Blogging is a vital part of any B2B marketing strategy. Perhaps no other medium better represents how business decision-makers consider their purchase options before buying. But do you know what makes a great B2B blog?
Great B2B bloggers recognize that the B2B buyer's journey is rarely a straight line. In fact, an Adobe study found that 90% of B2B buyers consume mounds of related content (seemingly randomly and sometimes more than once) before even contacting you. While optimized funnels are a good thing, it acknowledges that buyers will make a lot of detours as they explore options.
Blogs that provide relevant B2B content keep prospects engaged with you rather than seeking competitors. It turns your invisible website into a highly findable one in search engines. That's because you're answering real questions your B2B audience has about their related problems and the solutions you offer.
It's no wonder 96% of those B2B content marketers who are rocking their KPIs say their blogs generate trust among their audience. These marketers know how to leverage this thought leadership status to generate more qualified leads.
What Is a B2B Blog?
A B2B blog is a collection of findable content that explains to your audience who you are, what your brand is, and what you can bring to the table. But how you do this differs depending on how far along the reader is in their buying decision.
A blog establishes your expertise and attracts the right B2B customers to you, so you can convert a higher percentage to viable leads, then leads to new client accounts. It reaches people who are making impactful decisions for their organizations — often with other decision-makers.
Ultimately, you're reaching an audience that values what you have to offer. To accomplish this, your B2B blog must deliver content of value to your target audience.
But let's dive in deeper. It's one thing to say you'll deliver value. But how do you actually know the right people find your content valuable?
What Makes a Great B2B Blog?
A great B2B blog has quality content that pertains to your area of expertise and to your target audience. The place where these two intersect becomes your blog's focus. Finding that sweet spot is the goal of a healthy content strategy.
While every audience is a little different, great B2B blogs do have several elements in common:
- Content is up-to-date and relevant to current trends happening in your industry. It demonstrates that you have your ear to the ground when it comes to your audience's experiences, goals, and needs.
- Your blog demonstrates your ability to quickly adapt to deliver what they need when they need it.
- Content is appropriate for your buyer's persona and their stage in the buyer's journey. You're reaching people where they are and not taking them somewhere they're not comfortable going yet. "Buy Now!" is not the right message when you haven't established any trust yet. A blog generally targets the early stages of the buyer's journey before this trust is built.
- It's not overly 'salesy' or trying to convince your audience that they need to partner with you. Thought leaders build trust first.
Why Are B2B Blogs Important?
Blogs deliver a competitive advantage like no other. They help your buyer persona identify their problem and find information as easily as possible. They reach people earlier in the decision-making process, often before they even know what the problem is. This positions you to be the first to present your solution when the time is right.
B2B blogging increases brand awareness and builds thought leadership. Just think about some of the great blogs you read. What do they have in common? Chances are they've become a knowledge hub you turn to for reliable information. You can be that source of truth for your audience.
Blogs help nurture buyers through the buyer's journey. We pointed out that B2B buyers often consume a lot of seemingly random content. That's still true. The average B2B buyer consumes 13 pieces of content before choosing you.
Furthermore, your blog is one of the best SEO tools in your toolbox. Blogs answer your target audience's questions (queries in search engine language). People Google their questions. When combined with a comprehensive SEO strategy, answering these queries in your blog increases search visibility and delivers high-quality search traffic.
Once you've attracted the right audience to your blog from the search results, by demonstrating the value you offer, you can simultaneously grow your subscriber list. For example, you may earn a contact by offering them an insightful case study or guide. You can then nurture more directly and effectively through email automation and segmentation.
How to Write a B2B Blog
Know Your Audience
Above all, your posts share helpful information rather than pushing a brand agenda. Through this balance, you build trust with your audience.
This may mean writing about trending topics your audience will find helpful and interesting, even if they don't directly benefit your brand. This isn't to say you'll write about anything. Content plans speak to how you'll balance your brand image within posts like these to meet business goals.
In order to create this kind of content, your content strategy must include identifying the personas you're writing for:
- Who are they?
- What are they interested in?
- What are the challenges they are facing?
- How do they make decisions?
- How can your content better inform and educate this audience?
Determine Your SMART Goals
SMART goals are another critical part of your effective content strategy. They will ensure your blog is relevant, timely, and provides value to your audience. They can then help you understand how your blog is performing.
Just look in the direction of unmet goals to gain insights you need to improve blog performance — thereby meeting bigger business goals.
SMART goals also keep your team on track to meet blog production quotas and stay on task. Content plans outline how many blog posts and other content you'll create each month and how you'll execute that strategy.
