Almost all Xerox channel partners have a website and many are using social networks to engage with their audience and drive traffic to that website, but the majority of partners have yet to embrace blogging. If you are one of them, we have a compelling reason to consider adding a blog. When done well, blogging generates more demand.
Our first year of blogging for channel partners
September marked the first anniversary of this blog – the Channel Partner Connection. In that time we have covered a multitude of topics from digital marketing, to building MFP solutions, to good old selling – and we try to highlight Xerox channel partner successes from across the globe whenever we can. Along the way, we have learnt a few lessons about B2B blogging – here are a few of them.
Four ways blogs work to increase demand
Blogs are a critical component to any inbound demand generation strategy:
1. They drive search engine optimization (SEO) by providing keyword-rich content for search engines to index
2. They provide you with interesting content for you to share on your social networks
3. They help establish your authority in your niche or industry
4. They give your visitors information they need before they buy from you.
The gift that keeps on giving
According to Hubspot, 90% of their leads come from blogs published months or even years earlier. That makes building an arsenal of blogs a compelling idea. Yes, blogs take time and resources to create and the reward is not often immediate. Nevertheless, they are, without doubt, a tactic that keeps on giving. Indeed, on one of our blogs, an article written in 2012 is still receiving the lion’s share of visits in 2015!.
Find topics that have long-term relevancy
Blogs can contain a variety of components from words or graphics to Slideshare presentations and video. Regardless of which components you use, always strive for a heavy dose of topics with long-term relevancy. This is referred to as evergreen content and it is the reason Hubspot gets 90% of their leads from older posts. If you want your blogs to do the same, write about topics future buyers will still want to read a year from now and make those the cornerstone of your content strategy.
Choose quality over quantity – every time
Publishing more often will speed up the demand generation capabilities of your blog but producing poor quality, uninteresting content will not attract your audience no matter how often you post. It is better to publish something worth reading once a month than churn out unread words more often ( we try to publish at least once per week).
Write for someone, not about something*
Successful blogs give valuable information to a target audience. They answer burning questions, offer helpful advice, solve problems, teach and make life easier for the reader. Defining your audience is the first step.
- Do you work with a particular vertical industry?
- What is the job title of your buyer?
- What types of issues can you solve?
- How can you make their work life easier?
- What do they put in a search box when looking for what you have?
Those answers will guide you to the evergreen topics needed to draw future prospects to your blog and website.
Keep it simple and educational
B2B buyers are not leisure surfing your content. In fact, their attention span is only 8.25 seconds. That isn’t much time to work with. Your headline has to be compelling and your content succinct. Cutting out unnecessary words and delivering the point quickly is mission critical.
Use subheadings frequently
Along with short attention spans comes skimming. In bygone days, we read to the bottom of a paper page and the volume of content we faced on a daily basis was not so overwhelming. Today with more than 2 million articles published daily, and with mouse in hand or finger poised, scrolling, swiping and skimming is the new reading.
A compelling headline reels readers in. Succinctly written content moves them down the page. Subheads act as yield signs, slowing them from scrolling too fast and missing your point. Subheads also give visual separation making the next portion of content bite-sized, which is exactly what an 8.25-second attention span requires.
Find your formula and stick to it
Every Xerox channel partner has a unique style and voice. Finding a strategy that works for your audience, in your region, is key to blogging success. Then, once you attract them remember that we humans are creatures of habit. Make consistency in cadence and content quality a priority.
Use tools to gather audience insights
One of the most valuable insights I’ve found from our blog is the information that Google Analytics, Social Sharing and Google Webmaster tools provide.
Google Analytics – By adding Google Analytics code to your blog you can learn where your visitors are from, what they use to browse on (device and type of browser) even how much time they spend on an article.
Google Webmaster Tools – By connecting Google Webmaster tools to your Google Analytics data you can learn about the search terms people use to find and (hopefully) click on your articles. You’ll be amazed at the variety of spelling and phrases people use.
All of this information is vital for informing your marketing – so if you were in any doubt about why blogging needs to part of your marketing strategy I hope we have made you think again.
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*kudos to this ProBlogger article for coining the phrase “Don’t write about something, write for someone.”