Using a blog to engage and build your brand with a B2B business audience is a tough gig. These cats are a no B.S. crowd of skeptics who know all the media tricks. They don’t join “movements”, can smell a pitch a mile away, and guard their limited attention like a cranky momma bear.
The good news is that while Facebook and Twitter is still gaining credibility, good ole’ blogging has finally hit prime time with B2B warriors. Better yet, blogs are a great (and relatively easy) way to tell your story, and add interest to your brand. Done right, your blog can even create a competitive advantage – but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. “)
7 Tips to Get You Started:
- Focus on the Problem: Quickly show how your brand is relevant to your blog reader. The best way to do this is to focus your initial cornerstone content on analyzing common problems for your prospects. These posts prove that you “care and share” before you start pitching solutions.
- Don’t Ignore Your Competition: Understand that your blog readers KNOW that your not the only game in town. Your objective should be to show them why your brand is different. Dig deep and unearth a truly convincing Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that distances you from your competition. Your brand will gain credibility if you fairly and honestly show how you deliver value. Do this right and you will become the leader that set’s the buying criteria for your market.
- Make it Easy to Ask and Answer Questions: Work hard to encourage comments and questions. I recommend that you answer any questions/comments within a few hours (at most). This shows that your company isn’t asleep at the social wheel. Also be prepared to use Twitter and LinkedIn to supplement the conversation with your audience.A great example of this is Dell’s IdeaStorm community website. This open forum encourages Dell customers to pony up ideas that Dell can use to improve their products. Dell uses Ideastorm along with it’s popular Twitter feed to keep their ears to the train tracks and anticipate market needs.
- Use Social Proof: Dr. Robert Cialdini in his book Influence highlights a powerful motivator called Social Proof. Social proof is basically the “mob mentality”. Simply people feel better doing something if they see others doing it also.You can use this hard-wired persuasion tool by using how many re-tweets your posts receive. Showing customer testimonials, videos, or guest posts also savvy ways of demonstrating social proof.
- Let Your Brand Relax: Use your blog to show the “personable” side of your Brand. It’s tempting to stick with the business-as-usual party line, but I would challenge you to bend the design rules a bit on your blog. Business professionals still want to connect with real flesh-and-blood people. Your blog’s design can show that you are easy to work with and open to real conversation.
- Deliver Content in Yummy Formats: The B2B audience is drowning in text. Even though you may have great content to deliver, it’s likely that your whitepaper will get lost in the blizzard of paper. You can easily stand out by repurposing your white paper into a video slide show. Video taping your testimonials will double their persuasive power. Repackaging your whitepapers into illustrated, free-to-download eBooks will pump up their viral power. By the way, it’s getting extremely easy to publish “yummy” ebooks – check out this resource to get a jumpstart.
- Look Outside Your Box: I love when a B2B brand is able to look past its own navel and comment on the world. Talk about your employees, your community, and current events. Better yet, do a weekly wrap-up of news around your industry. Your brand will quickly be recognized as the “informed leader” and can begin inspiring conversation in your space.
How is your blog doing? Do you have trouble making your blog stand-out in your B2B space? What seems to work best for you?