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Putting the Focus on B2B Blogging

If you're responsible for marketing or business communications at a B2B company and you're still on the fence about incorporating a blog into your business-aligned communication strategy, this should be of interest. HiveFire, a Cambridge, Mass.-based internet marketing software solutions company, has released the results of a marketing research survey that suggests many business-to-business companies don't fully grasp the business opportunities associated with blogging. Some, in fact, see it as a resource drain.

But the survey, which was administered to more than 100 B2B marketers this past summer, shows that companies that adopt a robust content marketing strategy inclusive of blogging reap benefits twofold. First, they see a marked improvement in search results. In addition, blogs create the perception that the company is staffed with thought leaders (subject matter experts) in its respective industries. And companies see both of these as critical components in the B2B sales process.

The problem is, only 55.3 percent of the companies surveyed have a corporate or industry blog in place. That leaves a full 44.7 percent who admit they have no self-published content marketing program. That doesn't mean they aren't making big plans. The survey shows that of the companies that don't, nearly 82 percent say they plan to have a blog at some point in the future.

As everyone should know by now, blogging won't do much good if you don't publish unique content on a regular basis. Of the B2B companies surveyed by HiveFire with a blog already in place, only 11 percent publish new material daily, with another 42 percent indicating they publish new blog posts only once a week. Shockingly, approximately 48 percent of those companies surveyed said they might post one new blog entry -- or even less -- per month.

Part of the problem with frequency of posts, according to the HiveFire, is that nobody's really clear at B2B companies about who's best qualified to produce blog-related content. A third of the companies say they rely on the vice president of marketing, while another 32 percent give that task to the online marketing manager. The rest are split among outside contractors, PR staff and other internal resources.

"In many companies, the individuals who can create the most insightful blog content are often outside of marketing," says Pawan Deshpande, CEO of HiveFire. "For example, the best blogger could be the CTO, but these people are very busy."

According to Deshpande, B2B blogging often fails in part because the editorial calendar relies on individuals outside of marketing -- despite marketing being accountable for the upkeep of the blog. "Many B2B marketers start blogs to project their companies as being on top of their industry with fresh content, but instead they end up with stale and out-of-date content."

So what's a B2B company to do? In my professional opinion, B2B executives, like all business organizations, must link their blogging activities to their company's business goals. And the way to do that is by creating a business-aligned communication strategy that clearly identifies the company blog as the primary vehicle for driving dynamic messaging and content distribution. Anything less and a B2B blog -- as well as any business blog -- is destined to stew in mediocrity and do more harm to the business than good.

Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. For more information, visit MikalBelicove.com.

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