Blogging is a powerful marketing tool and an increasingly popular tactic in a smart marketing strategy, especially for business-to-business (B2B) marketers. I know, because I launched this blog to promote my Cleveland-based marketing consulting business exactly a year ago.
Here are 10 lessons I’ve learned in my first year as a B2B blogger and three ways blogging has boosted my business.
Learning about Blogging by Doing
I created Smart Marketing Strategy to demonstrate my marketing expertise, share content of value with other marketers, and find new business opportunities. I also wanted to learn blogging from the inside out, so I could help clients understand how to blog from my own experience.
Here’s what I’ve found:
- Your blog is your brand. A blog can dramatically increase your visibility online, with blog posts sometimes earning higher search engine rankings than your website. View your blog as an extension of your company’s branding and design and write it accordingly.
- Content is king. High-value content is the key to success. Create and share content that showcases your expertise. Think about your content from the perspective of the people you want to engage. What do they care about? What information, knowledge, or perspective can you provide that they will value?
- Write what you know. Narrow your focus to specific topics related to your company’s core business and write about the subjects you know best. I’ve found it’s easiest to write posts on topics where I have the deepest knowledge: B2B marketing, direct marketing, and marketing strategy.
- Keep keywords in mind. If one of your blogging goals is higher search engine rankings, identify the top search keywords that relate to your business and include those terms in your posts.
- Be real. Have a point of view that reflects the individual behind the blog or the persona of the company that’s publishing it. Looking back on a year’s worth of posts, my point of view about marketing strategy – that there are proven best practices in marketing and marketers who ignore best practices waste their money – has come across in nearly everything I’ve written.
- Be current. A blog is a great place to offer your insights on what’s happening in your industry. Commenting on events and trends also helps make you part of the conversation and gets others to engage with you. My posts often assess current marketing campaigns or share interesting research or perspectives on marketing that I’ve gained from speakers at conferences.
- Be consistent. A blog needs to be a regular publication to earn the interest and loyalty of readers. I aim for a post at least once a week. Anything less frequent becomes easy to forget.
- Make your blog a priority. Blogging requires a commitment of time and energy and somehow, it needs to be a priority in your schedule. Try writing early in the morning before your workday begins or on the weekend when your mind is clearer.
- Publicize your blog. Publicity is crucial to a successful blog. Announce the creation of your blog to clients, colleagues, and friends. Publicize every post you create on your social media networks. I alert my Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook followers each time I publish and include links to my blog on my website and all my marketing materials.
- It helps to have friends. Before you launch a blog, assemble a subscriber base of friends who are willing to comment, share, and promote your blog once it’s up. Much of my success can be traced to wonderful colleagues who tweet about my blog or share my posts with their lists.
3 Ways Blogging Has Boosted My Business
One year in, I’m amazed at the impact blogging has had on my business:
- Visibility: The blog has vaulted my company to page 1 on Google for many of the search terms related to my business and helped raise my visibility in Northeast Ohio.
- Credibility: Blogging has enabled me to share my knowledge of marketing strategy and burnish my credentials as a marketing expert. It’s also helped me learn how to use a blog to build a business – valuable experience I now can share with my clients.
- Opportunity: Companies looking for help with marketing planning are finding my blog and contacting me about marketing consulting services. I’ve received speaking invitations, inquiries about partnership opportunities, requests to author articles in other media, and even an invitation to judge a marketing competition!