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The Ultimate B2B Blogging Guide For Professional Services Firms
Business-to-business (B2B) blogs are a great way to connect with potential customers and partners in your industry. B2B blogging also helps you build brand awareness and credibility for your professional services firm.
Excellent content draws traffic to your website, and great blogs are a way to draw readers in. The best blogs are the ones that provide answers to your customers’ questions. And the more blogs you post, the more entry points you provide for your readers.
Let’s take a look at two examples of how blogging helped improve online traffic.
A Texas-based IT managed services company posted a blog article entitled “4 Ways to Protect Your Computer From Hardware Failure.” Within six months that article drew 558 organic views.
Our own Pronto website has a blog post called “Increase Sales with Social Media.” It received 2,089 organic hits in just six months. Why did it receive more views compared to the previous example? First, it was highly relevant to many of our clients. Second, Pronto now has more than 450 articles on our website, whereas the Texas firm is a relatively new one with less than 50 articles on their site. More blogs, more entry points.
The point is that impactful B2B blogging draws potential clients in the door and keeps them inside.
You want as many people as possible to discover your website and see if it’s the right fit for their needs. According to studies, B2B companies with blogs on their websites receive 67% more monthly leads than those without. They have significantly greater marketing outcomes, with 55% more visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages.
B2B blogging is also an effective way to reach decision-makers. 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)
Content marketing can be time-consuming, and its return on investment (ROI) is often delayed compared to pay-per-click advertising. But its pros outweigh its cons; content marketing is a more natural method to build an ongoing revenue stream and one of the most effective ROI sources.
Why blogging matters to B2B companies
B2B sales cycles can be drawn out, with some lasting up to 18 months. This means you must continue to interact with and nurture prospects throughout a long sales process. You need to always be sharing information and demonstrating professional competence.
Remember, professional services firms are selling expertise. Blogging is an excellent tool for such firms to demonstrate their thought leadership on specific professional topics.
Writing impactful B2B blogs can be tricky, though. There are many things to consider when crafting content that resonates with your audience.
In this article, we will discuss B2B blogging best practices that you can apply as well. We’ll guide you through every step, from knowing your target audience to creating valuable content to promoting your blogs. Soon you’ll be writing B2B blogs that will help you achieve your business goals.
How does one start blogging? Just follow our step-by-step guide, and watch your audience grow over time.
Phase 1: Before you write your blog
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” may be a cliche, but it’s true. While someone can achieve initial success using a happy-go-lucky approach to blogging, that is hardly sustainable nor effective in the long run. Years of experience have taught blog writers to employ specific steps and strategies for sustained successful blogging. Your business would do well to follow these steps, too.
Define your target audience
As a service company, you’re hoping to reach new and repeat clients. If, for instance, you’re an owner of a chain of automobile repair shops, you wouldn’t expect your website visitors to look for plumbing services. Your blog should appeal to vehicle owners in need of your repairs and maintenance services. Everyone else will only waste your precious time.
Before writing the first word of your first blog post, you’ll want to form a clear image of who your target audience is. To help you do this, answer the following guide questions:
- Which businesses would identify or already identifies with your brand?
Are they the type that’s always trying to stretch every dollar, or are they looking for a service provider that’ll add to their prestige? What is it about your target client that would make them choose you over your competitors?
- What are the problems they want to solve by using your services?
In operating their own business, what are their most urgent pain points? For example, if they are suffering from supply chain issues, will your logistics services be able to resolve those issues for them?
- Who are their customers?
Do they serve businesses or end-consumers? Who is their target market?
- What negative outcome would your client want to avoid at all costs?
What is your client most afraid of?
- What business goals are they trying to meet?
Are they trying to gain more customers? Increase order volume or frequency? Streamline processes to cut costs?
- What are your clients’ most frequently asked questions?
What do they often ask about regarding your line of business and your offerings in particular? Is it about cost? Your process? Your credentials? Determining their knowledge gaps can help you identify topics you ought to be discussing in your blog.
To answer those questions, you can tap your sales and support call archives. The logs of your sales team and customer service representatives are a treasure trove of insights into what your clients’ preferences are, where they need more information, and what they ultimately need from you.
