How to Turn Your Team into Blogging Pros
How often should a B2B company really be blogging? According to HubSpot, "companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies that published between 0 - 4 monthly posts." Publishing once a week or so simply isn't enough for most companies to enjoy the results they seek through corporate blogging.
On the other hand, publishing four times a week might seem unattainable. Hiring a dynamite content marketing team (ahem) is one place to start. Indeed, most of our clients start with twice-weekly blogging and work up to daily posts over time.
One way to increase blogging frequency is to enlist employees as authors. After all, they're already subject matter experts, and their interactions with customers give them unique insight into what topics are important. Turning your employees into publishing pros might take a bit of work, but it can also help add new depth to your B2B blog. The key is to arm employees with this list of corporate blogging "do's" and "don'ts."
Keep Your Purpose(s) in Mind
We tend to think about blogging from an SEO perspective—we’re writing all this content to help us “get found” by search engines. And that’s certainly an important function of blogging. But also keep in mind that blogging has three other key benefits:
- Establish the author, as a thought leader: Every article an employee writes is an opportunity to showcase the employee's deep expertise or unique insight as a subject area expert.
- Position the company and its products: Every article is also an opportunity to share the unique value proposition your company offers.
- Generate qualified leads for marketing and sales: The end of a blog article is the perfect place to put a call-to-action (CTA), inviting readers to share their email address to receive more information (such as a case study or white paper).
So we really have three objectives with every blog article:
- Create SEO-friendly content for search engines;
- Build up your own professional credibility
- Help to market the company and its products.
To that end, the following recommendations will help you achieve all three objectives:
- Begin with the end in mind: This might sound like a self-serving recommendation from the marketing team, but think first about your CTA—what do you want people to DO when they finish reading? Schedule a demo? Download a specific case study? Be sure to choose something that ties in with your topic.
- Choose a succinct title: The ideal title length (according to HubSpot) is 60 characters, and titles that are 8-14 words long get the most engagement on social media.Twitter is on the shorter end of that range, while Facebook and LinkedIn are on the longer end of the range. Lists generally do really well (ex: 5 reasons to...), but they tend to work best in B2C settings. We've written a whole article on headlines here.
- Feel free to get a little long-winded: (Okay, not too long-winded…) Studies show that Google and other search engines are increasingly giving preference to longer content—think 1,000 to 2,000 words. While not every article needs to be that long, aiming for about 800 (quality) words can help bring you closer to that mark and help maximize the SEO benefits of your blogging efforts.
- Think about how people read online: People tend to process online content more than they would printed material. It’s important to make content more “skimmable” on the blog. This means that blog authors will benefit from writing shorter paragraphs; adding sub-headings; and including bulleted or numbered lists where appropriate.
- Include pictures: Studies also consistently show that including pictures increases people’s engagement: they’re more likely to keep reading; click on links or CTAs; etc. Even using stock images is preferable to publishing a totally unillustrated article.
Looking for a good model? Check out this UberCloud post about cloud technologies in the pharmaceutical industry. Here on the Aspiration Marketing blog, Why Software Companies Should Educate Customers might also be a handy read.
Bad Blogging Habits to Avoid
In the B2B world, some of the most obvious blogging "don'ts" are using clickbait titles; including links too early or too often; and adopting an overly casual tone. Other less obvious bad habits include the following:
- Assuming the reader has the same deep knowledge as you do: Throwing around business terms and concepts without the proper explanation is a surefire turnoff. If your reader doesn't understand what you're talking about, she is going to stop reading and move on to someone who is more clear and informative.
- Neglecting the organizational/visual elements of the article: Most people skim articles online, and text features like sub-headings, bulleted lists, and images make content more “skimmable.” It can be helpful to do a rough outline of your article before you start writing, which encourages you to break down your topic into logical sections that can then become your sub-headings.
- Failing to keep the ultimate purpose in mind: Ultimately we’re blogging to enhance our sales and marketing. If you’re not sure how your article might fit with marketing objectives, we’re happy to explain and help you find a “marketing-friendly” angle for your article.
For more tips on growing through content marketing, download our guide to unlocking business growth.
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