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B2B Blogs: There’s More to it Than Just Writing

B2B Blogs: There’s More to it Than Just Writing

October 6, 2014 | By Julia Borgini | No Comments

B2B Blogs: There's more to it than just writingWhile doing research for a client project recently, I was shocked at the quality of some of the websites I was seeing. These weren’t young start-ups or companies in extremely conservative industries. They were websites of companies and brands you’d recognize. And be embarrassed for.

As I was looking for examples of corporate blogs, I took a look at those. Again, I was surprised at how poorly these B2B companies had executed them. There were B2B blogs that:

  • Had no concept of good website design, layout, or font choice.
  • Published posts on an erratic schedule: either too often or not often enough.
  • Used their blogs as a dumping ground for every news release, creative idea, and online mention of the company.

Of course, this is good news for us B2B copywriters, as that means there’s a lot of business out there for us, but from a bigger perspective, it’s a little worrying.

I see this in my own business too, when I speak to prospective clients about blogging for their B2B company, and I start asking questions about design, style guides, image sources, keywords, and SEO. Rare is the prospect that actually has all of these things ready to go. In fact, one large B2B consulting firm actually thought that they’d see an immediate spike in website traffic after publishing one post (and not doing any publicizing of the blog or the post!).

That’s because B2B blog owners don’t realize that a blog is about much more than just writing. Sure, having a professional writer (or proofreader/editor) is a good first step; however there are many other facets to running a successful B2B blog. Let’s take a look at a few of those now.

Blog Design

The design of a B2B blog can help increase readership and encourage engagement with those readers. B2B blogs are notorious for being bad. Usually over-branded or uninspiring, they fall short in the design department.

Tips for B2B blogs

  • Use the least amount of branding you can get away with.
  • Make it easy on the eyes in terms of colors and font choices.
  • Keep sidebars to a minimum.

Some good examples include: Dell, LinkedIn, ComScore, GE Reports, and Adobe.

Good Writing

This one gets its own heading here, as it can influence a number of different things on a B2B blog. At a basic level, good content will keep readers coming back for more. In fact, they’ll probably forgive bad web design if it’s got good, insightful content. Seriously, think about it. If the content is really good, readers aren’t going to comment on the bad layout or poor font choice, right? (At least we hope!)

Tips for B2B blogs

  • Work with a professional writer.
  • Hire a copy editor and/or proofreader.
  • Develop a style guide and voice/tone guidelines that are used in all of your marketing communications.
  • Infuse the blog with a little personality, but don’t go overboard.
  • Create posts with original data.
  • Be the first to write about a hot industry topic.
  • Cover a topic so comprehensively that everyone will wish they wrote the post first.
  • Feature examples and success stories in the post. Everyone loves a success story, especially if it’s one that uses your products to overcome an obstacle they’re facing too.

Social Media Management

These days, if you’re not on social media, prospects start to wonder. B2B companies need to choose the right platforms for their business and/or industry, and then publish content on them. That’s just the first step, however. There’s a big difference between using social media and using it well.

The biggest tip here is to hire a social media manager who’s got experience using these platforms in a professional setting. They’ll know how to cross-promote content properly, how to use it to make connections, and develop relationships that help grow a business.

One forgotten aspect to social media management is commenter management on a blog. (Remember, a blog is also considered social media.) And commenters can be mean, so learning how to moderate comments on a B2B blog is an added skill to look for in a social media pro.

Tips for B2B blogs

  • Hire a social media pro.
  • Be on the right platforms for your business.
  • Respond appropriately to comments on the blog.
  • Share content more than once, not just when it was published, but a few times after that as well.
  • Recycle old content on a regular basis too.
  • Use the right type of content for the audience and platform.

Email Marketing

Having an email subscriber list for a B2B blog is another way to engage with readers. For the most part, readers are simply using the subscribe feature because they’re lazy — they don’t want to have to remember to come to the site to read the latest post. For the B2B business, it’s a hidden gold mine. Think about it: this is a captive audience who already shares the same view of the market. They read the blog on a regular basis and decided it was worth hearing more from. They’re already hooked!

Tapping into this subscriber base is another hidden gem to a B2B blog. Having an email expert on staff will help B2B marketers reap the rewards to this list, generating business, and more prospect involvement.

Tips for B2B blogs

  • Make the subscribe box prominent on the blog.
  • Brand emails appropriately.
  • Include unsubscribe links in all emails.

Lead Analysis

Many B2B blog owners simply publish content and then do nothing with it. I’m not even talking about all the other activities I’ve already mentioned in this article. I’m actually referring to analysis of their corporate blogs, specifically lead generation. As lead-gen is one of the key motivators for a B2B blog, it’s important to see if it’s actually working.

Tips for B2B blogs

Analysis can help B2B blog owners:

  • Learn what topics are getting the most traffic on the blog.
  • Learn which topics are getting the most social media shares.
  • Learn which topics are getting the most comments.
  • Discover what topics could be fodder for new posts.
  • Discover hidden evergreen topic gems.
  • See which calls-to-action work best/worst.
  • See if particular blog formats work better than others.

Final Thought

Blogging for business is a complicated thing. There are so many elements at play in each single post that it’s impossible to rely on any one thing anymore. B2B blog owners have to wear many hats now, and are struggling with it. I’ve listed just a few of the different elements involved, but there are many others out there. What elements are you noticing in B2B blogs? Hit the comments and let me know.

About the Author

Julia Borgini

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