Set your goals and create your blogging strategy
Your blog should accomplish three goals:
- Attract more website visitors (i.e., increase traffic)
- Pique their interest in your products or services and encourage them to act on it (i.e., generate leads)
- Convince them to leverage your offerings (i.e., convert leads into sales)
Let’s discuss each item and explore a few strategies while we’re at it.
Increase web traffic
The primary reason why people use web browsers is to look for answers to their queries. Many use the internet as their dictionary, encyclopedia, translator, currency converter, calculator, and map.
Customers, in particular, go online to see if there are sellers or service providers who have what they need. For example, a business owner might be thinking about offloading his IT processes to the cloud and wants to know if doing so would be better than renting more space and enlarging his on-premises IT infrastructure. If that business owner searches for “benefits of cloud migration” online, they’ll find the information they need in the blog posts of managed IT services providers.
The strategy here is to provide information that solves people’s problems. The more answers you provide in your blog, the more searchers you’ll pull into your website. And the more you establish yourself as an expert or thought leader in your field, the more relevant you’ll be to people seeking answers online. Your website will eventually rise in search rankings, and its increased visibility will bring in more visitors.
Blog posts aren’t meant to read like comprehensive textbooks that require a lot of time to read. Rather, they’re sneak peeks into what you know and what you can do for your clients. Once you establish that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re able to fulfill what a client requires, you’ll encourage them to continue.
From here, you have a couple of strategies to choose from. You can have them sign up for your email newsletters, download an eBook, or schedule a consultation with you. For them to do any of these things, they must first provide you with their contact information. This signifies a substantial interest in your products or services.
Convert leads into sales
Once you convince your leads that you have exactly what they need, they’ll turn into your paying clients. While this is accomplished outside of your blog (such as in a checkout page or a sales call), your blog can still help push leads into becoming your clients. You can create posts containing glowing testimonials, share case studies showcasing how you solved your clients’ problems, or disseminate limited-time offers, discount promotions, and package deals in conjunction with your email marketing efforts.
With so many service providers seeking the attention of your prospective clients, you need to find a way to stand out from the pack. Some of the things you can lean on include:
- A remarkable history, cultural heritage, or trusted reputation
- A distinct writing voice (e.g., a humorous tone that makes people smile and laugh out loud)
- Certifications and other demonstrable expertise
- Market leadership in your local area
- A specialization that’s not commonly offered
- Extra options that add value to your offerings
Once you determine what’s unique and special about your company, incorporate that into your blog posts. This way, your brand will be easier to recall and share with other readers.
Develop a content calendar
Once you’ve identified your goals, strategies, and unique characteristics, you can plan out what you want to write about in a content calendar.
A content calendar is a tool that allows you to schedule your blog posts to coincide with your marketing activities. Once you know the type of event you have to focus on, it’ll be easy to determine the type of blog post you have to write to support your activities, be they seasonal promotions, back-to-school deals, or virtual or in-person seminars and expos. For example, a lot of buying guides are published during the holiday rush.
You may also write about events that are unique to your industry. For example, if you’re a managed IT services provider and you know that a software publisher is going to sunset a popular program on a particular date, you can schedule blog articles discussing what users must do to prepare for the change and how you can help them in this regard.
Scheduling your blog posts is easy with our nifty content calendar template! Download it here.
Phase 2: Write, write, write
Once you’ve planned everything out, next is to execute them. If you have writers, deploy them, but if not, you can either hire in-house bloggers or leverage the expertise of outsourced blog writing services firms.
Phase 3: Promote your content
In order for your budding blog to explode, you’ll need to promote it. Here’s how:
- Go social
Distribute your articles through social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Build relationships with thought leaders in your field
Share your articles with them via email or via direct message through your social media channels. Also, do spend time reading and interacting with other companies’ blogs. Once you’ve built relationships with your peers, you can ask them if you can write guest posts in their blogs and invite them to write in yours. This way, you both get to tap each other’s audiences and expand your reach.
- Engage with your community
Encourage your readers to email you, follow you on social media, and comment on your blogs. When you do, be sure to be responsive. Be gracious when receiving glowing reviews, answer questions to the best of your knowledge, and address negative remarks promptly. Apologize if necessary and offer to make things right. This way, you publicly demonstrate your trustworthiness and capability to serve your clients well.
There are millions of service companies today that post blogs on their websites. Amidst this fierce competition, you want your target audience to read your business’s blog posts. You need your blogs to be worth reading. You want them to be perfect.
