6 Tips for B2B Blogging

Peggy Dau
Peggy Dau Managing Partner, MAD Perspectives LLC

Posted on June 21st 2010

Many companies recognize the potential value of blogging, but struggle to organize their thoughts and the actual writing of the blog.  Subsequently, the blog simply doesn't happen.  Yet, according to the Business.com 2009 B2B Social Media Marketing Study, 74% of companies surveyed maintain one or more blogs.  What are all these companies blogging about? And, how do they manage it?

When I look at companies or sites who are blogging regularly and considered leaders in their industry, I've learned the following: 

   1. Empower Your Employees - Encourage your employees to blog and share their insights, their smarts, their personalities.  Invite employees from different business groups to write about what's going on the industry.  They will have unique perspectives given the groups they represent (i.e., marketing, sales, engineering, R&D, support).  Their perspectives will be interesting to your current and prospective customers.

     2. Share Your Policy - Many companies will be concerned with giving their employees a public voice.  This is where establishing a policy will alleviate many concerns.  The policy is basical the rules of engagement for your employees...and for your customers.  It should provide guidance to your employees about what is acceptable or unacceptable blogging behavior.  By sharing your policy publically, your customers will know what to expect when engaging with your blogs.  Here are some examples from HP, IBM, SAP and Intel.  My thanks to the high tech community for being so open about their policies!

     3. Enable Comments - Invite and encourage readers to comment!  Comments are what make blogs interactive.  They enable the conversation.  They provide you, the company, with honest, candid, immediate feedback.  It may be supportive, discouraging, antagonistic or enthusiastic.  Aside from concerns about foul language, do not disable comments for fear of negative comments.  Common sense must be employed to determine the best approach to addressing negativity, but that negativity can have positive results.

     4. Invite Guest Contributors - Every industry has its pundits.  They exist in the form of analysts, columnists, technologists and executives.  Inviting these thought leaders to contribute to your blog can bring a new perspective to a hot topic, insight to emerging trends and clarity to industry debates.  Your alignment (or lack thereof) with these pundits may attract new readers to your blog.
 
     5. Establish an Editorial Calendar - Creating a plan can simplify the effort associated with managing and writing blogs.  While it is often useful to allow the blog to just "happen" in response to industry trends or to incite new discussion, it is also beneficial for it to reinforce annoucnements or events.  Laying out the calendar will help define the need for content or resources, and give you time to fill that need.

     6. Be Interesting - This is most important.  Think about what you would want to read.  What kind of information are you seeking that only a blog can fulfill?  A blog is not a product or press release, allow your personality to shine through.  As always when thinking social, be transparent and authentic.

What companies or blogs did I check out when thinking about this blog?  After 25 years in high tech, I follow blogs from the companies referenced above.  However, I also check in with Marriott, Nike, and Whole Foods.  With my focus in digital/social media, I read streamingmedia.com, Mashable, Social Media TodaySmart Blog on Social Media and more.

Does your company blog?  What's your blogging experience?  I'd love to hear the good and the bad!

What's your perspective?

 

Peggy Dau

Peggy Dau

Managing Partner, MAD Perspectives LLC

See Full Profile >

Comments

Posted on June 23rd 2010 at 1:36PM

Thanks for the 6 tips - helpful insights. A 7th might be to write about your experiences and what you're most passionate about. I sometime struggle trying to "fit in" blogging to my schedule. But when I can take what I'm doing, learning and thinking about from my daily experience and translate that into a post it really helps to make blogging a natural extension of my routine. Thanks!

@gregelwell

Peggy Dau
Posted on July 9th 2010 at 1:25AM

Hi Greg, I couldn't agree more about writing about your experiences and what excites you!  cheers, Peggy

Posted on June 23rd 2010 at 2:43PM

Great point on empowering your people.  Many companies want to "control" internet / social media content.  Rather than attempting to "control" the message, organizations should use the 3-way communication aspect of social media and actually "listen" to what is being said... plus it is an opportunity to let employees feel like an important part of the business.

Posted on June 23rd 2010 at 5:06PM

Thanks for the shout-out, Margaret!

Posted on June 23rd 2010 at 5:07PM

Thanks for the shout-out, Margaret!

Posted on June 23rd 2010 at 10:21PM

I agree with you and your points. The key is to be genuine and honest and upfront with your readers. Thanks for sharing your pointers.

Posted on June 25th 2010 at 2:10PM

Thank you for the post, Peggy. I've used it as a resource to outline our blog strategy. We're starting a corporate blog. Most helpful point: 2. Share Your Policy.

Question - how do you feel about employee blogger profiles?

Peggy Dau
Posted on July 9th 2010 at 1:23AM

Hi Andy,

I think its very useful to provide blogger profiles as it gives your reader context for the bloggers viewpoints.  I've seen sites where the profiles are front and center and where companies allow you to sort blog posts by blogger or by category, thus making it easier for your customers to read the blogs of highest interest to them.

 

peggy

Posted on June 25th 2010 at 5:12PM

I think you missed a few biggies and I'd expand your list to 10:

  1. Conversions: Since this is B2B, you need to make sure your blog provides a path of engagement for visitors to become customers.  This can be done through simple contact forms, calls-to-action and landing page strategies.
  2. Listen: Social media isn't about talking as much as it is about listening.  Be tuned into your audience so you know where to go with your strategy, your products, your services, your customer support, etc.
  3. Measure: Continuously measure the impact of your strategy on your bottom line.  Over time, you'll see that you can invest more in blogging because the ROI continues to improve.  Not being able to prove the value of a blog sometimes gets it dropped from large companies' strategic initiatives.
  4. Optimize: Search Engines are most likely your largest provider of new leads to your blog.  Do keyword analysis and select a platform, theme, and write content that is compelling and feeds the search engines.
Doug
Peggy Dau
Posted on July 9th 2010 at 1:23AM

Thanks Doug!

Posted on June 28th 2010 at 2:34PM

I found your blog on technorati; great start on the tips! I'm publishing an educational series on blogging and online marketing. I'm looking for people interested in reviewing the book or being part of a virtual book tour I'm setting up. If you're interested, please email me directly.

Peggy Dau
Posted on July 9th 2010 at 1:21AM

Hi Alison,  sorry for the very late replay!  I'd love to assit in any way i can.  let's connect.  My direct email is peggy@madperspectives.com

Posted on June 29th 2010 at 6:41AM

That's great Peggy. I also really enjoyed Douglas Karr's commentary, thanks!

Posted on July 7th 2010 at 10:54PM

We have recently began blogging, it was way over my head at first, what would anybody possibly want to hear about my company.  There are several benefits to starting our blog, certainly to be seen as experts, but when you engage your staff in writing the blog they really do have to get involved in the subject, I found that they all have dug deeper and learned more about the subject they choose to write on than they would have if they did not have to write about it and publish it.  I have become a believer in getting personalities involved, certainly with the guidelines, Use your Common Sense, and be consistent with the Business Ethics of the company.