B-to-B Insights: Tips for Better B-to-B Blogging
Your company has WordPress up and running. You've just posted your mandatory this-is-our-new-blog introduction. Now what? The web is littered with abandoned blogs — i.e., stale forums with year-old musings. New content is everything on the web. An out-of-date blog does more harm than good for your company. Keep your blog fresh by following these tricks of magazine publishers:
Post regularly. Blogging is more akin to publishing than marketing. The frequency of marketing promotions is often seasonally driven; publishing is steady. Every month Retail Online Integration arrives in your mailbox. The publishers don't skip an issue or two just because they don't have time.
Maybe no one will notice if you miss a post, but consistency keeps readers and search engines interested. Forced to choose between stellar content and regular posting? Choose the latter.
Establish your tone. Magazines have their editorial voice. Even with multiple writers, it's consistent from issue to issue. Your blog needs its own consistent voice. The key word here is "personal." Your blog should sound like it's written by a person, not a corporate committee. Give opinions, make predictions if you like. But above all else, tell stories. Write in the first person if appropriate, using "I" or at least "we." No matter how buttoned up your company image is, speak like a human being.
Outline a schedule of topics a year in advance. No kidding. Work way ahead. If an important issue comes up unexpectedly, just insert it into the schedule.
Don't worry about topics becoming stale. It's easier to edit and update than to start from scratch. And if you're ever in a bind, at least you'll have something to post. Just like a magazine, stash timeless entries in reserve for your company's slow news weeks.
When planning topics, write directly to your typical buyers and site visitors. Are they asking for product reviews? Do they have questions about your products — e.g., how to operate or set them up? A blog is a great place to answer FAQs. Ask your customer service staff for input. They're on the front lines and know your customers' concerns better than anyone.
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.