B2B Blog Strategy: A Guide to Increased Traffic, Engagement, and Leads
Companies that craft the right B2B blog strategy enable powerful business growth.
- Brands such as HubSpot have driven billions of dollars of revenue through effective blog strategies.
- The Ahrefs blog drives 430,000+ monthly organic visits.
- Accenture finds so much value in B2B blogging that it publishes 28 different blogs, each one focused on a different topic or industry.
- Here at Stratabeat, we increased organic blog traffic for one client by 1,762.4% over the past six months.
Marketers who prioritize blogging see 13X higher ROI on their marketing efforts than those who do not.
B2B blogging works!
However, just having a blog doesn’t guarantee success. Many companies’ blog strategy is rudderless. Their blogging teams spend a great deal of time and energy in publishing posts, yet the operation resembles a hamster wheel. Even with more effort, they can’t make any progress and they wonder why their blog fails to produce results.
In order to achieve real and substantive blogging success, it’s critical to develop a clear B2B blog strategy.
What is a Blog Strategy?
Simply put, a B2B blog strategy is a plan that outlines how you will win through blogging. It’s a carefully formulated content marketing plan for how you will use blogging to:
- Attract qualified traffic
- Deliver value to readers
- Beat the competition
- Achieve marketing and business goals
- Measure success and improve performance over time
Secondarily, a blog strategy supports your brand strategy. It does this by communicating and reinforcing your positioning, differentiation, brand personality, and unique value.
On the tactical side of things, a blog strategy establishes key processes, such as content calendar configuration, content brief development, publishing frequency, publishing formats, SEO, conversion optimization, promotion, and more.
In a nutshell, your B2B blog strategy serves as a roadmap that guides:
- Blog planning (content calendar, content brief development, etc.)
- Blog content creation (writing, editing, visuals, video, etc.)
- SEO of your blog (primary keyword, related keywords, SEO copywriting, on-page SEO, internal linking, etc.)
- Conversion optimization (static CTAs, behaviorally-triggered CTAs, A/B tests, etc.)
- Behavioral analysis for improved user experience (UX)
- Amplification, promotion, and expansion of reach
How to Create a Powerful B2B Blog Strategy
A B2B blog strategy is made up of multiple components. You can’t just start blogging without direction and expect results. The internet is littered with blogs that achieve little to nothing for the associated company.
Don’t contribute to the noise. Be more strategic than that.
With a documented strategy, you’ll achieve far more for your business. To develop an effective and powerful blog strategy as part of your overarching content marketing strategy, follow the steps below.
1. Determine What Your Blog Will Achieve for Your Business
The first step in any B2B blog strategy is NOT to start blogging. Rather, it’s to identify the purpose of the blog, your goals, and how the blog will impact the business. Before you dive into blogging, identify your strategic objectives.
Possible blogging goals may include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive traffic to your website
- Differentiate your brand
- Establish thought leadership in your industry
- Generate leads
- Convert sales
- Attract prospective employees
- Support existing customers
Without clear goals for your blog, you’re likely to wind up on a hamster wheel of content production that gets you nowhere.
Once you’ve settled on your goals, define KPIs to measure success against specific time frames. For example, increase organic search traffic by 20% in the next six months. Or increase monthly leads via the blog by 50% within the next 12 months.
2. Define Your Target Audience
Once you have a clear idea of your blogging goals, the next step in your blog strategy is to define your target audience. This is critically important, because this enables your business to create content that resonates with your readers throughout the customer journey.
First, define your audience segments. Then, within each segment, develop buyer personas for each type of buyer. Creating a persona involves fleshing out the details of an imaginary person who would be in your target market. With a B2B blog, the items you may want to incorporate into your audience personas include:
- Job title
- Who they report into
- Pain points
- Products desired
- Features desired
- News sources
- Preferred social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
Aim to see things from the perspective of your audience. What do they want to see when they come to your blog? What topics do they care about? What specific questions are they asking as they arrive? How can you help them achieve their goals?
For example, if your target audience is made up of C-Suite executives in the IT industry, your content will probably be more high-level, thought-leadership content than highly detailed technical articles.
Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, it will be easier to develop content that they consider to be valuable.
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3. Choose Your Blogging Strategy
Once you’ve defined your blogging goals and your audience personas, choose a B2B blogging strategy that will help you to acheive your goals and thrill your audience.
For example, if your goal is to increase organic search traffic to your site but you primarily create thought leadership content without a keyword focus, you’re not going to get the results you had hoped for. Your blogging strategy must always support your business objectives.
