Blogging has been part of the inbound marketing mix for many years, but over the past 12 months, it has become increasingly important for B2B marketers and buyers alike.
Once a blip on marketers’ radars, blogging is now a crucial investment. Nearly 80% of B2B marketers who participated in the 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America survey said they used blogging to distribute content. The same survey found that 45% of B2B marketers found their blogs to be the most effective formats —standing behind only email.
With good reason. Up to 74% of buyers say they frequently share blogs with their colleagues, according to Demand Gen Report’s 2018 Content Preferences Survey. Blogs were also one of the most-consumed content formats, with 71% saying they reviewed blogs during their decision-making journeys. As a result, funds previously allocated towards traditional content creation are now being put towards blogging.
If marketing teams consistently publish powerful business blogs, it can pay dividends for the business. Through analysis of its customers, HubSpot found those that blogged garnered 55% more visitors. In addition, companies that blogged 20 or more times in a month saw the most return on traffic and leads. But adhering to an editorial calendar isn’t enough. B2B marketers must create content that strikes the perfect balance of informative, detailed, entertaining and even controversial.
As a result of these shifting buyer behaviors, B2B brands’ have been tasked to rethink their blogging strategies. Previously, B2B brands typically used their blogs to share company updates, new product announcements and best practices, and other, more brand-focused information. But as buyers rely more on blogs to find and share information, B2B marketers are encouraged to create posts that are relevant, valuable and, most of all, “share-worthy.”
This may leave you asking: what is the recipe for a perfect blog strategy? Although it certainly varies from brand to brand, recent success stories from Oracle and Siemens will certainly inspire you.
Oracle, Siemens Bet Big on Blogging…And Win!
For years we heard that the shorter the blog post, the better. But a recent tidal wave of research challenges the mantra. For instance, Medium found that blogs capturing the most attention took seven minutes to read. Through its own research, Curata also found that long-form blog posts generated 9-times more leads than short-form posts.
That’s right: when it comes to blogging, longer, more robust thought leadership articles are most effective. Two of our clients, Oracle and Siemens, have taken this approach to their blogging strategy and have seen great success. (They even won Killer Content Awards for their accomplishments.)
Of course, we’re not telling you to jam-pack your blogs with useless or redundant information. Instead, shift your focus from creating a surplus of 200- to 400-word blogs, to creating more detailed and immersive stories that take 1,500 or even 2,000 words to tell. These articles can serve as powerful early-stage thought leadership content that provide your brand’s unique perspective on relevant topics or trends.
The Oracle Cloud Business Group, for example, has developed a blog strategy that touts in-depth articles featuring relevant industry research, case studies and quotes from subject-matter experts. The Modern Finance Leader blog targets finance executives — including CFOs, Controllers and VPs of Finance — and serves as a comprehensive resource that covers globally relevant topics as well as regional trends and developments.
A detailed editorial calendar enables the group to publish new articles three to four times a week, including think pieces from partners, customers, analysts and finance associations. Since its inception in the fall of 2015, the blog has garnered more than 90,000 unique visits and 500,000 page views. Each blog post touts an embedded call-to-action to a gated piece of content. As a result, landing page conversions from blog traffic are 1.5-times higher than from other sources.
Siemens PLM Software also saw success with a thought leadership blog program focusing on modern shipbuilding technology. The company’s Digital Shipyard Thought Leader collaborated with Content4Demand to create a series of blog posts detailing the challenges and opportunities shipbuilders face in an increasingly competitive market. The blog has been an ongoing success for the brand. As noted in the Killer Content Awards report, the series garnered 5,300 page views as of the award’s submission time. The series also garnered 450 RSS feed sign-ups — the second highest of all Siemens PLM Software thought leadership content. With a bounce rate of only 15%, Siemens PLM Software has created blogs that not only pique consumer interest but drive long-term engagement.
These and other companies are helping usher in a new era of business blogging. Gone are the days of creating content that focuses solely on the company and its products. To be successful, you must think buyer first and tell stories that are informative, entertaining and robust.
Want to get started on a blog, or want insight into how your strategy can improve? Reach out to our Director of Marketing, Product and Channel, Jessica Baum, to schedule some time to chat and get some ideas.