A perfect blog post should have the right keywords that will ensure your site ranks high on search engines and drive quality traffic to your posts. To achieve that, consider the following best practices in your B2B blogging strategy.
Start with keyword research and competitor analysis
The key to creating a successful B2B blog lies in your ability to target the right keywords. You can do this by conducting keyword research and competitor analysis. Understanding your competition and what keywords they are targeting can help you create blog posts that are specifically tailored for your audience — and rank high on Google.
If you want your blog posts to rank high on Google, it’s essential to do keyword research. First, identify the primary keyword that you want to target. When creating a blog post, you should target a specific primary SEO keyword that is relevant to your business and has a decent amount of monthly searches.
There are different tools that you can use for keyword research, including HubSpot’s keywords tool, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, SEMrush, and Google Keyword Planner. These tools allow you to see how many people are searching for specific keywords every month, as well as how much competition there is for those keywords.
It is also essential to conduct a competitor analysis, which involves taking a look at the top-ranking websites for your target keyword and seeing what they are doing right. Are they using specific keyword phrases? Do they have well-optimized titles and descriptions? By understanding what your competition is doing, you can make sure that your blog posts are even better.
Here’s how to do keyword research:
- Make a list of general topics based on the information you wish to include in your post. Then, break down the broad categories into smaller groups and come up with related phrases for the parent topics you’ve identified.
For example, if you wanted to write a blog post about “time management for entrepreneurs,” your broad themes would be time management, productivity, and business. From there, you could break down each of those broad topics into smaller sub-topics, such as:
- Time management: tips for reducing distractions, creating a daily schedule, setting priorities
- Productivity: tips for increasing productivity, improving focus, eliminating procrastination
- Business: time management software for entrepreneurs, ways to delegate tasks
- Next, go to Google and use the auto-suggest option while typing your keywords, then expand your buckets using the related search terms listed at the bottom of the page.
- After you’ve decided on the key terms you wish to target in your post, it’s time to look at the top 3–5 Google results. Take note of the following:
- What do those pages look like?
- What do these pages cover?
- What don’t they cover that you feel should be mentioned?
- Make a note of all of this information and use them as references when laying out your content piece’s outline.
Now let’s take a look at some tips that will help you optimize your blog posts for SEO.
Create an article brief or outline
To write an effective B2B blog post, it pays to create an article brief or outline. This document should provide instructions to your writer on what the article should be about, as well as what keywords to target.
An article or content brief should include:
- An article topic and title
- A primary keyword that you want to rank for
- A list of secondary keywords that you want to include
- Your target audience, as defined by your campaign objectives
- The searcher intent, or what you want the reader to do after they finish reading your article (e.g., sign up for your newsletter, download a white paper, request a consultation, etc.).
- The article thesis, or the statement that addresses your viewpoint or claim about the issue
- The target word count
- Tone of voice
- The content format (e.g., listicle, how-to guide, case study)
For an example of what an article outline looks like, download this template.
When you have a well-written content brief, there will be no misunderstandings between you and the writer. Once you have created your article brief, it’s time to start writing.
Write a catchy, keyword-rich blog title
Your B2B blog posts should have catchy, keyword-rich titles. This will let Google know what your article is about, and it will also help to entice readers to click on your post. If you want people to click on them in Google’s search results, it’s important to understand how to create attention-grabbing blog post titles..
To create a catchy blog title, it’s best to include your target keyword in the title of your article. In the example of writing an article about time management for entrepreneurs, your title could be “Time Management Tips for Entrepreneurs.” From this headline, readers know exactly what they can expect if they click on the article. Using numbers and/or statistics to clarify things and create intrigue is also a good idea (e.g., “7 Effective Time Management Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs”).
Creating a catchy title for your blog article is essential as according to SEO company Moz, 80% of people never read past the headline. The better your headline, the more people will be likely to read your blog.
Get your article URL right
Your article’s URL should be short, keyword-rich, and easy to read. It should also be optimized for SEO and should, as much as possible, match your blog title. For example, if your blog post title is “Time Management Tips for Entrepreneurs,” a good article URL would be something like “time-management-tips-for-entrepreneurs.html.”
If you’re including numbers in your title (which is a great idea), be sure to include them in your article URL, as well. For example, “50-time-management-tips-for-entrepreneurs.html” would be an ideal article URL for a blog post with that title.
