If your B2B tech company publishes a blog, you know the challenges of producing frequent content that is thoughtful, not boring, helpful, and attractive enough to receive clicks. (If your company is not blogging yet, what are you waiting for?)
Based on our research and experience, more content — higher frequency and greater word count—is winning the day. Pillar Pages have become a great way to increase content on your site. Even so, contemporary blogging is still necessary and will produce positive results. Consider these statistics:
- The average word count of blogs is rising. More and more posts are longer than 2,000 words. (source)
- B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3x more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month. (source)
- B2C companies that blogged 11+ times per month got more than 4x as many leads than those that blog only 4-5 times per month. (source)
- Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5x more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. (source)
- More statistics here.
In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of increasing your blog output and how to produce more words without your blog becoming the monster that ate your marketing capacity.
Based on this and other research, Golden Spiral doubled our blog output, increased our average word count, worked smarter and harder on keyword research, and added more photos per post.
Increasing our content was difficult, but worth it. Since changing our philosophy, we’re receiving at least 70% more traffic week after week than we did a year ago.
I knew I didn’t have the capacity to double the amount of words I was writing every week. So I began researching how to create more content for our blog. Within hours, I became the target of remarketing ads for a number of companies that specialize in content creation, including:
- Many freelancers offering to write posts for us
- AI companies touting that their algorithm can actually create content on demand
- Writer supply services promising a high caliber product at cheap prices
In addition to these ads, we talked internally about adding more writers to the staff or tasking other team members with writing posts.
Let’s take a look at all five of these options for increasing your content. With each option, we’ll examine probability of results and ROI.
Hiring a Writer
Probability of Results
Hiring a writer to join your marketing staff has the highest probability of producing the results you need. A staff writer will be able to become a part of the fabric of your company, have deep knowledge of your products and services, build relationships, have ready access to your staff experts and leadership, and develop a passion for your mission and vision.
Conversely, a staff writer will have the hardest time generating a high ROI because the team addition comes with the highest overall price tag. If you go this route and are concerned about ROI, invest 12 months tracking projects created by the new writer separately from other content. You’ll be able to determine the value of the direct lift from the new pen. Don’t ever forget, however, all of the intangibles brought to the team. Your new writer will help the others with ideas, strategy, editing, and more. A new team member (well-hired) makes the team stronger overall. You can’t put a price tag on any of these factors.
When putting your search together, look for someone who will be the best fit for your team. Your new writer should, of course, possess a long and successful writing history. Look beyond that: has the writer’s work converted new leads? Conversion writing is very different from journalistic writing or philosophical writing. You may also want to look for someone who has industry expertise and has written in a similar style and voice to your company, but those things can be learned.
Tapping Team Members to Write
Probability of Results
One of your blog’s goals is to present you as an expert in your field. No one will do that more convincingly than an expert from another department. Your developers or engineers or data gurus bring a perspective your marketing leads need. Sometimes, however, they come with a downside—they’re not writers. The editing process may take more revisions than expected.
Staff from other departments will create content with the highest ROI because their writing often doesn’t expend any budget, but provides authoritative content with a higher percentage of conversion. Return on investment of their time, however, is another factor. Always clear these requests with your potential author’s manager and work with that manager to create a structure to hit your deadline without reducing the department’s productivity.
Interviewing internal experts is the fastest way to gain that much-needed perspective with the least impact on other departments. You don’t need a fancy recorder; just find a quiet room and use the Voice Memos (iOS) or Voice Recorder (Android) app on your phone. Upload your file to a transcription service like Rev and in a few hours, you’ll have the core text you need in the expert’s voice which will allow you to craft a ghostwritten post. The internal expert gets a byline, you get his or her expert opinion, and your readers get deeper content. (For example, we have used this method here and here.)
Hiring a Freelancer
Probability of Results
The right freelancer will produce good results in a timely manner. For several products, you may need to add deeper and more expert information into the text. Many companies find they invest a few hours in formatting and editing posts written by outsiders, but the payoff is worth it.