If your blog isn't meeting its goals, you need to ask why, so you can adjust your efforts. For example:
- Are SEO elements lacking?
- Are topics not appealing to the audience?
- Is delivery off?
- Do you need to further clarify who your audience is or what they actually want or need from your blog?
- Are you overly promotional too early in the buyer's journey?
Figure Out Your Keywords & Utilize SEO Best Practices
When it comes to SEO elements, keywords still matter. Whether spoken or typed, people search using words. Knowing high-traffic and value keywords to include in your blog will help with your organic search results, ranking, and SEO for improved visibility.
The keywords you choose to build B2B blog posts around should be pertinent and precise. Each post should have one focus keyword (which is usually a phrase) along with supportive keywords that demonstrate the relevance of the content to the query and the depth with which you cover the topic.
Writing with SEO in mind will save you the time you'd spend optimizing later down the road. It can ensure your blog is off to a good start from the beginning. A keyword becomes a guide to keep you on the topic, so search engines and people find your content highly relevant to their search.
When it comes to keywords, this isn't a guessing game. Waste less time by narrowing down the best search terms for your business to target. Identify clusters of words that are found together in top-performing pieces on that topic to know you're covering it thoroughly as your audience expects. Several keyword tools help you identify good keywords and track your performance for those words. For example:
- Moz Keyword Explorer
- HubSpot's SEO Tool
Once you've chosen your keywords, ensure that they appear in prominent places like the title, heading, image title, and description, as well as naturally throughout the piece.
Focus on Your Main Message
Stay focused. Remember the goals of your topic and blog, and try not to stray from them. Stick with the message you are trying to convey and what your audience needs to know. Build from there.
Think about how fast you tune out when your friend or coworker starts going round and round telling a story. You're probably thinking, just "get to the point."
That's how blog readers feel when you stray too far from what your content promised to deliver. Except, they probably won't be nice enough to stick around. They'll just back out.
It's okay to explain the nuances of a topic but be careful not to take the audience for a ride they didn't sign up for.
Subheadings aren't only great for SEO; they're great for your reader. Well-crafted ones provide a quick glimpse into what you'll be covering today. Both people and search engines use headings to understand the depth and breadth of the content.
They break up lengthy content and categorize the blog's ideas logically. Using headers, people can tell at a glance they're in the right place. This can be a determining factor in whether or not they continue reading.
Subheadings allow users to easily jump to sections they are interested in, creating a better user experience. 43% of people say they skim blogs rather than reading them in their entirety. And that's okay!
Keep in mind that they consume many pieces of content before the buying decision. You can't expect them to read each from start to finish. That doesn't make them any less impactful.
Furthermore, create your headers before you start writing. H2s and H3s will become the outline that guides your post. Outlining via headers:
- Brings structure to many ideas
- Avoids repetitiveness
- Ensure you're covering the subtopics you should
- Creates flow among ideas
- Keeps you from straying from the focus
If you're writing and maintaining a regular blog, it's important to keep consistency prevalent. People who've been here before should be able to recognize your level of expertise and research, how you use headings and back up your points, etc.
Consistency also includes providing valuable content every time, speaking with the same voice, using the same tone or point of view, including relevant links, and providing useful imagery or graphics.
If you're not committed to providing a great blog each and every time, your users might not come back and will soon find your content not to be a valuable resource to them. The first time it happens, they'll feel you wasted their time. And that's not a good look.
Other ways you can stay consistent:
- Stick with a spelling choice when you have acceptable alternates (e.g., e-mail vs. email, cyber security or cybersecurity, capitalizing "Internet" or not. Is it Ecommerce, eCommerce, or e-Commerce?)
- Limit acronyms and explain them in a certain way
- Follow your publishing and social media schedule
- Use a content calendar to plan out many topics at once rather than developing one idea at a time.
- Create a style guide
- Be selective about your images and image relevance
Get Started Writing a Great B2B Blog
Now that we've established what makes a great B2B blog, it's time to make it your own to start getting results from your B2B blogging efforts.
Start small and maintain consistency that you can build over time for the best results. Every successful big business starts small, nails down its processes, and then scales what works. Your blog is no different.
You may find that working with a B2B content marketing agency can help relieve some of the heavy lifting for you. LAIRE knows how to consistently deliver B2B blogging results and will work with you to build the great B2B blog your audience is looking for.
To learn more about building out a B2B content marketing plan that works, download the free LAIRE content marketing workbook.