Are you struggling to create educational B2B content for your organization? Content marketing and blogging are very effective tactics to grow your business. But, B2B blogging is a little different than writing for a B2C company. What’s the difference? B2B blogging all starts with a well thought-out content strategy and knowing your audience.
Let's dive into why blogging is necessary for business growth.
Why is B2B Blogging Important?
The most effective way to build brand awareness, increase website traffic, and generate leads, is through blogging. Writing helpful, relevant blogs for your ideal buyer personas should be an essential piece in your digital marketing strategy so your business can grow. Here are some reasons why your business should have a blog.
5 Reasons Why Your Business Should Have a Blog
1. Boosts SEO
Blogging helps boost SEO. By positioning your website as a relevant answer to your customers' questions, you will increase organic traffic sessions. With each post, you can reach a specific audience with a specific need for your expertise, and Google rewards you for providing helpful content.
Pro tip: By using keyword research and interlinking, you can boost your site's domain and be found easier by prospects that are more willing to convert.
2. Develops and Strengthens Relationships
Customer engagement is also essential to successful digital marketing and branding. Blogging provides the opportunity to connect with potential and existing customers in a more conversational way while focusing on educational content, being helpful, and building brand awareness. It also allows you to build trust with your audience by answering relevant questions and providing solutions to issues within your niche.
3. Establishes your Business as an Industry Thought Leader
By providing valuable content, you are not only building trust but showcasing your expertise. As an industry thought leader, your views on topics in your field carry weight with your audience and can be quite influential when it comes time for them to make a purchase. With the wealth of information on the internet, people are turning to Google Search and other search engines to find out who they should trust their money with. When clients trust in you and what you can do for them, there's not many reasons they wouldn't choose you for their needs.
4. Drives Site Traffic
As mentioned earlier, blogging boosts SEO. But, how exactly does this help your site drive traffic? Blogging increases organic traffic to your website and, overtime, helps you achieve a higher search rank in Google. The goal is to rank close to page 1 on Google, but this can take time to accomplish.
How do you rank higher in Google? You can do it through a number of ways including: writing long-form blogs, using relevant keywords, and posting consistently. Let’s talk about consistency.
Why You Should Post Blogs Consistently
- Keeps your website fresh and current. Google doesn't want to deliver outdated content.
- Keeps people on your website longer, which signals to Google your site has helpful content.
- Helps you target longer search terms (which are generally less competitive than shorter, broad keywords).
- Gives other sites reasons to link to you. Backlinks are one of the highest ranking factors in SEO.
- Encourages readers to share content. People will share quality posts, providing the opportunity for content to get in front of even more readers.
5. Generates Leads
Your blog is the perfect place to capture leads. Content targeted to your audience will give readers more value, making them more likely to convert. Offering an additional resource with a call-to-action (CTA) in your content can entice your readers to submit their contact information in exchange for this exclusive content. Downloadable content offers such as ebooks, guides, and checklists are seen as highly beneficial tools to prospects. Customer surveys, quizzes, webinars, and email newsletter signups are also great forms of lead capturing content to add to your content strategy.
Check out our other blogs on blogging and content market strategy:
» What is Content Marketing: Basics for Businesses
» Don't Make This Content Marketing Mistake: Advice from an Inbound Marking Agency
» The Power of Business Blogging: The Benefits of Blogging to Your Company
What is a B2B Content Marketing Strategy?
Before we get to how to write a B2B blog post, we must first discuss the strategy behind it. A content strategy is the piece of your marketing plan that manages the written, visual, and downloadable media that you create and own. It clearly demonstrates who you are and the expertise you bring to your industry. A content strategy is essential in consistently creating valuable content that attracts the right audience and converts them into leads and then customers.
When creating a content strategy, think about what makes you unique and what problems you can solve for your audience. Your strategy should consist of more than just topics and a publishing schedule.
