Blogging is a well-known marketing tool and one that can be very effective—both for demonstrating thought leadership in a niche and for supporting your company’s search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. I wrote a post last month on whether blogging is an effective marketing tool for B2B companies and this topic was a hot one with a related article called "Corporate Blogging Officially Deemed Dead" getting big reaction. My opinion hasn’t changed—blogging can be an effective B2B marketing tool, but it isn’t the easiest one to implement and companies should evaluate whether it’s something they can do well or if they can get better results investing their time elsewhere.
If you decide that blogging can work for your company, then it’s a question of how to do it right. At Mezzanine, everyone on staff writes one blog per month and the managers do four blogs each month. Here’s what we’ve learned about making blogging work at a B2B company.
- It takes several months (3 – 12) for everyone to get into the grove of blogging.
- When we launched, there was fear and consternation. What do I blog about? How long should blogs be? Do I have to worry about using particular keywords? This is normal. To address the questions, we did a session on the company’s objectives for blogging (i.e. SEO and thought leadership) and outlined the kinds of content that we’d like to see.
- Group brainstorming sessions on possible blog topics are helpful. This was the biggest challenge for us—people struggled unnecessarily to figure out what they should write about. If you have technical experts in your company, they are doing things every single day that are blog-worthy—you just need to help them realize it.
- The best blogs are the ones that come from personal experience, so we have a rule that blogs have to be tied to a personal experience. It prevents blogs that are too generic or academic to be of real interest and use.
- We have one person project manage the company’s blogging effort. She uses the very effective tactic of public shaming to make sure she gets all the blogs by the deadline each month. i.e. She distributes a list of who has submitted and who hasn’t within a couple days of the deadline.
- We report back on readership—it galvanizes an internal competitive spirit and gives a feedback to everyone on what’s of interest. It also helps everyone understand what makes for good titles and what doesn’t (think: be provocative, but not misleading).
- Lead from the top—the senior executives need to do their own blogs and convey their commitment to this tool, or no one else will.
Through this process we realized a benefit from blogging that we hadn’t planned on—sharing of intellectual capital and personal insight within our company. I read everyone’s blogs and am constantly learning things—both professional tips, and also about the team members. Some have writing styles that are magical—and they tie their personal interests and experiences together with professional guidance. I learn a little more about each of my colleagues with every blog. For Mezzanine, blogging is a constantly evolving practice that takes effort, but is definitely worth it.