B2B blogs are still a relevant part of your social media marketing strategy
With all the fuss surrounding Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, one would think that blogs were soon to be a dying breed for communication. After all, since 2006, surveys on social media use like that from Pew Research have found that young adults are opting more for micro-blogging rather than the effort it takes to support a full-blown blog. It seems that it is easier to write 140 characters with short bursts of random thought.
But to the surprise of many, blogs have not yet gone the way of 8 track tapes, VHS cassettes and Polaroid cameras. As of the writing of this post, BlogPulse reports that there are 166,034,259 identified blogs. In fact, over the last 24 hours there were 86,652 new blogs created and 1,059,390 new blog posts indexed.
Face it – Readers on the Internet are rabidly searching for one thing - relevant content that speaks to their interests, concerns and pain points. Yet, not all readers are the same regarding the style & tone of content they seek. Young readers are satisfied with the short bursts of information that they find with their friends on social networks. Meanwhile older readers, especially readers within business, are seeking content that is more substantive.
And this is where a corporate blog fits in with your social media marketing strategy. B2B buyers are searching for content to help them solve complex issues within their business. There is simply not enough room within the 420 characters of Facebook and 140 characters of Twitter to supply the necessary content.
But for B2B blogs to be relevant and drive traffic, the blog must constantly be updated with fresh content. Good blogs are refreshed with at least one new post every week. Excellent blogs are refreshed three or more times a week.
So how is the B2B marketing team to keep up with the demand for fresh content to maintain the credibility with their blog’s subscribers? What sources of content should marketing turn to?
Top ten sources for creating substantive blog content:
1. Search Engine Audit: Often times, marketing conducts a search audit in order to develop a keyword list for search engine ranking. But a search audit conducted on a monthly basis can help you uncover a long list of potential topics for weekly blog posts. Use Google Adwords Keyword Tool to discover what keyword phrases are being churned by your target audience. Then find the significance of these searches using tools like Radian 6.
2. Social Media Audit: B2B marketing teams should subscribe to industry blogs and discussion forums. Find ways to add value to the topics being discussed. Write posts that move the conversation forward and link them back to the industry blogs and forums.
3. Social Networking: Take part in the discussions found within LinkedIn Groups, Facebook fan pages, and Twitter feeds. As you join the conversation, you will find your next blog post topic in the banter back and forth between participants.
4. Sharing Sites: Conduct keyword searches on Slideshare and YouTube. There you will find countless presentations and videos covering the very topics of concern to your blog subscribers. Make comments on the videos and presentations, but don’t just be a “me-too”… move the conversation forward.
5. Corporate Community: Your B2B corporate community is a fantastic location to discover topics for your next blog post. Customers post issues within the community that their peers respond to with problem-solving suggestions and best practices. Expound on these issues in your post and link to the discussion so your readers can also participate.
6. Sales & Support: It’s a good idea to schedule time to talk to the members of your sales and service delivery teams. Ask them about the common challenges that clients are facing and what they recommend in order to solve these problems.
7. Client Case Studies: When you have a client on the phone to develop a case study, it is the perfect time to learn from them firsthand about the challenges they are facing and the best practices or solutions they implemented to solve the problem within their organization. You can remove the name of a client and talk instead about the challenge faced from an industry standpoint.
8. Google Alerts: Marketing uses Google Alerts to track mentions of their organization or mentions of competitors in industry publications and blogs. Use Google Alerts to uncover the latest hot topics being discussed on a daily basis within your industry and write an opinion piece / commentary on the issue.
9. Surveys: Search for surveys covering market trends in your industry. Provide analysis of the survey in a blog post. Find at least one statistic within the survey that you can add further value to from the perspective of your solution. Consider sponsoring your own survey. If done right, the statistics from your own survey could provide fodder for five to ten blog posts.
10. White Papers, Webcasts & Podcasts: B2B marketing is constantly churning out content in the form of white papers, Webcasts, and podcasts. Transform these documents into posts without promoting your product offerings. Be sure that your posts do not contain the formal tone of the white papers. Your posts can then link to the landing pages of the white papers and Webcasts to help you drive traffic. Pay attention to competitor’s white papers and Webcasts and write an opinion piece on their conclusions without getting controversial.
So what do you think? What are some other sources you can turn to for developing blog content?
For further reading on creating your B2B corporate blog: