In today’s digital age, most consumers start their buyer journey online — even for offline purchases. Even traditionally offline industries, such as manufacturing and industrial, are seeing shifts in buyer behaviour, with 67% of their purchases being influenced by digital.
With more and more consumers looking online to gather information as part of their buyer journey, it is no surprise that businesses are looking to explore the most effective formats to distribute content as part of their content marketing strategy.
Blogging is ranked as one of the top 3 most effective formats for distributing content and it is part of the marketing strategy of many companies, with 79% of B2B marketers using blogs for content marketing. But what makes blogging so effective?
In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of B2B blogging and why having a solid B2B blog strategy can help attract, engage and even convert leads.
Is Having a B2B Blog Strategy Necessary in a Technical B2B World?
Blogs are good for marketing. It is the third most used content marketing strategy — and for good reason. Companies that focused on blogging have seen up to 55% more website visitors and received 13X more ROI compared to companies that didn’t.
Now, this all sounds impressive, but don’t be misled into thinking that these results come from simply having a blog. As with any other aspect of a marketing plan, blogging should be utilised purposefully and as part of a considered strategy.
Many companies make the mistake of blogging about topics that they find interesting or useful, rather than be guided by market or keyword research. Unfortunately, your blog is unlikely to appear in front of your target audience just because you wrote and published one. For a blog to succeed organically, its content should be focused, engaging, and arguably most importantly, have search volume (demand).
When it comes to driving organic traffic, keyword research determines the topic of the blog. Blogs that successfully bring in traffic from search engines are almost always written based on a well-chosen keyword. SEO research should be used to guide your blog topic as well as define why you are writing the blog to begin with.
Blogs need to provide an online experience that captures the attention of your company’s target audience, regardless of where they might be on their buyer journey. Getting this right comes down to having a solid B2B blog strategy. It involves analysing and understanding your market so that you can focus on creating content that drives your target audience to your website.
Some aspects of this process include defining your target audience, crafting targeted content that appeals to your ideal buyer whilst staying in line with your business’s goals, creating a content schedule, and promoting your blog to maximise success. Ideally, your strategy should also drive prospects deeper into your site and through your funnel. The most effective blogs are well-structured (for easy navigation), have good internal links (to feed the sales funnel), and consider B2B SEO (for high-ranking posts).
It can be tempting to jump into writing head-first but establishing a robust B2B blog strategy will be well worth the effort. Prioritising this can avoid wasted time, effort and resources on blog posts that target the wrong keywords, which in turn are likely to generate little traffic and provide little value to the business.
Why are Blogs Good for Marketing in a Technical B2B World?
When used effectively, blogs can be a powerful marketing tool for a B2B business. So long as you publish good quality content that your audience finds valuable, it is a great way to produce lower-maintenance content that can be used to demonstrate your expertise on industry topics and gain traffic to your site.
Here are some reasons why blogs are good for marketing:
Drive Qualified Traffic to Your Website
Blogs are a great way to boost your website’s ranking on search engines. You may already have SEO-optimised core pages and landing pages, but there are only so many of those you can write. Blogs, on the other hand, are almost infinite.
With blogs, you have the freedom to address any questions or problems that are related to your service or product. With some in-depth keyword and market research, you can determine the problems your target audience might be facing and need solutions to.
71% of B2B buyers start their online research with a generic query. This means that they are looking for a solution or product, and not for your company. Writing blogs that focus on ‘research keywords’ will help capture an audience who is in the research phase but isn’t ready to buy yet. But this is no bad thing.
By positioning your brand’s blog as an authority that can answer your prospect’s questions, you can increase brand awareness, boost SEO and increase organic traffic. Each post that is written with a target keyword in mind will help it rank for more relevant keywords and give it a greater chance of appearing on search engine results pages and getting noticed by your target audience who might need your expertise.
Educate Your Target Audience and Staff
A great blog goes beyond just selling your B2B service or blog. It is a good platform to build relationships with your readers by sharing knowledge with both your audience and staff. 82% of buyers feel more positive about a business after reading custom content. So, by shifting from selling to educating, you can engage potential customers by helping them feel more informed about their problems and the potential solutions.
The best educational posts are original and demonstrate thought-leadership, and what better way to get this content than to consult your company’s experts?
Getting your technical team involved in sales and marketing can help to make them feel valued, acknowledged and a part of the company’s sales process. As an added benefit, the blogs can also form part of your company’s repository of information that you can use to educate junior team members or colleagues from other departments.
Engage Your Target Audience in Their Buyer Journey
B2B consumers are more informed than ever, with many carrying out independent research as part of their buyer journey. Research suggests that before considering speaking to a company directly, consumers will actively seek out information from different sources over an average of 12 online searches to inform their decision-making. By publishing good quality content regularly, you give yourself the best chance to assist and influence your buyers in their decision-making process.
71% of B2B buyers read blogs during their purchase process. So, blogs give you an opportunity to focus your efforts on topics that will bring targeted traffic and put you in front of prospects that might have never come across your business if you didn’t use blogging as a marketing tool.
Your posts don’t need to involve sales pitches to drive traffic to your site. Educational content on a blog can be used to demonstrate thought-leadership, establish brand and technical credibility, and show prospects that you are an expert in the industry who understands their pain points. All these aspects improve brand recognition, build trust with your readers, and help influence your target audience in their buyer journey.
When used correctly, blogs can be an effective tool to engage your target audience during the decision-making stage.
Creating blog posts regularly gives you the opportunity to repurpose content for different channels. Tailoring your article to different platforms allows you to generate views, but in different formats and across multiple channels.
For example, a blog post can be repurposed for newsletters, social media, and even YouTube. On each, you could also link back to the original article on your website to drive more traffic to your page. Because of this, blogs make it easy to stay in the forefront of your target audience’s mind and uploading fresh content regularly can help maximise your online exposure and reach across multiple touchpoints.
Blogging allows your business to connect with prospects and existing clients in a more casual way whilst focusing on helpful and educational content. Since content marketing can help 70% of buyers feel closer to a company, it is worth considering having your sales team as blog authors to help create a more personal feel and connection point with your audience. Your sales team could also contribute ideas based on the frequently asked questions from prospects, which allows you to address the specific issues that your ideal buyer is facing, which in turn, can help earn their trust.
Blogging can be a great way to drive more traffic to your website, demonstrate thought leadership and increase brand awareness. But for it to truly boost your content marketing efforts, you need to follow a robust B2B blog strategy so that you create relevant B2B content that provides value to your readers and ranks well.
If you are intrigued about the benefits of blogging and would like some help with your B2B blog strategy, get in touch with our team of content specialists — we’ll be more than happy to help you make the best use of this powerful content marketing tool.