It’s fairly standard thinking these days that every company should have a blog – it is, after all, one of the cornerstones of a strong content marketing plan. But you may find yourself wondering what exactly should go on that blog. To answer a question with a question: Well, what do your clients' customers want?
The biggest rule of a strong business blog strategy is this: Provide value. Most business people are busy, and their social media streams are already flooded with industry-related content every day. Your client's blog needs to stand out, or it needs to be such an invaluable resource that they come to them. Here are a few ways you can make that happen.
1. Enrich the Pre-sales Experience
These days, consumers do all the necessary research to make purchasing decisions – or at least narrow the field to a couple options – before they ever make contact with a sales rep. And that’s if they ever make contact with a sales rep. B2B sales are fundamentally no different than consumer purchasing – in fact, 90% of corporate buyers age 18-35 now make their purchases online.
Branded content is, as a result, more important than ever for B2B marketers – by the time that purchaser engages with your company, she will be 57% of the way through the decision-making process. It’s critical to ensure that product information is readily available on your company website – and your business blog strategy can focus on ways to create value beyond your standard sales page.
Don’t worry about broad appeal – write for the people who are already interested in your client's product. Think of ways you can help to give them that extra push. Monitoring social media in your market can help provide additional intel, if you feel uncertain about the true needs of customers – and if you haven’t created customer personas yet, this is a great way to hammer out the customers’ hidden needs.
Create a series of articles highlighting different aspects of your client's product or different ways to use it – you may spark new ideas for potential customers or convince them that the product has superior flexibility. Provide real-world examples and workplace scenarios – you can create a more relatable, personal experience on the blog than on the sales page. And that can be very persuasive.
2. Communicate Industry News and Trends
Things move fast in the digital age, no matter what industry you’re in. Part of demonstrating that you’re worth your salt is keeping up with the trends – and it’s also, fortunately, an endless source of content for your blog.
Some key areas to keep an eye on include:
Major industry movers and shakers
New techniques and technology
Done correctly – without showcasing or driving traffic to direct competitors – this strategy can help your client become a go-to resource for customers when they want to catch up on the latest industry news. Don’t be hit-or-miss in your coverage – become a reliable industry news hub. Then, when your readers have a need for the products or services your client just happen to offer, they'll be organically top-of-mind and well-positioned to capture the sale.
3. Provide Thought Leadership
There’s a fairly big difference between blogging about the latest happenings in your client's industry and creating meaningful, thought-provoking new ideas in areas of expertise. Think of it this way. The trend approach: “Apple creates new wearable device.” The thought-leader approach: “How wearable devices will totally reshape your business in the next five years.”
Cultivating a culture of thought leadership on your client's team and providing ways for their staff to share those ideas – namely, on their blog – will generate buzz and establish the company as one to watch. By consistently demonstrating strong ideas and superior expertise, you will make an impression on potential customers.
You can also make thought-leadership pieces work symbiotically with the business blog strategy by pursuing guest-posting gigs. Many websites allow guest writers to include a bio with their piece, and you can create a backlink to your body of work on the company blog – where the amazing content will lure them in and keep them coming back.
With a little work, a strong business blog strategy will leave you well-positioned to increase your company's mental real estate and capture more sales. Ideally, a combination of the strategies above will ensure a healthy mix of content that creates a compelling experience for readers.