Launching a blog backed by a coherent B2B blog strategy is a tried-and-tested method of getting eyeballs on your product. In the B2C world, blogging is often overshadowed by social media content since people prefer the latter's conversational tone.
However, B2B companies, specifically fintech and technology firms, don't have this option. After all, how likely is someone on Instagram to buy your big-ticket data engineering tool for their firm? LinkedIn is great, but it functions more as a sales tool than a marketing one. Eventually, your sales team needs collateral, and this is where your blog enters the picture.
Blogging for B2B works. OptinMonster discovered that B2B marketers who prioritize blogging are 13X more likely to witness positive ROI. Here are 4 tips you must follow to develop a sound B2B blog strategy.
Always Provide Value
One of B2B blogging's cardinal sins is pushing the product too much. How often have you read a short post of 500 words or so followed by boilerplate "if you think you need x,y, and z, give us a call!"? These sales-like CTAs serve no good and only turn customers off.
Value draws people to your blog so give it to them in spades. Stop trying to shove your product under their nose all the time. Providing value is a central pillar of a successful B2B inbound marketing plan. Begin by researching your customers' pain points and issues.
Keyword research will likely yield a good list. Make sure to speak to your sales team to unearth further pain points. Gather these topics together and get cracking! Even if your product solves an issue perfectly, resist the temptation to talk about yourself too much.
Admittedly, the degree of self-promotion you indulge in depends on your content's funnel position. Always remain funnel stage-appropriate with your content and always provide value. Every piece of content you publish must satisfy some need your audience has. Without this, your blog is just a collection of words.
Be Funnel Appropriate
The typical B2B business' blog is an unfocused beast. It hosts content that is 500, 2,500, 1,000, and even 10,000 words. These posts appear randomly, without any chain or story connecting them. If one were to visualize such a blog's structure, it would be as flat as a pancake. This is one of the many B2B content gaffes you’ll find out there.
A great B2B blog strategy ensures that your blog's content has a vertical structure. It should resemble a funnel, with every piece of content slotting in at the right stage. Top of the funnel content must be short and sweet, enticing readers to discover more. Bottom of the funnel content must be in-depth, as technical as needed, and have a strong CTA that entices readers to contact your sales team.
Content categorization is central to a successful B2B blog strategy. Classify your content's aims and the issues it addresses before publishing. This exercise will help you understand which portion of your audience you're targeting and why.
For instance, let's say your sales team tells you that a persistent issue your customers have is defining proper data governance procedures. Creating a lengthy post that provides data governance best practices is a great move in this case. Not only do you solve a major issue, but you also give your sales team handy collateral they can use in sales calls.
This is an example of content that resides at the bottom of your funnel. These types of content should dive deep into issues. In contrast, content that lies at the top must summarize a solution quickly since prospects in this region aren't going to hang around for long. They want an answer quickly. If you give it to them, they'll return for more.
Stop Loading Everything With Jargon
You have a highly technical product and an audience comfortable with techspeak. Despite such conditions, you do not have a free pass to begin rattling off a bunch of complicated words that will put people to sleep.
Crafting a great story is the backbone of a great B2B blog strategy. You must have a compelling narrative to back your content. Without this, your blog posts will meander and fail to hold your reader's interest. Instead, be as appropriate as needed with jargon.
Load the minimal amount you need to maintain credibility. For instance, your product page will most likely attract executives (who have final sign-off) and ops managers (who use your tool daily.) Your page must appeal to both sets of users. How can you do this?
Craft business goal-oriented headlines that speak to the executives. "Eliminate data silo costs", "Increase ROI by 55% with better analytics" and so on are examples of headlines that communicate business benefits. This is the language that executives understand.
Subheadings and paragraphs on the page can get more technical to appeal to the ops manager crowd. Leave links to whitepapers and other in-depth content that explain the finer points of your product so that they can dive deeper if needed.
End your product page with a strong CTA that will have your prospects calling your sales team. Although this is a copywriting example, your blog posts must follow similar guidelines. They must have the least amount of technical jargon they can get away with, and leave the heavy-lifting to alternative forms of content such as whitepapers and datasheets.
You want to outsource jargon in this fashion because you don't know the degree to which your audience prefers heavy jargon. Give them the minimum amount needed and leave it up to them to read content with a greater degree of techspeak.
Define Pillars and Satellites
The average B2B company publishes blog posts that have keywords sprinkled throughout. Unfortunately, this isn't going to do much for you. A B2B blog strategy doesn't just define what to write, it also tells you how much to write, and how important a post is.
Google's algorithm is smart enough to figure out the context behind a blog post, so you don't need to stuff keywords anymore. However, it isn't smart enough to figure out exactly what your website is about. Your blog plays a crucial role in this regard by providing Google's spiders with context surrounding your niche.
It is in your best interests to create Google a helpful path. Pillar content surrounded by satellite content helps you achieve this easily. Pillar content addresses topics that cut to the heart of your niche and industry. It is lengthy, deep, and aims to be the best content on the web on the topic. The way to create pillar content is to look at what the top-ranking post has to say about the topic and improve it.
Pillar content can be either gated or not. It can reside at the bottom or the top of your funnel. Given its all-encompassing nature, it's tempting to stick it at the bottom of your funnel. However, a lot depends on your niche and what your audience wants. So don't be in a rush to gate your pillars!
Satellite content provides additional context to your pillar topics. It dives deeper into nuances, provides tips, and so on. Always link to your pillar from your satellite page, instead of the other way around! These links tell Google that the pillar page is important. It will parse your pillar and figure out what your website is about.
This approach is extremely useful when you're addressing deeply technical topics. If you talk about data engineering, you're likely to flit towards data analysis principles, governance, integrity, and other issues. Without a pillar and satellite structure, Google will think you specialize in all of these topics.
If your blog content isn't extensive enough to build authority in each topic, you'll resemble a jack of all trades but a master of none. Pillars and satellites help you establish authority in a subject. Once done, you can expand to others.
Great B2B Blog Strategy Powers High ROI
Use the 4 tips in this article to create a great B2B blog that answers all of your prospect's questions. Give value at each stage and resist the temptation to promote yourself too much. Help your prospects out, and they'll automatically come to you when they need a solution. That's how you build revenues and retain customers in the long run.