Planning a B2B blog strategy for 2017 can help drive drive your company’s content marketing success. You can leverage your company blog to fuel a digital distribution strategy that attracts your target audience, builds brand trust, and ultimately moves prospects to a purchase decision.
- 89 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing and 63 percent of B2B marketers say their organization is very committed or extremely committed to content marketing.
- 45 percent of B2B marketers expect content marketing spending to remain the same over the next 12 months.
- Brands are producing eight times more content than they were five years ago, while getting 89 percent less social sharing power.
- 52 percent of B2B marketers say blogs will be critical to content marketing success in 2017.
Why your B2B blog strategy matters
Their most recent study showed that 89 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing and 63 percent of B2B marketers say their organization is very committed or extremely committed to content marketing.
However, the same survey revealed that only 34 percent of B2B marketers would rate their organization’s use of content marketing as very effective or extremely effective.
So, we’re all bought into content marketing, but only a handful of us are really seeing predictable results.
The survey also shows that 52 percent of B2B marketers say blogs will be most critical to content marketing success in 2017, making it the top content marketing activity for B2B companies.
B2B marketers face increasing pressure to produce more blog content
We took a deep dive into this trend in our 2017 Blogging Report. We examined publication data for blog posts over the last five years to find out how blogging and blog sharing has changed. The results are staggering.
Over the past five years, the average number of blog posts published per brand per month increased by 800 percent. Across the same time frame, the average number of social shares per post (including shares from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest) decreased by 89 percent.
So this means brands are producing eight times more content than they were five years ago, while getting 89 percent less social sharing power. This finding is really surprising given that there are so many more people on social networks.
However, brands aren’t just producing more posts — they are producing longer posts.
Just over the past year, the length of blog posts has changed from an average of about 600 words per post to an average of about 700 words per post. That might not seem like a lot, but it is indicative of a growing pressure for brands to produce longer, more comprehensive content.
So, not only are marketers producing more blog posts and longer blog posts, they are losing the distribution power and reader interactions provided by social sharing.
And think about it, why are you blogging in the first place? You’re fueling your distribution strategy across social and email campaigns — but what we’re seeing is companies losing that distribution power from their company blogs.
That is a seriously troubling sign from a thought leadership, brand awareness, and community building perspective.
B2B content marketing budgets are largely expected to stay the same
On top of this, 45 percent of B2B marketers expect content marketing spending to remain the same over the next 12 months, while facing increasing pressure to produce more content that produces business results. That means that about half of you are expected to increase output on the same budget.
But how do B2B marketers produce better business results from their blogs on the same budget?
You have to do more with less. You need to concentrate on improving the impact of every piece of content — every blog post, so you can get the most out of your marketing budget and generate the results you and your company need.
In B2B content marketing, there are winners and there are losers
Let’s take a look at some clear winners and losers when it comes to blogging, focusing on B2B brands that are bucking content overload by producing less and getting more in return.
For example, I quickly pulled some interesting insights from TrackMaven on a few brands in the security software industry, including Splunk, AlienVault, Symantec, Microsoft Security, and Dell EMC.
In the last 90 days, Dell EMC has produced the fewest blog posts out of these five brands.
However, when you look at the average number of social shares per post over the same time period, Dell EMC beats all of the other brands.
Despite producing fewer blog posts compared to all of the other brands in this graph, Dell EMC was able to get a lot more distribution power out of those posts. This means they are really effective at using their blog as a hub to get their audience to engage with their content on social.
Let’s look at an example of a top performing blog post by Dell EMC to better understand their strategy.
You can see that the post does extremely well overall with about 1,000 total shares — but it does especially well with LinkedIn users, a priority channel for B2B companies, with almost 700 shares.
Dell EMC’s strategy of creating more shareable content fosters a feedback loop between their priority channel, being LinkedIn, and their blog, amplifying their distribution power.
Let’s take our blog analysis a step further and break down blogging success by topic. Ask yourself, is your brand’s blog owning the right topics and trends in your industry, compared to competitors? We’ll use some different brands in the software industry as an example.
Using TrackMaven, I pulled data on social shares for blog posts published by each brand over the past year, and divided them by topic. I used the topics security, analytics, business results, revenue, ROI, and software solution.
The greatest number of social shares stemmed from the security topic, which Adobe has the greatest ownership of with about 6,000 social shares. This data shows that there is a lot of interest in content about security issues, and Adobe has grabbed that opportunity with both hands. SAP, Microsoft, and IBM have a chance to grow their blogging share of voice on this topic, as they currently own smaller shares total shares.
The topic with the second greatest number of blog social shares is analytics. For this topic, Oracle owns the majority of the blog topic with over 5,000 social shares.
Using these comparisons is a great way to find blog topics your target audience is already engaged in, and to use your blogging strategy to grow your audience and get an edge over your competitors.
The rise in content production and increased competition for readers’ attention means it’s becoming even more important to create shareable blog posts.
Creating a more shareable blog is easier than you think. Our 2017 Blogging Report provides a prescription of specific best practices to build the ultimate shareable blog.