Posts

Business Content Marketing: Make Your B2B Blog More than Just A Blur Of Information

Let’s talk about pimping your blog.

Blogging has become a real social phenomenon over the past few years and for good reason. Besides being a great customer service tool, its ability to rank highly in search engines, attract swarms of traffic, create advertising revenue, promote services and generate sales has led to the growing importance of the blog as a business tool worldwide.

Simply put: there just isn’t any way around it.

As books inform us of the past, blogs inform of the here and now.

So what makes a blog great?

Like most things in life, there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all approach.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so yes, in some aspects it comes down to your target audience, as well as topic relevance. But wouldn’t it be great if one had a general recipe for success?

There might not be a one-size-fits-all approach, but below are a few of the most fundamental things one needs to keep in mind when hammering out that next blog.

person holding pencil near laptop computer

Touch on Relevant Issues and Predict Any Possible Future Ones

Talking about hot topics is an essential way to get your audience involved and keep them updated on any current happenings. Everyone wants to know what is going on around them and if there is anything they need to look out for.

Including this approach in your blogging could be the hook that reels your catch in.

Most businesses want to find out what’s next for their industries too. Make sure you include up-to-date facts and statistics; audience response has shown that numbers are powerful. This is one of the reasons why statistics can be such persuasive pieces of evidence when bringing across a point.

Acknowledge Your Audience’s Problem Points

In many cases, what makes a blog great is that it provides content that solves the problem your readers have. Now this is not to say that you must monopolise on people’s misery, but pain points are a great motivator to get people to click.

This approach can enable  you to reach out and resonate with your audience rather than just throwing information at them. The fact is that people tend to pay more attention if something can or does affect them directly.

Watch How You Reveal Your Hand

An important thing to remember, especially when it comes to business blogs, is that your audience usually already know you are selling something. It’s how you go about it that matters.

We all dread that sleazy, pushy salesman that gets up in your face and tries to squeeze a sale out of you. So when writing your blog, feel free to include your services or products but don’t overdo it!

Go for a more rounded approach. Include interesting facts and information, concentrate on making your blog educational, engaging and relevant. Convince your audience that they need to have what you’re selling without trying to force their hand.

Making Your Audience Think

It’s a fact that people like to learn. They feel useful when using that brain in their heads, even more so when they can bring an interesting piece of information to a conversation. Blogs are a great way of providing that kind of opportunity for people. After all, it is the ultimate forum for giving and receiving information.

A good point to remember is that people don’t enjoy being spoken at, so when creating a blog rather angle your approach towards engaging with your audience and not speaking at them. Include questions, metaphors and examples that encourage thinking and personal deduction.

Visuals Are Key

Let’s face it, words on a screen are boring!

Lines and lines of black letters on a white screen… no wonder programmers get so many headaches.

Breaking the monotony up with relevant visuals is a must. You have to give those reading eyes a break and the beauty of it is that you can do this while still providing information. Studies show that the human brain is capable of processing information from an image 60 000 times faster than text. So those infographics not only bring colour to your piece but can actually boost what you are trying to bring across, while making your blog easier to read. Win win!

Keep Track Of Your Blog’s Performance

To know if your blog is a success or not you need to dig into its metrics.

Yes, this sounds complicated but fear not! Like everything else an app has been created. A great one to use is Google Analytics. It maps all relevant stats on your blog and feeds back information on how it is doing.

This information can be crucial in learning what works for you and what doesn’t.

Blogging Your Way To A Successful Tomorrow

Blogging has come a long way since it first appeared in the late 1990’s.

It’s become a universal language in its own right. And learning how to do it right is not only a requirement but a status symbol.

Like an online profile, your blogs can and do speak for you. The work you create provides a literal representation of who you are and what you seek to provide.

So the next time you write a blog, don’t just indulge in verbal diarrhea. Take note of the things that matter and be classy about it!

Why Business Blog Content is Important

Attention spans are shortening.

People are getting lazier.