The following are common blogging strategies for you to consider:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Many B2B companies launch a blog in order to achieve better SEO performance. And there are various benefits to an optimized blog.
For example, a strong SEO program helps your content reach a larger audience. A successful SEO program helps your content to appear on the first page of Google search results, driving more relevant organic traffic to your site. As a result, more prospective customers will read your posts, opt-in to your email list, enter your marketing funnel, start a conversation with your sales team, etc.
Topic and keyword research is the starting place of a strong SEO program. Identify the keywords and phrases your target audience is using at each stage of the buyer journey.
There are numerous tools that help you to identify relevant keywords to target. Some of these tools include:
- Google Keyword Planner
The following tools help you to identify the questions being asked online that your blog can help to answer:
- Answer The Public
- Answer Socrates
Once you’ve identified your target keywords, create a content brief for each content piece. And tools such as thruuu and Content Harmony help expedite the content brief generation process. When creating blog posts, optimize the content for those keywords based on the content brief.
To that end, tools like Clearscope, SurferSEO, and MarketMuse help you to optimize your content with competitive insights, related keywords, and SEO scoring. This ensures that you thoroughly cover your topic from every angle. And that, in turn, increases the chances of the content ranking on the first page of the search results.
In addition to creating high-quality blog content, optimize the technical and structural foundation of your website. This includes:
- Having fast-loading pages
- Optimizing images
- Ensuring the site is mobile-friendly
- Creating an intuitive navigation structure
- Implementing schema markup
- Using breadcrumbs
- Interlinking related pages so that Google better understands the contents
- Minimizing disruptive elements, such as pop-ups
Topical Authority Building
Topical authority is a measure of your authoritativeness in a specific field. It’s an indication of your business’ proven expertise in the topics related to that field.
The more high-quality content your business publishes, the more that your audience AND Google will perceive your website as a trusted source of information for the topics you cover.
Google does not calculate a “topical authority score” per se for each website. However, Google gives preference to sites with a high domain authority when it comes to search rankings. Trust factors that influence search rankings include the quality and quantify of referring websites, quality and quantity of backlinks, number of mentions from highly credible websites, age of the website, social proof included in the website, etc.
Your blog can be a powerful tool when it comes to raising the overall domain authority of your website. As you consistently create outstanding content on your blog, over time those different pieces of content will receive mentions and backlinks from other websites. The more mentions and backlinks individual pieces of content receive, the more the domain authority of your entire site increases. Not only do the blog posts gain a higher chance of ranking in the search results, all the pages on your site do.
If you want to establish the expertise and innovativeness of your brand, consistently create thought leadership content. Thought leadership content is typically more high-level and big-picture than SEO content. It often explores industry trends, future predictions, and best practices. The best thought leadership content is backed by data, and this data is used to provide insights that can’t be found anywhere else.
When executed correctly, thought leadership content results in increased brand awareness and website traffic, as well as new leads. It can also help you establish your company as an expert in your industry, which is valuable for both current and future customers.
One of the challenges of using thought leadership as a blogging strategy is that it can be difficult to gain traction if you don’t already have an established audience of some sort. Your audience doesn’t have to be huge, but it needs to be big enough that when you publish a piece of content it gets some level of attention.
If you don’t have an audience, whether in the form of social media followers, an email list, or any other platform, focus on that before you go all-in on thought leadership blogging.
Intentionally differentiating your brand from other blogs in your industry can be an effective blogging strategy.
There are many ways to differentiate your blog from the competition. At the risk of oversimplifying, the best way to separate yourself from the pack is simply to create better content than any other company in your industry.
Other differentiation strategies include:
- Do original research and share the findings
- Write more in-depth, actionable, expert content than the competition
- Showcase your unique brand voice and personality
- Write about topics that the competition doesn’t, or can’t, cover
- Include interviews with experts
- Include more humor in your content
If you’re going to choose this blogging strategy, spend some time studying well-known blogs in your industry. What things can you do differently that would cause you to stand out and attract traffic?
Blogging is highly underrated as a lead generation platform. When done correctly, a blog can be one of the top sources of leads for your business. The key is to produce content that is genuinely helpful, interesting, and actionable for your target audience.
To increase your lead generation rate from your blog, include multiple CTAs in each post. These can range from mailing list opt-ins to webinar sign-ups to playbook downloads. Towards the bottom of your posts, see if they are interested in talking with your sales team or otherwise interested in exploring your solutions further.
