Your B2B blog is a well-oiled sales conversion machine if you post at least once a week, right?
Even the most prolific B2B bloggers might be committing cardinal sins without even realizing it. There are billion-dollar companies with entire fleets of marketers with yawning blind spots on their blog that no one is telling them about. And your readers probably aren’t telling you about yours either.
There are a gazillion things that you might have to check, but to keep things simple, I’ll list five most egregious mistakes that B2B bloggers make (and the fixes for each).
Fix those mistakes, and you should get a sustained boost in engagement resulting in more customers than you know what to do with. Good problem to have, right?
Mistake 1: Posting company news on your blog
Many well-intentioned companies post company-related news on their own blog. But that’s not what blogs should be used for. No one really wants to read about a company tooting its own horn.
Frankly, no one cares.
People read blogs for one and only one reason. They want to get information of value – not just random news from some random company.
This value comes in different forms, however. Some blogs just provide entertainment value. Others help with people’s research on specific topics, like travel. The best business blogs, however, provide actionable information to readers who need to improve their businesses. Imagine you are looking for information on marketing outreach strategies for your own business, and you come across a blog with only company news.
What do you do? Yes, you quickly move on without a second thought. Posting company news is the fastest way to push readers away—towards your next competitor. You’d be surprised how many companies do this—even those with huge marketing departments with seemingly unlimited budgets.
There’s nothing wrong with tooting your company’s horn. But there is a right way, right time, and the right place to do it.
Posting about a new award to your company on your blog is not it. Instead, keep your self-promotion items separate from your blog. For example, put your newsworthy items in press releases. Post your press releases on a separate page or on a different platform. If people want to find news about your company, they can read your press releases instead of going to your blog. That way, you keep your blog centered around your customers, who want to read relevant information that immediately benefits them.
If you must put out promotional content, find a way to provide value to your readers. For example, you could write a case study that tells how your product or service actually helped another business.
Finally, another great way to keep your blog customer-centric is to create fresh, relevant, and evergreen content that doesn’t date too quickly.
Mistake 2: Not doing enough to create and promote content on other platforms
You might be blogging till the cows come home, but people might not easily find your content unless you promoted it on other well-known platforms.
For example, do you publish useful business content on LinkedIn? Do you post articles on Medium to build an engaged following? Do you have a regular email newsletter?
The Internet is a big place. Most of your potential customers may not even know your site exists. It’s not as if they’ll magically find your site as soon as they get on their laptops or smartphones (unless your kickass SEO blows everyone out of the water—and yes, we’ll talk about that soon).
But your potential prospects know about LinkedIn, and many probably are on it. They also know about Medium, and are possibly following at least a few people there. They may also frequent Reddit, Quora, and Twitter.
To get their attention, publish articles on other platforms to get your content in front of your prospects.
Got some blog posts discussing the results of your favorite case study or white paper? Publish them on LinkedIn and Medium! Share them on Facebook. Retweet them.
Or got a 2,000 word blog post about the most common B2B blogging mistakes? Offer to guest post it.
While your on-site content should be a priority, some of your content needs to be placed on sites where your prospects frequent to get more views, traffic, and ultimately, engagement. It helps to have a strategy and content marketing schedule to do this.
You could publish about a recent success or “lessons learned” on LinkedIn, retweet your blog content on Twitter, and answer relevant questions on Quora or Reddit—or even better, on LinkedIn Groups with other executives, managers, and professionals in the exact same industry as your company.
Mistake 3: Not taking SEO seriously
“SEO is dead!”
Proclaimed by many—to their own peril.
If I had a dollar every time I heard these “famous last words”, I’d be retired by now.
On the contrary, SEO is as important as ever. To be blunt—if you haven’t been optimizing your blog for Master Google, you’re seriously missing out.
You might think, “but Google keeps changing the rules! If I do the things that SEO junkies swear by, Google will just move the goalposts again and it won’t work anymore. Why should I waste my time then?”
Yes, this is a very common complaint, and a perfectly valid one. The search algorithms do keep changing, even multiple times a year. But does that mean you should just forget about it and hope some SEO juice magically comes your way?
Not at all.
