Your content strategy leans on several different components—your team, your resources, your bandwidth, your strategy, and, maybe most importantly, the content itself. If you create and execute a great plan but the content itself is stale or lackluster, your audience won’t be motivated to engage with it. Luckily, there’s a simple yet powerful form of content that can play an essential role in making your organization’s content strategy accessible and engaging: the blog post.
Simply put, a blog post is an online article that discusses a topic in a more casual, conversational tone, while still maintaining structure. Blog post style and length can vary depending on the topic, the format or the site it’s being hosted on.
When leveraging blog posts in B2B marketing, there’s a seemingly endless amount of different structures or formats you can use to effectively get your message across. Whatever format you choose, seek to add value to your audience by informing, entertaining or educating them. Below are a few of the top contenders for most engaging blog post formats.
When you want a clearly defined structure that gets to the heart of the topic and instantly captures your audience’s attention, listicles are a tried-and-true option. Blogs such as “7 Ways to…” or “3 Tips for…” let the reader know exactly what they’ll be getting out of your blog post. It also allows you as the author to hone in on the core components you’re discussing.
For example, if your content strategy focus that quarter is promoting a new CRM software, a blog post such as “X Reasons a CRM System Can Benefit Your Company” will allow you to introduce the topic and product in a way that’s both organic and shows that you’re truly committed to helping your clients.
The “How To” blog is another great way to show your readers that you want to build up their knowledge base and not just throw your service or product at them. With this kind of blog, you can provide clear step-by-step instructions on how to perform a certain task or achieve specific outcomes that may be beneficial to your audience.
Some of the greatest blog resources are right in front of you—your team. Many of your coworkers have a wealth of industry knowledge and your specific service area, so take advantage of this untapped reservoir and interview them on a topic that aligns with your content strategy. This not only provides your blog with great content, it also makes your business feel more personal to the reader, since they get a little glimpse behind the curtain.
You can also take advantage of past clients you’ve worked with. If a company gives their approval, you can profile them in a blog post and share how they may have engaged with your team, product or service.
For most, particularly in the B2B environment, time is of the essence. Since blog posts are usually faster to write, publish and read, they can provide quick downloads of current events and trends while still providing educational value. Some blogs even specify the read time, be it a 4-minute read, 6-minute read, etcetera.
Someone who is a little more hesitant to dive into an eight- or nine-page white paper or case study might be more inclined to check out the 600-word blog post highlighting just one aspect of that longer-form content. Blog posts can also use elements like pull quotes, key takeaways and images to help make the content even more engaging and scannable.
For a final bonus, blogs are free. As ungated assets, blogs don’t require the reader to provide anything to access them. Conversely, gated content such as eBooks or white papers that are viewed as being higher-value assets commonly require the reader to provide contact information in exchange for access. Getting this contact information is highly desirable, however, and engagement with your blogs can often precede engagement with the gated assets that deliver it.
For your audience and clients reading your blogs, they’re gaining a wealth of information that’s engaging and insightful. So how does their readership benefit you?
When writing a blog post, it should focus on a specific topic or keyword. By including target keywords within the flow of your post, you improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and ultimately help drive traffic to your website. When someone is searching online for a topic that they want to know more about, you want your blog post to be one of the first results that rises to the top. Applying SEO best practices can push it there. If they gain value from your blog, they are more likely to keep exploring your website—meaning greater outreach, potential clients and connections.
When you create blogs that are researched, edited and thoughtful, you’re placing yourself as a thought leader on the topics your content strategy is aimed at. Readers will view your business as an authority and presence in the industry, allowing them to recognize how your company, services and/or products can provide value to their business.
As you continue to publish more and more posts of value, you begin to earn the trust of your audience and give them a compelling reason to continue coming back to your website. Each of these instances is an opportunity to deepen your relationship with that individual and create positive perceptions.
One of the greatest values of a blog post is how it lends itself to building up your content marketing strategy. As you’re creating your content calendar and planning for the upcoming quarter or year, blogs can be a great and often quick way to fill out that calendar. If you have an active blog section on your website, you want to make sure you’re continuously curating and producing blogs that are both relevant to your audience and timely to what is happening in your industry.
Writing a single blog post can create a cascade effect with your content. An idea you have for a blog post can be spun into an infographic, white paper, video or any type of content that makes sense for your content marketing strategy and brand.
Don’t forget: once you have a blog, share it! Post your blog to your active social media channels so you can make sure people are seeing and engaging with it. You can also incorporate blogs into your email marketing strategy by sharing posts to clients who you think can truly benefit from the read. Your website is also an ideal platform to highlight recent posts. Consider advertising new blogs in sidebars, relevant CTAs or even on your homepage.
Blogs are a staple in the modern marketer’s content arsenal. While a blog post can be a reliable choice when trying to spin out content quickly, it’s important to strategically think of not only the best format for your blog, but also how it fits and aligns with your overall content marketing strategy. The quality and performance of the blog is not only a reflection of your marketing team, but also your company and brand.
If you’re struggling with how to put the power of blogs to work in your organization or how to maintain a consistent cadence of new posts, check out the “Verify and Multiply Your Marketing Content” section of our eBook on building marketing momentum.