When executed effectively, B2B blogging can help your organization achieve some of your most critical business objectives—from driving organic traffic to your website, to engaging prospective buyers, to generating leads.
In a few of our recent posts, we focused heavily on helping you craft the ‘what’ of your B2B blogs. But, as experienced marketers know, it’s not always about what you’re saying, but rather how you say it. Whether you realize it or not, blog format can make or break the success of your B2B blogging initiatives.
Today, we’re revisiting the topic of B2B blogging, but this time, we share our top three favorite formats for B2B blogs. Keep reading!
Customer success is an important aspect of content marketing. In fact, customer testimonials and case studies are considered the most effective content marketing tactics, identified by 89% and 88%, respectively, of B2B marketers (source).
Although effective, many B2B marketers have a difficult time incorporating case studies into their blogging strategy—because, traditionally, case studies are bottom-of-the funnel-content, used to convert prospects in the later stages of the buying cycle. But, with a few tweaks to your content, case studies can offer significant value to your blog. Here are our best tips for success:
Focus on telling a story:
Blog readers are typically in the early stages of the buyer’s journey; meaning, they aren’t looking for a hard sell. Because of this, your case studies shouldn’t focus too much on the benefits of your organization’s product or service, but rather, highlight the positive experiences and success stories your customers had with your company. Use the tenants of B2B brand storytelling to truly engage your audience.
Utilize first person:
Remember, B2B buyers value the opinions and advice of their peers far more than they value the opinions of an organization. If possible, let your clients take charge of the case study and discuss their experiences from their own point of view.
Include hard numbers:
When it comes to case studies, numbers often speak louder than words. If possible, be sure that your case studies include any clear success measurements.
Remember, your blog post shouldn’t be identical to your case studies—especially if you already have a section of your website dedicated to case studies. Instead, experiment with different formats. Try presenting the same information as an interview. Or, collect several customer success stories and present your findings as an infographic.
Lists and round-ups are staples in the B2B blogging community. Commonly referred to as ‘listicles’, these posts are just what they sound like– a summary of various points, from statistics to tactics to secrets, all relating to a central topic.
Today’s B2B buyers are busier than ever before. They don’t always have the time or patience to read traditional long-form blog posts. In fact, 43% of people admit they only skim blog posts (source). List posts are the perfect remedy to this. They offer valuable information in an easy-to-read format.
An added bonus? This type of post is fairly easy to create. Here are some best practices to get you started in the right direction:
Prioritize your headline:
Your headline can make or break the success of your blog post. Consider this: In 2009, when researchers examined readers’ responses to headlines, they found that people preferred headlines that were both creative and uninformative. Readers not only rated them as more interesting but also indicated that they would be more likely to read the corresponding stories (source).
Listicles facilitate the perfect headline—a balance of intrigue but just enough context to get readers to click. Here’s an example from our own blog—8 Social Media Mistakes Marketers Should Avoid. It tells you what the article is about but still makes you wonder whether or not you’re committing one of those eight mistakes.
Use formatting to your advantage:
To be effective, your listicle needs to be short and memorable. We already know readers are scanning for the most important information—make it easy for them! Use subheadings and bullet points to pull out key takeaways from your posts.
Rank list components chronologically, or by importance:
Put some thought into how you organize your lists. If one point is more important than the other, consider placing further up in your post. Although listicles are easier to digest, it doesn’t necessarily mean your reader will continue through to the end. Make sure they get value from the parts they do read.
Check out some of the listicles we’ve posted here on the ZoomInfo blog:
- Top 10 Social Selling Tools
- 4 Reasons Marketers Love Jay Baer
- 25 Quotes from the Most Influential Women in Business
- 33 Business Blogging Statistics
The visual appeal of your blog is almost as important as the content it contains. Visual components can bring life to your content, and in many instances, make your content more effective. Consider these statistics:
- The human brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than text (source)
- 65% of your audience are visual learners (source)
- 2 out of 5 people respond better to visual information than plain text (source)
- When information is processed visually 20% of the information is retained as opposed to a 10% retention rate from text (source)
Similar to list posts, infographics present a large amount of complex information in a visually appealing, easy to digest manner.
While effective, many B2B marketers still hesitate to implement infographics as part of their blog’s content strategy. Why? Well, if you’ve never done one before, infographics can be intimidating. But, they’re not as complex as you may think! Just follow this simple formula:
The story: The most successful infographics captive an audience by targeting their emotions through a story.
Stats and data: At the core of a great infographic is great information – after all, that’s what makes your piece valuable. High-quality statistics and data points from reliable sources make your infographics more authoritative – but, don’t forget to give credit where it’s due.
Great design: Of course, the design is what ultimately makes or breaks your infographics strategy. If possible, leave the design of your infographic up to the professionals – i.e. your organization’s graphic design team.
Need a little infographic inspiration? The ZoomInfo blog has no shortage of great infographics! Here are some of our favorites:
- The Ultimate Guide to Sales Outreach [Infographic]
- Marketing Madness 2018: Your Starting Lineup [Infographic]
- Your Guide to a Healthy Contact Database [Infographic]
Key Takeaways and B2B Blog Best Practices
No matter what format you prefer, your blog posts should always offer one thing: Value. If your readers don’t learn something, gain a new perspective, or take something away from your blog posts, you’re doing something wrong.
Without real value, your business’s blog serves no purpose. Search engines won’t rank your content and readers won’t purchase your products. For this reason, it’s also important to provide your audience with a variety of formats and post types. That way, there’s something for everyone.
For more information about how ZoomInfo can boost your marketing strategy, contact our sales team today. We’re the B2B data provider you need to take your campaigns to the next level.