This is How to Write Better B2B Blog Posts to Increase Leads
Neil Patel said it best: "One of my life missions has been to rescue B2B blogs from their backwater boring status and bring them to the forefront of awesomeness."
If you share in Neil's vision, here's a few simple steps to supercharge your B2B content strategy.
If you’re in charge of writing B2B blog posts, you may struggle to come up with compelling content that engages readers.
And it’s true: B2B blogging gets a bad rap.
Because you’re selling to other businesses, there’s a misconception that your content needs to be boring and dry.
As a SaaS content writer, I’ve been lucky enough to work with clients who put their customers needs at the center of their content strategies.
And it makes the writing better. Much better.
By following a few simple steps, you can attract new prospects, provide value to existing customers and stand out from the competition.
The Business Case for B2B Blogging
The case for content marketing in B2B is clear.
Here’s a few stats to back up the hype:
Businesses with blogs earn more leads . Up to 67% more!
More than 90% of B2B sales start with an online search
Most prospects will read five pieces of content before they want to speak to a sales rep
Businesses who blog regularly get up to 3.5 times more traffic than companies who don’t post, or who post rarely, according to Hubspot
And more and more B2B marketers are taking note of the numbers and applying proven content marketing tactics to increase brand awareness and lead generation.
More than 40% of B2B marketers say blogging is their most important type of content, according to the Social Marketing Industry Report
How do you achieve these kinds of stunning results with your B2B blog?
The Content Marketing Institute observed one common thread shared by the top performing B2B marketers: placing value on crafting creative, quality content.
But how do you consistently put out content that helps your target audience?
It turns out you achieve this goal by following a few tried and tested steps.
Listen to Your Customers
When you’re struggling to find inspiration for your blog posts, the best starting point is listening to your target audience.
What are their fears?
What do they need?
How can you help?
While B2C marketing has always focussed on emotion, marketers in the B2B space shouldn’t forget: you’re speaking to people too.
Beyond that, industry analysts even suggest scrapping the terms B2B and B2C in favour of Human to Human Marketing.
So how do you find out what you customers are thinking?
You start by asking them.
Surveys are a great way to gain a deeper understanding into your customer’s needs and concerns.
On his blog, Neil Patel suggests the following examples to help you solve your customers biggest problems:
What’s their biggest challenge in your firm’s area of specialization?
What are your customer’s burning questions about your niche?
What type of product or service is not on the market that your customer would like someone to create?
These questions provide an excellent base to help you put together useful content.
Social media monitoring apps lets you augment your business analysis with real-time intel from your target audience.
Through social listening, you monitor mentions of your brand, competitors and industry for topics that are relevant to your business. Based on your investigation, you can find opportunities to address the most common questions or concerns that crop up.
Apps like Hootsuite and Sprout Social let you monitor social media easily.
Random Title Generators
You should be golden for a few topics after trying the methods above. If you’re still thin on ideas, try a random title generator like this one from Hubspot.
The idea behind the tool is this: you enter in your industry or product type and it generates five blog titles to inspire your content.
Forget Features, Explain Benefits
The newest update to your feature-set is a great angle for your best blog post.
But the story shouldn’t be what the feature does, but rather should focus on the practical benefit it will deliver to your reader.
Will it save them time? Does it help cut costs?
You need to communicate how your product will make your customer’s life better.
A simple way to do this is by developing a feature-benefits matrix. In this post, Wordstream has a step-by-step process on how to quickly set up the matrix to inspire call to actions that work.
Wordstream is also a great example of a company putting feature-driven marketing to practice.
Here’s a few examples of how their messaging speaks about their features but is focused on how clients improve productivity and increase leads:
A line from this post on keyword difficulty: “Use our Free Keyword Tool, and you’ll find each keyword scored based on how much potential value it represents for your business.”
A CTA from this blog post: “Feel like your own mobile ad campaigns are coming up short? Try running your Google Ads account through our free performance grader to get a sense of how your mobile ads are performing compared to other advertisers with similar budgets.”
Become an Industry Expert
The majority of B2B marketers told Hubspot blog content creation is their main inbound marketing priority.
And their efforts are paying off: in 2018, 65% of B2B marketers report more success with their overall content marketing.
Content marketing helps you build brand awareness and different types of content will target prospects at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
A SaaS business like Moz has established itself as a thought leader in SEO by consistently putting out valuable content.
It may be commentary on a SEO update or a new video for Whiteboard Fridays.
Moz publishes a blog post each day and its SEO guide has been read more than 3 million times.
Tools like Google Trends and Google Alerts will help you leverage current events to promote your business. When a topic in your industry is trending, adding a different and valuable insight into the discussion can aid in new customers finding your content online.
Storytelling in B2B
Once you’ve gathered your data, you need to write your post in a way that is engaging and presents the information in a way that is easy to follow.
Sometimes, you’ll sit down and the words will pour onto the page (we’ll stick with paper to provide an illustrative example.)
But if you’re new to writing blog posts, this might not immediately be intuitive.
It will get easier with practice. The more you read and write content, the easier it will be to structure a post that flows.
To help you get going, there’s a few fundamentals that will support your writing process.
Get started easily by outlining your post with this simple structure from Enchanted Marketing:
An opening paragraph explaining the gist of your post. Keep in mind, one study found that you lose 38% of your readers bounce at the start of a post. (No pressure.)
The body of your post will discuss the how or why (with or without examples.)
Your conclusion should include a call to action to move your reader to action, and if you make a strong case, your customer will be likely to implement your advice.
Buffer is a great example of a company that gets this right. When your browse Buffer’s blog it’s clear they understand their potential customer and their journey. This is why the content is always useful and presented in a way that’s easy to follow.
Write Once, Edit Twice
Ernest Hemingway summed it up: “The first draft of anything is s***.”
When you’re new to writing, it can be tempting to edit as you go.
You want to make sure every sentence is perfect prose before you move along.
Don’t fall into that trap.
You’ll add hours to the process, getting waylaid as you clean up grammatical errors or turn to a thesaurus to find a more appropriate word.
There’s a better way.
Once you’ve nailed down your outline, write your first draft. After you’ve finished, read your work and make your changes. You can repeat this process a few times.
This section won’t be complete without another Hemingway reference.
To tweak your writing and make sure it’s easy to read, copy and paste your text into the Hemingway.app The text editor highlights sentences that are hard to read and instances of passive voice to make sure your writing is clear and concise.
A solid B2B blog strategy is a powerful investment into your business.
By coming up with content that is aligned to the needs of your target audience, a B2B blog supports your existing lead generation efforts by driving meaningful engagement with existing and potential customers.
What's the most inspiring B2B content you've found?