About this time of year, marketing departments in B2B industries are debating if they should start a blog, continue with a current blogging program, and if so, how to blog as effectively as possible.
Possibly these stats can help answer these questions.
According to studies by Hubspot and Technorati Media, both internet marketing companies, 31 percent of U.S. Internet users report blogs are the social media platform that most influences their buying decisions.* Further, 81 percent of U.S. online consumers trust the information they find in blogs. “In short,” according to a writer for the FedEx Small Business Center, “if you’re not blogging, you’re setting aside one of the most effective communications and marketing tools available.”
Some marketers may still question the use of blogs, claiming they are already sufficiently involved online with several social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. However, blogs offer many advantages over these alternative social media sites, including:
Words. In most cases, postings on social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., restrict users to a limited number of words. Studies have found that the longer a blog is—even more than 1,000 words—the more powerful it can be for a B2B company.
SEO. While some social media sites improve a website’s search engine optimization (SEO), it can’t compare with a blog. If written with SEO in mind and using a template to help optimize the post, some companies have reported significant increases—even doubling of monthly visitors—to their websites, which is far more than platforms such as Facebook or Twitter can produce.
Opportunities. Blogs allow B2B companies to really show their expertise. Remember, the goal of a blog is not to sell but to lead customers to a sale by providing quality, helpful information. The more your blog presents you and your company as experts in your field, the more opportunities for trust and loyalty to evolve between your company and your web visitors. And, eventually, that trust and loyalty leads to sales.
Another issue that often comes up in marketing departments that are considering blogs is what to write about. That’s actually a very easy issue to address. What are your customers asking you? What are their concerns? What challenges are they dealing with?
Most B2B companies manufacture products or provide services that are designed to address specific challenges that their end-customers must grapple with every day. Focus on those challenges and offer quality, helpful information that makes it easier for your end-customers to address these issues. You don’t have to promote your company’s products or services in your blogs; in fact, this can work against you. Rise above selling and become a thought leader. Employing this strategy will attract more end-customers to seek your advice and what your firm has to sell.
*Studies were completed in 2013.