Blog Your Way to Success: A Company-Wide Blogging Program

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1 Blog Your Way to Success: A Company-Wide Blogging Program BROUGHT TO YOU BY: B2B BRAND STRATEGISTS BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER Blog Your Way to Success: A Company-Wide Blogging Program Are you in B2B? Do you think your company focus is not interesting enough to sustain a blog or other compelling content? Do you think your company lacks the culture and skills required for creating and maintaining a blog? And lastly, are you of the opinion that blogs are more geared towards B2C audience and don t have much place in the B2B arena? If your answer to these questions is yes, then you might want to rethink think your not to blog rut, because blogging provides a major opportunity to improve visibility and to engage with customers for virtually any business. Digital communication is now at the core of every business strategy. The traditional model of marketing is rapidly changing, whether it is B2C or B2B. Today, digital media is ubiquitous in marketing, and is more commonly becoming the primary driver of sales for businesses. It has transformed the way we communicate with customers. They are no longer simply motivated by a single brand voice, but have become further persuaded by multi-touch-point experiences. Telling a brand s story includes orchestrating interactive and superior customer experiences across all touch-points, and often includes touch-points among customers by way of sharing on social media. In an increasingly interlinked digital landscape, building an integrated content-centric ecosystem for your business by combining paid, owned, and earned media is the gristmill that helps drive traffic, leads, and sales your way. 800 Boylston Street, 16th Floor, Boston, MA Tel

2 Paid Media These are media channels your business purchases in order to drive traffic and raise awareness such as pay-per-click search ads, sponsorships, Facebook, and banner ads. Owned Media These are all assets that your business either owns or wholly controls. Owned media include websites, microsites, corporate blogs, intranets and extranets, and also owned presence on social media channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, YouTube, SlideShare, etc. Earned Media Earned Media refers to third-party sentiment about your brand. This includes word-of-mouth that can be stimulated through viral and social media marketing such as conversations in social networks, blogs, and other communities. These types of unsolicited shout-outs can be carried much further in convincing people, because they come from external sources that vouch for your organization (without you explicitly asking them to do so in exchange for something). Their endorsement helps build your trusted reputation. Ref: Titan-SEO Website: The above diagram succinctly illustrates the digital landscape. By feeding content into your owned media platforms and then distributing it via paid and earned media, you yield positive results in terms of strong, organic ranking on search engines eventually driving traffic directly to your owned media properties. 800 Boylston Street, 16th Floor, Boston, MA Tel

3 Blogs and B2B: A Match Made in Heaven Owned media is an extension of your brand and creating blogs is a great way to deliver content. Blogging pulls customers toward your controlled environment (website) because the blog content catches their attention. Blogging is not just a marketing thing or a bunch of words and pretty pictures put together on a website. It s much bigger, more complex, and much more important, especially today as more decision makers are using multiple touch-points to get information in simple, bite-size chunks. Take a closer look and you will see that blogging is a strategic business initiative that spans the entire organization. It s a critical component to the future success of any business. Take it seriously, because right now, leaders in your industry are being defined by the quality and usefulness of their content, not just their products or services. According to Marketing Sherpa, 55% of B2B professionals turn to blogs for information. If your business develops a blogging-centric culture, it will forever change the way your business gets noticed and earns credibility in your industry. To be successful at generating useful blog content for your potential customers, you have to commit to creating content that speaks to and informs your target audience and we re not talking about sales pitches here. So jump in and ramp up by putting a blogging strategy in place for your business. Blogging Checklist 1) Maintain a journal of your everyday workflow 2) Run regular team meetings to discuss ideas for blog topics; bounce them back to senior management 3) Conduct keyword research on what prospective customers are searching for 4) Encourage every employee to like or follow the company s social media 5) Translate company events, big achievements, new products launches, and so on, into a blogging opportunity It is a myth that it is only the marketing person s responsibility to write blogs, because every one of your employees think subject-matter expert can become a content creating machine. Your best resources are your employees; position them and your company to be thought leaders in your industry. It really is easy to generate a steady flow of ideas from your everyday workflow. Just jot down ideas on the attached blogging calendar template, and you ll be amazed at how quickly the creative juices flow! 800 Boylston Street, 16th Floor, Boston, MA Tel

4 How to Use the Blogging Calendar Template: On Time and On Target! This template is designed to keep you on track as you develop awesome content that your prospects, customers, and fans will love. One of the greatest blogging challenges is not writing, but brainstorming topics, targeting to the right readers, and optimizing posts with the right keywords. Use this calendar to stay organized, track keyword and CTA use, and make sure your content is developed on time and on target. This cover sheet will break down each part of the calendar and give you tips to maximize productivity. The template itself is in the second sheet! Topic/Title As ideas for blog posts pop into your mind, jot them down. You can come back later and expand them into full titles. Content/Details Jot down some notes about the body content. This is especially helpful if you have multiple bloggers in your company. Be sure that each post s content is connected to the title and that you re producing unique and valuable information in each post. Keywords Your company has a mission, right? And that mission includes providing expertise in certain areas that can be explained in a few keyword or key phrases that people use to search. Well, turns out blogging plays a HUGE role in improving your company s search rank. Integrate the keywords your company is trying to rank for into these posts. Think about what expertise you have and let the keywords fall into place around that expertise. Target Audience You know who you want to sell to, but you also need to be sure you re publishing content targeted to them. A mistake many businesses make when blogging is to put out content for the sake of putting out content. Make sure each post is something that your ideal target audience will want to read and will help them to see your expertise. Create your best customer s persona. Call-to-Action (CTA) Every blog post should include an offer to pull your visitors further through the funnel. If you have a great offer (whether it s a guide, checklist, brochure, etc.), this is another strong spot to start brainstorming your next blog post. Try considering how you can use your blog to promote your amazing offers and build out your post from there. Author If you have several bloggers, use this space to assign posts to them or have them select what days they ll be able to blog. This will help your team be more organized and blog efficiently. Grant Marketing can help you to develop content; you should indicate who the post will be attributed to, but it s important to make note of who will be writing the actual post. Due Date & Publish Date Accountability is key! Make sure due dates are understood, whether it s for your own reference or your team s. Hold your bloggers responsible for their posts and use this calendar to stay on top of them. 800 Boylston Street, 16th Floor, Boston, MA Tel

