Your target audience wants to learn. There are likely several pieces of information that they would like to learn and all they’re looking for is a “little of the secret sauce.” They would like to better understand “best practices” in how they do their job. Blogs are not as nerdy as they sound. And, the best part about blogs for the reader is that they are often a quick read – best practice is to keep them under six paragraphs. That also works great for the author; however, they need to be very focused in the blog purpose and be sure to use each word carefully. Write a one-sentence strategy before writing your blog.
Blogs are read every day across LinkedIn. Much fewer are read by means of a Google search and finding a blog at your website. The LinkedIn feed for any user will display pictures, titles and one can easily scroll through their feed, finding nuggets of interest. Then, they read them. Your audience reads blogs over the lunch hour, while waiting for someone to meet them for a beer and whenever they have five minutes to spare.
Blogs are hundreds of times more effective at driving engagement than are emails. Emailing cannot go away entirely, but it should be a much smaller, less significant component of your 2017 tactical mix.
Marketing automation helps to identify the IP addresses of the reader – but ONLY if that blog is placed at your website. Many companies are putting “stuff” out there at LinkedIn, but they are not driving traffic to their website from LinkedIn – BIG MISTAKE. From the full IP address, marketing automation will let you see the company name and usually the city, state and country. But, you don’t see the actual name of the visitor until you have helped marketing automation tools associate the IP address with the email address of the visitor.
Blogs drive interest and repeat visitors. Blogs build trust in your company and in your subject matter experts. Once they have reviewed a few blogs and have a new level of trust, a blog can include a “call to action” offering that causes the visitor to surrender their contact information. From that point forward – and even going back to the first day you launched marketing automation – you have transparency into what they read and what subjects held their interest. Think of how valuable that is to sales.
Blogs that offer “gold nuggets” of information – without insisting they talk to a rep – are the most valuable. Did you know that in today’s B2B marketplace, the buying and decision cycle is greater than 80% complete before they even want to talk to a sales rep (source: Gartner)? The buyer wants to learn as much as possible before committing. It’s just the truth and the unfortunate nature of things. Give them blogs and they will get what they want. Get them to read your blog(s) and you can begin to track their interests and where they are at in the sales cycle.
Over the last 18 months, I’ve personally witnessed 80% of engagement coming from blogs and less than 19% of engagement coming from old school email campaigns.
Blogs are not difficult to create when you have a team of subject matter experts on staff and you have a real content manager. In my opinion, blogs should make up 65-70% of your B2B marketing efforts. News/announcement articles should be second. Even the value of videos has more impact to engagement than emails.
About the Author: Brent J. Anderson
Innovative and dynamic B2B marketing leader with a 29-year career (high-tech/healthcare – 16 years; creative agency sales/strategy – eight years; B2B sales – three years; CPG marketing – two years). Best known for refining strategies to better meet corporate objectives and dramatically improving awareness for unknown brands/products/services.