Freelancers produce a solid ROI. The initial cash outlay is small compared to the potential payoff. There is time investment to be aware of as well.
For the best results, invest time in onboarding and training your freelancers. The more “inside” they can feel, the higher-quality work they’ll produce. Also, provide a written list of expectations, a template, and a style guide, if you have one. The more specific your expectations are communicated, the better product you’ll receive. Have your freelancers sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect your industry expertise and consider a limited non-compete agreement, as well, to protect your investment in their knowledge.
Here are the first 200 or so words from a freelancer’s post from July
Every relationship is a transaction. You have to give a little to get a little in return. This is true in friendships, professional relationships, and marriage — and it is true in B2B marketing.
Unfortunately, many B2B tech businesses have content marketing plans that are relatively off balance. They fall into the trap of only blogging when it is convenient for them, when they have some type of announcement, or need to share product information.
While that may be what your company wants to write about, your readers most likely find it boring.
So, if you’re wondering why no one is visiting, reading, or subscribing to your business’ blog, listen up: Marketing, especially content marketing isn’t about you and what you want to write about. It is about your prospective and current audiences, their questions, pain points, needs, and wants.
The best B2B tech blogs are a strategic mix of best practices, product announcements, research and industry trends — sprinkled with the perfect amount of wit, candor, facts, great examples, humor, and storytelling.
In this blog, we’ll dive into how to breathe life into your boring B2B tech blog with nine simple strategies.
1. Have a Personality
The easiest way to make your B2B tech blog less boring is to well…not be boring. The best business blogs find a way to make complex, dry, or even boring topics, interesting....
Artificial Intelligence Content Creation
Probability of Results
Of all of the ads that have bombarded my social feeds since I began my research on increasing blog effectiveness, the ones that have intrigued me the most have been from AI companies. I tried Articoolo in my attempt to give the AI service the same assignment I gave to the freelancer in July. I was unable to. I could only give the service 3–5 words. I was unable to give my point of view or offer any additional needs for the post. Also, in the case of Articoolo, the maximum word count the service provides is 500 words, and they only generated 324 on my job request, thus not fulfilling one of my primary needs.
AI gives you the lowest probability of good results, however it can still be useful. The writer’s greatest enemy is the blank page, so for a few dollars, you could go from blank page to something…just enough to prime your writing pump like in this famous inspirational scene.
There is no ROI from the raw output of AI. Yet. There may come a day when you can connect multiple sources, key internal documents, and samples you’ve written, and then ask the system to generate content on a topic, which would generate better results. But we’re not there yet.
If the system gets you started on a good article, it’s worth the expense. The good news is: the cost is so minimal it can come out of your marketing budget without causing ripples.
You may also be considering an AI writer purely for the SEO value of a blog. It makes sense; search algorithms can't interpret the quality of writing as easily as its keywords, but this ignores two important things. First, it's never a good idea in the long term to game search algorithms. Algorithms are rapidly getting smarter and frequently techniques that sites used only months prior to boost their search performance are caught and used to penalize those sites instead. More importantly, a blog ultimately exists to convert readers into leads, and the quality of an AI author's writing is extremely unlikely to do so.
Here are the first 200 words of the AI text—as it was delivered to me.
You can have read a lot of corporate blog posts. But, have you ever stumble upon a small business blog post that is perfect? Have you any idea how to compose it? Then read this post, if no. You should have plenty of business posts. Some are good while some might not be. But, there exist no blog post that is ideal. You need approaches and elements to compose a small business blog post. I wish to tell you the part of the small business post before moving on to particulars of writing a post that is perfect. And that writing ask yourself: what’s the angle of the post, and how can it help my audience this question? It means determine how your post and others differ? What’re needs and your subscribers interests? Both these components, audience targeting and uniqueness, separates the ones that are amazing and posts. Here are five components that can be found in small business blog posts that are popular: 1. Captivating opening: The opening of your post is. Without a captivating opening, audience might never even click the article or be intrigued in reading it to begin with. Headline of your blog is among the most critical elements.
