A good b2b marketing strategy almost always contains blogs, so here is your dream B2B blog scenario in a nutshell:
- You write a B2B blog that solves a problem for your target persona better than anyone else.
- You optimise it for a keyword (search phrase) you wish to rank for and which isn’t too competitive.
- You promote it regularly on LinkedIn and soon people start reading and sharing it.
- Google sees your blog is popular and rewards you by moving it up the rankings to page 1.
- Your blog gets more views and there’s a serious upswing of traffic to your website.
- Visitors see the services you offer and stay around on your website to find out more.
- Voila! You've increased your b2b leads.
Popular blogs increase traffic, exposure and generate b2b leads. This is why we blog and why blogging should be part of your B2B marketing plan in 2020.
Here are the 7 steps for creating a blog that generates B2B leads:
- Understand who you’re trying to help
- Solve the problem better than anyone else
- Establish if there is enough interest in the problem you’re solving
- Write your blog so it’s easy to digest on mobile and desktop
- Optimise the blog so it can be found by people looking for answers to the problem
- Convert blog traffic into leads
- Promote your blog
1. Understand who you’re trying to help
The best blogs, the blogs that generate the most traffic, are written to solve problems or fill an information void for people looking for answers. So your first step is to define who you’re trying to help.
If you provide accounting software optimisation services you’re probably selling to accountants, but who in particular? The head of the practice, one of the managers? The IT manager or the key partner’s executive assistant? Understanding who you’re going to write your blog for may not be as obvious as you first think.
This is where buyer personas come in to play. Creating buyer personas and buyer journeys is about understanding the person with the problem you’re trying to solve. Creating buyer personas and defining buyer journeys (using tools like empathy maps) is a great way to uncover just who you’re going to target and what their specific problem is.
Think about this; the Executive Assistant’s driver will most likely be very different to that of the principal partner in an accounting practice. One person may be looking for an affordable solution with a good customer service record, while the other may be looking at the complexity and depth of the solution and its potential to assist you to deliver a competitive advantage.
So, think carefully about the person to whom you’re writing.
2. Solve the problem better than anyone else
With your persona and buyer journey defined and empathy maps completed, your task is now to examine these documents and identify the specific problems you can solve for the persona you’re targeting.
If you’re targeting the practice manager at an accounting firm, then brainstorm problems that you could solve for this person using the empathy map as a source document. For example;
- How to customise your accounting practice software
- Customisable software for accounting firms
- Top accounting practice management software in Australia
Once you’ve identified the problem you’re going to solve, find out if there’s already someone out there providing answers. If yes, then are they doing it well, could you do a better job? If the question is not answered or not answered well maybe you’re onto something.
Before you go ahead and choose your blog topic, it’s a good idea to look at the volume of searches people are undertaking for these topics and whether this is correlates with the traffic you need in order to generate leads.
3. Establish if there is enough interest in the problem you’re solving
It’s not much use writing a B2B blog to solve a problem people don’t want or need solved. Check what the search volume is for the term you’re considering writing about.
You can use tools like Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest and paid tools like SEM Rush or Moz to help you work out the phrases your prospects are searching for and the search volume of these each month.
These search terms or phrases are know as Keywords. A keyword is a word (or phrase) that best describes what a blog (or webpage) is about. Keywords help search engines understand the content of a page and are an important factor in determining search results (the content offered to people when they do a search). It's the search term that you want to rank for via a certain page.
So, if you can optimise your blog for a keyword people are searching for and there are at least 50 to 70 searches a month then signs are good that there are people you can help.
4. Write your blog so it’s easy to digest on mobile and desktop
Next it's time to start writing your blog. Make sure you keep it easy to read and digest for those viewing on a mobile phone (as well as desktop).
Make sure you cover the core answer of your blog early on in your post. You want to answer the problem early and use the remainder of the blog to enrich and expand on your solution.
Use short sentences and paragraphs and break up your blog with sections heading and subheading so it’s easy to read. Use lists where you can and always try to get to the point without waffle.
This will make your blog easier to read and allow readers to skim to parts of your blog they want to focus on.
5. Optimise your blog for search
You don’t want to keep your blog a secret you want to share the love. That means optimising you rblog for search.
You found your keyword phrase using Ubersuggest, SEMRush or Moz or one of the other tools, now you need to place that keyword phrase optimally in your blog heading and body in way that will help Google understand what you’re writing about and give you the best chance to rank for that search term.
If you are using Wordpress. tools like the Yoast Free SEO optimisation plugin takes the the hard work out of placing your keyword and optimising your B2B blog for search. Other tools include Rank Math and SEOPress along with others. Site platforms Squarespace and Wix have their own built in optimisation tools so search optimising your blog is no longer the chore that it once was.
6. Convert your blog traffic into leads
For a blog to generate a lead, or play a part in generating a lead, you need the reader to take action. Ideally, you want your reader to make a call or fill in your 'contact us' page form. However as your web traffic starts to grow via blogging, only a small percentage of these visitors are likely to call you directly via the contact form or phone number of your website (but some will!).
For the B2B website visitors that may not be ready to make direct contact with your company at this early stage, offering other valuable content like an ebook, how-to guide or downloadable case study via a call to action (CTA) in exchange for an email address is a proven way to generate leads and begin a relationship with a new B2B prospect.
When your prospect becomes a lead you can decide whether it’s suitable to nurture them with further marketing via emails and marketing automation or have a member of the sales or marketing team contact them.
7. Promote your blog
Blogs don’t rank overnight. Blogs are a medium term strategy, they gather momentum over time. As the blog builds popularity, its rankings increase and in time hits page one for its target search term.
Sharing your B2B blog on LinkedIn
To give your blogs a kickstart and to generate interest and leads faster you can share them with your network on LinkedIn and encourage your network to share them as well. Using Hashtags is a great way to extend your blog’s reach and make it more easily found on Linkedin.
Facebook and LinkedIn Advertising
Promoting your blog on LinkedIn and Facebook is a great way to get it in front of the prospects that you are targeting.
Sharing your blogs with your database via your newsletter is a great way to rejuvenate interest from latent clients and generate leads from within your existing database.
RSS newsletters, which you can create on platforms like Hubspot and MailChimp, take it a step further allowing you to auto create a regular monthly newsletter from past blogs with the click of a button.
B2B Blogging Works
Because B2B buying typically involves a longer sales cycles, prospects will use your blogging to judge how you think, decide on your level of expertise and the potential value you can offer them. Even if they’re not ready to buy, you can start a relationship (a lead) by getting them to subscribe to your blog updates, follow your LinkedIn page, follow your corporate instagram account or download your ebook in exchange for their email, etc.
Writing blogs is a great way to increase your profile, grow earned traffic and generate quality B2B leads by simply defining who you are looking to help and writing to help solve their problem.
Blogging should be a part of almost all 2020 B2B marketing action plans, with a little effort and planning, blogs are lead generation tactics that keep on giving.