Should B2B Companies Blog More or Less?
This week we had a revival of the debate between blog-more and blog-less advocates for B2B companies and marketing agencies. Jack Marshall, in a Digiday post, took the position that most businesses and agencies are opting for more social media and less blogging, citing statistics from a University of Massachusetts study among Fortune 500 companies. One agency Director said, "Nobody reads agency blogs, and there are so many out there it’s impossible for people to keep up anyway..." On the other hand, HubSpot's data shows that 92% of companies who blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog. Who's right?
It Depends on the Content
In analyzing the Digiday post, Chris Brogan postulated that the frustration many companies have with their blogging ROI lies in the quality and relevance of their blogs to their customers needs and interests. According to Brogan, "I’ll tell you without even having to look why nobody reads a blog: because it’s boring. Because it’s poorly written. Because it’s utterly self-referential." He went on to say, "...an agency should blog about the space it serves, in some regards, but along with that, an agency (and YOU!!!!) should blog about those things you’re passionate about." We have seen this as well with our own data. As soon as the passion and relevance of a company's blog begins to wane, you tend to see a drop-off in subscriptions, traffic and leads.
What puzzles me is why B2B companies and agencies would assume that social media marketing is any more productive than blogging. As Chad Pollitt pointed out this week in his Tuesday Tips and Tactics, the best way to leverage social media is to consistently share high quality content. If your own blog and other content isn't represented in that sharing process, how are you gaining anything but thought leadership and social media reach? In other words, if you don't produce a steady stream of good, relevant content, how do you expect to increase traffic and qualified sales leads for your own business? Let me put it to you more dramatically - blog well (and often), or you surely face mass extinction!
Rethink Your Blogging Strategy
The only conclusion I can reach is that B2B companies and marketing agencies are bailing out on their blogs for the wrong reasons. They are looking only at the subscription rates and other metrics without trying to understand why they are disappointing. It's sort of a Biblical thing - great content begets great results. Chris Brogan puts it very succinctly in his post. If companies would just follow a few simple blog post guidelines, they could turn things around in a heartbeat:
- Brevity - get to the point in 500 words or less
- Structure - make each post relevant and useful
- Simplicity - keep it simple stupid
- Positivity - don't rant so much
- Outward Facing - nobody cares about you, your company, products etc.
I can understand B2B companies getting frustrated, but marketing agencies? We should be teaching this stuff and leading by example. Oh well, the TRex was a pretty bad animal until the those little pesky mammals came along. I rest my case.
Your thoughts? Are you on board with "mo' betta' blogging"?
Photo Credit: Kabacchi
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