B2B startup marketing is tough. It used to be that you could polish off a high level message and a slide deck and let the salesperson handle it from there. Today, online marketing is the primary driver of revenue at the typical B2B startup. The new breed of B2B buyer expects your online content to be engaging, valuable and deep, and is unlikely to engage your salesperson if you don’t deliver. However, B2B content can be excruciatingly difficult to produce. It’s technical, complex, dry and requires deep subject matter expertise to be truly valuable. Plus, it usually must be done on a shoestring budget, yesterday.
The B2B Startup Marketing Blog Imperative
Every B2B startup marketing professional knows that they need a blog, but not everyone recognizes it’s central importance in getting the B2B startup marketing effort off the ground. After all, its just a corporate blog, and who reads corporate blogs right? Wrong! Perhaps it’s the terminology that is getting in the way. Your corporate blog should a) not be corporate and b) not be a blog, as in a Web log of what’s going on at your company. What it should be is a publishing platform for creating engaging, valuable and deep content for the new breed of B2B buyer by following the Top Ten Be’s of the Best B2B Blogs. But, that’s just the beginning. A successful blog should provide enormous leverage to your B2B startup marketing effort and enable you to generate leads faster, cheaper and more effectively.
The Shortest Path to Deep Content
Creativity is a process, not a plan. Turning technical, complex, dry B2B marketing content into something interesting, engaging and compelling doesn’t just happen because you set a date to complete a new video or whitepaper. You need time to think it over. Free your creative juices. Then, hone your ideas into something really cool. In the meantime, you can blog.
Your B2B startup marketing blog should be a crucible of creativity. You can try out your ideas piecemeal, one post at a time, until they converge into that fantastic whitepaper, webinar or video series. Regular readers of Chaotic Flow (thank you!) will recognize that this is an integral aspect of how I develop this blog.The Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts of SaaS Success didn’t just spring into my mind all at once: one, two three…ten. They are a result of ideas I played out one post at a time. This is the case for all the whitepapers you see over on the right. Most often, I will outline a series of blog posts with the intent that if they turn out good enough, I can quickly and easily reshape them into a whitepaper.
Get Instant Results Through SEO and Social Media
On the Web, the medium is quite literally the message. As you hone your great ideas one post at a time on your B2B startup marketing blog, you immediately open online channels for demand generation. Instead of waiting three months for results as you write and rewrite that magnum opus whitepaper or produce that expensive viral video, you can be generating leads today through SEO and social media with the half-baked ideas on your B2B startup marketing blog. And leads, today not tomorrow, are uniformly the number one priority of every B2B startup marketing plan. You have to master some technical online marketing tricks to do this, but they are not difficult. Just start every blog post with a keyword in mind, and SEO as you write. Then, make sure to spread your posts through RSS, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., building back links along the way. That’s about all there is to it. Really.
Integrate Blog Content Into the Buying Experience
Don’t let your blog hang off the side of your website. If you follow the two tips above to leverage your B2B startup marketing blog as a publishing platform, then you should have lot’s of great stuff you want your prospects and customers to read. You can re-purpose your blog content into presentations, brochures, videos, and whitepapers, but you can also use it pretty much as is throughout your website, marketing campaigns and newsletters. In fact, the RSS feed from your B2B startup marketing blog can be used to accomplish this automatically as you publish new content.
Capture Your Prospects
If you treat your B2B startup marketing blog as a corporate blog, your prospects will probably ignore it, so you probably won’t be thinking about lead capture. However, if you follow the Top Ten Be’s of the Best B2B Blogs and you buy into the publishing platform recipe above, then your prospects will be flocking to your B2B startup marketing blog in droves. You should be thinking about lead capture. Be sure to encourage your readers to subscribe to your RSS feed, follow you on Twitter, and wherever else you publish your blog content. That will keep them coming back to read and engage, if not yet to buy. If you have a free trial, make sure your readers know it. And, there is no harm in mixing the occasional product announcement or highlight into your otherwise unbiased, useful, engaging blog posts. You’ve worked hard to make your B2B startup marketing blog useful for your prospects; make sure you capture your leads.
(Cross-posted @ Chaotic Flow by Joel York)