Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blogging Remains Top B2B Content Marketing Tactic

Whatever is old is new again. Timeliness and relevance still reigns in this instant message, zero-attention span environment.

What’s the top B2B content channel to support your primary marketing objectives? Facebook? Twitter? Youtube? Webinars? Actually it’s blogging, the good old fashioned workhorse of business thought leadership, according to a new Focus Research report on the challenges and priorities of B2B marketers.

According to researchers, nearly two in five (39%) B2B marketers cited Blog Posts as their No. 1 type of content to support their primary marketing objectives. Webinars and Virtual Events came in next, cited by 38 percent of respondents, followed by Industry Whitepapers (31%), Videos (23%) and Data-Driven Research Reports (20%).

OUR TAKE: This research shouldn’t surprise you. In today’s fragile “wait and see” business climate, sales cycles have gotten longer. That’s increased the need to keep your prospects engaged during the consideration phase of the sales cycle. To that end, smart marketers are providing valuable content to decision-makers and influencers at their target customers. Blogs have been particularly successful as they can be updated and delivered much faster than a webinar, video or white paper—but with a lot more “meaty content” than a banal twitter post or Facebook “like.”

Blogs drive traffic and search results

Hubspot’s latest study shows that the number of companies actively blogging has grown to 65 percent today from 48 percent in 2009. Here’s why. Researchers found that companies that blog have 55 percent more visitors, 97 percent more inbound links and 434 percent more indexed pages than companies that don’t blog.

But, I’m not a writer

You don’t have to be a journalist—or hire one on staff—to create a meaningful blog for customers. You just need to show customers you understand their pain points and can help them solve their problems. If you understand your market, you’ll never run out of material. You can alternate an opinion post one week with a customer testimonial the next week, with an employee (or product) spotlight the next week with a short how-to article the next. Still not enough? Then try linking out to articles or research in the trade publications your prospects follow and then comment on the article with your authoritative spin on whether you agree or disagree with the findings.

“Blogs are a great way to get your name out there as a thought leader—and search engines love them, Bill Sheridan told us over coffee the other day. Bill is the editor and electronic communications manager of the Maryland Association of CPAs a very progressive professional society when it comes to connecting with members in this electronic age.

So don’t worry about being a writer, or even a hotshot blogger. Just be the expert in your target niche and if nothing else, be the best friend of your customers, prospects and decision-influencers at your target companies. Give them some ammunition to convince their boss, CFO or board and they’ll be your advocate for life.


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