Home > On-line Marketing News, Search Engine Marketing > To Blog or Not to Blog — the Five Ws of B-to-B Blogging

To Blog or Not to Blog — the Five Ws of B-to-B Blogging

A fellow Transworld Advertising Agency Network (TAAN) advertising agency owner met me for lunch yesterday at Fishers Pub in Peninsula, Ohio to question me about blogging. He’s considering starting an agency blog but is not sure where to begin,  what kind of content to develop or, more fundamentally, why to blog at all.

It was an interesting discussion and helped me to think about how I blog on behalf of our Cleveland-based web design agency, DigitalDay. Thinking about that made me think about writing this blog post which I’ve organized as the Five Ws of Agency Blogging.

Why Blog?
I blog for one purpose — to promote our agency. I’m not doing it for vanity, personal edification, or because I think my opinions and thoughts are so important I must share them with the world. My posts are all designed to help attract new business.

I blog because the content I create gets spidered and catalogued by search engines which helps to bring new visitors to our agency’s website. Hopefully, once they’re there, these new visitors see the quality of our work, find a service they could use and then contact us.

It seems to work as we get a couple serious inquiries every month.

What to Blog?
Anything that relates to our business is relevant subject matter for our blog. This falls into two categories — micro and macro. The Micro-Content is news and information specifically about DigitalDay. Macro-content is news and observations relating to our industry, website design and online marketing.

At a Micro-level, the blog acts as our online PR tool and with blog posts that include:

  • New Project Launches: Anytime we create a new website, online promotion or any significant work that shows off our capabilities and skills, I create a post. This helps create an online archive of our work which I can use to present or email to new or existing clients and it also helps to promote our client’s sites.
  • New Client Announcements: When we acquire a new client or significant piece of new business from an existing client, I use the blog and pepper the post with the client’s unique, search-engine rich brand names. Often, people searching for our clients, find our blog and then our website.
  • New Employees and Promotions: A personnel release not only acknowledges our people, it includes personal names which are great, unique keywords. I try and use them whenever possible and reasonable so that when their friends, family and colleagues search for them, they have the opportunity to find us.
  • Milestones and Awards: For all of the reasons above, I blog whenever there’s significant (and sometimes insignificant) news about our agency.

Macro-content is any industry-wide news or information that clients or prospective clients might find interesting. For our business, this could relate to standards-compliant website design, ecommerce website development, search engine optimization, online promotions, email marketing, social networking or any of those broader, but strong keywords that bring qualified searchers to our website.

Who should Blog?
While 90 percent of our blog posts are by me, this is not by design. Everyone in our agency is encouraged to contribute. It seems reasonable that employees would blog about their specific expertise, which in our case would be web design, web programming, SEO, etc.

The reality is writing a blog post takes time and effort and, “if it’s not my job I’m probably not going to do it” which is an unfortunate attitude because if the agency is successful, the employees will be successful.

I’ve hesitated to assign blogging as a responsibility or requirement because I’d prefer people to be pro-active (perhaps this post will motivate a few to contribute on occasion — hint, hint). As a business-to-business marketing strategy, it’s probably a good idea to make blogging part of the job or to assign specific people to contribute. Perhaps we’ll revisit this policy within DigitalDay.

When to Blog?
Four words: As Often As Possible. From experience, the more blog posts we have the more traffic we get to our website. When we don’t blog our traffic begins to fall. The following chart illustrates this dramatically. From June 2007 till April 2008, the goal was at least one new blog post per week and traffic rose at a strong rate, except for the dip in November when there were very few posts. Since April, posts to the DigitalDay blog have been few and far between and our traffic is plummeting.

If we did one new blog post every work day, our traffic would skyrocket. At a minimum, there should be at least one new post per week to keep traffic moving on an upward curve. And, I’ve found, it’s best to post Monday through Thursday when people are more active on their computers. Weekend posts, while helpful, are often overlooked or buried come the working week.

Where to Blog?
Ideally, you want your blog integrated into your business’s site. Developing a blog for your business can be relatively easy. How complicated you make it depends on your needs and available resources.

An easy path is to leverage one of the community blogging sites like Blogger or Word Press (the one we use here). These offer free accounts or, for a nominal fee more robust functionality allowing custom branding, more file size and the ability to integrate it into your business site. Using any of these sites helps promote your posts within that built in blog community.

Or, you could integrate a custom blog into your business site as we did with the TAAN blog, for example. It’s a little more effort and you might need to hire an online agency like DigitalDay to help you, but you’ll have complete control over the functionality and branding.

If you have access, you can also blog on third party sites. Many groups and organizations allow members to post to their blogs. If you do this, be sure to include links to your site so people will find your agency online.

How to Blog?
Everyone has a different writing style. To be most effective online, it’s important to adapt your style for ease of reading on a computer screen. To write for the web:

  • Craft your post in a word-processing program first and copy and paste it into the blog.
  • Keep paragraphs short.
  • Use bulleted or numbered lists.
  • Break up long blocks of copy with subheads.
  • Insert graphics, photos or videos to illustrate your points.
  • Link keywords whenever possible.
  • And most importantly, be self-serving: work in the specific keywords and phrases to help your audience find you through a search engine.

Get your voice out there
At the beginning of 2008, Technorati reported it is tracking over 112.8 million blogs worldwide (not counting 70+ million in China) with more than 120 thousand new blogs coming online every day. Even with that overwhelming number, you can be heard and seen by posting often and following some good blog practices.

So start blogging, you owe it to your business.

  1. July 16, 2008 at 12:40 am

    Excellent article! Thank you.

  2. December 22, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Very helpful article, and you hit the nail on the head. I do blogging for a new start-up, Normprint. Unfortunately the programmers are also an important part of a successful blog (after all, doesn’t everyone judge a book by it’s cover? 🙂

    So the only thing you left out would be to have a clean, user-friendly layout. (And reminders to perfect one’s SEO skills under the rubric “how to blog”)

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