I follow a few key topics on Quora, and I try to answer a question over there at least once a week. My inclination is to answer B2B inside sales and sales topics, since AG Salesworks has such an arsenal of resources for everyone. But every so often, I also foray into the B2B marketing topics, such as content marketing, SEO, and blogging. This question piqued my interest, and I thought I’d share with our readers my response:
What are blogging best practices for a B2B SaaS start-up wishing to generate industry visibility?
As the coordinator for Sales Prospecting Perspectives, a B2B blog that also strives for industry visibility, I thought I’d share a few pieces of advice I’ve learned after a year of doing this.
1. Write helpful content.
I see a lot of SaaS blogs that only feature their product. Every blog post looks like a demo! No, no, no! Imagine that you’re a top-of-the-funnel prospect. You’re not ready for that consideration stage. But you may be interested in reading something that’s helpful to you. For example, at our blog, we have a variety of articles about inside sales tips, B2B lead generation advice, etc. It’s not all about our service – outsourced teleprospecting. While we do have a few pieces of content geared towards those in the decision stage, most of our blog posts are geared towards those who aren’t yet interested in our services, but are interested in reading helpful, valuable content on the topics that matter most to them.
2. Be smart about SEO.
I attended HubSpot’s Inbound ’14 earlier this year, and I made it my mission to see Rand Fishkin of Moz talk about SEO practices to love & practices to leave (see his presentation here). Long story short: Optimize for the searcher, not for the search engine. So stop “cheating” the search engine by creating manipulative links. Think like the person you want visiting your website, and optimize for him or her. As they say in marketing, you want to envision that one specific type of person you want to market to. The same applies for SEO. With almost 600 billion queries a day, in the long-term you will succeed by creating one-of-a-kind, uniquely valuable and relevant content that fits the searcher’s queries in an efficient manner.
3. Leverage collaborations and guest blogs.
Referral marketing is as big as referral selling. If you want visibility, keep a master list of the top bloggers in your industry and reach out to them. Ask them for advice. Ask them for a guest blog. Feature and share their content. You’ll be pulling visits and possibly leads (you do have an email subscription form on your site, right? any eBooks or whitepapers for prospects to download?) from their audience, and you’ll also be creating valuable relationships with the top experts in your industry. Who knows – they could become evangelists for your product.
4. Share on prominent B2B social media sites.
I know this isn’t specific to the blogging platform, but I still think it’s necessary. As a B2B SaaS company, your best bets for social media sharing are LinkedIn and Twitter. Remember: people on LinkedIn are looking to do their jobs better. People on Twitter are looking to share valuable content. Use Twitter Ads and LinkedIn Analytics to track views and engagement with your content, so you can see what performs best where and then analyze why.
Most important of all – as Matt Heinz wrote – don’t give up on content marketing! The world of content marketing is exciting, but it will take a while to see real results. Be patient, and continue leveraging your content marketing machine. Good luck!