The bottom line is that an article URL with the right keyword can help you optimize your article URL for SEO and help ensure that it is getting the traffic it deserves.
Write a good meta description
To create a keyword-rich description, include your target keywords in the meta description of your blog post. The meta description is the short paragraph of text that appears beneath your article’s title in the search results. It should give readers a brief overview of what your article is about.
A good meta description is between 150-160 characters, includes the target keywords, and is written in a way that entices readers to click on the article. By including your target keywords in both your title and meta description, you are more likely to rank higher in the search results and get more clicks to your blog post.
The meta description, according to search engines, provides no immediate SEO advantage as it isn’t used in their ranking algorithm. However, there is an indirect effect: Google uses click-through rate as a metric for determining if you’re a high-quality result.
Use relevant images (and/or videos)
Another way to make your blog posts more engaging and visually appealing is to include images (and videos). In fact, a study revealed that articles with images get 94% more total views than those without images.
When selecting images for your blog posts, be sure to choose high-quality photos that are relevant to the article’s content. And if you can, try to include a mixture of both original and stock photos.
Including at least one image (preferably more) is a great way to make your blog post look more polished and professional. But don’t just add images for the sake of it; always ensure that they serve a purpose and help to improve the article’s overall message.
Use headings and subheadings
Another important SEO tip for blog posts is to use headings and subheadings. Headings help to break up your content and make it easier to read, while also helping Google understand what your article is about.
To optimize your headings for SEO, simply include your target keyword in one or several of your headings. In addition to using headings and subheadings, you should also include your target keywords in the body of your article. However, be sure to avoid keyword stuffing, which is when you include too many keywords in your content. A good rule of thumb is to use your target keyword(s) a few times throughout your article without making it sound forced or unnatural.
Mind the headings’ hierarchy
When using headings and subheadings in your blog post, it’s important to follow a heading hierarchy. That is, you should start with your main heading (H-tag), followed by subheadings (H-tags), and then finally your body copy.
The heading hierarchy helps Google understand the structure of your article and makes it easier for readers to scan your content. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to structure your B2B article’s heading hierarchy:
- H1: title tag – Consider the H1 or title tag to be the book’s title. On each page, there is only one H1 tag, just as there is only one book title.
- Subheadings [H2, H3, H4, H5, H6] – Consider your subheadings to be the chapters and subchapters of a book. There is no limit to the number of H2, H3, and H4 headings you may use. Make sure that hierarchy is maintained. Prioritize using an H2, followed by an H3, and then an H4.
Add internal links
Any link from one page on your website to another is known as an internal link. For instance, it makes sense to link your blog article about “effective communication techniques” to a product page on your site that offers VoIP products and services.
Internal links help improve the user experience by making it easy for readers to find related content on your site. Moreover, they help with SEO by giving Google an idea of the structure of your website and how it all fits together.
To add an internal link to your B2B blog post, simply highlight the text you want to link and click on the “Insert/edit link” button. Then, enter the URL of the page you want to link to and click “Insert.”
Add external links
In addition to internal links, you should also include a few external or outbound links in your blog post. An external link is a link to a website that is not your own.
External links are important because they help improve the user experience by providing readers with additional resources on a topic. Moreover, they help with SEO by showing Google that your content is well-researched and authoritative.
To add an external link to your blog post, simply highlight the text you want to link and click on the “Insert/edit link” button. Then, enter the URL of the page you want to link to and click “Insert.”
When adding internal or external links to your blog post, be sure to use keywords in the anchor text, or the highlighted text that appears when you hover over a link. Using keywords in your anchor text helps Google understand what your article is about and can also help improve your ranking for those keywords.
For example, if you’re writing a blog post about “effective communication techniques,” you could link to an article about different communication tools that you may cite as examples, with the anchor text “communication tools.”
Now that you know how to write the best B2B blog posts for your professional services firm, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. Keep these tips in mind as you develop your blog strategy, conduct keyword research, create an article outline, and write your blog post. With a little effort, you will soon start seeing results in the form of more traffic, leads, and conversions. With tenacity and patience, your business will reap the benefits of B2B content marketing.
If you are still not sure where to start, or just simply want to start your company blog with a bang, our Blog Writing services have helped dozens of SMBs fuel their marketing efforts with engaging content.
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