5 Ref: Hubspot Along the top are the four actions (attract, convert, close, delight) B2B companies must take in order to obtain visitors, leads, and customers. Along the bottom are the tools companies use to accomplish these actions and blogging plays a huge role in opening a dialogue with the visitor to the website. 9 Big Benefits of B2B Blogging A blog is a powerful weapon to have in your marketing arsenal. As you decide whether a blog is right for your company, it helps to understand some of the key benefits of building a blog or how to enhance the one you already have. Improve search engine results. Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo reward sites that contain fresh, relevant content. By adding a blog to your website, you are increasing your ability to be found online. Fresh content helps boost your ranking in search, and a blog is a terrific way to consistently publish new content. Differentiate your brand. Do your competitors blog? If not, then this might be the best reason to start one! Blogging can help you stand out in your niche and establish yourself and your company as an industry expert. Extend customer relationships. You might not be able to visit customers as frequently as you d like, but a blog is an excellent way to provide a constant drip-drip-drip of communication to remind them of your products, services, and why you re special. For those that don t read your blog, re-purpose the blog content in customer newsletters and sales materials. Drive sales. Your blog offers prime real estate for (soft) selling. For instance, you can advertise products or services in your blog s sidebar. You can also blog about how to use your product in new or different ways, or even feature customer success stories. Generate leads. Featuring opt-in content on your blog is a fantastic way to turn readers into prospects. From there, you can nurture your leads down a path towards purchase. Test ideas and get feedback. Many companies use blogs as a way to engage customers to solve problems and create new ideas. Sometimes, crowdsourcing ideas can even lead to new products or service lines. 800 Boylston Street, 16th Floor, Boston, MA Tel

6 Get media coverage. Because blogging positions you as a thought leader, it offers the potential for reporters and media outlets to turn to you as a source for articles and stories. This rich content can generate massive reach for your brand. Communicate during a crisis. A blog is a critical channel to explain the facts amid chaos. It offers a medium to distribute important information to your employees, key stakeholders, and even the press as company responses on blogs are often quoted by mainstream news sources. Build community. Although building an engaged community through a business blog can be extremely difficult, it is possible. If you do it right, your blog can become a conversation hub for your industry. The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post In addition to creating relevant, timely content, you need to pay attention to some of the mechanics around building a strong blog post: Write a powerful headline. Your title is the first thing people see in their blog readers, s, and on social media channels, and it may very well determine whether somebody reads your post. The goal is to grab attention to make people stop and read what you have to say. A good headline should be short and have strong impact. Include visuals and multimedia. Pictures, graphics, and other visuals help draw readers in and make the page more appealing. Keep it short and to the point. Business people are pressed for time, so keep your articles brief usually, less than 600 words. It also helps to use bullet points; lists and sub-headings also help the reader digest your content. Make it shareable. If you want your content to spread, you need to make it easy for your readers to share your blog posts via and the social networks they use most. Plus, social sharing icons offer the validation that your posts deserve to be read. Blogging Best-Practices Optimize for mobile devices We live in a fast-paced business world, where many of us are constantly on the go and want to stay connected at all times. Fortunately, recent technologies allow us to create a mobile-friendly experience for any visitors to the website. In other words, optimizing blog content for mobile devices is essential to the success of your blog post. Optimize your blog with SEO heavy keywords Are there enough keywords in your headline? Making your blog posts keyword-heavy automatically optimizes the posts for search engine ranking. 800 Boylston Street, 16th Floor, Boston, MA Tel

7 Integrate with call-to-action and landing pages Attracting readers to your blog is the first step, but through integrated call-to-action buttons and landing pages, it would help you convert those loyal readers into leads and potential customers. Integrate with social media Built-in social media sharing buttons encourage and enable visitors to easily share your posts. Auto-publishing increases your reach by scheduling your blog posts to Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Think of blogs as those side conversations you have over lunch. Industry tidbits of interest that you and your colleagues are talking about. If there is buzz in your office around it, there likely will be in the greater industry as well. What are your customers talking about? What questions do your sales teams bring back to the table trying to answer for customers? These topics can be fantastic fodder for blog posts. Get insight from these conversations and answer them in your blogs. See? You already have some great ideas right in front of you. Beyond that, the planning tips and blogging calendar we ve provided will set you up for certain blogging success. Have at it! BROUGHT TO YOU BY: B2B BRAND STRATEGISTS BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER Boylston Street, 16th Floor, Boston, MA Tel

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