute to the corporate blog via e-mail and then allows someone with expertise to post it on the official corporate blog.

So why not have everyone e-mail the blog editor with their posts? Posterous keeps everything in one place and allows for multiple people to manage the content. It also makes handling vacations and employee transitions easier. Also, Posterous is a very powerful content distribution platform and using RSS, the content could be syndicate for other uses which will appeal to advanced users.

Fostering Pride and Competition

Providing the opportunity for staff to blog in an easy way is only part of the solution. I would imagine most companies will tell you it is important, but motivating staff is harder. People are busy. Resources are in short supply. The last thing someone in R & D, sales, customer service wants is another item on their to-do list.

The solution to getting them to contribute to a blog, regardless of these challenges, comes down to fostering a sense of pride and competition internally.

Show Blog Posts Translate To Business Results

Kyle Flaherty from BreakingPoint Systems gave a brilliant example of engaging internal staff to blog during the Social Media B2B Panel at Blog World Expo. He said that he would sit down with his engineers and show them how a blog post they wrote translated directly to a sale. He educated them about the organizations sales funnel and helped them feel proud that they directly impacted the bottom line of the business.

By showing a blog post that led to a sale, generated a lead or had another positive business impact, creates an amazing level of adoption from staff. People want to be a part of something cool. People will start bragging about their blog posts and it will turn being a corporate blogger into something cool.

Make It A Competition

This tactic has long been the center of many internal motivation campaigns. Doing internal contests to create competition is another way to help bring a group together and works very well with sales teams who are already used to participating in contests. Any type of contest incentive can work and you can do them for all types of things: most posts published in a month, most read post of the month, or even most comments generated.

Blogging is hard, really hard. If you can make it easy to do and inspire people to do it, you are well on your way to all of the marketing and communication benefits blogging provides.

What is your biggest problem related to corporate blogging?