What to include in Your Content Marketing Strategy
- Your buyer persona, or the people you are targeting
- What questions your content will answer
- Keywords you are targeting
- Goals you hope to achieve
- What makes your content stand out from other articles
- How you will promote your content
- How you will measure the success of your content marketing
Content Marketing KPI's
To accurately measure your content marketing performance, you must set Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) to see where your strategy needs adjusting. The most common KPI’s include:
- Website Traffic
- Time on Page
- Organic Rankings
- Bounce Rate
- Return on Investment (ROI)
While these are typically the most prevalent performance indicators, there are also additional content marketing KPI's to monitor that will give you more specific insights.
How to Create a B2B Content Strategy
Your content strategy is your roadmap to how you will achieve your content marketing goals. Too many times businesses do not create a clear, documented strategy to follow and blog creation falls to the wayside. Roughly 92% of marketers recognize the importance of content marketing, however, many do not see their content marketing as effective due to only 46% of them having a documented strategy in place.
There's no wrong place to start when creating a content marketing strategy. Since a content strategy is one of the best ways to increase organic traffic, every piece of content you write should be helpful, relevant, and purposeful. Your blog isn't a place to talk about how great your company is or to make sales pitches. Your content should not only attract leads but educate your prospects and generate awareness for your brand. With that in mind, here's how to get started with your content strategy.
1. Define your Goals
The first step to developing your content strategy is to set goals. This can be tricky because you want to set good goals that are tough to achieve but not so tough that it's impossible. To strike the best balance, it is best to set a SMART goal, which means your goals are:
- Specific: with real numbers, and defined deadlines
- Measurable: can easily track your progress
- Attainable: while challenging, your goals should be possible to achieve
- Relevant: ensure it is in line with your business goals
- Timely: stick to a set deadline
When setting your SMART goals, be sure to look at the big picture then break down your goals into measurable segments. Start with a basic idea of what you want to achieve with your content. Then work it into the SMART framework. For instance, if you wanted to increase your website traffic:
- Specific: Say exactly what you want to achieve - increase monthly search traffic
- Measurable: Indicate measurable performance - Increase monthly search traffic by 5%
- Attainable: It is reasonable to do this with my resources and budget.
- Relevant: This aligns directly with the business objective.
- Timely: increase monthly search traffic in 3 months
Look at current data and trends to help you gauge specific numbers. While ideally, working towards your smart goals should go off without a hitch but as we all know, setbacks can occur so plan ahead for potential problems. One of the most important things to remember when setting goals is to communicate with your team. Let them know of challenges you are facing or milestones you've hit and make sure they feel comfortable doing the same.
2. Develop your Buyer Personas
Understanding what's important to your audience is key in developing buyer personas. Buyer personas are semi-fictional characters you create that represent a user type that may use your site and interact with your brand.
Creating your buyer personas begins with research, using your sales team and current customers as your source. Determine their needs, motivations, goals and any pain points so you can position your brand to be a helpful source they can turn to in order to solve their problems, and in turn give you their business. After assessing just how your company can help them, finalize your personas with your team and integrate them into your content strategy.
Since each buyer persona will likely have different perspectives within your niche, they can help you segment your marketing initiatives for more targeted campaigns. It's important to continuously update your buyer personas to keep pace with any changes that occur.
3. Consider the Buyer's Journey
Just like there are different buyer personas, there are also various stages they can be in as they consider a purchase. Each blog should speak to your audience at each stage. Everyone isn't ready to buy all of the time. Sometimes people are just browsing or researching as they navigate the web. Use the buyer's journey to build up your content calendar and ensure there's a balanced number of awareness stage, consideration stage and decision stage blogs each month.
