There seems to be a growing trend amongst some B2B marketers, albeit a disturbing one, that blogging just isn’t right for their business. I’d like to question that assumption and provide a more acceptable way for business marketers to view: the blog.
B2B blogging challenges
Questions and assumptions that often come to mind for B2B marketers include:
- How do we manage and control the blog?
- Who writes the content for the blog?
- What should we write about?
- Our required compliance process causes posts to be bland and not timely.
- Blogging doesn’t really fit our business model.
- Sure…we blog (last post was in September 2009!)
Why have Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn become so popular and well accepted by the public? It’s because these sites finally empower the consumer. They have a voice; they have opinions; they want to share their thoughts, ideas, complaints and experiences. Of course, that’s not the only reason people are using Social Media networks, but certainly these are the sort of places people vent.
A more acceptable label
Because of this strong consumer focus, I believe that the term ‘blog’, in and of itself, creates a problem for most B2B marketers.
Business marketers should focus on what they are trying to achieve with a blog. Isn’t it really all about Reputation Management and/or Customer Relationship Management? These are likely two efforts that most B2B marketers are already actively involved in. Blogging should be viewed (and labeled) as an extension of these accepted programs.
Build customer relationships
No matter what business you’re in (B2C or B2B) your success is measured and defined by obtaining, keeping and growing customers. In order to do that, your organization must:
- Build sustainable, trusting relationships with those customers
- Develop brand loyalty amongst your customers so they continue to purchase from you and keep coming back
Blogging (oops, I mean Customer Relationship Management)…allows you to connect with your customers at a personal level.
Connect with your customer
To be perfectly honest, many B2B sites I review are nothing more than corporate jargon or a marketing brochure turned into a website. The information is somewhat dry. Meaning, these sites discuss their products, their services, their solutions…it’s all about them, and has very little to do with the end-user and their needs.
The battle for the marketer who wishes to transform the entrenched corporate message is no small task. It’s a lot easier to talk about what you’re good at versus how your solutions solve a real problem.
That said, blogging can help bridge the gap between your corporate brand identity and a real personality that connects with your customers online, on a personal level.
B2B blog content
Your blog posts are designed to speak in a natural language. Blogs allow people to “join the conversation” already taking place about your organization. Some posts will be about internal happenings, others will address common complaints. For example:
- Notify customers and prospects about upcoming events.
- Encourage people to join your User Groups.
- Respond to comments about recent press releases.
- Summarize key points from discussions with industry experts and thought leaders (both inside and outside of your company).
- Become your industry’s own thought leader by providing some informational, educational, and even sometimes, provocative content to engage your audience.
- Summarize your case studies. Write a 200-300 word post that quickly shows how your solutions solved a client’s problem.
- Are you involved in email marketing or do you have a monthly newsletter? Take existing content and slice it up into several blog posts.
The possibilities are endless. Think outside of the box!
Capitalize on Real-Time search results
Search engines are committed to integrating real-time conversations and fresh content into search results. This presents a huge, immediate opportunity for B2B marketers.
Here is a simple 4-step process that combines the power of B2B blogging with social media channels to maximize your results.
- Create a blog post
- Post the blog headline on Twitter
- Update your status in Facebook and LinkedIn. In case you don’t know, this is just a snippet of text letting your friends and followers know what you’re up to. It’s similar to posting on Twitter.
- Post related video (if available) to YouTube.
Reach far, reach wide – but do pull your audience back to your website. Remember, you own the customer, not the Social Media networks.
Create a Social Media boomerang
When you combine the power of your B2B blog with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. you’ve got Social Media on steroids! It’s literally like throwing a boomerang that comes full circle.
In essence, tying your blog to the Social Media outlets creates an iterative engagement process. If you only post to your blog, those comments are not likely to be read by the target audience you want to engage. Sure, you’ll probably enjoy a temporary boost in search rankings for those posts, but you can’t rely on your blog alone.
The idea of the boomerang is that it reaches out, it’s proactive, and you’re inviting those not yet involved in the conversation to come take a look. And hopefully you’ll have the final, most important piece of the puzzle which is to capture their contact information at your site.
So what are you waiting for? Go toss the boomerang, engage with your customers, and communicate more often. If you don’t, your competitors will!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.