Marketers today are more savvy in content marketing than ever. In fact, 76% of B2B content marketers indicate that their brand already own a corporate blog. But the content beast is insatiable: “Lack of time” and “producing enough content” are top challenges that content marketers contend with, according to a MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute study.
This predicament is something I’m very familiar with. As part of a small social media team for a B2B software company, one of the many things that really keep me up at night is how to grow our company’s blog. This challenge is partly about engaging and relevant content: How do you consistently produce content that your target audience will love? But on the other hand, it’s also about distribution: How do you increase readership and attract the right people?
The good news is that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. Many B2B corporate blogs are already doing well. If you’re looking for some great examples, consider the following:
About Marketo Marketing blog: Marketo, a marketing automation software company, keeps a steady stream of blog posts. In most weeks, they produce 4 to 5 quality blog posts, which is no easy feat.
What you can learn from Marketo:
- Make it easy for people to subscribe. If you look at the right hand side of the Marketo blog, you’ll see a persistent form that invites people to sign up.
- Invite people to stay longer. Share a list of your blog’s most shared posts to get people to access your hottest content.
- Keep it fun! Marketo occasionally publish fun—but still relevant—blog posts. To see an example, check out their post on the 17 Signs You Eat, Sleep, and Breathe Social Media.
About Hootsuite: Hootsuite is in a unique position from most of the companies I have on this list because it is both a B2B and B2C company. The Vancouver-based social media software company covers everything social. They post tips for social media marketing managers and they have recurring blog posts about the top Twitter trends of the week.
What you can learn from Hootsuite:
- Share the spotlight. Invite influencers to write blog posts for you.
- Be helpful. Hootsuite provides #HootTip, which are quick how-to blog posts about their software. Providing tips like this helps engage your current customers.
- Support other languages. While Hootsuite’s blog primarily publishes posts in English, it also has posts in other languages—from French to Spanish to Portuguese. If you’re a multi-national B2B company, don’t exclude people from your smaller markets: write posts that are relevant to them in their language.
About Hubspot’s Inbound Hub: Hubspot’s Inbound Hub is a great resource for everything marketing. From Facebook to SEO, Hubspot covers topics that marketers really care about. The blog even covers emerging stories while providing their own take to those stories.
What you can learn from Hubspot:
- Know your audience and cater your content to them. Hubspot’s 4 main categories make it obvious who they’re trying to reach: marketing leaders, sales people, inbound marketers, and the general public. This categorization works because it helps people get the info they need right away.
- Give useful content away. From free templates to comprehensive guides, Hubspot doesn’t back away from giving their knowledge for free. That’s why marketers love them.
- Provide stats. On the right hand side of the blog, Hubspot highlights a tweetable “Stat of the Day.” This is a great way of providing interesting, bite-sized information.
- Use Slideshare. Hubspot’s Slideshare presentations are the best I’ve seen. They’re informative and they tell a story. Slideshare remains one of the most underutilized social networking sites for B2B companies, so stay ahead of the curve by using this site now.
About Unbounce’s Landing Page and Conversion Optimization blog: Unbounce helps marketers build high-performing landing pages. Their blog covers topics about landing pages, conversion, A/B testing, and PPC, among others.
What you can learn from Unbounce:
- Write in your own voice. A quick scan of the Unbounce blog, you’ll see that they use words and phrases like “screwing up,” “hilarious,” and “crap.” This is not the typical approach for B2B blogs, but it makes their content more approachable and interesting.
- Use relevant photos. From photos of Sheldon Cooper to crisp screenshots, Unbounce uses photos that illustrate their point.
- Practice what you preach. Unbounce usually highlights a free course or additional resource on the right hand side of their blog. When you click that link, it leads to a well-optimized landing page. Given that Unbounce offers a platform to build and publish landing pages, it only makes sense that their landing pages are also optimized to convert readers into potential leads.
About Moz’s SEO and Inbound Marketing blog: Moz (formerly known as SEOMoz) covers SEO, digital marketing, and everything in between.
What you can learn from Moz:
- Use videos. Moz’s Whiteboard Fridays are presented as videos, and they work well. Moz provides a transcript below the video, so people can read the content if video isn’t their thing.
- Build a community. Let your clients blog for you. Provide content that invites comments.
- Express your opinion. On September 24 of this year, Rand Fishkin vblogged about Google’s decision to stop providing keyword information. Calling out Google (as the transcript below shows), Fishkin’s blogged was covered by other infuential blogs:
I think it should be very troubling and concerning if you’re a web user as well, because marketers don’t use this data to do evil things or invade people’s privacy. Marketers use this data to make the web a better place. The agreement that marketers have always had—that website creators have always had—with search engines, since their inception was, “sure, we’ll let you crawl our sites, you provide us with the keyword data so that we can improve the Internet together. I think this is Google abusing their monopolistic position in the United States.
Let these blogs inspire you, but of course, don’t be afraid to use your creativity and inject your own voice when approaching content marketing.
Which B2B blogs can’t you live without? Leave a comment below and let me know.