Blogging School - Getting Started as a Blogger for B2B

Product Marketer. Content Person. Startup Enthusiast.
27. Mar 2019

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Blogging School - Getting Started as a Blogger for B2B

  1. BLOGGING SCHOOL Kickoff for B2B Bloggers Krista Kauppinen
  2. My content writing experience: Blogging for various events and projects, as well as startups (Holvi, Beddit & Aaltoes cofounder. Writing for Talouselämä in 2010. 6 months at Bonnier Publications magazine publisher. Lots of different writing and editing experiences. Also, lots of not so successful experiments.
  3. AGENDA ➤ Why blogging? ➤ What makes a good blog post? ➤ The process ➤ Blogging rules ➤ Getting over writer’s block ➤ The editing and publishing process ➤ “What could I write about?” Brainstorming topics and picking a writing task.
  4. WHY? B2B Marketing, Blogging and You
  5. WHY DOES BLOGGING MATTER, ESPECIALLY FOR B2B? ➤ Grow your online presence: Words are our proxy online. Your blog can communicate more than your website copy. ➤ Get inbound leads: Blogs drive website traffic and lead generation - paid advertising can center around promoting content. ➤ Support the sales process: Good, timely articles support sales and business development. Blogging is your own publishing platform, where you control the message. ➤ Become a thought leader in your industry: ➤ Your not a leader if you don’t have a real following. ➤ A company’s authority is defined by how well it sets and answers questions. ➤ The agenda is set by the audience.
  6. WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU? ➤ Good writing is evidence of clear thinking. Writing helps you develop your thinking. ➤ Learn and develop new skills e.g. structuring texts, self- editing, interviewing, writing, visualizing… ➤ A chance to investigate/explore things that are interesting for you. ➤ Build your own audience and online profile. ➤ Less time repeating yourself. ➤ Pride!
  7. WHAT MAKES A GOOD BLOG POST? “Marketing storytelling”… what is that?
  8. “Quality, relevant content is about telling a true story well. -Ann Handley, Everybody Writes
  9. WHAT MAKES A GOOD BLOG POST? Content Quality = U * I * E Utility - helps the reader with something Inspiration - inspired by data or creatively inspired Empathy - reader-focused You don’t have to have a blog, you get to have one. Let’s make it good. Source: Ann Handley, Everybody Writes
  10. GETTING FROM IDEA TO POST Processes can be your friend
  11. 1. WHAT’S THE BUSINESS GOAL The big picture and why you care
  12. 2. REFRAME FOR THE AUDIENCE Ask “so what?” Lead ads enable lead collection via Facebook ads with a native signup flow! So what?! Lower threshold to fill lead forms. Lead ads streamline sales processes for advertisers with longer more complicated sales processes, like insurance and financial companies. ?! More effective advertising, maybe even less awkward cold-calling. ?! Less waste and pain. Better ROAS.
  13. 3. SEEK OUT DATA & EXAMPLES Google, interview, keep notes, talk to your colleagues…
  14. 4. ORGANIZE YOUR THOUGHTS Get your cats in a row. What structure? List, how-to, narrative..
  15. 5. WRITE TO ONE PERSON Who are you helping? Keep your reader in mind.
  16. 6. MVP (MINIMUM VIABLE POST) Also known as the ugly draft. This is just for you (and maybe your editor).
  17. 7. WALK AWAY Take a break, if time permits. Give your subconscious mind some time to work on it..
  18. 8. REWRITE Clean up your brain dump. Rewrite and then read it out loud. Do I sound human?
  19. 9. GIVE IT A GREAT TITLE Or at least brainstorm a couple suggestions.
  20. 10. HAVE SOMEONE EDIT IT How to make it better? Ask min 2 people for comment before publishing.
  21. 11. ONE MORE CHECK FOR READABILITY Final proofread. How does it look?
  22. 12. PUBLISH What’s the call to action?What do you want readers to do next?