Social media seems to be the only thing people have time for these days.

The popularity of visual content is growing by the second.

And it seems like your feed is filled with memes rather than a good read.

So, is blogging still as relevant as it used to be?

Should you, quite honestly, give a crap about keeping your blog going?

Here, have a truth bomb: YES. YOUR BLOG IS STILL THE KING OF CONTENT.

blogging gopinleads

Your Audience Needs to Be Able to Find You Wherever, Whenever

The digital ecosystem is constantly expanding. As a result, consumers’ expectations are growing daily too. Your audience wants to be able to interact with you on whatever channel they choose, at whatever time suits them. So, while they might encounter you on social media first, they’re probably going to head on over to your website at some point too.

Your blog is where they’ll go digging for more information. It’s where they’ll decide whether you know what you’re talking about or not. If your last post was added yonks ago, they’ll assume you no longer care enough to a) deliver value and b) maintain your image. Think of your blog as the pageant queen of your website. If you don’t keep adding hairspray, she’s going to start looking pretty disshevelled.

We live in an era where consumers tend to do a little extra research when they need to make a large or long term purchase. Your audience probably doesn’t make these decisions lightly, so you’d better have something good for them to read through when they need it.

Partner with influencers and guest bloggers if you have the chance. It helps to give your content more clout and makes your brand seem more relevant. After all, if other people are willing to invest time in your blog, you must be doing something right.

Your Social Media is a Hungry Beast and it Needs Food

At this point, you need to realise that your blog and social media efforts are way more than mere roommates. They don’t simply co-exist. Your social media feed is hungry for good content, and there’s no better place to source something your audience can sink their teeth into than your own blog.

Spend some time coming up with seriously juicy blog posts – including images and video whenever possible. Then take what you’ve created and split it into easily digestible, bite-sized pieces that you can roll out on social media. Fresh content keeps your audience interested. And if they want to spend some time scrolling through something longer, they’ll know your blog is the place to go.

Blogs Are the Key to Value Transactions

When typing up your new blog posts, you need to realise that there’s a value exchange happening between you and your audience. Readers are exchanging their time (and their “share buttons”) for quality content. Whether your blog is informative, educational, emotional, uplifting, or inspirational, you need to give people a reason to keep reading.

Your Blog Supports Your SEO Strategy

You’ve heard this before. In fact, you’ve probably heard it a hundred times. Your blog exists not only to provide value to your website’s visitors but also to feed the SEO machine. Solid blogging with sound keywords can help your business rank incredibly well from an SEO standpoint.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should start keyword stuffing indiscriminately. That would make your content unreadable. Ain’t nobody got time for that. If your content pleases your readers, it’ll please the Google gods too.

You Can Involve Your Audience in the Story-Telling Process

People love a good story. We’re all emotional beings, after all. Well, most of us, anyway. And nothing makes a story better than being IN IT.

Use your social media to encourage interaction from your audience. Whether you’re conducting a survey, running a “best photo comp” or whether you’re asking people to share their experiences, chances are at least a few people will bite. Use their stories on your blog. Feature them. Tag them. Make them feel important. They’ll share your content for sure.

By the next time you ask for social interaction, you’ll probably notice more people on board. Lather, rinse, repeat.

This Time, Peer Pressure Counts

Everyone’s doing it. The blogging bandwagon is a big one. Your competitors are probably out there blogging up a storm. Can you really afford not to do the same?

The key here is to be better in some way. Stand out. Take a refreshing stance.

Are your competitors only blogging about their products/services? Show your audience that you care more about providing valuable information.

Are your competitors blogging up a serious snooze fest? Dig deep and provide something a edgier.

Blog away folks. Blog away good.

Using Repurposed Content Multiply Your Reach

It’s a fact of our modern lives that there isn’t enough time to do the things that we want to do. If you’re a business owner, the temptation is to work more in your business as opposed to on your business. This is because doing the work yourself is more ‘comfortable’ than teaching other people how to do it, and trusting them to do it well. You know how to do the work and are practiced in it. Being the boss is a new kettle of fish and it’s going to take time for you to learn how to manage your workflows and marketing correctly while, at the same time, getting the work done.

