Stay Off the B2B Blogging Wall of Shame




  • February 12, 2016

    Stay Off the B2B Blogging Wall of Shame


    “Outsource our B2B blog? Nope, no need — we’re doing just fine.”


    Oh, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that from B2B marketers. And, truth be told, many of them are doing just fine — they’re building thought leadership and growing their communities by publishing quality content on a regular and frequent basis.


    And then there are the others. Yes, they have a blog … but they’re making some fatal mistakes that are keeping them stuck in the starting blocks.


    That being said, please join me on a tour of the B2B Blogging Wall of Shame, a rogue’s gallery of the biggest mistakes that block B2B marketers from realizing the benefits that quality blogging can deliver.


    The Blog We Write for Ourselves

    I have a brilliant client — let’s call him Frank — who has built a vibrant consultancy around helping corporate teams communicate better. One of the smartest people I know, Frank has several advanced degrees and clearly loves what he does.


    When I started working with Frank on his blog, he immediately rattled off a list of topics he wanted to cover: how the brain processes communications, the physiology of interpreting spoken versus written word, the anthropological reasons for developing a shared language, etc.


    All these topics were quite fascinating … to him. To his audience — mainly engineers and project managers — not so much.


    As I explained to Frank, your blog has to be built around topics your audience cares about — not the things they pay you to know so they don’t have to. In his case, that meant tackling subjects like resolving conflict and conducting successful meetings. I’m happy to report that Frank now has a thriving blog that delights his audience on a regular basis — with information that helps them do their jobs better.


    The Neglected Stepchild

    Your marketing team got all gung-ho when you kicked off your shiny new blog, and they did a terrific job at publishing interesting, engaging posts … for about six weeks.


    Then, the excitement wore off and the blog became a chore. Or they got slammed on the latest product launch. Or your new CMO decided that you need to set this blogging nonsense aside and focus on “serious marketing.”


    So what started as a weekly post became an every-two-weeks post, which became a once-a-month post, which became a “whenever we get around to it” post.


    And then they stopped getting around to it. So sad.


    Folks, this blogging thing is a long-term commitment. The one thing I can promise is that it won’t deliver results overnight. But deliver results it will — if and only if you stick with it.


     


    The Copy-Pasted Brochure

    Let’s say you’re doing some research for a project at work. You do your Google search, and you come across a title that promises to be exactly what you’re looking for. You can barely contain your excitement as you click the link, and a few milliseconds later you find yourself on … a sales page thinly veiled as a blog post.


    [cue the dying Pac-Man sound effect]


    Instead of giving you actionable advice, the “author” presents you with a laundry list of reasons why his company’s products or services are the answers to all your problems.


    We have a word for that on the World Wide Web: FAIL.


    Your blog is a place to inform, educate, entertain, and/or inspire — not to hawk your wares. If your audience visits your blog expecting engaging content only to find a heap of sales copy, they’ll hit the Back button faster than J.J. Watt can smack down a forward pass … and they may never return.


    By the way, the same goes for press releases. Are they important? Absolutely? Should they be on your website? Absolutely. Should they be copy-pasted in your blog? Absolutely … not! Create a Media Center to house those press releases, and let your blog be a true blog.


    The Crazy Aunt in the Attic

    If you’re from the southern part of the United States like I am, you’ll know what I mean when I talk about “the crazy relative thing.”


    It seems every Southern family has that one relative who is absolutely bonkers. You never talk about them, never mention them — and God forbid anyone from outside the family knows about them.


    Sadly, that’s exactly how many B2B companies treat their blog. Regardless of how much effort they put into it, you’ll find it mentioned nowhere in their main website navigation, nowhere in their emails, nowhere in their social media posts — it’s almost as if their blog were in the witness protection program.


    The sad thing is that many B2Bs have very good blogs with interesting, engaging content — it’s just that no one can find them. Take a look at your website and make sure your blog is easy to find. Or, better yet, ask of your trusted customers to pull up your blog, and see how long it takes them. You might be surprised.


    The Snoozefest

    Another pervasive myth about B2B blogs is that they have to be boring. For the average marketer, the phrase “B2B blog” conjures up visions of posts like “5 key items about recent legislation concerning XYZ” or “On leveraging recent developments in X.”


    We’ve established that a blog is neither an online brochure nor a roster of press releases … and neither is it a place for lifeless content that belongs in a musty lecture hall.


    Think of your blog as the online version of a water cooler: a place for you to share your insights on what’s going on in your industry and for your audience to react and comment. So make it conversational. Make it personal. Drop the “capital-P professional” tone and write content that sounds like it came from a human being.


    In other words, put yourself in your audience’s shoes and create the kinds of posts you would want to read. Tell stories. Use visuals. Make your content come alive with vivid descriptions and dialogue.


    Now you’ve gotten up-close-and-personal with the many sad portraits on the B2B Blogging Wall of Shame. Take their lessons to heart and march on to glory!

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