How to establish your business blog as an authority in your industry
By Seb Atkinson
Readers of Social Media Explorer will already know how content marketing can improve your site’s SEO, but what else can a blog do for your business? A blog is more than just an SEO tool, it can also be a valuable asset to your business, demonstrating your authority in your industry and helping you to generate leads online. In this article we will look at how you can turn your business blog into a valuable lead generation tool by building your company’s authority in your industry.
Building Trust with Your Blog
When it comes to online marketing, many of the same concepts of offline sales and marketing apply. No one is going to buy from a person they don’t trust, whether that’s via a website or face-to-face in a meeting.
Nowadays, it’s essential to overcome any trust issues with your customers before you even make contact with them. In the old days, sales reps would diagnose customers’ needs, align products and services to those needs, then sell these solutions. But with the wealth of information that the internet provides, customers now define solutions for themselves, contacting vendors much later in the buying process. In fact, a study by CEB showed that 57% of B2B customers typically made a decision on a purchase before even speaking to a supplier. This means your blog and website content needs to assure visitors that you are a credible business before they will even contact you, and you can do this by building trust with your content.
Using Offline Trust Signals
A lot of the same trust signals for the offline world also apply to the online world when it comes to B2B sites. Ultimately, the purpose of your business blog is to generate leads and enquiries for your services, so the trust signals that you use to show the quality of your offering can also be used on your blog.
For example, suppose you were a management consultant or other business service provider. You may therefore want to use your blog to build trust with potential clients, showing your service is high quality and can easily compliment your clients existing processes. One way of doing this is becoming ISO 9001 certified, which is often a prerequisite to working with government and blue chip contracts.
If you already have ISO 9001 certification to work with these types of businesses, make sure your blog talks about your certification! This is because as the CEB research shows, the majority of potential clients will be conducting their own research prior to contacting a supplier, so it’s essential that they are made aware of your certification if this is an important factor in their decision. Similarly, for potential clients where ISO certification isn’t a make or break factor, your blog needs to have content to show why being certified sets you above the competition.
Therefore, a great starting point for your business blog would be to consider all the factors that are important in a client’s decision to choose you, as well as ‘nice to have’ benefits of your service. Then, ensure you have a detailed blog post on each of these, optimized for relevant keywords. For instance to capture management consultancy buyers where having a quality management system in place is essential, your may want to optimize a post for “ISO 9001 Certified Management Consultancy”.
Blog about Case Studies
Client case studies are another great topic for blog posts. Chances are, however, that you already have case studies on your site; however, if you’re not repurposing content for other channels, then the cost of your online marketing is multiplied.
So how can you repurpose case studies into blog content? One way might be to group several case studies that used a common service or strategy to deliver results. You could convert those three case studies into a single article that specifically talks about that single strategy used as part of all three campaigns, and how this helped each of the clients. This post can then be optimized for a keyword relevant for that particular strategy.
An example of this in the SEO industry could be to write about three clients who each had link building as part of the SEO strategy. A new blog post could be crafted to explain the importance of link building in SEO and three examples of how this tactic specifically helped improve their online visibility.
Ensure Articles Live Up To the Promise of Their Titles
A business blog is a great way of humanizing your brand, which means similar rules about promises made by sales people in face-to-face meetings need to be adhered to online, as well. For example, if you were in the market for a new car and the sales person made exaggerated claims about its mileage or performance which you knew to be false, you’d likely be skeptical about anything else they said. Similarly, anything you convey about your brand is a promise. Every conversation, download, or subscription is an agreement that you promise to provide something of value, while they promise to engage with you as a result.
In a study by Salesforce of over 400 B2B buyers, 71% had been disappointed with the content they downloaded from a business, with 25% of those saying they would never read content from that business again due to disappointment.
This also applies when it comes to writing your blog content. To establish your blog as an authority in your industry, building trust is essential, meaning your content needs to live up to every promise you make. That means if you write an article about “how to double your revenue in 5 steps”, be sure to have evidence to back your claims up through citing external resources, studies, or case studies of your own clients or projects.
Without credible content that lives up to the promises you make, your authority can be eroded in time, negatively reflecting on your brand. Over time, this can cost you traffic and sales.
Ensuring your blog presents your business as an authority in your industry is essential if you want your blog to become a lead generation tool. A great way to apply the advice above is to consider all your brand values, write them down, then look at your blog content and decide whether it conveys those values. However, beware of being overly bias about your own site. One way around this is to utilize User Testing, a service allowing you to recruit people in your target market to test your website. You are able to design a test for them with questions to establish whether they trust the information presented or if they are unsure about its credibility.
What advice do you have to establish your business blog as an authority? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below!