In one of the previous articles, we had a quick look at how to get started with your B2B content marketing efforts. For those of you who haven’t read it, here is the link to the article:
Today, we take the next step in the journey – creating a blog.
Before some of you start raising your eyebrows, let me clarify that creating a blog is not necessarily the first step in a business’s content marketing journey. Typically, you start with a website, a landing page, a social media handle, or even a capability deck.
Also, depending on your industry and the nature of the business, you might also have to create other types of content first (say demo videos if you are a B2B SaaS company).
But assuming that you have the basics sorted and are now ready to expand your organic reach, creating a blog is a logical next step.
That said, in this article, we look at some of the basics of getting started with your blog – more from a content creation and SEO standpoint.
Since there is a lot to cover on this topic, I have split the content into two pieces. In this blog post, we will learn some of the initial steps in the approach.
Why content marketing is important for B2B?
- Content helps you establish your business as a thought leader in your space.
- Content marketing is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
- While your solutions build the capability to help your customers, your content marketing engine ensures it reaches your target audience in the form of words, images, and videos.
- Content is like the face of your business. It creates the first impression, especially in the early years of your business. Your products or solutions only come next.
Getting the foundation right
In the first article of this series, we learned that you need to have the right people and resources in place to create content – from SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) to content writers and SEO professionals to website developers, you need people on the ground to get your content up. You also need the right tools such as a CMS (Content Management System), website hosting, SEO/keyword tool, grammar checker, plagiarism checker, etc.
Before you start your content creation journey, get the infrastructure you need set up properly.
Your Zero to Hero Blogging Strategy
Whenever you start something new, there is going to be ambiguity. So be ready for some level of uncertainty until you find a rhythm to your blogging activities.
As they say, ‘starting today’ is the best strategy.
That said, here is an infographic on the basic framework for your blog strategy:
Let us have a brief look at each of these steps.
1. Identifying the right target audience and messaging
This doesn’t require much of an explanation. You need to define your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) by firmographic, demographic, and technographic (if applicable) characteristics. Following are a few questions you could ask to define your ICP:
- What problem does your product or service solve?
- Who will need the solutions you offer immediately (or who will have the problem you solve as the most burning problem today)?
- What markets should you focus on (by region, industry, sub-industry, etc)
Once you have answers to the above, ask yourself the following. These will help you define the pillars of your messaging (or the key message your content/blog should convey).
- What are some of the key benefits (quantitative and qualitative) your solutions offer?
- How are your solutions different from what your competition offers?
Document your ICP and the pillars. These will act as inputs during your content planning and creation process.
2. Establishing the right goals and KPIs
You need to be clear on what you want to achieve with your blog posts. Is it attracting traffic? Improving brand awareness? Generating leads? Or something else?
Define these and design KPIs that will help you measure these.
For instance, if your objective is to increase website traffic and engagement, you could measure metrics like:
- Average engagement duration
3. Finalizing the blog structure
There are two popular ways of creating a blog in terms of the blog structure.
The first one involves embedding your blog posts within the URL hierarchy of the umbrella topic/offering on the website.
For instance, if your company offers SaaS products for procurement management, you could have a solution to manage invoices. Assume that the company’s invoicing solutions page follows the URL structure company.com/solutions/invoicing.
Now, if you want to establish topical authority and follow a pillar page structure in the invoicing domain, you would have your blog posts under the same URL hierarchy. This would mean that your blog post URL will be structured something like this:
In the second method (which is the more commonly adopted one), you include your blog as an independent section (either under a menu item like ‘Resources’ or as an independent section with the URL structure ‘company.com/blogs’).
Both come with their own pros and cons. Evaluate what works for your business the best, and take a call.
4. Keyword research and topic planning
This is pretty straightforward. You need to know what to write about. Following are the steps you could take to find the right keywords to target and topics to write about:
- Spy on your competition. Look at what they have written about. Carry out content gap analysis using a tool like Ahrefs (or any other keyword tool that offers the feature) to find keywords your competitors are ranking for and you are not. Also, take into consideration step #1 mentioned above – your ICP and content pillars.
- Use a Q&A platform like Quora or Answerthepublic to get suggestions for more content ideas.
- Put the core/primary keywords/topics of your business (based on what you know about your business and what you have identified in the content gap analysis) into a keyword tool, and come up with a list of related keywords with medium to high keyword volume and low to medium keyword difficulty.
- Finally, out of all these keywords, pick the ones that are the most relevant for your business.
5. Keyword research for each article
Once you have arrived at the topics you want to write about, the next step is to WRITE. To do this, you need to know what keywords to include in the title, description, H tags, alt tags, URL, and content.
Here as well, you apply various techniques like the below to come up with a list of keywords:
- A keyword tool like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, or Ahrefs to get related keywords specific to the topic.
- Google’s search suggestions (the list of keywords that automatically pops up while you search with a phrase in Google) and the ‘people also ask’ section.
- Competitor meta tags.
- A tool like Answerthepublic that will consolidate relevant keywords related to your topic.
Once you have a good collection of keywords along with their volume and difficulty data, categorize them into primary, secondary, and semantically related keywords.
As the term suggests, primary keywords are the core keywords you want to target. They are included in the URL, title and/or in the meta description.
Secondary keywords are important keywords that you typically include in tags other than the title and the URL.
And semantically related keywords are associated keywords that are not core to the topic but are relevant and have the potential to bring in traffic. Typically, this type of keywords is embedded into the content.
That was a quick look at how keyword analysis is done for an individual blog post. The process remains the same for every individual article.
6. Content categorization and tagging
This refers to dividing your blog posts into different categories and subcategories by adding appropriate tags. This serves predominantly two purposes:
- This makes it easy for you to share content related to a particular topic for various purposes like email campaigns, LinkedIn outreach, 1-on-1 sales emails, etc.
- This encourages search engines to bring various content pieces under one umbrella/topic. This in turn helps to establish topical authority.
Let me go back to the same example of the SaaS firm that sells procurement solutions.
If I were to write an article on the topic ‘5 ways in which an invoicing software will reduce your business costs’, the category and subcategory could be ‘invoicing’ and ‘invoicing software’ respectively.
That’s all I wanted to cover today. We will look at the remaining 7 steps in the next article.
Skalegrow – B2B content marketing services
With marketing getting tougher and tougher, every wrong foot you make might hamper your growth. What you need is the right guidance and a helping hand. This is where Skalegrow can make a sea of difference.
Skalegrow helps IT, tech, SaaS, and embedded systems companies leverage new-age marketing tactics to grow their business. Check out the below intro video to learn more about what Skalegrow brings to the table:
Content marketing services is one of our key focus areas and we are already helping some of our clients generate leads and improve brand awareness using high-quality content. Visit our services page to learn more about how we can help. You could also write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Naseef KPO is the Founder and CEO of Skalegrow. He comes with rich experience across multiple areas of B2B marketing including content marketing, demand generation, SEO, account-based marketing, marketing analytics, revenue attribution, marketing technology, etc. He writes thought-provoking and relevant articles on The Skalegrow Blog and his weekly LinkedIn newsletter Elevate Your Marketing.
Prior to starting Skalegrow, Naseef led large marketing teams in multi-million dollar B2B organizations where he made significant contributions to the topline growth of the business. He has also appeared on numerous podcasts where he shared his thoughts on trending marketing topics such as the application of AI in marketing, startup marketing, ABM, and B2B content marketing, just to name a few. Being the founder of Skalegrow, he is currently focusing on helping its clients stay ahead of their competition by using innovative yet practical marketing tactics.
You can connect with Naseef KPO on LinkedIn.