If you are a senior executive in B2B businesses, regardless of your label (CEO, managing director, country manager, general manager, etc.) you should blog.
I can already hear the collective groan. "Really...why is it so important?!" Well here's why:
Whether you like it or not, a CEO's personal brand on professional platforms like LinkedIn matters 100%. B2B blogging is a tremendous way to manage that, whilst at the same time genuinely adding to the debates of the day swirling around your customer's heads.
You haven't reached your current lofty role by luck. Often it has taken many years of experience and hard won lessons. Do not underestimate the value of sharing that experience with the people you wish to influence. Expertise is everything and blogging is a great way of demonstrating that you know your stuff. Warning: Be genuine and offer clear, concise advice. Content is important, so waffle stuffed with industry jargon will not endear you to your customers!
Blogging is good for your company's brand. By demonstrating your thinking, your displaying your understanding of the customer and the world in which they live. This is highly attractive to your buyers and will encourage them to start a conversation with your firm when they need your help.
Blogging is good for your website's search engine ranking. That is, getting placed high in your customer's search results. Google's search algorithm rewards websites that regularly refresh content. Each blog is treated by Google as a new page on your site. Your organisation owns your blog, unlike advertising where you are simply renting space for as long as you keep paying. A blog is like real estate you own, you invest in a blog and it builds value over time. At g2m, visitors, leads and current customers, still regularly read blogs I wrote two or three years ago.
Blogging is good for nurturing your industry connections. Writing a blog is much more substantial than simply going to LinkedIn and wishing them a happy birthday or congratulating them on a work anniversary. Bonus tip: Republish two or three of your favourite blogs on your profile using LinkedIn Pulse (LinkedIn's own publishing tool). Just be careful not to duplicate the copy exactly - as Google sees this as duplicate copy and your ranking can be penalised.
- Blogging is good for the soul. This is not to be underestimated. Seeing your words of wisdom published feels very good. It establishes you as a thinker, someone who leads discussions, in your customer's minds.
Top Tips for taming the blogging monster
Now that you are considering blogging, you need to take into consideration that it can take two to four hours every week to write. Additionally, whilst you can probably think of three or four topics to write about, can you write 500-800 words every week - forever?
Inspiration: Carry a notebook, (I'm still an analogue guy when I write, doodle and think and I use a beautiful leather journal from Midori) or you might be drawn to electronic versions like Evernote. Jot down ideas when you're on that flight back home, or my favourite, when grabbing a cup of coffee on Saturday morning. Does your idea seem too small for a blog? Don't worry, the seed may well grow, sometimes two or three small ideas join to form a bigger train of thought.
Find and follow a select group of people who you admire, particularly those who your customers admire, in other words your customer's influencers. Join the stream of content your buyers are consuming. You'll quickly come up with contributions you can make to the debates of the day. This is really helpful in experimenting with your own online "tone of voice." Soon when you're ready to contribute in longer form the barrier to starting will be a lot lower.
Consider "curating " content. This means taking a blog from an influencer and adding your thoughts to the copy. Publish the combined copy on your blog (giving full attribution to your original source). You'll quickly come up with contributions you can make to the debates of the day. It's typically a lot faster and less time consuming that writing an original blog. Better still, it creates variety on your blog. David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, recommends that this type of "pre-loved" content should represent the vast majority of your content up to 85%, with only 10% being original content and a measly "less than 5%" being promotional in nature.
Please remember, each blog doesn't need to solve world peace - and all in 800 words. Tackle different facets, break down the "Uber problem" facing your industry sector into bite sized pieces. Your target customers will value your perspective and it will keep your readers coming back for more.
We often hear our clients tell us, "But I cant write! I'm an engineer/accountant/scientist/coder by trade, I was terrible at English in school. The fact of the matter is, it's the ideas and the knowledge that is important. There are lots of ways to convert your thinking into attractive readable prose. There are many highly talented journalists who are now making their living as contractors and several content specialists, like g2m Solutions, who can help build your B2B marketing strategy too.
Make sure you are maximising the effect of your blog. Don't get worried and give up if your blog is met with deafening silence initially. Make sure it's part of a bigger content distribution strategy. Use social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn to share the content in bit sized pieces on your feed. Take your most popular posts and roll them into your newsletter - but a new kind of newsletter - one that actually contains content your readers (customers) might actually be interested in. Get your staff to add a link to the new blog in their email signatures. All of these will add to spreading the word.
Avoid "dead ends" for your readers. At the end of every blog make sure you provide them with the next logical step to take. After all, the primary purpose of great content is to create action, to get your buyer's to move to the next stage of their buying journey. So add in a helpful, valuable, thoughtful next step at the end of every blog. Hint: "Fill in this form to get a call from our sales person" is NOT the kind of next step I'm talking about! Instead offer them a helpful video, like a testimonial from a similar buyer.
Blogging is just one of a number of changes you should consider for your sales and marketing. If you'd like to read more about this topic, click the button below to download our complimentary eBook '3 Reasons It's Time To Redesign Your Sales And Marketing" now.
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