  23. PROCESS STEPS (NOT NECESSARILY IN THIS ORDER) 1. Business Goal 2. Why is the business goal relevant for the audience. Ask: So what? 3. Find the evidence 4. Organize your thoughts 5. Write to one person 6. MVP draft 7. Walk away 8. Rewrite 9. Give it a great headline or title 10. Have someone edit 11. One final look for readability 12. Publish, remember your call to action
  24. HOW I WRITE ➤ Goal and Audience -> Data Collection -> Brain Dump -> Coffee Break -> Read Through -> Piece Together Puzzle -> Write out more text and maybe get more material -> Coffee Break -> Self-edit and Proofread -> Ask for Comments -> Edit -> Read outloud to myself -> Final proofread -> Publish Actual blog post notes, before first writing session. Just a bunch of shorthand
  26. KEEP IT TIGHT ➤ Have you ever read a blog post and thought: “I just wish this was longer”? ➤ Research shows best length for blog post is 1500 words, but this varies with what you’re trying to say. ➤ Every sentence and paragraph needs to earn its place. Are there words you could easily leave out without changing the meaning of the sentence? ➤ Shorter paragraphs of 3-6 lines are best. Sentences should have 25 words or less. ➤ Keep your main point in mind and share it at the beginning - don’t hide it at the end!
  27. REMEMBER READABILITY ➤ People skim online before they commit to reading. A blog post can’t look too heavy. ➤ Use lists, bullet points, italics, underlines, quotes and subtitles when they make sense. ➤ Think about links to resources for clarity. ➤ Put yourself in the reader’s shoes: What kind of experience will reading this piece be?
  28. SOUND LIKE A HUMAN ➤ You can use simple language e.g. utilize -> use ➤ Take it easy with the buzzwords ➤ leverage, innovate, synergies, AI powered…. ➤ Formal and professional language are not the same thing ➤ Contractions are ok in online writing ➤ do not -> don’t, we are -> we’re etc ➤ Use active voice, not passive (read more here) ➤ Images are being posted online (passive) vs. People are posting images online (active, the subject people are doing an action) ➤ A good test: Read it out loud - would you speak like this?
  29. MAKE IT REAL ➤ Show, don’t tell. ➤ Compare: ➤ A company saying “We are committed to customer service excellence” or “Our new product release is exciting” ➤ Telling a story that demonstrates that commitment to customers or quote from customer on why new features are being met with excitement. ➤ Don’t use lazy examples -> make them real, if possible. ➤ Use real data, actual customers stories…. ➤ “Specificity is the sole of narrative.” - John Hodgman ➤ Give enough detail to make things interesting.
  30. KEEP YOUR READER IN MIND ➤ Who are you writing to? Does your company have buyer personas identified? ➤ What stage of the buying journey they are at: Awareness > Consideration > Decision > Keep/nurture
  31. WRITER’S BLOCK Defeating perfectionism, fear & busy-ness
  32. Wanting to get it perfect in your head before you start writing. How to overcome it: - Think of blogging as a process, not just the act of sitting down to write a fully formed post. - Practice makes perfect - develop your writing muscles with drafts and editing. - Think of the post as something “less permanent” e.g. an email conversation with someone you know, start with “Dear Mikko… “ PERFECTIONISM
  33. Something is holding you back but you don’t know what exactly. It’s likely fear. How to overcome it: - You might not be able to articulate what you’re afraid of. Think through why you feel hesitant and be honest with yourself. - Writing will take some time, publishing online can feel like you’re exposing yourself to criticism, your first draft will likely not be great, developing new skills can be uncomfortable, blogging may seem like a waste of time to some, maybe you don’t know the whole story of what you’re trying to say just yet…. better to deal with fears than to procrastinate. FEAR
  34. You’re too busy to write. How to overcome it: - Know there will likely never be a “perfect time” - We’re all busy. Blogging doesn’t need a whole day. Give yourself 20 minutes for an initial brain dump to get started. - Break the work into pieces and do them at different times: discussing, researching, outlining, writing, editing - Use outlining tools: mind map, list, process chart, whatever works for you - Know your own patterns: when are you most effective? BUSYNESS
  35. WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT? Articles types and questions to get you thinking
  36. WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT? ➤ A rule of thumb: You have to care about the topic. ➤ What’s the most fascinating/best/coolest/most controversial/ least understood/worst aspect of something? ➤ What do you find commonplace that others might find new? Experts tend to forget how far they’ve come. ➤ What’s the “war story” you tell colleagues at other companies at meetups/events? ➤ It doesn’t have to be strictly related to your products or business. The best B2B blogs aren’t sales-y. ➤ Tech, customer service, career paths, social media marketing, life-hacking, business, time management etc can all be topics.
