Virtually all marketers have realized that blogs can be a powerful part of an overall search marketing campaign. This is especially true in the B2C marketplace, but what about for B2B focused companies? What do successful B2B blogs have in common? In looking at hundreds of B2B blogs, eight common characteristics were apparent to me. Here are some tips for creating B2B blogs that drive loyalty (and links).
- Post regularly…and only when you have something meaningful to offer. Often B2B companies are concerned with being able to regularly publish good content. The standard advice is blog regularly, and you can decide what that schedule will be. However, unless you set and keep a schedule, your fears about lack of content will be self-fulfilling. Yet, don’t simply throw something together to meet the deadline. B2B blog readers are looking for insight, information, things to help them with their career, and how to do things better. Make sure each post has something of value.
- Incorporate images and other media. Presently, the vast majority of B2B blogs are text-only blogs. Make the blog more visually interesting by adding photos, illustrations, graphs, and video. It will make the blog more enjoyable to read and increase the likelihood that readers will return to the blog and link to it.
- Incorporate humor. Humor can create great affinity. Everyone likes to laugh or smile, to find something clever or smart. Regularly write something funny, post a cartoon on a relevant issue, or point to something humorous elsewhere. People don’t expect to find that in a B2B blog. If they find humor when they visit, they’ll associate a smile with your blog, keep coming back, and promote the blog via conversations and links.
- Be authentic. Speak conversationally. Express your personality. Let readers sense the person behind the words. When we like an author, it’s seldom about the words the author uses; it’s about the style of the author. Have a style and let it show through. That’s where a personal connection will be made.
- Be original. As I mentioned in a previous article, B2B blogging is a great way to demonstrate thought leadership, to establish corporate and personal credibility. Thought leaders aren’t parrots. They don’t point to other people’s work and essentially repeat what they see. Express a unique viewpoint. Interpret for others what you see. Challenge others to think differently. Bring something fresh to the table, something readers won’t easily find elsewhere.
- Don’t blatantly promote your stuff. It’s the quickest way to lose blog readers. Yes, you have something to sell, but B2B blog readers don’t want to hear your sales pitch in the blog. It’s okay to talk about your products and services, but do so in a way that’s helpful to the reader and not so sales oriented.
- Create a code of conduct. Tell blog visitors and your blog writers what you expect…and publish it. That way you can set some boundaries regarding appropriate behavior for writers and others joining the conversation. Your code of conduct can address many areas, including: disclosing any conflicts of interest, properly citing and linking to sources, commitment to correct any inaccuracies immediately, whether all comments will be posted, under what circumstances comments will not be posted, and anything else you want to include. Posting a code of conduct will tell visitors a lot about you and your company.
- Stay focused. The business world isn’t looking for more generalists rambling about everything they see. Be an expert in a particular area. It’s far easier to establish credibility in a narrow field than a broad one. Sure, your following may be a bit smaller, but it will be far more loyal.