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Should blogging be on your to-do list?

Company blogs have a place in the B2B marketing arsenal, but only under the right circumstances.

Marketing benefits

Blogs are usually more effective for enhancing brand image and awareness than they are for driving leads and sales.

Blogs establish expertise by giving the company a venue for sharing what they know about subjects related to the products and services they provide.

Some of the most effective business blogs are written by management personnel for business decision makers–it’s not just for the techies anymore. Regardless of their editorial focus, the best-read corporate blogs avoid hype and self-congratulatory content. Instead, they focus on content useful to readers.

To create awareness about your company, products and services, keep in mind that blogs tend to be found in the Web’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). That can go a long way toward helping your company be found by prospects who are actively searching for what you sell.

Your blog can also have a big impact on a potential customer moving through the awareness/inquiry/consideration/purchase cycle. When you find areas of confusion about the marketplace or can answer common questions prospects have, you are supplying the information needed to move to a purchase decision–anticipating the needs of those who haven’t contacted you directly.

Required commitment and resources

To gain and maintain readers, you need to keep your blog fresh. So you’ll need someone who has the expertise, writing skills and time to frequently post new blog content. How frequently?  Most bloggers are in the several-per-week to several-per-month range.  I recommend that you plan to post new content to your blog weekly to start. You can always turn up the frequency later, once you’re sure you have the ability to keep up the pace.

Are you ready for a conversation?

Blogs are inherently a two-way medium. Get ready for bluntly honest responses from delighted real customers as well as disgruntled naysayers. Yes, you can choose to disallow comments completely, but that removes the authenticity that you can build with a blog versus other ways of keeping in touch.

You can screen comments, which I recommend. But don’t immediately trash the comments that raise valid concerns and issues. These tough topics are key to showing that your company can handle doubts and respond to them, as well as listen to problems and resolve them. Skeptical prospects will watch and learn that you are listening, making you stand out from the crowd

I recommend that you consider blogging if you need a venue to demonstrate your expertise (branding) or are looking for additional ways to move up in the SERPs (for traffic). However, you should launch a blog only if you, someone on your staff, or an outsourcer can post regularly.

If you’re tasked with driving leads and sales, hand it off to someone else or put it on the back burner. There are plenty of marketing tactics that will have a more direct impact on the bottom line.

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