You can also use behavior-driven pop-up CTAs that appear only after the site visitor has performed a certain, defined action, such as having read more than 50% of a blog post, having remained on the page for a specified time period, having arrived from a specific web page or campaign, or having returned to the website after a prior visit, etc.
Transform Your Blog Into a Lead Generation Engine
Learn How to Turn Your Blog into a Powerful Leads Driver. Read the Post.
Steps To Put Your Blog Strategy Into Action
You’ve determined why you are blogging, who your target audience is, the strategic business objectives you want to achieve, and the particular blog strategy you are going to pursue. Now it’s time to bring everything together and put your B2B blog strategy into action.
1. Perform a Content Audit and Gap Analysis
If you’re starting a brand new blog with zero existing content, you can skip this step. However, if you already have a blog on your site then the first step is to perform a content audit.
A content audit is an inventory and analysis of all the content you currently have on your blog. The purpose is to determine whether each piece of content is in line with your business objectives and valuable to your target audience. A content audit helps you identify any blog posts that are outdated, not in line with your goals, or not valuable to your audience.
When you find this type of content, you can then decided whether you should:
- Delete it
- Update it
- Combine multiple pieces of content into a single, high-value piece
You should also perform a gap analysis to identify places where more content is needed to meet specific customer needs, answer questions, solve problems, etc. If you identify any gaps, you can make filling them part of your content strategy.
2. Identify Content Needs at Each Stage of the Customer Journey
Different types of content in different formats are needed at each stage of the customer journey in order to effectively meet prospects’ needs, answer their questions, help them make purchase decisions, etc.
For example, in the awareness stage, are somewhat aware of a problem they’re facing or an opportunity in front of them but they don’t understand it enough to identify a solution. In this stage, they need content that will help them better understand their problem and the potential solutions available to them. You’re not trying to make a sale.
You’re simply trying to provide value to them and establish some form of connection with your brand.
In the consideration stage, prospects have a good understanding of their problem and are starting to compare different solutions. In this stage, they need content that will continue to educate them about the problem while also differentiating you from your competitors. The content needs to demonstrate that you have the authority and expertise to help them accomplish what they desire.
And in the decision stage, prospects have decided on a solution and are now looking for more information about how to implement it. In this stage, they need content that will help them take the next steps toward becoming your customer. You need a call-to-action where you ask prospects to convert to customers.
To develop an effective blog content strategy, you must identify what content is needed at each stage of the customer journey. Each stage leads to the next. If your awareness stage content isn’t compelling, prospects won’t consider you as a possible solution. If your consideration content is underwhelming, it will be difficult to convert prospects to customers.
3. Conduct Audience, Topic, and Keyword Research
This is critical if your primary blogging strategy is SEO.
Using a tool like Ahrefs or Semrush, identify the various search terms your prospects are using at each stage of the customer journey. You can determine what questions they are asking, what problems they are trying to solve, and what roadblocks they are encountering.
If you use a tool like Ahrefs or Buzzsumo, you can also discover the most popular online content being consumed by your audience.
If you use an audience research tool such as SparkToro, you can discover your audience’s favorite sources of information online, including their top YouTube channels and podcasts. This allows you to see the topics being covered by these outlets that are appealing so deeply with your audience.
Then, create a list of the topics and keywords you’ll focus on. Identify broad categories you’ll cover in general, but also sub-topics and topics for specific individual posts.
4. Perform a Topic Brainstorm
This is where you come up with ideas for blog content that will help meet the needs of your audience. The brainstorming session should be informed the different content needed at each stage of the customer journey, relevant keywords, and any content gaps you’ve identified.
It may be helpful to break up the brainstorming session by each stage of the customer journey. In other words, first you come up with potential topics for the awareness stage, then consideration, etc.
If you are struggling to generate solid topic ideas, you may want to use a tool like HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator, which can provide you with an entire year’s worth of content ideas. Another option is Impact’s BlogAbout tool, which will give you blog content ideas based on the subject you give it.
After you’ve collected all your ideas, you can decide which you are actually going to use.
5. Create a Repeatable Blogging Process
In order for your B2B blogging strategy to maximize results, establish a clear, structured, easily repeatable process that will help you create high-quality blog posts every time.
The blogging process should include:
- KPIs of your blogging program
- Target audience segment and persona
- Topic and keywords
- Content calendar and writing assignments
- Content brief
- First draft
- Revised drafts
- Imagery and video
Create a flow map or a repeatable process in process management software such as Process Street. The steps from ideation to creation to promotion should be clear, repeatable, and scalable. You should clarify the roles and responsibilities of each team member throughout the process. Creating this type of well-defined process takes the guesswork out of things and ensures that everything runs smoothly.
