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There are many content marketing tools that B2B marketers can use. The most popular is the blog. In Rebecca Lieb’s book, Content Marketing, she says: “No topic or industry is too arcane for a blog”.
She cites a US-engineering company, Indium, that has no less than 73 different blogs…on soldiering materials. Having that many blogs increased the firm's inbound leads by 600%.
But creating original content and finding time to do it is a business' biggest challenge she says. This is also something that I hear frequently too. But as a recent Hubspot report showed that blogging is something businesses cannot afford to avoid.
Hubspot reported that companies who blog 15 or more times per month get 5X more traffic than companies that don't blog at all.
But if you can't commit the time and resources to blog that frequently take heart. Hubspot said B2B companies that blog only 1-2X/month generate 70% more leads than those that don't blog at all.
So you know you must do it, and as frequently as you can.
Here the content marketing experts reveal their secrets about how to write a great blog:
1. Your blog must be useful:
Says Doug Kessler, a well known UK blogger on content marketing and co-founder and creative director at Velocity Partners. He believes:
The best blog posts are timely, urgent, insightful, entertaining, useful, personal and backed up by data. Of these, useful is by far the most important.
2. Do your research:
Is the advice given by the Guardian Media Network’s Chris Smith. He says:
One of my essential tips would be to use Evernote to collect thoughts and articles for your next blog post. Once you're ready to write, you can go into your account, search for the right tag and pull together a collection of those articles and thoughts to rekindle the ideas you had earlier around that blog post.”
3. Make it easy to read:
Is Econsultancy’s blog editor Graham Charlton’s top tip. He says:
Blogs should be easy to read and written in plain English without a reliance on marketing jargon. They should be well-formatted in short sentences/paragraphs. Big swathes of text deter readers.
His advice is to use headers, bullet points, bold text and images to make the blog piece appealing and easy to read.
4. Challenge convention:
Eric Wittlake, a US-based B2B digital marketer, says to:
Write something that people can use or challenges convention. Too many bloggers just rehash what most people already know.
Michael Brenner, author of the B2B marketing insider blog, agrees. He says:
I personally like blogs that ask and answer the biggest questions on the minds of marketers, leaders and business people.
5. Be personable:
Experienced blogger, Michael Brenner, goes on to say:
A good blog is defined by helpful, thoughtful and creative content, plain and simple. I also think a blog needs to be more personable than formulaic. Every post cannot be “6 Ways To…”. There has to be some ranting and raving to balance out the helpful list posts."
6. Satisfy your customer:
Think about any content you create - be it a blog post, webinar etc - as satisfying one person: your customer (or, your would-be customer).Lots of marketers who create content on behalf of their companies are still creating very corporate-centric content, which satisfies their CEOs, but doesn't resonate with customers.
7. Think long-term
So many bloggers think of their posts as "one-offs". What if every blog post you created became a chapter in your upcoming book? What if your next six posts became a white paper? Bloggers need to think of their content posts as one step toward an incredibly useful and impactful content package for their readers."
And six ways how to keep your readers coming back for more:
1. Use your blog to engage your audience:
The best way to get followers is to use your blog content to engage your audience. I surveyed my audience to define the list of the best B2B Marketing blogs. When I published the list, I received lots of feedback from those who didn’t make the list and support from those who did. I started a conversation and then the audience took it from there.
2. Use your blog to build relationships:
Joe Pulizzi recommends:
Every blogger should have an influencer list, at a minimum of 10-15. Put together content packages that highlight these influencers. You'll be promoting their good work, building relationships with them along the way, and over time, they'll start to share your information, which will then build your audience, network and subscriber base.
3. Keep doing what originally got their attention:
Eric Wittlake turns the premise on its head by saying:
The goal isn't getting and keeping followers, it is getting and keeping attention.
He believes you need to keep being great at whatever originally got your audience's attention - be it an effective content filter, leading great discussions or covering breaking news.
4 Socialise your blogs:
We push our blog posts out through Twitter and, to a lesser extent, our other social channels. Our daily email newsletter features the previous day's blog posts, which drives further traffic.
Graham believes that a good blog will sell itself:
If it's good, it will attract praise and people are more likely to share. That's the most important thing. A catchy headline often helps too;)
5. Have a consistent flow:
Confirming the findings from the Hubspot report Velocity's Doug Kessler says they work hard to have a consistent flow of "useful and entertaining blog posts". He says:
Sometimes it feels thankless - as if there's nobody out there. Then all of a sudden, a post hits a nerve and we're reminded of the power of the medium.
6. Create your own newsroom:
Ruth Hoskins, of White Horse Digital, believes you should "think of your blog as your own newsroom." She says
Keep your readers interested by posting a range of content each week, get to know what your audience wants and let them know what to expect each week.