You’ve tried everything. You’ve stared blankly at your computer screen, fingers poised over the keyboard to begin typing as soon as inspiration hits. You’ve paced around your office. You made a cup of tea. You visited your website, re-read your lead generation forms and quarterly report. You spent some time on LinkedIn. You went for lunch because a great idea would certainly come to you on a full stomach. At 3pm, you wandered to your local Starbucks because a change of scenery and a half-fat, extra-hot, no foam, half-sweet, soy milk, caramel latte (grande, of course) would definitely make you alert and instantly think of something scintillating to write about that would generation leads. Instead, you’re just jittery and have accomplished absolutely nothing.
It’s not always this hard – sometimes your next blog topic is obvious. But frequently enough, coming up with relevant and engaging business-to-business (B2B) blog ideas that will get the leads flowing into your company is a challenge.
Content is one of today’s most important B2B lead generation tools
In today’s business world, content is king for B2B companies. And, when you look at the list of potential content types (articles, white papers, infographics, webinars, videos, etc.), it seems like a blog is the simplest option to execute for consistent lead generation.
Yet for many revenue and sales leaders, when it comes down to writing a blog, the process can seem excruciating. Worse, if your business posts on a regular basis, missing an expected blog post can have an instant negative effect.
Don’t let blog writing become the bane of your existence. Here are 8 suggestions for inspiration and execution that will help remove the stress and ensure that your content efforts deliver the lead generation you're looking for.
1. Time-ing is of the essence
Don’t kill yourself with a blog-posting schedule. Unless you are able to dedicate a lot of time to blogging, choose a schedule that is manageable. While average posting frequency can vary from industry to industry, most businesses can consider posting a blog every 3-4 weeks as a minimum requirement. Then, if inspiration hits or there is something very timely to write about, post in addition to your regular blogging schedule. Adjusting your blogging frequency and planning regular blog posts will allow you to manage your time and plan your blog topics more effectively. Don't sign yourself up for 3 blog posts a week from the get-go, unless you have a dedicated writer and publishing coordinator to help you pull off that kind of workload.
2. Think of your audience as people - not just customers or prospects
While this may seem counter-intuitive when it comes to lead generation, write your blogs more casually, with a friendly tone, inject humour if appropriate and be both informative and entertaining. No one wants to read a stodgy blog. They’re not required reading – they’re elective - so it’s important to appeal to your audience so that they remain engaged with your writing style as well as you content.
Plus, as the blog-writer, it’s often easier to write when you don’t feel cramped into corporate lingo – or fearful that your humanity might shine through.
3. Don’t make your blogs self-serving
You can only say so much about your own business, products and services before your readers start to realize they're reading a sales pitch rather than something helpful to their careers or situation. While publishing content to promote your company and gain search ranking results is a valid lead generation undertaking, you want to do this by offering something useful in return for your readers' attention.
That said, don’t give away the farm either. Ensure your blog has enough information to provide guidance, generate awareness, spur thought and add value. But when it comes right down to it, tie the overall blog back to your business offering so that your readers can see that you offer the solution or assistance they might need to make things happen in their own organization.
4. Use keyword research to come up with blog ideas
Since the whole point of lead generation and marketing is to drive search results and awareness, use keywords to help you come up with blog topic ideas. While some keywords will be specific to your business, products or services, there will be many more that are used to search for business-to-business companies like yours.
Select a few keywords that work together and thread them throughout your blog in meaningful ways – for example, “business-to-business”, “marketing” and “blogs”.
5. Look for competitive gaps
It’s likely that many of your competitors are also writing blogs. Not only should you be aware of their blog topics, but you can identify what keywords your competitors are using in their blogs and on their websites.
If you are not ranking on page one for these keywords in search results, look for the keywords they’re not owning and write your blog content to start ranking for those instead.
Alternatively, if there is a possibility to own an important keyword or keywords, blogs are a great way to create ongoing content using those keywords to gain search results.
6. Link to additional pages on your website
Linking your blogs to other content on your website. Either use your other content as the inspiration for the blog itself (a shorter, sweeter version of an article or case study, for example), or include the link as a way of adding additional insight for your readers. You’ll be driving more visitors to your website where they can read this content – and so much more. For additional lead generation benefits, gate the linked content for a period of time after the blog is posted and collect leads for your database when they subscribe to read the full piece.
7. Get expert help
Blogging, lead generation campaigns and marketing in general requires attention and expertise to be executed successfully. Often outside help from a writer or marketing agency is the best way to get the lead generation results you seek. Enlist the help of specialized outsiders to reduce the difficulty and streamline your lead generation efforts.