Awareness Stage Content
In the awareness stage, a buyer is experiencing a problem leading them to do research to help them understand how to solve it. When creating awareness stage content, focus on their pain points and not your own products or services. You are simply being helpful and educating them. Content for this stage typically includes eBooks, guides, and infographics to support the main content of your blog. For example:
- A guide to online lead generation
- Tips on how to write engaging content
Consideration Stage Content
In the consideration stage, the buyer now has a clear understanding of their problem and is researching potential approaches to fix the issue. At this point, a buyer will be comparing different methods to find the best one. Content in this stage should be solution-focused. Content can include more technical blogs, webinars, and content focused on comparison analysis. For example:
- Checklist for optimizing your website
- How Hubspot compares to other marketing automation platforms
Decision Stage Content
In the decision stage, the buyer has identified a solution for their problem and they're compiling a list of products or vendors to solve their problem so they can make a final purchase decision. Decision stage content should be more brand-focused and specific on how your products or services can help them. Content in this stage includes case studies, testimonials, pricing sheets, and free trials.
- How our marketing strategy increased conversions by 20% for our client
- Get a free marketing audit on us
4. Determine Brand Voice & Tone
Once you know who you are talking to, it is time to determine how you'd like to talk to them. Successful companies have their own unique brand style and personality, and creating this branding style starts with the voice and tone of their content.
Brand Voice: Voice refers to the personality of your brand. Think of adjectives to describe your brand and how'd you like your ideal customer to describe you. For instance, are you warm and welcoming? Simple and confident? Playful and quirky?
Brand Tone: This not only embodies your brand's personality but the emotion behind your message. There can be different tones for different circumstances including the buyer persona you are speaking to, the type of content you're creating, or the message you are conveying. For example, your tone can be humorous, assertive, formal, or informal to name a few.
Essentially, your brand has one voice but multiple tones that shape your voice in different content. When developing your brand and voice, think about what kind of content your buyer personas respond to. You will want to create a voice and tone within your content that will resonate with your audience. After you've defined your brand and voice, create a content style guide to ensure everyone in
5. Perform a Content Audit
Many companies jump straight to adding new content, but it is important to gauge the state of your existing content before doing so. A content audit is an in-depth look at the content you've already created. A content audit allows you to discover what's working and what your audience has been responding to. It also tells you what's not working so you can steer clear those tactics in your future content. You can discover holes in the types of content you've created to let you know what topics you need to cover in the coming weeks plus find articles that need updating for better performance.
How to Do a Content Audit
- Take inventory of all your content assets: You can take inventory of your content manually or use a tool like Screaming Frog to pull your site's content URL's.
- Organize your content: You can organize your content however you want utilizing spreadsheets and other tools to keep everything straight. When organizing, group your content into categories to get better insights. A couple categories to sort by when doing so are
- stage of the buyer's journey
- Add performance indicators: Your success metrics will depend on the goals you have set for your content strategy. A couple performance metrics to start with are
- organic page views
- keyword rankings
- amount of time spent on page
- social shares
- Analyze your data: As you sort through your data, look for trends, such as best performing topic categories. Or perhaps a common content length your blogs convert the best with. This is where you will identify holes and determine which blogs need updating.
Content audits take time, but they are extremely valuable when determining your content strategy. To stay updated on your progress and performance, you should do an audit of your content every quarter. A great way to use your content audit to the fullest is by comparing it to your competitors content for additional insights and inspiration. If you want to take it one step further, expand the auditing process to other marketing channels such as your social media or email marketing.
6. Brainstorm Content Ideas
How to Find Blog Topics
- Ask your sales team about the questions they hear the most from leads and customers. Each question is a blog topic.
- Talk to your customers. They can offer you much insight into what it takes to be successful in their jobs and in their industry.
- Don't assume how people are using the internet to search. Do keyword research to find out what topics people are searching for and how best to optimize your site for SEO. Keyword tools, such as in SEMRush and Moz, will give you a clear picture of what phrase to target in each blog.
- Conduct competitor research on the topics they have chosen. This will give you insight into industry happenings as well as topic ideas.