Writer Supply Services
Probability of Results
Over time, the writer supply service can become a hybrid of the AI and freelancer solutions. I was remarketed most by TextBroker, so I created a job giving the system as many details as I gave to our freelancer on the same project. The results were akin to giving the same assignment to a grad student and a seventh grader. The bones of the assignment were presented in the seventh grader’s work, but the middle school results (the service) lacked the panache and maturity of the grad student.
A writer supply service is a much better weapon against the blank page than AI. And I’m sure, over time, building a cadre of authors within a service would help you hone their results, but I don’t think a service could ever produce the quality and expert voice you need regarding your product or service. My article cost roughly $35 but, as is, wouldn’t have generated $35 in business. Again, as a small marketing expense to prime the writer’s pump, this may be worth the investment.
The first 200 words as is.
How to Spice Up Your B2B Tech Blog and Generate Exciting Content
With more than 4.1 billion people who use the Internet this 2018, the digital world’s reach has expanded so much. It is therefore imperative that your B2B tech blog gets the traction you expected. Truth be told, you would not be interested to read about software solutions and other offerings regularly unless the content is presented in a captivating and honest manner.
Everyone now acknowledges the power of content, including business leaders who understand how useful original content is for their blog readers. It is why it is common to find an individual, agency, or business that runs a blog. Both writing and disseminating content through blogs have become popular and powerful marketing strategies, mainly if employed correctly.
For you, your business is probably the most exciting topic, which is why you blog about it, your products, and everything related to it. However, the subject may be boring to other people, and it may be the reason why you are losing your audience. Your blog content does not have to be mind-numbing, and there are several effective ways to bring it to life.
First Off, Do You Really Have to Blog?
Many successful businesses have blogs, and it is not an excuse that you do not have on no matter how busy you may be.
Putting it All Together
Think through which solution — or combination of solutions — might work for you. Once you figure out how to generate the number of words you need, figuring out what to write becomes the next obstacle. Allow me to offer a word picture that has helped me—a magazine.
When was the last time you picked up a physical magazine? If you don’t have any at home or around the office, stop by a grocery store and browse the magazine section. Open to the contents page. If the magazine is advertising heavy, it may be 20–30 pages in. As you look through magazines from general to sports to technology to fashion to food, you’ll notice a pattern. Most magazines have four big sections:
Features—one or two extra long articles about an interesting person, event, or landmark technology that addresses the curiosity of the readership
Departments—a collection of shorter, but substantial articles about a set list of topics that stays the same from issue to issue
Letters—content written by readers
Interstitial—short bits of content, infographics, photos with captions, statistics, etc. often gathered into groups based on the topic.
You can create the same for your blog. From time to time, write a longer piece—a feature—that appeals to your persona. Consider publishing content from your customers or comment cards or surveys like the letters you see in the magazine. Interstitial content could be the impetus for a longer post, or you could curate a number of pieces and simply draw a conclusion.
Like the magazine, however, the core departments become your most important and frequent pieces. If you look at our blog homepage, you’ll see a drop down that says “filter by category.” If you click “select,” you’ll see a list of 14 topics. These are our departments. We have ranked them by priority and write more frequently on some topics than others, but we try to address every single topic in the course of two months, building up a catalog of content for our clients.
You can do the same. What are the key topics you need to discuss? Keep your list short. Determine which ones need more attention. Create a schedule of which topics you’ll write about when. Then brainstorm specifics about the topics. By doing so, you’ll probably come up with the headlines and direction you need to complete the posts.
The statistics are clear: increasing your content, especially your blog frequency and length, is well worth the investment. Figure out which solution works for you, then get busy. Be sure to track your blog’s readership before and after the change to see the tangible results your company receives.