If you are planning a blogging strategy for your B2B marketing or running a company blog, one of the biggest challenges you face is asking your colleagues to write blog posts. And when you do that, one of the most common questions you get to hear is - 'So what should I blog about?'
This question is not always easy to answer. After all how are you supposed to know what the other person should blog! But the problem that your colleagues are facing is obvious. A hectic day to day schedule often does not leave much time to blog for the company and even if they are determined to create a post, thinking of the right topic is always a challenge for people who are not frequent bloggers.
Since a lot of companies must be facing similar problems, I thought it might be a good idea to create a blog styling guide to help people get an idea of various B2B blogging formats that they can explore.
However, please see that blogging is a way to socially express yourself and there can be no universal template. Hence please feel free to explore your own formats / styles to write articles. But if you are looking for ideas to write blog post or to suggest post to others, this style guide is for you.
What formats can you write:
A) Research - In this blogging format you share your research on certain topics and come up with a conclusion. Such types of posts make more sense when your job involves a lot of research. You can dig into a particular subject and come out with trends and insights. Here you can also talk about best practices in a particular domain, best examples of certain things etc
For example you can see a research post on benchmark examples of B2B Facebook landing pages, a research post on how banks and financial institutions are using social media, 20 examples of F-Commerce beyond F-Stores and my post on how world's top brands are adopting social media
B) How to-s - This is a format where you are educating or teaching somebody how to solve a particular problem. This very post belongs to the same category. Such blogs become very easy to write when you work on new problems
C) Share - In this format you start with sharing something thought provoking - a video / excerpt of another blog post / picture / podcast and add your opinion on top of it. This kind of format in increasingly becoming popular with bloggers since it is short in size and comes as an outcome of your daily research
For example see this blog post from 37 signals where the writer is sharing a video and adding his opinions on top of it, Kaushal Sarda's post where he shares videos on designing next generation cameras
D) Documentation of ideas or upcoming projects - Many companies believe in open research, i.e. they believe in sharing their ideas and thoughts with the community. These companies believe in the philosophy that sharing emerging ideas with the community aids in making them better.
If you are a part of such a company and are working on a new idea, it is good to document and blog about it. Apart from the obvious benefits it brings as an added blog post, documenting your thoughts helps you clear them in your head and provides a ready reference you can hit back.
As examples, see Gauravonomics post on his idea of a novel and a complimenting social game and my post on how thought leadership in B2B companies can be gamified
E) Opinions - Your thoughts on a popular subject or trending topic etc. You can use various listening tools like Alterian SM2, Radian 6 or even Twitter to see what is trending in your areas of expertise.
F) Cases and learning: You handled some situations in a project and learnt something valuable; hence you are documenting it, so that others in the company / community can learn. As an example you can see this post on learnings from Amazon outage - building fault tolerant systems on cloud
G) Any other format - there are actually many other possible formats / structures. If you use any other format - add to the thread.