6. Set Up a Content Calendar
A content calendar is an essential part of any successful blogging program. It helps you to organize and plan your content in advance. In addition, it ensures that you publish regularly. On top of all of this, it helps ensure that the cadence of your mix of topics is distributed in an intelligent way.
The content calendar shouldn’t contain only the dates each blog post will be published. It should also clarify deadlines for every step leading up to the publication of a post, as well as any post-publication promotional efforts. This helps you to avoid “hair on fire” blog management and to publish on a consistent timeline.
In addition, your content calendar can support your efforts more fully by including the following types of information:
- Topic category
- Primary SEO keyword
- Secondary SEO keywords
- Dates for drafts and revisions
- Publication date
7. Increase Conversion Rates
No matter the goals of your B2B blog, you should work towards increasing your conversion rates. So, if you’re looking to increase your mailing list opt-ins, demos, downloads, webinar sign-ups, or requests to talk with sales, calculate your baseline numbers, test for performance improvements, track progress, and optimize to improve the numbers over time.
You can increase your conversion rates by testing the deployment of your CTAs. This could include their location on the page. For example, asking if they want a demo when they first land on your blog post is probably going to be ineffective, as it’s too early in their journey. Place your CTAs more thoughtfully and intelligently.
Many companies include only a single CTA in their blog posts. That’s a mistake. In our experience, including a handful of varying CTAs is far more effective.
A key is to shift the type of CTA as they scroll down the page. The initial CTAs may be more content-focused. This could be another blog post, or a whitepaper, or a playbook, etc. At a certain point, you can offer them case studies or other social proof. And lower on the page, when they’ve demonstrated a clear interest in your content, you can offer more direct CTAs that guide them to talk with your sales team.
In addition, be sure to test behaviorally-triggered CTAs. These are CTAs that appear when the site visitor takes a specific designated action or demonstrates specific digital body language while on your site. We find behavior-based CTAs to be highly effective at increasing conversions, as they’re more aligned with your blog reader’s demonstrated mindset.
8. Establish a Promotional Plan
If you create amazing blog content but no one sees it, there’s no benefit to your business. In order for your blog strategy to be successful, consistently promote your content. This helps to expand your reach, build brand awareness, and drive traffic.
Your promotional activities may include steps such as:
- Share your posts from your social accounts
- Email a link to your posts to your mailing list
- Have team members share blog posts on social media
- Include links to your latest blog post in your employee email signatures
- Partner with relevant industry influencers and have them share your posts
- Build backlinks to the post for SEO purposes
- Syndicate your content on high-profile sites (if your goal is brand awareness, for example)
- Repurpose your content. For example, create a video series based on a long-form blog post and publish it on YouTube and upload the individual videos to your social accounts.
9. Measure and Optimize Your Results
The final step in any successful B2B blogging strategy is to measure the results of your efforts and optimize your approach to improve future performance. The elements you measure should be based on your key marketing objectives and associated metrics.
If the goal of your blog is to generate organic search traffic, you may want to measure:
- Google rankings
- Number of ranking keywords
- Google share of voice (SOV)
- Amount of organic traffic generated
- Number of referring domains and backlinks to your posts
On the other hand, if you are writing above-the-funnel thought leadership pieces, you may want to track:
- Number of social shares
- Social shares by prominent influencers
- Click-through rate on each social platform
- Page views per post
- Mentions on third-party sites
- Referring domains
- Engagement (comments, likes, etc.)
- Total reach across all platforms
As you measure the performance of your portfolio of blog posts, look for trends that can guide your optimization efforts. Which types of posts best accomplished their objective? And why?
For example, was it the:
- Actionable insights?
- Voice or tone?
- Relevance to current events?
- Inclusion of additional media (infographics, embedded videos, etc.)?
Identifying these key factors can help you create better content in the future and optimize your existing content so that it resonates more with your audience.
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Strategize to Succeed
If you want to succeed with blogging, develop and document a clear B2B blog strategy. A strategy enables you to work aligned to your overall marketing goals and to move the needle for your business.
If you go about the process in an ad-hoc manner instead, your results will likely be mediocre at best and you’ll waste a significant amount of time, effort, and resources.
Creating a powerful blog strategy requires careful planning, execution, and investment of resources. But the work pays off. It allows you to build brand awareness, enhance brand perception, grow your audience, increase your site traffic, increase your MQLs and SQLs, and ultimately, drive more revenue.