There are concrete steps you can take to improve your blog’s search rankings without spending too much time or money. A small investment to push your blog to the first page on Google yields a ROI orders of magnitude larger than that initial investment.
Some steps are indeed quite technical, but other steps are easy and can be done within just a few minutes for each page.
First, do keyword research for your blog (or hire a SEO professional to handle this for you). Keyword research is vital for SEO because you want to rank your page on the specific keywords your prospects are using to find your B2B products and services. If, for example, someone needs help with B2B marketing, they might google “B2B marketing services” and just look at the listings on the first page without taking the time to look at the second or third pages.
When you do your keyword research, don’t forget to check their recent trends. Google Trends is a handy little tool to see which topics are rising or falling in popularity. Obviously, you don’t want to try to rank for a keyword that had been trending down for years.
Second, it also doesn’t hurt to optimize and refresh old blog posts with additional more up to date paragraphs, where relevant and also updating metadata if needed. While you’re at it, update them with both internal and external links to provide SEO linking value.
Mistake 4: Forgetting to allow people to subscribe and share
Other than neglecting to promote their content on other platforms, many companies also neglect to allow visitors to subscribe and share blog posts with others.
People are busy. They naturally forget to return to a blog they liked before. Unless you’re giving them a chance to subscribe to your blog, there’s no easy way for you to bring them back because they’re not getting any alerts or updates whenever you post new content.
Plus, sharing content is easier than ever. We see little Facebook and LinkedIn share buttons and tweet buttons everywhere, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t be on your blog as well. They are also easy to install and setup using website plugins.
Using a sidebar is a great way to kill two birds with one stone, along with making it easy for your visitors to navigate your blog and find the content they want.
Your blog sidebar should contain the following:
- Social sharing buttons
- Blog subscription link (or a compelling email lead capture with a free report)
- List of categories of archived blog posts for easier navigation
With just a couple of hours of spare time and a couple of free or inexpensive plugins, you could create a blog sidebar that keeps readers engaged and coming back for more.
Keep your sidebar simple, though. Too many widgets is distracting and may slow your page load times!
Mistake 5: Being boring… or worse, failing to speak to your readers
Contrary to popular perception, B2B does not have to be Business-2-Boring.
For some people, B2B blogs conjure images of dry, formal, and robotic content that would serve as a perfect non-pharmaceutical cure for insomnia.
Sadly, many B2B blogs are exactly that. I’ve seen so many that appear to have been written by an emotionless robot with artificial intelligence.
I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way.
Worse still, there are a lot of B2B content that doesn’t really speak to its intended audience. A B2B blog visitor is usually looking for a particular solution to a specific problem. If an article does not have any content that actually helps readers solve their problems, it doesn’t resonate with the readers.
B2B content does not have to be dry and peppered with jargon. At the same time, it should not be too salesy that it’d turn people off. It should be authentic, humble, and credible—yet engaging enough to captivate your prospects who value your products and services.
To write content that engages the readers you want, identify your target market and research their pain points. Ask open-ended questions that make your readers think. Answer their questions. Assuage their concerns.
Create meaty and informative content. Less than 500 words is too thin. But more than 1,500 will be perceived as more valuable and “worth reading”. Post frequently, at least once or twice a week. Don’t just write blog articles. Write white papers, tell stories using case studies, create an eBook, and promote each on your blog.
Your goal with your B2B blog is to offer a solution or a “value proposition” that solves the most pressing business problems your readers currently have. Then, to really rope them in, use a targeted and specific call to action that prompts your readers to take the action you want (request a quote, share with others, download a report, etc…).
And don’t forget to plaster your B2B blog content all over the Internet!
Want to become a blog king of the internet?
We hope you feel inspired to give your blogging activities a boost. If you want to learn more about our view on Content Marketing, or need some direction and support to help optimise your blog platform, then our Organic Content team can help you. Read more about our services here, and feel free to get in touch with us.
This is a guest post by Nabeel Keblawi.
Nabeel Keblawi is a professional B2B copywriter who helps companies grow and scale their businesses in technical industries, particularly in IT, software, blockchain, IoT, and energy. He breaks down complex and technical concepts into easily digestible and persuasive language for potential customers.