When it comes to B2B blogging best practices for 2017, the most important thing to remember is that blogging isn’t going anywhere. In fact according to HubSpot, B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads that those that do not.
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Think about that in terms of potential customers. If you there are a 100,000 people out there searching for the service that your business provides, 67,000 of those folks are probably going to end up doing business with, or at the very least becoming a lead for a company that they found through a blog. 67,000 leads! For someone who grew up with the yellow pages and 4-1-1 as their main point of doing business research that number is astounding.
So, how do you get a piece of that action? By using a mix of new and proven best practices. This combination will give you a competitive edge in the highly competitive B2B blogging world.
Before we jump into the newest blogging best practices, let’s recap some of the tried and true ones.
- Start with a goal
- Keep your brand in mind
- Write for your audience and buyer persona
- Think like a publisher
- Stay organized
- Research first – then write
- Post on a regular schedule – and frequently
- Use different types of content in your blog
- Write for where your readers are in their buyers journey – awareness, consideration, and decision
- Be smart about SEO
- Keep your blog part of your website
- Include calls-to-action
- Have awesome blog titles
- Make sure to have a blog subscription and that works!
- Analyze your blog results
- and most importantly write relevant, engaging content.
For in-depth details about each of these best practices click here.
Now on to the main attraction! What’s new for 2017?
Be picky about your keywords
OK, while keywords aren’t exactly new, their importance cannot be overstated. Search engines are getting smarter and the days of keyword stuffing and writing your content around your keywords are through. And I get it, there are so many things to focus on when writing your B2B blog (personas, meta descriptions, links, images, calls-to-action etc.) keywords have a way of floating to the background. But, it’s important to remember that the whole point of blogging for your business is to drive traffic. If you’re taking time out of your schedule to blog regularly, then make sure you have a great keyword strategy.
Continue to optimize for mobile
You are probably sick of hearing it, but this trend isn’t going away. If anything, it is growing and if your blog and website aren’t mobile ready, not only will you penalized by Google, you will lose potential customers who will just move on to the next blog that IS mobile optimized.
53 percent of bloggers are publishing, at least, weekly and 85 percent publish at regular intervals. Compared to last year, 6 percent of bloggers are publishing more frequently. This means that in order to be found you need to create enough blogs that your potential customers will not only have more opportunities to find you but fresh content to read when they get there.But remember, you must create content that is relevant and engaging or you’re just wasting your time.
Social media is the most common and successful way to promote your blog. If you are looking just to increase traffic to your website, Twitter is an ideal way to drive traffic and increase blog subscriptions. But, if you are a B2B looking to drive MQL’s and SQL’s then you better be on Linkedin. In fact, one study showed that in terms of social media, Linkedin drove 80% of B2B leads, Twitter 13% of leads, Facebook 7%, and less than 1% came from Google +.
Links are a great way to build page authority for your site. There are two types of links:
- Give search engines a clear idea about your blog because of relevant links.
- Offer the best way to be in touch/build relation with bloggers having the same niche.
Inbound Links – In this blog post alone I’ve linked to five different internal blogs. I did that for several reasons:
- They helped me prove my point.
- Those links drive traffic to those older posts…giving them new life.
- Those links contain keywords I want to rank high with.
A side note: make sure that if you link internally that the page is still functional and that any CTA’s and links you have on that page, actually work. And for outbound links try to make sure they aren’t coming from a questionable source.
Go Long (When You Can)
Did you know that the blogs that are shared the most, are on average, about 2250-2500 words? Actually, neither did I, it’s amazing what you can find on the internet! But according to HubSpot, there’s a positive correlation between high performing pages within organic search and word counts of over 2,250 words. That number is up from 2014 where research found that 1600 words was the sweet spot.
Let’s face it, time won’t always let this happen but when you’re feeling inspired, don’t worry that you might be “boring” your audience with a long post. Keep writing!
Along with longer posts, the multi-image format is gaining in popularity, as bloggers want to separate text blocks found in longer posts. Lists are also very popular in blog content, likely because they are easy to scan and digest. Studies have shown that content with compelling visual elements and graphics can generate up to 94 percent more views. When possible, include videos or audio. Other content, such as quotes, charts, embedded social media, and infographics are all terrific ways to convey the message and make your post easier to read.
Guest blogging is a great way to enhance your business’s reputation as a thought leader. Getting guest posts published on top sites in your niche can secure backlinks from influential and authoritative websites – which can also raise your own blog’s search rankings. And vice-versa if you are able to get a well-respected blogger to guest blog on your site, you will draw in an entirely new crowd of followers.
Keep in mind that a liberal mix of tried and true along with new best practices will only win the day when content is king and you are writing specifically for your buyer persona.