I usually get inspired to write about topics that come up regularly with my clients. And blogging is definitely one of them. I encourage most of my clients about writing blogs as part of their larger marketing strategy. And most of my clients are in the Industrial B2B space so it’s understandable that they have a lot of questions such as:
- What exactly is a blog?
- What kind of content does a blog include?
- How often should a blog be posted?
To be clear, the discussion below focusses on blogs that are used for marketing purposes by an SME looking to increase their authority and presence. Their blog will be an addition to their current website and they may share their blogs through an email newsletter or on social media. This article doesn’t relate specifically to ‘bloggers’, whose entire business is their blog.
So when is a blog not a blog?
1. When it’s a news article
A news article is usually something company-related. You just won a new contract. You recently spoke at a conference. You opened a new office. You won an industry award. You expanded your management team. These are all great news articles that help your reader form a closer understanding of your company and what it stands for. But it’s not a blog.
2. When it’s a case study
A case study is an in-depth look into a particular project that your company completed. You would normally include specific details around the project scope, location, time frame, sometimes even the value. To make a case study truly great, you need to outline why it was so successful. What were the key challenges to overcome? How did you come up with a solution? What was the end result? For example, you might have implemented a new high-touch procurement policy which reduced lead times and allowed you to finish the project under budget and ahead of schedule. Well done you!
Case studies are fantastic tools especially for Industrial B2B clients who often spend months on a particular project. For many of my clients in this area, case studies are some of their most viewed content on their site. But it’s not a blog.
3. When it’s a testimonial
Often confused with a case study, a testimonial is a glowing reference from a client that highlights all the great work you do and why they wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you to their friends, colleagues and the next-door neighbour’s cat. If you can include a testimonial at the bottom of your case study, you get extra points. But it’s not a blog.
Keep in mind that we often recommend news articles, case studies and testimonials. Sometimes, depending on how your site is set up, they might be included in your blogging platform. But they’re not blogs.
So What Is a Blog?
The official (and by official, I mean ProBlogger) definition of a blog is:
A blog is a type of website that is usually arranged in chronological order from the most recent ‘post’ (or entry) at the top of the main page to the older entries towards the bottom.
But from a marketing perspective, the core purpose of a blog is to solve your customers problems with original content. This helps to educate potential clients which builds trust and positions yourself as an authority in your area. A blog is not about a ‘hard sell’ of your products or services. Rather, it’s an opportunity to help solve a problem or common question that your potential customers might have.
Think about the 10 most recent google searches you did. How often are they a question that you’re searching for an answer to? Go on, check. I’ll wait.
And how often did the answer to that question arrive in the form of a blog article? That’s what makes blogs so powerful. Their Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO value is incredible because you can cram a whole heap of information about a very singular topic into a single page. If it’s original and answers questions that your clients are searching for, the Google Gods will smile down on you and bestow great treasures.
5 Blogging Tips
So the next time your marketing consultant/business mentor/best friend/neighbour’s cat tells you to think about writing a blog, keep these things in mind.
1. DO offer solutions.
Always be helpful for your reader. Solve their problems. Answer their questions. Make them laugh. Be honest and your brand personality will shine through. Think about your Top 3 FAQs and write an individual blog about each one. It’s a great way to start.
2. DON’T include a hard sell
This is a tough one because we all want to push our products or services. But it shouldn’t be the only point behind a blog post. A blog has the power to make you indispensable to your client. Then you shouldn’t have to sell, they’ll already be a convert!
3. DO include a call to action or ‘next step’.
Once they’ve finished reading the blog, what would you like them to do? Get in touch? Fill out an online form? Download an ebook? Watch a video? Keep them engaged and keep them converting for as long as possible.
4. DO ask for engagement.
Asking questions at the bottom of your blog can lead to additional comments and interaction with your readers. This is a good thing. Just make sure your web developer has protected your blog from spam attacks.
5. DO reference outside links.
Your blog will be a whole lot more useful if you give the reader a path to keep learning. This blogger for example, created a great worksheet to help you come up with 12 months of blog topics in a single afternoon. And then suggested wine – Brilliant – go check it out!
So what do you think? Did this make it a little easier? If you’re still not 100% convinced about the benefits of blogging for your business, then I refer you to the experts – Hubspot. They have an incredible amount in info, tips and worksheets to help you get your blog up and running.
What has been your most successful blog so far? Comment below! I hope this blog helped answer some of your questions. If you’re still not sure, feel free to get in touch.