An active blog is an essential component of almost any B2B content strategy. But there is more to a blog post than meets the eye
Acting as your digital hub for your content strategy, your blog provides the foundations that support social media engagement, back linking, improved search engine rankings and increased website traffic.
But successful blogging relies upon more than just good blog content and we often see B2B companies turning around in circles trying to complete the last, vital 5%. The issue is compounded when each blog post has to pass through the hands of several disciplines and approvers on its way to the web.
Perhaps you’ve experienced this situation yourself; everyone is smiling at each other as the latest blog post has just been approved by the highest power. Whoever is responsible, by design or otherwise, is all set to post it online. Then it dawns on them, they need an SEO meta title and description – ‘who produces and who approves those? And where are the tweets that should go out after the blog post is posted? And the Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook updates? Hold on, that call to action is really weak and the hero image is tiny….’ And so it goes on.
The right people are the solution
A lot of these problems can be alleviated by hiring and empowering the new breed of marketers that are copy writers first but also understand SEO, web conventions, conversion optimisation, content management systems and social media. Or by hiring agencies that understand the same.
Even then, it will benefit everyone if the components of a complete blog post are universally understood and if the production process is adjusted to include them. So what are the components of a complete blog post?
The complete B2B blog post
Your blog post isn’t finished until you have all of the these elements in place:
There is much great advice available about how to create great blog posts so we won’t go into it here.
Suffice to say that in addition to valuable copy, a good image (ideally) and a call to action, you need to have a killer title – it should be instantly engaging and intriguing while containing the keywords that you want the post to be found for.
SEO meta data
While you are optimising the blog title, normally after completing the first draft, it’s a good time to produce the meta title, meta description and alt tags.
Given that you will want to your blog post to rank for searches close to the carefully crafted title, we suggest repeating it in the meta title and description. You may want to shorten the blog title here however to ensure that it appears in full in a typical 70 character search engine result.
In the title, follow it with a separator and your company name. In the description, follow it with another sentence from the body copy that will intrigue the reader and encourage them to click through.
For images, add keyword rich, descriptive and relevant alt tag text.
Once each blog post is written you should produce between 3 and 5 tweets about it. Onc can be a straight up ‘new blog post’ tweet featuring the title. The others should draw on different elements of the post or use different ways of saying what you mean. Importantly , they should feature different keywords.
Once approved, if necessary, use your favorite social media manager (we recommend HootSuite) to schedule the tweets for different times of day across relevant time zones.
It’s also worthwhile writing specific status updates that will accompany your new blog content onto other social networks. This will allow you to take advantage of the unique strengths and peculiar differences of each.
Formalising the process
Adding these elements to the briefing process or to a checklist that must be completed each time a blog post is written will help to prevent them being left to the last minute. It’s not that these additional steps take significant time, its just that rushing to produce them can be demoralising for staff. Preventing this from happening will ensure you obtain better results and improve morale at the same time.
If you have other tips for improving the blogging process within B2B organisations, please let us know below – we’d love to hear them.