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Blogging for business: How to avoid writers block

By Rene Power 23 Nov, 2011
Business blogging

Six post ideas which work for any business blog

Following on from the recent Smart Insights post on 30 ideas to get more visitors to your blog, I thought I'd follow-up with some more specific ideas for B2B blogs. I believe blogs are the foundation of any respectable BB content marketing strategy and the place where issues can be explored, trends discussed, communities created and prospects identified. So in the first in a series of posts on business blogging, I'll discuss how to avoid a common challenge - what to write about!

A company blog can, over time, significantly increase a website’s presence in search engine results and be a valuable source of inbound inquiries for a business. It is crucial that to be successful, your business has to tap into the needs of your target audience, and provides useful, usable and relevant content.

For me, the trick to effective business blog writing is to position on challenges, benefits and issues, rather than features-based selling. Remember, it takes time to convert a one-time visitor into a multiple time visitor, then longer from an engaged visitor into a transactional one. This is a long term strategy.

If you are serious about being seen as the "go to" experts in your industry and want to generate leads from your web presence, your company blog needs to tackle six core topics.

1. Solve an industry problem.

By identifying a burning issue and positioning your company credibly to deal with it head on, you'll create empathy with potential customers, provide reassurance and put yourself front of mind when they decide to shortlist. In the packaging sector for example, this might be achieved by writing about how to increase performance without increasing machinery footprint and associated costs.

2. Use data to make your point.

Whether it is your own, or someone else's, few people can argue with a great statistic. The trend more recently is to display data based information in illustrative formats like infographics. These have real usability and "shareability" and often go viral.

3. Comment on breaking news, from your perspective.

Sectors like construction and manufacturing offer lots of opportunity to do this credibly given the various environmental, legislative and technical factors that companies need to be mindful of.

4. Take a provocative position.

There are a number of reasons to do this. One, to stand out. Two, to drive debate. Three, to encourage comments. Four, to encourage subscription and return visit. If readers know that the blog will offer interesting and challenging information, they are more likely to return. NB: Provocative doesn't have to be confrontational.

5. Provide an industry resource list.

The ethos amongst bloggers is 'give to receive'. Achieving a link or track back is everything. Become a credible industry influencer by listing key websites, blogs, portals, hubs and other sites which you, and the industry, value.

6. Write a keyword rich post.

This is essential in B2B marketing as often search is taking place without the use of a prominent brand name. Establish which keywords are not really being discussed and write a keyword rich post about it. This post will then be the page that appears in search results for a given term or phrase.

Six ways of ensuring you never run out of content

Once a blog is up and running, an opted-in audience will grow that comes to expect quality information from you in a timely manner. Losing this hard earned following is easily done so avoid it be creating an editorial calendar, setting deadlines and working nimbly. This approach mixes proactive and reactive content.

1. Use existing material.

Repurpose press releases, presentations, conference or exhibition highlights as blog posts - all with the goal of showcasing your expertise.

2. Comment on the news.

As above, there are stories every day that demand your attention and your take on them. It is such an easy approach, especially if you have a team writing blog posts rather than just one person.

3. Write a round up.

A number of high profile sites and companies now offer their own weekly or monthly digest of the key industry news and developments. This is a great approach if you want to build a hub that people come back to again and again.

4. Write up an event.

A quick overnight summary of an event posted on your blog the next day demonstrates your commitment to being first with the news and also your commitment to the industry.

5. Write up a customer case study.

Written from a learning perspective rather than a selling perspective, a case study blog post can be a very powerful blog post - especially if it carries named, third party endorsement.

6. Offer guest posts.

Delivering more traffic to your blog might require some outside influence. By working with established industry writers, and offering them an outlet on your blog, you can tap into their audience.

For me the content (and the seeding) are the most important elements of blogging. What other types of blog post do you think business blogs should be including? Share in the comments thread below.

And bookmark the site now as my next blog post will offer some ideas on how you can ensure your exciting new blog post gets the attention it deserves.

By Rene Power

René Power, has been the Smart Insights Expert commentator on B2B marketing for over four years. He consults, talks and trains on the deployment of the full marketing mix within trade B2B sectors including packaging, food, science, construction, engineering and professional services. He specializes in integrating digital with traditional and demystifying digital marketing, social media and content marketing for trade B2B companies. A Chartered Marketer, René authors the The Marketing Assassin blog, shares updates on Twitter @renepower and you can connect via Linkedin. Rene also authored the recently updated Smart Insights Expert members guide: 7 Steps to Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing guide.

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