You Can’t Neglect Your Marketing

One thing that is fatal to the success of any business is thinking that you can neglect your marketing. This is because if people see that your business is no longer saying anything, they’ll assume that the company has gone under.  Lauran Donovan had this to say about the importance of social media: “Facebook Advertising offers an array of features to target precise groups of people—including your competitors’ customers. It’s possible to target ads toward people who search for specific keywords or who visit specific websites (such as your competitors’ sites). Your competition may be trying to poach your audience through targeted messaging.

people using smartphone

If you’re the owner of a business that is just getting going, chances are excellent that you are wearing multiple hats – such as employee, finance, HR and CEO. The thought of adding another one – CMO – may make you feel like you’re going to spiral out of control.

Before you decide that you’re going to pack up because you can’t cope any longer, there are two things that you need to know:

1. Effectively marketing your business doesn’t mean that you need to be pushing out three articles a day and twice as many social media posts on your chosen platforms. If you’re a one-man-(or woman)-show, it’s impossible to generate this amount of new content daily.

This means that you need to be strategic about the content that you generate and you also need to be truthful – to yourself – about the time that you have to dedicate to marketing. For example, if you can only realistically spend one hour a week on getting your company’s messaging out there, make the most of this hour that you can.

One type of handy tool that can assist you with maintaining your social media presence is social media automation tools like  Hootsuite and Buffer. If we were to take the example in the previous paragraph of only being able to spend an hour per week on marketing, use that hour to set up posts for the next week – using Hootsuite – that will go off when you schedule them. In this way, you’re maximising your time and getting the best possible marketing ROI.

Hootsuite_logo.png

2. Google penalises you if it sees that you have poor quality content on your website. By ‘poor quality’ we’re referring to content that is full of grammatical errors and typos and is copied – word for word – from another website.

This means that the content that you generate for your website and other online platforms need to be original, well-thought-out and meticulously checked. This type of content takes time to create – time that you, as an entrepreneur, probably don’t have.

The solution to this may not necessarily be that you have to forgo sleep to be able to write these articles. The answer to having fresh content on your site – while still maintaining quality – is content repurposing.

What is content repurposing?

Hubspot offers the following, very useful, example to illustrate what content repurposing is:

 “When you repurpose a piece of content … you’re doing one of two things (or both): changing the format of the content, and/or changing the target audience for the content. Examples of changing the format include turning a series of blog posts into an ebook, or taking important content from a webinar and placing it in an easy-to-consume infographic. Examples of changing the content for the audience might include starting with an ebook originally intended for, say, SMBs, and restructuring/rewording it to apply to a new business type.”

Repurposing a piece of content is not just about publishing a piece of content on a different platform or adding more content into that particular piece. It’s about taking that piece of content and transforming it for a different audience and/or into a different format.

For example, if you have a blog post that is doing exceptionally well, you could:

  • Create a PowerPoint presentation from it and upload this onto Slideshare. Celebrated digital marketer, Neil Patel, says that over 80% of Slideshare’s 70 million visitors who come to the site monthly are directed from targeted search. This means that using this platform offers an excellent opportunity to raise brand awareness.
  • From this same blog post, you could extract information to make an infographic and submit this to Instagram and Pinterest.
  • You could also write a video script from the blog post, turn it into a video and put it onto YouTube. This social media platform is well-known as the second-largest ‘search engine’ next to Google – so having a presence here is vital for your business to be found online.
  • You could rip the audio from your video and create a podcast which you could also submit to YouTube. Instead of uploading a video, you’ll choose a background image for your audio and upload it.

There are a lot more ways in which you can repurpose the content on your site. This takes the pressure off you and ensures that your marketing remains up to date while not eating into your time unnecessarily.

Infographics Aren't Dead

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and nowhere is that more true than in the world of marketing.

