If you read the title of this post and immediately groaned, don’t worry: From this point on, we’ll focus on what you can do to make your blog better and we’ll steer clear of the corny puns.
The fact is, for many B2B companies, keeping up a corporate blog can be difficult. Resources can be scarce, ideas may not come easily, and other projects can get in the way. But, like anything else, what you put in is what you get out, so it’s up to you to keep your blog up to snuff.
To make your blog the best it can be, consider these few tips:
Embrace the Sales Cycle
Just because visitors landed on your site doesn’t mean they’re ready to fill out a form, purchase your product, or be your best friend. Depending on where they are in the sales cycle, they may just be starting the process; maybe they need questions answered or maybe they’re just trying to get to know your business.
A blog is great place to engage readers with your content, but it’s also a great place to help address the needs of your customers throughout the buying cycle. When thinking about what to write, consider the following:
- What are the most frequently asked questions your support team gets?
- What are people asking about on social networks?
- What are common questions your sales team hears?
- What features are most important to your customers?
You can also use Google to see which questions need to be answered:
- Google instant can show you search phrases.
- PPC search query reports can show you long tail phrases or questions people used to get to your site.
- Google analytics can offer the same thing for the organic side.
Bonus: Posts that start with “What is“, “Did you know,” or “How do I” immediately show people you’re answering their questions. This type of content also tends to do pretty well in search results, allowing you to get in front of potential customers at the right time.
Help Your Customers Succeed
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post, “Making SEO fun in Boring B2B World,” and one of the suggestions it offered was to write for your market as opposed to writing about your product or service.
In other words, since you can only write so many interesting things about your product, start targeting the topics your audience wants to read about. You need to consider:
- WHO is your target market and WHAT are the issues they face?
- What kinds of things can you write about that would help them?
Your blog should go beyond just your company, product, or service; it should be the place where customers and non-customers come because you’re helping them and they like what you have to say. Check out this post from SEOMoz to see real examples of companies currently doing this.
Show Your Human Side
With so many people using social networks and the increasing call for transparency, companies need to show that there are real people behind their businesses and that those real people care about their customers. Let’s be honest: Aside from the “About Us” page, most companies don’t do a lot to showcase their human sides. This is where your blog comes in:
- Feature employees (on the blog is nice but here’s a really clever way to do it on Pinterest as well).
- Provide product updates.
- Talk about where you’ll be (events, conferences, meetups) and don’t forget to follow-up with recaps.
Bonus: When creating posts, make sure each one has an actual author. Even better, provide a photo and short bio of the author at the end of the post.
Need more ideas? See what these “10 Leaders Who Aren’t Afraid to Be Transparent” are doing to show the human side of their companies.
Don’t Forget About Conversions
A blog can be a huge traffic driver, but with people coming in through social networks and only reading an individual post, blogs tend to have a high bounce rate. It’s your job to figure out how to keep these visitors on your site and drive the right customers to take an action. Here’s how you can do that:
- Offer related posts at the end of each post encouraging readers to visit other blog posts. You can do this manually, you can use a WP plugin or you can try Zemanta.
- Use Hello Bar to drive people to visit your main site (Rejoiner).
- Place a call to action at the end of post (37Signals).
- Get information from your right hand column (see the toolkit offer on ConversionRateExperts.com).
Regardless of which tactic you use, remember that you’ve already done the hardest part: getting people to your site. Now you need to guide them to take the next step.
Use It to Create Goodwill
To foster goodwill with customers, make sure to show them you care about them. If you’ve followed the above tips, you’re already providing your customers with good information and making their lives easier; now it’s time to show them you appreciate them.
Why? Because it adds to the human element and shows them that you care, which results in loyal customers who will sing your praises. (It’s also a really easy way to create content and get links.)
- Run a monthly customer spotlight. Let people submit their story through a form or through social networks, giving you another method of engagement.
- Offer guest posts.
- Run interviews with customers, other businesses, etc.
- Create lists featuring people in your industry.
The best part about these last few ideas is they are tied to many of the above goals. By putting the spotlight on your customers, you can let prospects see who is using your product/service and, in doing so, obtain testimonials that may attract additional customers. By promoting your customers on your blog, you’re ultimately helping them succeed in their respective business endeavors. And, by incorporating the human element into your blog, you’re letting your customers know that you’re more than just a business: You’re a business that cares about its customers.
Running a blog can be hard but there’s a lot of opportunity to make yours the best it can be. So why not get started?