I don’t think any marketing activity rattles the B2B marketers’ nerves more than the company blog. It should.
If your business doesn’t blog at all, you fear that you’re missing a trick. Whenever somebody mentions a blog or blogging, there’s a moment of uncomfortable silence before the rationalizations stream forth.
If your business has a blog, you’re tangling with a beast. The dreaded blog monster doesn’t go away no matter how many times you’ve fed it.
Each post’s traffic, or lack thereof, is all too plain to see for anyone with access to your Google Analytics dashboard.
Those “tweet this”, “Like” and “LinkedIn Share” buttons with their overly optimistic counters – so everyone can share our stuff! – display for all to see how much sharing is really going on.
Also blogging lacks that surgical precision you get from tying off a brochure, advertisement, eBook or landing page. The blog’s never done. Never sent to the printers. Never finished.
The longing for the better post always nags. So often the great post you invested so much time and effort on, got so little traffic. Maybe if we did this. Or maybe that. The perfect formula is antagonizingly always out of reach.
Even when you manage to post three new posts to your blog in one week, the week ends with you thinking “and then?” You read a post over the weekend from a famous blogger who says you need to post daily. At least.
Should you blog about Justin Bieber (for the traffic) or follow the strict and serious party line (a “pain points” post that goes into excruciating detail)? How to judge readability, interest level, subject breadth, emotion and level of detail?
And, for all their appearance of ease and prolificacy, blog posts generate more internal critique and heartache than just about anything else. The same guy who says “psssh, it’s just a blog” one day, will berate you for a post the next.
If you, like most B2B marketing executives, choose not to produce or create your blog, but rather just want to manage it, those are only the beginning of your headaches.
For the professional digital marketing manager who wants their business’s blog to run unencumbered, there are countless difficult questions to ask, such as:
- • Do we work out our content plan ourselves, do we outsource the editorial plan, or do we work together with a supplier on it?
- • Do we work with one outfit to produce all of our posts, or many different suppliers, bloggers and/or freelancers? What is best in terms of money, consistency, manageability, quality and experimentation?
- • Do we share our blog’s analytics with the writer or agency, in order to help them improve, or do we hold these numbers for ourselves?
- • To what extent can we combine internally produced blog posts with externally produced blog posts? Will externally produced posts seem unauthentic and detached from the intricate nature of our business?
- • What happens when our CEO is asked about a series of blog posts produced by our agency, and he has no knowledge of them (because he hasn’t read them)?
- • How do we ensure that the knowledge and relationships created via blogging come into our organization, if the blog is produced out-of-house?
- • How much do we really need to pay in order to get quality? And what is must-have quality, versus good-enough quality? What are fair rates for those levels?
Marketers love to sort things out. They see a circular hole, and they seek a circular peg to fill it. Which is why blogging creates such a headache. It’s not a circular hole. It’s not square. Or trapezoidal. It’s not even fixed. It’s amorphous and always changing. How do you sort that out?
This all might lead the average marketer to think “then why do it?!” But if you’re serious about what you’re doing and you’ve learned a thing or two about web marketing, you know the answer to that. You must, and you must get it right. There can be no other way.
I have worked with countless companies on blogs – some here at Velocity and some in an earlier life. And I’ve blogged for over a decade, both here and elsewhere. Plus I’ve talked to, and listened to, countless other marketers bemoan blogging.
So I offer up this little post to say, I understand. I know. But the questions can be answered, and we can stumble along and pretty soon we’ll have something to look back at and say: “There was a there there. And – goddamn it – I think we’re actually getting better at this.”
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