Many businesses create websites, hoping to attract more clients, but that is usually easier said than done. The internet is often referred to as the great equalizer, because no matter how good your product and service, on the web, you are competing with every other content creator for your audience’s attention. Over 211 million pieces of content being created every day and standing out from the digital noise is becoming ever more difficult.

Of these 211 million pieces of content are created daily, more than two million of those are blogs posts, and according to some sources, the average time spent reading one of these articles is a mere 37 seconds. How much of a wordy blog post can people really absorb in 37 seconds?  

This is where visual content comes in. Human beings are visual creatures, and our brains processes images 60 000 times faster than text – therefore any content on your website containing visuals is going to be easier for a skimming user to digest. One reason for this is that visual content succeeds in three core areas of value: appeal, comprehension and retention.

Appeal

Visually presented information is more appealing to the eye than a wall of text, and can pique a user’s interest before any information is even processed and because of this blog posts and articles featuring some sort of visual content get 94% more traffic than those without. Posts with visuals also receive 37% more engagement on social media – an important metric for anyone engaged in content marketing.  

Infographics specifically can increase web traffic by up to 12%, and are shared three times more than any other type of content, because according to studies, 94% of people who share posts do so because they think it might be helpful to others.

Comprehension

Since the human brain is hardwired to automatically interpret relationships between objects, allowing for almost instant comprehension with minimal effort, visuals are able to be processed much faster than the language associated with them.

According to studies, people follow visual instructions 323% better than written instructions.

Retention

Studies have shown that people can recall only recall about 10% of written content three days after it is read, which is abysmally low if you’re trying to make an impression. When it comes to visual content though, people are able to recall about 65% of the information three days later.

Why Infographics Trump Other Forms of Visual Content

Infographics are the media that has seen the largest increase in usage among B2B marketers, recently sitting at over 65% and according to a study by Venngage, they are still the top performing type of visual content marketing. Another study by the Content Marketing Institute also shows that the effectiveness rating for infographics also rose more year-on-year than any other marketing tactic.

Though some people might be saying that infographics are dead, they couldn’t be more mistaken. Quite to the contrary, evidence would suggest that they are just as powerful a tool now as they were in the past – for a few reasons:

They are repurposable across multiple platforms

A well-designed infographic can grab a viewer’s attention on any platform – be it on your own blog or someone else’s, on social media sites such as Pinterest or Facebook, or even in print.

They are shareable

As stated earlier, people are more likely to share information when they think it will be helpful to someone else, and at their core, infographics are inherently helpful, because they break down possibly complex information into an easily digestible, visually-appealing format. This makes them ideal for sharing

They can stand on their own without the help of a blog post

Though many infographics are accompanied by blog posts, they do not necessarily need any backup. By their very nature, they are self-explanatory and therefore, are accessible to more than just the people who visit your website.

They can be easily sliced and diced into multiple, smaller social media posts

Anyone who denies the importance of social media for marketers in this day and age should probably be sectioned, so the fact that one infographic could create multiple social media opportunities cannot be seen as anything other than great. More social media posts means more opportunities for new traffic, and more opportunities for your audience to share.

Suffice it to say, infographics are not dead. They are a wellspring of opportunity for the savvy marketer, and should be at the forefront of any inbound marketing strategy.  

You Need a Content Strategy that Works

Here’s a throwback for you:

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Let your mind wander back in time to a world where a blog was nothing more than an electronic journal for the chronically narcissistic, consistently bored teenager or desperate housewife.

Aren’t you glad you don’t exist in that particular space any more?

Flash forward a decade or so, and you’ll see that what started out as nothing more than a mere collection of diary entries has become an integral part of every business’ online marketing strategy. Ain’t technology grand?

At least 90% of B2B buyers have stated that online content has an effect on their purchasing behaviour. The fact of the matter is this: if you’re not on the content marketing bandwagon, you’re rapidly falling behind.