7. Identify Other Types of Content to Create
As mentioned before, it is important to tailor your content to your buyer personas by utilizing different forms of content for each stage. As you are creating your content strategy, identify where other forms of content would work well in your content pieces. Perhaps linking to a case study can give your blog article the boost it needs to convert. Or an infographic would be helpful when educating prospects on areas of interest within your industry. Downloadable offers such as eBooks and checklists are also excellent tools to showcase in your content to capture leads.
8. Document and Execute Strategy
To be successful in your content strategy, you must document it in order for the whole team to stay on the same page about your marketing initiatives. This alignment within your organization makes it easier to get buy-in from executives and get other members of your team involved in creating content. As you document your strategy, create a content calendar to house all the content you plan on creating and publishing over a given timeframe. You should include everything from targeted keywords to projected publish dates.
9. Measure your Content Marketing Performance
Your job is not done once you have published your content. Now you must measure the ROI of your content marketing. it can be difficult to determine what aspect of your article led to a conversion, however, monitoring a few important metrics can show you the overall performance of your content.
Content Marketing Performance Metrics
- number of visits to a page
- call-to-action click through rates (CTR)
- on-page conversion rates
- keyword rankings
- social media shares
As an all-in-one marketing automation platform, Hubspot makes reporting on these metrics easy. As a Hubspot Solutions Partner, we specialize in Hubspot integration for our clients and can show you the best way to use the helpful tools it offers.
How to Write a B2B Blog Post
Don't skip ahead to this part! Make sure you have a solid strategy in place. Once you're set, it's time to write. Focus each story on your B2B blog titles. We used the word story for a reason. Your B2B blogs should have a beginning, middle and end. This will help you structure your blogs and make them easier to read. If they're helpful, people will share them!
How to Structure a Blog Post
Your blog should include headers and sub-headers for improved readability and organization. It will look something like this:
- Blog Post Title (H1)Intro
- First Point Here (H2)
more about this
- Second Point Here (H2)
more about this
- Sample Sub-topic (H3)
more about this
- Sample Sub-topic (H3)
more about this
- Third Point Here (H2)
more about this
- Closing Statement header (H2)
Let your creativity flow. Your blog is the place to express your ideas, as long as they're helpful to your audience.
Be sure to use white space, images, videos and headers to make the blog more pleasing to read and easy to browse. Don't try to tackle too much in one blog. If you're going off on tangents or too much detail, break up the blog. Split the idea into multiple parts or repurpose the content, or else you may have an eBook on your hands.
How to Make an Educational B2B Topic Interesting
Some find business blogging difficult because of the topics available within their industry. Fortunately, we have a few tricks up our sleeves to help you write compelling content about whatever you topic you want.
- Start by Asking a Question
A question pulls the reader in and makes them think. Make sure the question is relevant to your audience so it will draw their attention to the topic at hand. Use your article to answer the question in a well thought out manner and provide examples to prove your point.
- Make the Topic Relatable
Readers associate more importance with topics they can relate to. A relatable topic will focus on the "why" of your article and encourage them to learn more about how it will impact them.
- Tell a Story
There's a reason we are calling blogs stories, and that's because people love stories. Stories bring content to life and make your content more engaging. Share client stories(with their permission of course) about how you helped them solve a problem or relay a story you've heard to get your point across. This will help your story stick to the reader's mind.
- Connect your Topic to Relevant Trends or Current Events
Connect your business with things that are going on in the world. Showing how your business is related to a hot topic, or popular trend will make you seem both knowledgeable and relevant to your audience. This will not only increase interest but hopefully spark conversation from your readers.
Get Started with B2B Content Marketing
So, there you have it! Writing a B2B blog doesn't have to be scary or intimidating. Start with developing a strong content strategy and use our tips to aid you in writing your B2B blogs. What’s next? Download the Content Marketing Workbook to start planning long-term content strategy and generate valuable content ideas for your content calendar.
*Originally published on April 3, 2018, and updated on October 5, 2020 for accuracy.