There are many tools you can use to drive leads: paid advertisements, referral partnerships, email marketing—and your blog. While organic content marketing is a long-term strategy, it’s one that you can’t overlook because it can drive leads for years to come, all without spending money on advertising.
If you want to get more from your B2B blogging efforts, don’t ignore these simple yet critical steps.
Get the SEO Right
If you want your content to reach potential customers or clients, it needs to be SEO-optimized (I.E. search engine optimized). This means you’re using best practices to ensure that your website shows up for certain searches. For example, as an HR software company, you may want to show up when decision-makers in your niche search, “how to automate the hiring process.”
To ensure that happens, you need to take one important SEO step: find the best keywords. In the example above, a keyword (which is usually a phrase or string of words) might be: “how to automate hiring.”
You can find keywords with a tool like Ubersuggest—but what makes a keyword good? You’re looking for terms that have high search volume and low competition. That means, a lot of people are searching for them, but few people are actually writing about ranking for them, thus you’re more likely to be found when your potential customer or client searches it.
Finally, you need to put the keyword in a few specific places:
- The headline of the article
- The first sentence
- The transition paragraph into the first section
- At least one section header (H2)
- In the conclusion
- Sprinkled throughout 6-10 times
Bolster your efforts by downloading a plugin like Yoast (if you use WordPress), which tells you whether the content is well-optimized or not. If this all sounds foreign to you, download this free Keyword Research Guide to better understand the process.
Write for Your Customers—Then Send it to Them
While you need to use keywords to boost your content’s SEO, you should always start with your customers. When brainstorming content ideas, ask yourself:
- What questions do my customers ask a lot?
- What topics often come up in conversation?
- What resources do I find myself sending to customers?
For example, a marketing coach might find that the topic of social media management with a tight schedule comes up a lot. That’s a great blog post idea, so now you just have to find the best keyword for that topic, using the tips above, and write the article.
Once it’s done, the coach could send it to that potential client who brought up the question. This personalized way of sharing your content shows the recipient that, not only did you hear their concerns, but you also cared enough to write a blog post with solutions for them. This can turn a cold lead into a hot lead with just a single email.
Focus on Your Niche Expertise
I often have prospects tell me that they got in touch about my services in part because of my blog content. We can tell you really know what you’re talking about in regards to organic content marketing. While that’s a nice sentiment to hear from a potential client, it’s also a reminder that people are looking for proof that you know what you’re talking about, especially people who may want to work with you.
Your B2B blog is a lead generating tool when you use it to show your unique and niche expertise. This is why it’s critical to focus your efforts on topics specific to what you offer—not just your industry. For example, if you’re a financial consultant for ecommerce businesses, you’d be wise to focus on financial blog posts that address issues specific to ecommerce business owners.
Don’t Forget the CTA
The golden rule in marketing: If you want someone to do something—tell them. Instead of assuming readers will check out your related services or products, tell them to do so with a Call to Action (CTA) at the end of the blog post or in a related section within the article. This drives readers from the blog and onto the pages that matter most.
If a hard sell doesn’t seem like a natural fit for the content, include a CTA to sign up for your newsletter or follow you on social media. The goal is simply to get that person to engage with your brand once they leave the article so you can turn them into a lead down the line. If they become a subscriber, for example, they become a potential lead because now they’re going through your funnel.
Turn Your B2B Blogging Into a Lead-Gen Tool
Don’t ignore B2B blogging as a sales tool for your business. When the content is optimized for SEO, written for the customer, focused on your unique expertise, and set up to drive readers where you want them to go, you’ll drive leads and get more out of every single blog post you publish.
About Jessica Thiefels
Jessica Thiefels is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, an organic content marketing agency for mid-size B2B businesses outsourcing content marketing. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications including Forbes and Entrepreneur. She also contributes to Glassdoor, Fast Company, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.