This post has been contributed by Ryan Gould of Elevation Marketing
B2B eCommerce business owners are constantly looking for the marketing tactics that are effective while tossing the ones that don’t offer much return. Take blogging, for example— while the weblog used to be a staple of eCommerce marketers, many are questioning if the medium is worth the trouble or investment.
Here are the facts to help you decide if you should stop or ramp-up your blogging efforts in the coming year.
The Purpose of Blogging in B2B
The more quality blog posts are in rotation, the more marketing material Google can spread around with prominent rankings. Marketers also use blogs as a way to dominate search, but B2Bs need a special sauce in order to be successful. Each post needs to speak to prospects’ interest-centers while providing immense value.
By posting frequent and informative blog posts that prospects can benefit from, B2B e-sellers can position themselves as thought leaders while simultaneously building trust. After all, those elements are critical for ramping up Internet-based sales.
Relevant Content Can Turn Cold Leads Warm
The highest value in B2B content marketing is its ability to scuttle prospects through your sales funnel faster. This is important because B2C sales funnels tend to be shorter than the ones B2B prospects have to navigate through. Posted frequently enough and infused with enough insight and research and your website content can become gears operating your sales machine.
We know by now that most prospects self-educate before they are ready to talk to sales. In fact, 74% of B2B buyers said they research at least half of their purchases before they buy. Blogs, knowledge bases and resource hubs allow your prospects to learn extensively about your products, organization, and other facts before they buy.
Furthermore, by posting often and building a healthy stable of readers, you are showing your prospects that you are a reliable source of information, and thus the thinking is that your products and services must be just as dependable. By blogging with authority, your salespeople will have an easier time than ever closing deals by the time the contact is made.
What to Write About?
This is the biggest question asked by B2B content marketers when first starting out. The answer to your question lies in the pain points your prospects and customers have. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Product Reviews: People might not always know how to use your products and would appreciate an in-depth write-up or a video overview complete with examples-of-use. These drive sales like no other.
Case Studies: Do you have a customer who raves about your products? Interview that person and do a blog post about his or her experience and a success story. This can also drive sales as people love to follow in the footsteps of successful peers. Showcasing your best case studies can definitely push the wishy-washy over the fence.
Industry News: Let’s assume your eCommerce store sells industrial cleaning equipment, then your customers will be definitely interested in new safety guidelines, technological advancements, chemical safety studies and other niche-related content. Keep an eye on your industry by setting up Google alerts, reading industry magazines and other publications, then keep your audience informed with concise and informative recaps of the hottest trends.
Repurposed Content: Your video tutorials and testimonials can be easily transformed into entertaining blog posts. Never forget to at least publish simple transcripts of your videos to boost your visibility in the search engines. Your blogs can also be repurposed the other way, which we will discuss in just a bit.
Problems & Questions: If you’re ever stuck on something to blog about, analyze your audience. Revisit those pain points and look for frequently asked questions in support ticket threads, forums or on social media. These can give you a host of blog post ideas, and your audience will appreciate your insight if you can make it personal, original, interesting, and informative.
Publish New Content Frequently
Publishing one blog every six months probably won’t give your eCommerce store the attention it deserves. Unless your posts manage to go viral, which is a rare occurrence in B2B.
However, when you consider that 99% of people won’t buy from you on their first visit and most have to see your brand seven or more times before they commit, it would be ideal if you could publish more frequently so as to remain on prospects’ minds.
How much do you need to blog? Hubspot showed that brands that publish more than 16 posts per month get nearly four-times more traffic than businesses that post less than four posts per month. If you can manage to develop the content that is constantly fresh and interesting, and frequent, your prospects may just bookmark your blog for later reading. They may subscribe to your newsletter to be notified of your newest posts, and they may share your blog posts around on social media, leading to even more exposure.
Strategize First, Write Later
As discovered by Hubspot, it’s best to publish multiple times per week. However, if you can manage to publish once a week or bi-weekly, your audience can still become hooked and enamored with your brand. Never post just to post but do post when you have something interesting to share. Do your research to infuse your posts with verifiable data and make each post long enough to fully explain your viewpoints. The consensus is that blog posts greater than 1,000 words tend to rank better in the search engines, and some claim that posts over 2,000 words are superior.
Longer, more comprehensive content also tends to get more traffic through long-tail keywords and is linked on social and other sites the most.
Most importantly, remember who you are writing for. Segment your target audience based on pain points, and make sure you regularly address the needs of all the groups.
If you want to do it right, you will create a content calendar that describes the points you wish to address, who and when will write the content and for whom, as well as which channels will be used to distribute the content, from your own blog to your partners’ social media shout-outs.
Analyze and test different topics and content formats to discover what works best. With enough content, time and attention, you’ll eventually discover the type of content, frequency, and information that keeps your audience and eCommerce customers always coming back for more.
About the author: Ryan Gould, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services atElevation Marketing. A strategic marketing and branding expert, Ryan helps Elevation’s clients solve their problems and achieve their business goals through integrated marketing solutions distinguished by research, storytelling, engagement, and conversion. With a proven track record of energizing brands and having worked with a variety of Fortune 500 companies, Ryan is a respected expert in achieving consistent results through creative design, thought-provoking narratives and innovative problem-solving. Follow Ryan on LinkedIn and Twitter.