For the world of B2B PR and marketing, the common query about online content creation tends to be encapsulated in one word: WHY? The short answer is this: Inbound marketing. Online content creation is about helping power a company’s B2B inbound marketing process; driving relevant web traffic to useful, informative and practical knowledge and guidance that will encourage the user along the pathway to a potential, commercial relationship.
The benefits of B2B inbound marketing
The B2B purchasing decision making process is both more in-depth and protracted than its consumer counterpart, which lends itself well for the B2B organisation wishing to create online content marketing to capture the potential customer early in their research and purchasing consideration activity. However, effective content-led campaigns need a combination of strategy and marketing.
As this recent post at EConsultancy emphasises: “A content driven social media strategy can support your positioning as experts and help your target customers grow their own knowledge and expertise. The knock on effect? A better understanding will predispose buyers to your services and brand and improve their standing and influence inside their own business.”
And, as point #5 in this social media predictions summary for 2013 suggests: “In B2B, content marketing has already taken center stage with white papers, ebooks, webinars, infographics and articles.”
B2B inbound marketing boosted by blog power
Taking this further , and making it more than just a prediction for this year, the latest research from the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth – conducted among the Inc 500 fastest growing US private companies – reveals some particularly provocative facts for organisations involved in B2B inbound marketing: first, LinkedIn is becoming the pre-eminent media platform and “tool of choice” for fast-growing companies. Certainly, for companies operating business-to-business models, this should already be an obvious preference as a route to building business connections and credibility online.
Second, the study shows that the fastest growing companies are turning increasingly to blogging, increasing 7% year-on-year to 44% – nearly double the number of companies in the US Fortune 500 (America’s largest corporations) using a corporate blog. An excerpt from the research points out that: “…Blogging, with its unique qualities of being locally owned and operated, free from restrictions of length and content and a great platform to establish thought leadership, is gaining in favor. Almost two thirds of CEOs are now contributing content or taking ownership of some social.”
So, the boss is blogging – if the hyper busy C-level executive is now treating the blog as a legitimate use of his or her time, then surely there’s something in this blogging business?
But if you are going to dedicate time and energy to creating and distributing blog content, exactly how much time does that require? A useful benchmark came via Hubspot in this advice and stats-laden blog post, and it is summarised neatly in the metrics suggesting: “Companies that blog 15 or more times per month get 5X more traffic than companies that don’t blog at all. And if you’re a small business, increasing your blogging frequency can move the needle even more. Small businesses (1-10 employees) tend to see the biggest gains in traffic when they publish more articles.”
Going back to the Dartmouth study, it found that companies with the most active blogs fell – unsurprisingly – within the software, advertising/marketing and media fields. So, if you operate in a B2B sector that is less well-served by corporate blogs, therein could lie an opportunity for your company to grab that online territory as your own, and glean the benefits of blogging for your own inbound marketing activity.
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