As one of the tenets of content marketing, being “helpful” is important for any content you produce. It reminded me of a quote from Jay Baer’s book Youtility:
This is a lesson that many B2B brands need to take to heart because they offer complex and enterprise-level products and services, which are generally difficult to grasp. So demonstrating their helpfulness to prospects and leads is a better bet to making a sale.
One way that B2B brands can do that is by turning their blog into a Learning Center. Instead of using it as a dumping ground for information about their products and services, how about using it to educate their prospects? Not only does this have a benefit of creating better quality sales leads, but it also builds trust. By giving away information to them, information they need and want, why wouldn’t they come back when they’re ready to buy?
Here are the three major ways you can help your B2B clients become the Learning Center in their industry.
1. Identify the audience’s major obstacles
Identify the audience’s major obstacles and issues, and then write posts that talk about those topics. Narrowing your topic focus to these subjects will help you keep the blog’s focus, and just make it easier to write. It has the added bonus of increasing the quality of your posts, because the specific focus will help you from meandering onto topics that aren’t relevant for your readers.
- Research the audience: Who are they and what information are they looking for?
- Track the searches on the website: This is the hidden treasure of your website, and you don’t even have to go far to find it.
- Ask the audience: Create a survey and share it with the audience. Put links to it on the website and ask them straight-out, “What do you want to read about on the blog?”
- Track what they’re curating on social media: Set up a Google Alert to track this, or use Twitter’s search feature to find the information. See what they’re retweeting and ‘favoriting’ and then write posts based on that.
- Ask the customer service team for their top customer questions: Customers call them every day with questions about products and services. Cut down on their work by writing up some posts to cover those topics.
2. Establish trust with the audience
You already know what types of blog posts work best for your client’s B2B blog readers. Now it’s time to turn it up a notch and really establish trust with them. There are two ways to do that.
- Write posts that compare competitor’s products with your client’s.
- Be as transparent as possible and answer every single question the customers and prospects ask.
Being open and honest with the readers goes a long way to establishing that trust. It says your client’s not scared of the competition, and believes in their products.
Readers also like it because it gives them more data to make an informed decision. More often than not, they’ll choose your client’s product, however if they don’t, they’ll remember them for next time.
3. Write within the lines
By that I mean, write blog posts following blogging best practices. Things to keep in mind include:
- Writing great blog headlines and titles. Your titles should be eye-catching and unique, which will help generate more clicks, views, and shares.
- Try to include keywords in the titles, but don’t force it. Generally speaking, when it comes to keywords, you should include them organically in the content, titles included. Don’t force them into the content if they just don’t work. The search engines will reward you for that.
- Use as many images as you can. Studies show that using images in blog posts gets them shared more often. Remember to use images that you have the right to use, adding in credits/attribution as necessary.
- Always include a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of the post. Some blogs have a standard “subscribe to our newsletter” widget, while others have “other posts you’d be interested in” section. Regardless of what you do, just do something! Many B2B blogs forget the CTA on the blog posts, which is a missed opportunity.
- Integrate good social media sharing tools. These tools will make it easier for the posts to be shared with a wider audience. Test out whether you get more shares by adding the share buttons at the top or bottom of the post. Many bloggers report good share numbers with both.
Are you ready to do some smart marketing?
Regardless of the kind of marketing strategy you or your clients are using, as long as it’s smart, helpful, and insightful, you’ll have success. These are just three of the ways to start doing it. What else could you do? Hit the comments and let me know.