Writing a blog or other article to help promote your company has become an essential element of B2B marketing for many businesses.
It can achieve a number of objectives – including demonstrating your expertise, engaging with your client base and improving the performance of your website.
Each month, we produce tens of blogs – on a myriad of subjects – for our varying clients.
So, we thought we’d share some insight into how to create a blog (or other content marketing article) which helps deliver the results you need.
What’s a blog?
A blog was originally a ‘web-log’ – essentially, an online diary through which individuals could regularly update anyone who wished to follow them.
Today, it’s become a more of a catch-all term for a written article created by an individual or company and then shared online.
It tends to include opinion pieces and updates – but excludes press releases, which are typically written in the ‘third person’ so that they can be published or edited by others.
Who’s your blog for?
So, you’ve identified a topic you wish to write about as fresh content marketing.
There are various audiences for blogs, with each having an impact on how best to present your prose.
Content marketing – creating written, audio or visual content to share with others – is one of the most important elements of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
Publishing unique new content on your company website – often through your news or blog page – shows Google (and other search engines) that you’re alive and relevant to the searches you wish to appear for.
However, blogs and content marketing articles can also help you engage with potential customers and demonstrate your industry knowledge and leadership.
If this is the case, you need to speak their language and have a plan for how you will successfully share the content to reach as many hungry minds as possible.
There are of course many other purposes for blogs, including regular content for emails, sharing on social media or communicating with colleagues.
It can even be a cathartic process – good for helping to flesh out new ideas and even plan your businesses’ next move.
Writing blogs for SEO
OK, so you’ve identified that ensuring your website appears in relevant search engine results is key to attracting more customers.
SEO is complex – but one of the simplest and most effective tactics is to create regular new content for your website.
If you launch a website and then fail to update it with new content, it may slowly slip down the search results. Google is all about quality and does not want to send its users to a website which is out of date or abandoned.
Likewise, when someone puts a search term in Google, it is the written content of your website which the search engine compares their search to. If you have lots of text on the same subject, Google is more likely to show your web page or blog in search results.
Google doesn’t publish any guidelines, so how to satisfy the all-seeing search engine is open to interpretation. However, it’s often said that pages or articles with at least 1,000 words are much more likely to appear in search engine results.
Let’s say your business manufactures signage. Its therefore tempting to think that the more you include the word ‘signage’ in your blog, the more Google will recognise your relevance for that search term.
That’s true – but beware!
If you artificially stuff your article with keywords, Google may see through your actions and ignore – or worse, penalise – your efforts, rendering your blog useless or even harmful.
So, whilst keeping Google and your target search terms in mind, ensure your blog is easy to read and of genuine quality. Regular and well-written blogs on various aspects of what you deliver are far more effective for SEO than an infrequent ‘keyword-stuffed’ article.
Writing blogs to prove your skills
Sharing genuine insight or updates is a key element of successful content marketing.
Much of B2B marketing is about trust. Businesses tend to buy from suppliers in which they have faith. Demonstrating your skills, knowledge and up-to-date thinking can really help.
The attention span of busy professionals is short, so a handy tip is to split your article into bite sized chunks with catchy subtitles. This way they can skim read and come back to key points.
Content marketing is a form of promotion – but you need to be genuinely helpful or engaging to win over your reader.
Successful blogs typically employ the art of ‘selling without selling’. Don’t make every other line a sale-pitch or pack the piece with superlatives about the amazing product or service you deliver. Let your expertise and the value of your blog do the hard work.
‘If you build it, they will come’ is both a popular movie misquote (it’s ‘he will come’) – and very rarely true of blogs!
Though it is best to publish your blog on your website to help SEO, you will also need to share it with a wider audience if you wish to build awareness of your expertise.
Sharing it across your company’s social media accounts (especially LinkedIn), including it in your company email marketing or sending it to directly to interested industry websites or publications, can all be successful tactics.
Get the title right
It won’t surprise many people that the title is possibly the most critical element of any blog. It usually dictates whether anyone will read the article and Google uses it as a primary indicator of relevance for SEO.
There are a few tricks of the trade when choosing a title and a little experimentation often helps narrow down the best approach.
Lists or numbers work well – e.g. ‘5 ways to improve your SEO’
Active words encourage engagement – e.g. ‘Discover the latest tips for SEO’
Humour, word play, puns and alliteration often work well too.
Generally, its best to avoid anything salesy – e.g. ‘Discover why our service is the best’ – as it alerts the reader to the fact they are likely to be sold to.
For SEO, its best to include your primary target keyword or keywords in the title.
Is your blog newsworthy?
If you wish to share something genuinely newsworthy – such as a product launch, new employee or award win – it could be more effective to make the blog into a press release.
Unlike a blog, a press release tends to be written in the third person (they) rather than the first person (we), as if the author is an interested journalist. As such, the reader tends to receive the news on merit and the press release can be sent to interested websites and trade publications who may publish it verbatim.
Content marketing is now a part of most successful B2B marketing strategies, helping businesses to engage with a wider audience, demonstrate their trustworthy expertise and encourage search engines to rank their website. And regular, fresh and insightful blogs often sit at the centre.
If you’d like help to deliver regular content which drives customers to your business, find out more here.