Sean Donahue

Blogs are Becoming the New Front Door for Prospects: Is Yours Open?

If you’re still on the fence about the importance of a company blog, consider this trend: Many B2B marketers report that their team’s blog — not the company homepage — is now the most popular entry point for online visitors.

While judging our Viral and Social Marketing Hall of Fame entries earlier this month, I reviewed several strong entries from B2B marketers that cited impressive statistics for their company blogs. Thanks to a solid blogging strategy and the inherent SEO benefits of blog content, these marketers reported that their blogs were now outpacing their company homepages for key metrics such as:
o Total visits
o Time spent on site
o Number of pages viewed

For example, the team from the ESP Delivra (who just missed the cut for our Viral and Social Hall of Fame honors but nonetheless had a strong entry) reported that their company blog and social networking activity have become the primary ways they get thought-leadership content in front of prospects.

Carissa Newton, Director, Marketing, Delivra, shared these stats:

- They now see 4x more blog traffic than website traffic.

- Visitors are now staying 3x-4x longer to read blog content and website links included in that blog.

“In previous years, visitors went straight to our website,” says Newton. “With social media and blogging, it’s kind of changing that dynamic.”

Two factors are at work here: Blog content that is frequently updated and loaded with your team’s most important keywords lead to greater visibility on search engines. Plus, social sharing tools now enable your readers to share that content with their extended networks, further extending your reach and visibility.

In fact, Delivra has jumped more than 20 pages in Google search results for key phrases such as “email marketing” since starting its concerted blogging and social media effort. And since last October, the team has seen a 70% increase in inbound leads.

So if you’re not yet using a company blog for your own marketing efforts, now is the time to develop a strategy. To make the most of that tool, Newton offers these three tips:

Tip #1. Recruit multiple bloggers

Effective blogs are updated frequently. But many small marketing teams struggle to find the time to continually feed the beast. Newton’s team uses nine or 10 regular contributors from within the company, as well as three to four frequent guest bloggers, including customers.

Having multiple contributors ensures your blog will be a compilation of multiple viewpoints and relevant expertise that attracts a variety of readers. Plus, each blogger’s writing style will incorporate keywords in different ways to attract search engines.

Tip #2. Enforce regular posting

Maintaining a consistent schedule is essential to a successful blogging strategy. Newton’s team posts at least once a day during the work week.

How did they enforce that rule? They got the company CEO, Neil Berman, on board, and he made it a requirement that the blog be updated five days a week. He also leads by example: Berman contributes to the blog each Monday.

Tip #3. Share metrics and reward success

Newton also recommends using carrots alongside the stick of mandatory blog posts to keep bloggers motivated.

In the early days of their blogging effort, she ran internal contests to single out the blogger whose post was shared the most. She also used gift cards as rewards for the most successful posts.

Now, she simply shares the metrics from the team’s blogging and social efforts to show the rest of the company how important their contributions are.

“By sharing results, such as traffic increases, people’s eyes get opened differently.”

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Business To Business



  1. July 30th, 2010 at 11:32 | #1

    Great post! Blogging, particularly daily blogging can be a difficult task to be dedicated to but it is SO important, thanks for the ammunition.

  2. July 30th, 2010 at 13:21 | #2

    I recommend adding a Tip #4: Offer writing and editing help.

    Many subject experts struggle with writing and some may be reluctant to blog even if they have great insights to share. You can help these employees by offering the assistance of a professional writer, whether for ghostwriting the full post or for polishing the employee’s draft into a clear entry that still preserves their unique voice.

  3. July 30th, 2010 at 14:03 | #3

    It is amazing how effective logas are in driving traffic to your main site. I also love thhe fact that you can create a video on Youtube, create a blog post and embed your video in your post – and all the while include links back to your main website.

    Add the fact that Googlr seems to Index blogs almost immediately and this is a win – win – win situtaion.

    I didn’t even know there was a Sherpa blog. Glad I found it. Thanks Sean!

  4. July 31st, 2010 at 11:55 | #4

    Your first tip about having multiple bloggers is a crucial one. Sufficiently “feeding the beast,” as you so aptly put it, becomes too much for one or two people. And the heavy-up on content also is essential for SEO pull. Nice post!

  5. August 2nd, 2010 at 06:38 | #5

    Sean,

    You’ve raised a very interesting issue. It’s been thrashed quite a bit. In a country like India where Tech Marketing is still nascent, there is a significant doubt in people’s minds towards the effectiveness of blogs.

    The most critical aspect of blogs that most bloggers miss is ‘purpose’. Unlike the west, most company blogs in India are still a ramble about their offerings and soft sales pitches.

    Best,
    Sam

  6. August 2nd, 2010 at 14:10 | #6

    Hi Sean, I couldn’t agree more! A successful blog strategy takes into account various perspectives which come from different team within the company. it’s also important to establish an editorial calendar that aligns the blog strategy with the overall marketing strategy while still allowing for those personal insights that social media brings to the table.

