In a recent post entitled Why the economics of blogging are diminishing on Mark Schaefer’s popular blog, author Mars Dorian explains why he feels that blogging doesn’t yield the same level of return it did in the good old days (around 5 years go!). Referring to his own blogging he says,
Back in 2009, it was a useful marketing tool to attract new clients, nowadays, it’s a personal diary to build a stronger connection with my existing follower base.
So the question is, should you be expending resources on blogging in the hope of generating leads?
As a content marketer my answer is pretty obvious: absolutely!
Here are a few reasons why B2B’s benefit from blogging:
Your potential customers are searching for answers to their questions relating to your product or service on Google and other search engines. If you can answer those questions you’ve got a decent shot at showing up at the top of their search results. You answer those questions in your blog posts. Sure, there are many other factors that will determine your position in those search engine results, but you’d be surprised how well an effective blog post that addresses a specific issue will rank.
For example, we wrote a blog post entitled 5 Reasons Why Men Stay Single for a dating site client’s blog. The site (Jzoog.com) ranks only on page 3 of Google for the keywords “Jewish dating sites”, but it is first on page 1 for the long tailed keyword phrase “why do guys remain single” , and in the top 3 for related queries.
We also wrote some other posts for the site targeting long tailed dating related keywords that all rank towards the top of page 1 on Google and drive a significant amount of traffic to the site.
Effective blogging helps get you ranked by Google. That leads to click thrus and, hopefully, new leads.
2. Build Authority
Your blog is your personal platform for showing off your expertise to the world, especially to your target customers. It’s your chance to discuss specific topics and address the specific problems you know your target customers are facing. By sharing those posts you give those potential customers the opportunity to learn from you. They see that you know your stuff. They start viewing you as an expert, someone who can solve their problems. They want to do business with you.
Linkedin is the perfect platform for you to publish your blog posts. And people do read posts on Linkedin. Good posts that is. I published my first Linkedin post a little over 2 months ago. It got over 520 views and 76 likes. I’ve published 14 posts in total (not including this one) which have netted over 1000 followers and hundreds of likes. I’m NOT writing this to brag. There are Linkedin publishers with thousands and tens of thousands of followers. But from my perspective, over 1000 professionals that I don’t know found my content valuable enough to want to follow my posts and continue learning from them. I’ve already gotten a few leads from those posts, and I’m hoping to get lots more as I continue to publish.
Are your blog post going to bring in thousands of leads? Probably not. But most B2B’s who’s average client or customer is worth tens of thousands of dollars will be thrilled to convert leads in the double digits.
Think about your own business. Would you be happy with 10 new customers or clients? Then blogging can give you a pretty good shot at getting them.
3. Increase Exposure
Beyond displaying your expertise and building your authority in your field, blogging gives you the opportunity to extend your reach and increase your exposure. The guy reading your blog post might not be a customer himself, but he might run into someone who is and, guess what? If he likes what you write he’ll probably pass that along and recommend you.
At the end of his post Mars Dorian gives some great tips about how to blog which I totally agree with. I’ve added some of my own:
1. People don’t like to read super long posts, so keep them short.
I find between 500 and 750 words to be my sweet spot. It’s ok to write a longer “epic” post occasionally, but for the most part you should be able to make your point in around 500 words.
2. Focus on a single topic.
That’ll definitely keep your post from going too long. It will also give you the chance to write multiple posts instead of just one HUGE one.
3. Write in your own voice.
Make it interesting, and personal. If people just want the facts they can go to Wikipedia. And make sure that your voice is the right one for the audience your trying to reach.
The most important thing to remember is to write content that answers the questions that your target customers or clients are asking. Show them that you’ve got solutions to their problems and they’ll bring you their business.