It’s no secret.
Trust is the backbone of successful content marketing. And a B2B blog that transmits trust stands above the rest.
In fact, Forrester calls trust “the single most important brand attribute for B2B buyers.”
But trust doesn’t captivate readers on its own. Your content must be engaging as well.
Interested in finding out how to make your B2B blog intriguing and trustworthy?
Here’s what to do…
B2B content is often viewed as dry and boring. But it doesn’t have to be.
Don’t believe it? Check out David Meerman Scott’s blog.
Scott is a top marketing speaker and the author of multiple bestsellers. His blog focuses on the intersection of online media and marketing.
Year in and year out, his words resonate with readers because he writes from the heart.
Topics include everything from “Worst Practices” to “New Rules of Marketing & PR” to “Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead.”
The Dead is his favorite band. He’s seen them in person 75 times. And he loves writing about them because they were inbound marketing and social media pioneers.
Back in 1971, the Grateful Dead created a mailing list. Sold tickets directly to fans. And over time, built their business on live concerts instead of album sales.
In other words, they broke the rules.
As does Scott. He began reaching buyers with compelling Web content in the ’90s, long before the rise of content marketing.
A lover of brevity, he doesn’t kowtow to the search engines with lengthy blog posts.
Nor does he avoid blogging about sensitive issues, such as freedom of speech on social and mainstream media. Or the dangers of corporate legal departments having too much power over communications teams.
“On the Web, you are what you publish,” he says.
Scott’s blog is a shining example of how being sincere can spread your ideas online. And all the while, develop an interesting and credible presence.
In the B2B world, it can take months or years before a prospect is ready to buy.
There are three stages in the buyer’s journey:
Blogging targets the awareness stage. It’s the phase where buyers know that they have a problem, but they don’t know the solution. So they want information that answers questions or resolves pain points.
In addition, they may be exploring how other companies are handling the problem. Or what will happen if they don’t resolve it.
To put it another way, they’re not asking questions about your products and services. But if your blog posts are relevant, timely, and helpful, over time you will likely make an impression on a number of decision-makers.
That’s because the B2B purchasing decision is made by six to ten people. These decision makers “loop” during a purchase and revisit six buying jobs.
- Problem identification
- Solution exploration
- Requirements building
- Supplier selection
- Consensus creation
Multiple buyers may consume your content at any given time. Each one of them is looking for answers to different questions.
So variety works best. Blog post formats that work well in the awareness stage include:
- How to’s
- News articles
- Opinion pieces
As you brainstorm content ideas, think about what’s driving your potential customer’s search.
Why are they changing from their current supplier? In what way(s) will another brand better serve their challenges? Are they trying to comply with industry regulations? Lower expenses?
Let the answers to those questions drive your content creation.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, brand empathy is “the one critical quality B2B content lacks.”
Many people think empathy is simply the ability to evaluate another person’s emotions. But it’s a bit more complex than that.
Renowned psychologist Daniel Goleman, author of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, says there are three different types of empathy.
- Cognitive empathy allows you to understand another person’s perspective, making it easier to communicate with people. But it doesn’t necessarily make you more compassionate.
- Emotional empathy is the ability to feel what someone else feels. The foundation of rapport, it sparks chemistry between two people, enabling meaningful relationships.
- Empathetic concern allows you to sense exactly what another person needs from you. In essence, their pain is your pain. The core of empathy, empathetic concern lives in the part of the brain that motivates people to take action.
Developing your empathy muscle is the key to creating the type of content your reader wants.
Here are a few ways to practice empathy on your B2B blog.
- Set a goal. Know your purpose. Go beyond being strictly educational. Experiment with creating entertaining posts. Use events, endorsements, and reviews to get an emotional reaction.
- Tell stories. Write posts that include subject matter expertise from your employees. Ask your sales team for happy customer stories. Customer complaints can give you ideas as well.
- Share your why. What’s the background behind your company’s brand? Talk about the rationale for key decisions on product launches and changes. Give buyers a window into your processes and strategies.
The bottom line for building trust on your B2B blog
We all know how competitive the blogosphere is.
Generating leads, increasing visibility, growing authority…
It’s all based on trust.
So use the advice in this post to help you choose interesting blog topics. Try out different formats to please a wide variety of buyers. And develop empathy to connect with readers on a new level.
Do those things, and your B2B blog is sure to attract a loyal and lucrative following.