    Cheers,
    Peggy

  7. August 2nd, 2010 at 14:33 | #7

    Can’t say enought about the consistent blogging schedule. Our customer – HealthCorp Solutions – has maintained a Tuesday / Thursday Schedule for several months now and has been able to track organic traffic spikes from search engines on a predictable time delay. so depending on the topical traffic spike we want to see, we help them push content on a schedule (basically a very short term but predictable editorial calendar.)

  8. August 2nd, 2010 at 14:44 | #8

    Sean, good post. With countless blogs these days, it’s essential that the multiple bloggers recruited are in fact thought-leaders or know how to properly contribute.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts about the lead gen aspects of blogging. As blogging is the front door for prospects, blogs need to define metrics beyond traffic and time on page. Click paths, return visits, lead and shopping cart conversions are critical for blogs that use content and valuable information to stimulate the cash register. We all understand the need to avoid a hard sell and instead provide desired information to build traffic. At some point, the activities of that traffic to provide ROI must be measured.

  9. August 2nd, 2010 at 15:51 | #9

    I really liked what you had to say. One of my own issues is posting regularly. I good sometimes and bad the other. One thing I believe that organization has to do along with your tips is promote their blog any way that they can. If the have good content then push it out there. Become a resource.

  10. August 2nd, 2010 at 16:41 | #10

    Thanks for a great post Sean. This is a topic that really hits home.

    I agree that recruiting multiple voices and providing feedback is essential for a good company blog. I can’t imagine requiring any of my employees to blog though. We treat it as a privilege. Our Online Marketing Blog has as many or more RSS subscribers than Search Engine Watch so being able to write there provides a lot of exposure for employees. Those that make it to be a contributor work hard and the quality of posts reflect that.

    I can certainly relate to the results that you’ve described for Delivra as a result of corporate blogging.

    Our agency, TopRank Marketing, was virtually unknown until we started blogging. Now we get new project inquiries, speaking engagements, press mentions, job inquiries and even advertising requests just about every day.

    One of the neatest things about blog SEO is that customers can easily find our marketing information via search engines using terms like “online marketing” or “marketing blog” on Google (We’re #2 or so for both) plus thousands of other terms.

    Another benefit is that blogging has not only helped us grow our own B2B marketing business, but we’ve applied this expertise for other B2B companies like Marketo, PRWeb and PRSA.

  11. August 2nd, 2010 at 17:20 | #11

    I wonder with this kind of news, if companies will start making the blog the first feature people see on the home page, or going blog-only? Or are many companies already doing this?

  12. August 3rd, 2010 at 00:34 | #12

    Great post Sean! I think your first tip hits the mark nicely. Everyone is so time poor nowadays, if you have a small team that can all contribute, each with a slightly different take on things, it would help immensely. I’d imagine different writing styles could also increase your chances of connecting with a particular reader. Cheers Scott

  13. August 3rd, 2010 at 15:33 | #13

    As the main person behind our blog, I know how much time and dedication blogging takes. I like the idea of recruiting multiple bloggers! :-) it might lighten my load…

  14. August 4th, 2010 at 07:35 | #14

    Good thoughts, Sean. I would also encourage company leaders to choose employees they trust as bloggers, then let them run with it, without a lot of editing or filtering. Transparency and authenticity are appealing to customers.

  15. August 5th, 2010 at 14:20 | #15

    Great article! Blogging is especially important for small and local business. It’s important for small and local businesses to optimize each blog posts for location based keywords. This should help drive more traffic to their website and helps with the SEO.

  16. August 10th, 2010 at 20:52 | #16

    Sean – thanks! This is really helpful. We’re in the process of ‘migrating’ towards a much greater focus on our corporate blog and your tips are spot on for the issues we’re grappling with – as are, I have to say, many of the comments. Our plans are to substantially grow the use of our blog and give it much greater prominence on the home page of our corporate website.

  17. June 5th, 2011 at 11:17 | #17

    This is a great post summarizing the joy and pain of blogging. Blogs offer great site rankings help but with real time and dedication to content. I do see and hear how blog content helps customers and champions of our work in a timely and more specific way obviously than our somewhat static website content. Here’s to those who don’t lose their focus. Go get your blog On!

  18. June 20th, 2011 at 05:52 | #18

    I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post !!!!

  19. August 8th, 2011 at 13:50 | #19

    I’ve been blogging for 6+ years and have recommended blogging to clients for the last 5. It’s only recently that I’m not getting looks following by the question, A bloooooooog?

    I’ve written on “How Not to Become a Blog Orphan.” #1 Tip: Have a few posts in the can before you hit publish. This gives you time to find your voice and establish a rhythm.

  20. October 17th, 2011 at 13:05 | #20

    To add to the post, I think it’s important to fill your blog with genuine, strong content. The more you pull in your readers, the more they’ll continue to return to your blog.

    Louis Slade
    Email Marketing Company

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  10. February 21st, 2013 at 09:08 | #10
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