Where is Your B2B Blog?

026
A blog can help you focus and narrow your content for your brand.

In case you missed the news, the blog turned 20 years old this year. That’s pretty significant since many of us are still working on our Twitter and Instagram strategies and both of those platforms are less than ten years old. And the blog is far from dead as Neville Hobson points out, in fact, it’s future looks pretty good.

The challenge is that blogging can be a daunting effort and as I wrote before it is not supposed to be easy. It takes time. It takes resources. It takes creativity. It takes perseverance. But the long-term benefits of blogging far outweigh the short-term pains.

I don’t want to complicate this topic or oversimplify it either. There are a number of posts on this topic if you search Google. So, whether you are about to start a B2B blog (or digital magazine) or you want to sit down and review your existing one (always a good idea to step back), here are three reasons why blogging matters and should be central to your B2B communication efforts.

Show you are a leader. No matter what industry you work in, there will always be issues and hurdles for you and your customers. A blog can help take the mystery out of some of these issues — regulatory, complexity, cultural — and let you build a community around topics that matter to you. In a competitive world thought leadership does matter and make a difference in the sales cycle, and both your external and internal customers want to know your position and where you stand. Your blog platform allows you to showcase your opinions and views.

 

Show you are interesting. Blogs help you tell stories. Plain and simple. And that is a huge benefit as B2B companies need to demystify their operations and focus on being understood. Ultimately, a blog will help you build awareness and engage prospects. In addition, you can be more creative with your efforts by integrating graphics, photos and video. We often use newswire services to build a multi-media package for news, and now that can be done regulatory with your own resources. Your blog now allows you to become a brand newswire.

 

Show you are respected. There are two ways to do this both on the front end and in the back office. On the front end, you can leverage your blog for guest posts and views from outside of your organization. Using third-party endorsements has always been a key value point for communicators and organizations. Blogs allow you to tap into your global network and help not only draw readers into your content but also influence your audience. In addition, on the back office you can measure  the effectiveness of third-party content through your data. And data is an ever-increasing initiative to measure what’s working and what’s not working. In addition, other social data allows you to search and find influencers to connect with and contribute content.

What B2B companies fail to understand is that a blog can be extremely flexible. Whether you want it to be video or image intensive to explain how things operate or Q&A focused to make it conversational, a blog allows you the freedom to build on your culture and image. And because of this flexibility you and make it what you want and have it help you tell your story. Some B2B blog examples to follow for inspiration: AccentureCiscoCME GroupGEIntel and Manpower.

Call it brand journalismcontent marketing or blogging. It doesn’t matter in my opinion. What B2B companies need to grasp is that context matters. You can hardly get context from a tweet or an image.

Looking for more help? Here are 10 lessons learned from Hans Kullin from 10 years of blogging. And from Velocity Partners here are a number of ideas for blog content.

Additional content to read (added March 5, 2014):

Embrace the Executive Blog — CIO.com

What I’ve Learned as a Writer — Zen Habits

How to Write Faster — Hootsuite

If you enjoyed this post you may also want to read the following:

Can B2B brands inspire?

Craft work — what’s your B2B expertise?

Who are your content superheroes?

Social media management

Do most online communities fail?

A B2B Summer Reading List

This past July, I traveled to Chicago with my wife and kids for our first family trip back to the United States since our move. The trip for me was split between working in Chicago and taking some time off to relax with friends and family. As always when I travel, I like to catch up on my reading and this trip proved to be a good opportunity to do just that while I was relaxing on the beach. Here is a summary of some posts and stories I found interesting that you may have missed.

The beach...time to relax with some B2B reading
The beach…time to relax with some B2B reading

Is Pinterest Pointless for B2B Companies?

One of the hottest social networks the past year has been Pinterest. As this post points out, there are a number of issues besides content to consider with Pinterest.  We started using Pinterest at the beginning of this year and while the traffic numbers may not compare to other social networks, we have certainly learned quite bit from a design standpoint for our website. Still have doubts? Here are four reasons from Karlie Justus why you need to consider Pinterest.

Want a Better Blog? Get Others to Write for You

If your B2B blog needs some help with content there’s no better place to explore than the blogosphere for help. We enlist a number of contributors to OpenMarkets who help us find and analyze content. If you don’t have time trying to find someone that’s not a problem either; fill out your information at MyBlogGuest and get ready to be pitched ideas.

Data, More Data, Data Everywhere

A great story in BtoB Magazine on data continues to highlight what I’ve been talking about on this blog — we are awash in data and while this presents many opportunities it also comes with great challenges. In fact, 79% of respondents in an IBM study “believe that over the next five years, the complexity of the data will be high or very high.” One key takeaway for me from the article — there will be plenty of job opportunities for marketing analytics in the future.

 Social Media and the Marketing Mix

Steve Reeves reminds us in this post that social media marketing should focus on the customer. He provides three good ideas how we can take our efforts online and transfer that knowledge to sales. The one important talking point from his post — think like the customer.

China’s Social Media Ambitions

I’ve written before on the importance of Weibo and looking east for social media growth. Storyful has an excellent post on the trends of social media in China that is a must read. Whether your company has any ambitions in China you cannot ignore the rapid and fast-moving digital networks taking place there.

Venn Should you Do a News Release?

This Venn diagram from Sarah Skerik is a great visual looking at the options available to corporate communications professionals when thinking about information distribution. The takeaway? Don’t think of these options as exclusive choices; we have a number of ways to now communicate and measure our messages and this post is a good display of how to help you decide.

If you enjoyed this post you may also want to read the following:

How are you measuring influence?

Are newspapers fading?

Are you ready for a real-time B2B world?

Blogging isn’t supposed to be easy

Why LinkedIn’s Company Pages Now Matter More

What drives your social media strategy?