Why blogging is not the complete waste of time you think it is, and could actually support an effective B2B tech marketing strategy.
As your mother told you, flossing might be a pain but a regular habit delivers results in terms of your dental hygiene. It’s the same with ‘flossing’ of the digital marketing kind - ‘blogging’. Blogging can seem an irrelevant irritation, but it is actually important to your digital ‘hygiene.’
What is a blog?
Isn’t blogging some narcissistic activity for those annoying people that constantly Tweet and Snapchat? Isn’t it the digital marketing equivalent of teeth whitening, all for show but of little real value in terms of improving the efficiency of your sales process?
In modern website terms a blog is really just the area of your website that has the latest, freshest content. It doesn’t need to be an elegant thought piece inviting comments, it can just be a simple article providing your potential customers with some valuable information. That is, answering a question that they might have when they are looking for a product like yours.
For example, our client Pivot Software, who sell talent management software, recently posted this blog, examining why “HR has a PR problem” in some organisations. It is a thought provoking piece, of interest to Pivot’s core target customer – HR directors. For these people building credibility within large organisations can sometimes be a challenge, and the blog offers insights into adopting a more strategic role using metrics. It also offers the reader a useful piece of content to help them build business cases for investing in software for managing remuneration processes.
There is no fancy science to this, it is basic. They ask, you answer. What are the burning questions your prospective customers want to answer, and may be googling? Write a blog about it.
Sounds nice, but why would you do it? What is the ‘health’ pay off of this flossing?
A lead generation benefit
Blogs help you attract more traffic that is more relevant to your website. That’s because each blog you create is a new page on your website, so more for Google to index. Also because each blog gives you an opportunity to post on social media, thereby driving interested people to your site to read more.
You also gain the opportunity to convert some of that traffic into leads. By using call to actions (CTAs) within your blog, or on the page you blog sits on, you can earn the readers’ contact details and potentially start a sales conversation.
Posting truly useful blogs helps position your brand as a trusted source with potential customers. That authority helps with those website visitors that choose to engage in a sales conversation. For example, last week I emailed a prospective customer with a link to a blog on our website that contained some helpful advice. There is no immediate prospect of us working together, but I have built some trust by being helpful, and established credibility if the recipient found the information valuable (which is of course the crucial ‘if’ you need to consider).
Unlike flossing, blogs keep working when you are not. A blog written today sits on your website well into the future, generating traffic and leads. As that body of blogs grow, so does the collective value of them in attracting and converting visitors.
All this said, blogging isn’t necessarily easy, but done well it can be valuable.
How do you start?
What on earth would I write about? Once I have exhausted the latest product updates, new sales exec and staff baking competition, what do I have to say? There is definitely a finite limit to what you can write about when it comes to your ‘stuff’. When you focus on the customer’s problems the possibilities are endless.
First of all you need to have your tech marketing foundation in place. Who are the people (or personas in marketing jargon) you are mostly targeting and what are their common characteristics (i.e. engineer vs HR exec, analytical vs people oriented, male vs female)? This can influence the way you write, what imagery you use, whether you use graphs or other data, if a serious or lighter tone is suitable and so on.
Then it’s about cataloguing their most pressing problems (e.g. working faster, building their reputation, reducing risks, helping their colleagues, delighting customers). Putting this together helps you build a list of potential blog topics, but also helps identify what keywords your target personas might be searching for and that should be included in your blog.
Now it’s about actually writing. A catchy title and an informative sub-heading helps to attract readers, as does tying your point into a useful analogy or a recent news event.
Good blogs are written clearly and simply. They treat the reader like an intelligent person but don’t confuse with jargon or acronyms. An effective blog focusses on an issue and clearly communicates.
A picture also helps. Marketing software company HubSpot have discovered in their research that content with relevant images attract 94% more views that content without.
Any blog should finish with a clear “call to action”, that might be an invitation to download some useful eBook or other content you have on your website, or to attend a webinar or even schedule a demo or call with a sales person. Whatever is a natural next step for the reader.
Once your blog is complete and posted, then the job is to let the world know. Post a short link on your social channels - Twitter, Linked, Facebook, Instagram etc. Ensure you encapsulate the core benefit to them of reading your content.
You can also add subscription functionality to your blog, in the form of an RSS feed (that people who use blog readers can automatically follow), or an email subscription whereby a reader can choose to be notified of new blogs.
From there you can sit back and wait, letting the traffic roll in. You can also review your blogs regularly, see what people are most interested in, what converted best in terms of driving people to a CTA, or got the most clicks on social media.
Like flossing, the blogging habit becomes less onerous with regular practice. And like regular flossing, regular blogging will payoff for your digital health in terms of web traffic and sales leads.
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