We have long been proponents of business blogging. I started my own mortgage technology blog back when I was an editor at National Mortgage News in New York. There weren’t many around in those days. Today, there are a great many. So many, that clients wonder if they are still effective and, if so, how they should measure it.
For businesses that sell to consumers, this is straightforward. The goal of every blog post is to drive traffic to a landing page and convert it into a sale. A well written blog post will get attention, especially if it is optimized for the search engines and promoted well by the company through its social media channels.
B2C marketers can track blog page views, clicks to the landing page, conversions from the landing page and know if their blog posts are effective. Well read posts that do not convert are typically not viewed as effective by content marketers.
But what about in the B2B space. The clients we serve never sell their technology by driving traffic to a landing page. Even product-led SaaS developers we work with must provide a great deal of social proof to get new customers to convert without a visit with a sales representative or a demo (or both).
So, if B2B blog posts rarely convert on their own, why should we have them?
Here are three ways we measure the effectiveness of a blog post.
1) Does it contribute to a growing body of work
One of the best compliments we have ever received about our business blogging was from an industry observer who told us, “Wow! You guys are everywhere.”
We had been writing blog posts on LinkedIn and sharing them out on a schedule. To an outside observer, it appeared that we were always showing up. This made us look successful and started the conversation.
Sometimes, the conversations don’t take place over the phone, but rather on your website. When someone finds your B2B blog post and follows it back to your website and then begins exploring your company and its offerings, we consider that a win.
Because unanswered questions are the primary obstacles to a sale, and unasked questions are the secret deal killers, the more content the website contains that answers all the questions a prospect could have, the better.
When a prospect gets to our client’s website and finds a great many blog posts, speaking to every question and concern they have, it earns our client a right to enter into a conversation with the prospect. Conversations lead to relationships, which is the only thing that leads to a sale in the B2B world.
2) Does it make the company sound like experts
On the B2B side, no one wants to work with a company that’s not at the top of its game. In a highly regulated industry, this is a survival mechanism that buyers use to filter out prospective partners that could lead them into non-compliance.
But brands can’t be smart. They can’t be experts. Only humans can do these things, which is why we always encourage our clients to blog for specific people. We want the industry to know that our clients have really smart people working for them, people they will want to visit with about their businesses.
The best way to measure this is to track the number of people following company experts. Driving that up with very smart blog posts that answer important questions prospects have is the best way to do this.
The way we test this is to read the content out loud as if our client’s CEO is presenting it to a huge crowd of industry professionals. Does it make them sound smart? Does it make their industry experience clear or does it sound like something generative AI has written for a high school term paper?
3) Is the content driving traffic and interest
Just like the B2C world, companies operating in the B2B space need to get attention before they can convert that into interest, spark a desire and get the prospect to take action.
That means that while SEO optimization may not be as critical as it is on the B2C side, it’s still important. Well-written blog posts that help the company show up in search results for the keywords they want to rank for and give the company another opportunity to convert a website visitor into a sale, or at least someone who is interested in what they have to offer.
So, the metrics we would use here are very similar to those used by B2C marketers, but as you can see they are only part of how we measure the effectiveness of the blog posts our clients publish.