Increasing your reach by getting off your B2B blog and writing for others
The benefits of business blogging and personal blogging are well-known in terms of improving search visibility, delivering traffic and raising your profile but often it is hard to get audiences to come back to a blog on a business web site and engage.
A standard approach most business bloggers adopt is to seed blog content around the web - tapping into social media platforms, websites, groups, hubs and communities - with the goal of getting people to click the link and return to the website to take action.
Blogging, in this sense is, a very worthwhile activity. But it also a little bit spammy and has to be managed carefully to avoid coming across as being self-absorbed.
As most companies are blogging in order to improve visibility, stimulate greater website traffic and foster deeper engagement - a more inclusive blogging distribution strategy is required to stand out.
The 8 options for influencer outreach in B2B marketing
Here are 8 straightforward influencer marketing techniques I have used personally, or with B2B clients which can be used to extend your reach away from your own blog to where the crowd, your crowd is.
1. Posting to LinkedIn
LinkedIn has evolved, so that it's now a publishing platform that is still just about free to use meaning the era of the self publisher has well and truly arrived. This allows anybody to upload articles and blog posts for people they have no connection with, and to be seen and shared by people who don't know you, your company, what it does or what it excels at.
The LinkedIn platform also continues to facilitate the creation of discussions in groups. You have to be creative and work within the parameters of what is popular. In groups turn blog posts into the fuel for discussion by asking a question and offering the link to the blog post to encourage engagement. This can be very effective in discipline or vertical sector specific groups.
2. Posting to trade media and trade associations
In every sector there are trade associations reporting daily on news, trends and providing information, analysis and comment opportunities. Those schooled in the finer art of PR will know that most of these opportunities to feature in the places where your customers and prospects converge online offer many more eyeballs for your content.That's what this post is about!
If you are, for example, targeting architects, you'll talk less about product and more about the problems they face in integrating certain products to design and how they might be mitigated.
3. Business media
If you are a professional service, vertical sector marketing is not going to help you achieve all of your promotional goals. Targeting the regional and national business press will have more impact. Again, there will be opportunities here to transform existing blog content or create new, bespoke content for business publications websites.
Commenting on issues broadly affecting business in a region or nationally through media such as Insider Media has impacted a number of professional service companies up and down the country covering areas such as facilities, I.T, accountancy, legal, marketing and more.
4. Business portals
All the major online quality newspapers in the UK have hubs where groups can congregate, discuss and seek help on business matters. The Guardian Small Business Network offers a wealth of hubs, live chats and social forums if you want to target this group and become a contributor on a range of more general business issues.
Similarly, the Telegraph Business Club offers a journalist led forum for the placing of material beneficial to a comparable and sizeable audience.
And the Independent, in conjunction with The Evening Standard runs an SME network with all the features and editorial benefits as per the Guardian and Telegraph. Consider too, sites like Huffington Post UK which definitely does take submissions from non-journalists for its sprawling site, especially the blog.
5. Business associations
Don't forget bodies like Chamber of Commerce and membership groups like ProManchester which as part of membership, offer certain editorial and promotional privileges.
6. Finding your equivalent of a site like this
I've been fortunate to be in a position to post content on B2B marketing on Smart Insights since 2011. As a membership site with over 400,000 sessions monthly, it's fair to say my articles here are my most read work online.
7. Reciprocal blogging
If you can identify business leaders and companies who are doing some excellent blogging, it might be appropriate to offer to write for their site and offer them the opportunity back. Tapping into someone else's profile and audience is a great way to position to new readers.
8. Adopting a comment strategy
Finally, if all this blogging and repackaging and repurposing of content sounds like hard work, a perfectly viable approach to improving online visibility and seeding links is to comment on blogs, articles and news on sites that your target audience is seeing.
I go as far to say that a comment strategy is one of the most overlooked tools in digital marketing yet it is one that potentially does everything you need it do all in one. Some sites and prominent blogs are starting to shut down comments because of the rise of spam and trolling, but where a shared sense of community is at the core of the site, it's well worth considering this.
Again, in my world, sites like B2B Marketing, The CIM and TheDrum offer opportunities. Most require log in to authenticate you. You'll have similar sites in your world too, it's really a case of getting the process and style of content that these sites need.
Of course, comments and ideas for outreach would be welcomed on this post too!