  37. 15-ISH TYPES OF ARTICLES (FOR A FB MARKETING COMPANY) Quiz - Test How Well You Know Your FB Campaign Terms Explainer - Marketing Automation Explained So Your Grandma Gets It Case study - How This Guy Automated His Marketing Contrarian - Why Facebook Video Ads Are Over-Hyped How-to - How to Get Started with Automated Budgeting Quick How-to - Three Ridiculously Simple Ways to Automate Your Facebook Budget Allocation How NOT to - Top 5 Ways to Waste Your Time on Manual Budget Automation First person - How I Learned Budget Allocation The Hard Way Comparison or Review - We Compared Three Feed-based Ads Tools So You Don’t Have To Source of articles types: Ann Handley, Everybody Writes
  38. 15-ISH TYPES OF ARTICLES CONTINUED Q & A - What This Expert Said About Facebook Marketing for the Travel Industry in 2019 Data - We Surveyed the Top 30 Online Retailers Using Feed-based Ads Man on the street - We Asked Our Account Managers What They Think About Instagram Story Ads Outrageous - There’s No Such Think As Online Advertising Optimization Buzzfeed Style Outrageous - The 17 Hottest Men in Facebook Marketing Automation and What They Can Teach You Insider secrets - The Little-known Secrets Behind Facebook Pixel Implementation Literary treatment - A comic, historical fiction, fill-in-the-blank story template, short story, song lyrics…. Source of articles types: Ann Handley, Everybody Writes
  39. WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT? CUSTOMER BLOG ➤ Ask for ideas directly from the reader i.e. your customers! ➤ What would help you close a sale? ➤ What do you consider the most misunderstood concept in your business/ industry? ➤ What customer requests could be solved with the current product without building new features? ➤ Do you have a checklist or other tool you use personally that might be useful for customers? ➤ What’s the advice you most often give customers? Why? ➤ What customer story/experience do you think other customers could learn from? ➤ What feature/aspect of the product do you wish you could explain better? Write a post (+ interview colleagues) to better understand it!
  40. WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT? RECRUITMENT BLOG ➤ What do you wish people knew/understood about your job? ➤ What’s been the most surprising difference in working for your company? ➤ Share a concrete case example or two of what you have learned from a colleague. ➤ Describe an event/situation that you think really shows your culture or customer orientation in action. ➤ What’s been your experience about career and skills development or the work environment at your company? ➤ How do you find a “flow state” when working? ➤ What blogs/media/people do you follow to stay on top of developments in your work? ➤ What kind of stuff would you have wanted to read about before starting your current job?
  41. EDITING & PUBLISHING How to get from draft to done
  42. 3 TYPES OF EDITING 1. Copyediting / proofreading - check facts, spelling, punctuation etc. 2. Line editing - correcting grammar, word choice, paragraphs and sentence flow without disrupting writer’s message or voice. Can include rewriting some passages. 3. Substantive editing - higher level feedback on structure, parts to improve/remove/condense/expand.
  43. 3 DIFFERENT PATHS TO BLOG 1.Write the draft yourself 2.Write an MVP draft and get substantive editing and feedback 3.Pitch a post idea and get interviewed Idea = goal + audience + main message
  44. RESOURCES / REFERENCES ➤ This presentation borrows heavily from ideas in: Everyone Writes by Ann Handley - an excellent book! ➤ Fun Grammar Blog: ➤ Paul Gillin presentation on “Create stuff they’ve just gotta read: how to write for social networks”