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.
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?