A few years ago, content marketing involved nothing more than churning out bulk collections of mediocre text. It didn’t really matter what you were saying, as long as you were actively posting something, your business was in the clear. With the growth of the Internet, however, that particular landscape has changed. Now, more than ever, the competition is intense. In order to take your business to the next level, you have to create content that is educational, insightful, and engaging.

In short, you need a goal. And in order to achieve that goal, you need a content strategy that works.

Set Your Goals and Start Planning

You can’t possibly begin a content marketing campaign without defining what your goals are. How will you know that you’ve been successful if you don’t have an idea of what you’re hoping to achieve?

Quite obviously, each goal will require a different approach. Your desired outcome will greatly influence the way you tackle each stage of the planning process.

Consider the following questions:

  • Do you want to build brand awareness?

  • Are you looking to instill trust?

  • Do you want to increase traffic to a particular website or landing page?

  • Are you aiming to attract new prospects?

  • Is your major goal to convert leads into sales?

  • Do you want to increase customer retention?

Once you’ve figured out precisely what your goals are, you’ll need to establish your KPIs. You need something solid to aim for in order to keep your efforts on the right track:

  • Increase website traffic to 100k visitors by a specific date.

  • Generate a certain number of new leads per month.

  • Convert a specific percentage of leads into sales by a particular date.

By creating KPIs, you’ll keep yourself (and your team) accountable. The idea here is to work backwards to develop strategies that help you achieve your goals.

Develop A Detailed Strategy

When developing your content strategy, you need to focus on a few key factors. Take the time to lay down some groundwork before diving straight in. This will prevent you from doubling back and trying to figure out what went wrong when you’re too far down the rabbit hole.

First and foremost, you need to figure out who you’re targeting. Invest some time in creating customer personas. You need to be able to successfully connect with your readers in order to generate the kind of results you want.

Keywords are another all-important aspect of any content marketing strategy. You need to choose keywords that are highly searched for in your specific industry. Take the time to figure out which topics are in high demand, and build your content around that. Give your potential audience the information they so desperately seek. Try to find a way to spin these keywords into something original and exciting; often a simple change in tone is all you really need.

You’ll also need to pay attention to where your prospects are in the buying cycle. If, for example, you’re communicating with potential customers who have no idea who you are or what you offer, you’ll need to create content that is focused on education rather than sales. On the other hand, if you’re trying to connect with someone who is already familiar with your brand, you need to deliver valuable content (case studies are a good bet) that will help you close a sale.

Finally, you need to consider which channels are important for dispersing your content. Take some time to figure out the platforms that are most likely to be useful to you, and what your goals are for each of them.

Produce High-Quality Content

As soon as you’ve ironed out your objectives and strategies, you need to start curating your content. You have two options here:

1. Work with your in-house team.

2. Hire professional content writers to help you get the job done.

Quite obviously, the path you choose will depend entirely on your in-house team’s expertise and the availability of time. If your team members are too swamped with their own regular tasks, it’s not a good idea to drown them in additional work that isn’t necessarily in their wheelhouse. Remember, you need quality content, not something slapdash you’ve cobbled together at the last minute.

If you choose to outsource your content development, invest in writers who truly understand the principles of content marketing. Make sure they’ll be able to embody your brand message. A trial task never hurt anybody, so perhaps consider asking them to write a short sample related to a topic of your choice and see if they’re a good fit.

Market, Promote, and Measure

You can create amazing content until you’re blue in the face but it won’t help you if no one sees it. Make sure to promote each and every piece of writing on all of your platforms and leverage them as much as possible. If you have to add in a small advertising budget to boost those posts, do it. A small investment can make a huge difference.

While you’re churning out content, it’s too easy to forget that you actually need to measure the performance of your posts. Circle back at least once a month to see how your content is performing. Check if you’re meeting your KPIs. If you don’t see any progress, make some adjustments. If you do see progress, keep on doing what you’re doing.

In the end, it’s all about trying new things and seeing what works for your business. Be inventive, be innovative, and above all, keep measuring your progress.

you need a content strategy that works