By Colin Hutt, President, Primum Marketing Communications
Strategic marketing content is all about delivering the right message at the right time, and businesses are often challenged to find the right medium to reach their intended audience. A sometimes-overlooked tactic that has regained traction in recent years is the business blog. Although mainstream media continually reports the “death of the blog,” and many enterprise organizations struggle to find a place for it in their marketing strategy, the effort required to develop and maintain a business blog is well worth the investment.
Recent research from HubSpot indicates that companies who blog generate 126% more leads than those who don’t. A blog not only provides a platform to share expertise and reinforce key messaging, but it also helps boost web site visitors, inbound links and indexed pages. Your blog can also be a valuable marketing tool for your channel partners, who can leverage the content in their own sales efforts.
How can blogging make the biggest impact in an inbound marketing strategy? Look beyond the basics — development of an editorial calendar and a consistent posting schedule — and use these three tactics to take your business blog to the next level.
A guest blogging strategy can help boost reader engagement with your blog while also creating opportunities for inbound links. It is important to be selective when creating a list of guest authors for your own blog, as well as choosing which external sites to provide guest content for. By developing mutually beneficial guest blogging agreements with the outlets that align best with your audience, you can be sure that the content you create will reach the right readers.
Guest blogging also provides a platform for your channel partners to become a part of your marketing plan. Your blog can provide a means of introducing your value-added resellers to your client base, using a platform that enables them to showcase their expertise around your products and services. It also provides a platform for channel partners to engage more deeply with your internal team.
Search Engine Optimization
Many marketing teams approach corporate web sites as “set-it-and-forget-it (until the next redesign).” With so many other tasks to focus on, the web site gets short shrift. While news sections and job listings are continually refreshed, other areas of the site grow stale until the site is completely redesigned as part of a larger marketing initiative. This can stall your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results, which favor sites that have regularly refreshed content.
This is where your blog comes in. A focused keyword strategy should form the backbone of your editorial calendar, so that each post helps boost your rankings for the keywords most relevant to your audience. Google — and your readers — will respond favorably to the high-quality content you produce, and your site will be at the top of their respective lists as they seek out expert advice.
Another key tenet of inbound marketing is lead capture through downloadable content, such as white papers and resource guides. By placing a form in front of this content, you can pass valuable information on to your sales channel to assist with nurturing and closing the sale. But often, businesses struggle with leveraging this content to the fullest. Simply posting these assets to your web site is not enough.
Your business blog is a platform for you to promote the downloadable content you create. A series of posts crafted around the main themes of a white paper or resource guide can help entice the reader to provide their contact information in exchange for more information. These posts can be shared through social media and used in email campaigns to drive readership — and, ultimately, generate qualified leads for your business.
The foundation of any solid inbound marketing strategy is a consistent flow of valuable content to your audience. Many businesses emphasize the creation of sales-specific collateral. It has its time and place for the consumer, but falls short in providing information to support buyers in the earlier stages of the sales cycle. When utilizing a partner channel to sell, the development of useful content that helps drive lead conversion becomes even more critical. Ultimately, the onus is on the company to develop comprehensive messaging that aligns with a strong brand, so that the channel can evangelize and spread the word throughout the marketplace.
When done right, a business blog is a valuable marketing tool that not only helps you reach your ideal client, but helps strengthen your partner channel as well. Establishing a marketing plan that incorporates a regular blogging schedule will enhance your lead generation results and your company’s reputation in the minds of your partners and clients.
Colin Hutt is President of Milwaukee-based Primum Marketing Communications, a team of strategic inbound marketing experts creating innovative campaigns for B2B technology and industrial companies. To learn more about strategic business blogging, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.primumagency.com.