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B2B Blog: Trends In 2011


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  • 1. B2B Blog Blogging Trends in 2011 Authors: Tony Karrer and Tom Pick Brought to you by1 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick Copyright 2011 - Aggregage
  • 2. Letter from tony • What new challenges might exist in 2011 Tom Pick and I have had the good fortune to around B2B blogging? work together to create two great sites: The B2B Marketing Zone and Social Media In- Weve pulled together these contributions former. These two sites bring together amaz- and extracted key ideas and trends. ing content from top sources (mostly bloggers) in their respective fields. One of the common If your company sells to businesses (B2B), themes the past few months among bloggers then we believe the information provided by Tony participating in these sites has been how 2011 these experts will be very important to you. is shaping up to be a pivotal year in the world of B2B blogging. We hope you enjoy this report. KArrer Because of that, Tom and I decided to bring together the best thought leaders on B2B blog- If you find value here, please let your peers know about the report. ging to answer some key questions: • What do you see as key trends in B2B Blog- ging for 2011? • If you’ve not started a blog yet, is 2011 the And we certainly welcome your thoughts year to do so? Why or why not? and ideas. • Will anything be different in 2011 in mar- keting your business blog? Tony Karrer CTO & Founder, AggregageCopyright Statement: All content © 2011 by Aggregage - Copyright holder is licensing this under the Creative Commons License, Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0Unported, (This means you can post this document on your site and share it freely with your friends, but not resell it or use as an incentive for action.)2 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 3. JAysummAry BAer The biggest trend I see for B2BWe’ve extracted the key themes among the responses and identified a few clear blogging next year is increasedtrends for 2011. adoption. As more B2B marketers confront the constant need to fuel the demands for content, blogging can give them the edge. JohnB2B BLogging growing sonnhAlTerAs Tom Pick points out: Blogging has become an Given the increasing popularity of inbound / content marketing (and the accepted part of the online media declining effectiveness of advertising), more companies will start blogs in 2011. And given that less than half of B2B companies currently have blogs, landscape. there’s considerable room for growth. hArryThe data on adoption of blogs is pretty clear: there’s lots of opportunity for more hooverB2B organizations to adopt blogging. And as you read through these responses, In 2011, we’ll see an increasethe key value propositions of blogging will become more clear. B2B blogging.That’s why we see folks like Jay Baer saying: 2011 will be the year that the B2B companies widely recognize the eriK importance of having a viable blog. QuAlmAn B2B Blogging will catch-up.Or as Kristin Zhivago puts it: If you don’t have a corporate blog, you are way behind the curve.3 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 4. summAryHigH VaLue from B2B BLogging scoTTIt should be apparent to most organizations that sell B2B that there’s high value gillumfrom blogging. Jeff Ogden captures it well: Blogs are vital when customers search for product information. Blogging positions the company as a thought leader, an expert. It is also ideal for search – frequent updates vs. static websites. sAmir BAlwAniJeff points to thought leadership and search; Yann Ropars cited the same twoelements along with: Aside from possibly publishing a book, nothing proves expertise inbound blogger outreach. better than a strong blog.All of this is based on larger trends around marketing. Several of the bloggers Johncited the fact that traditional marketing is becoming less effective. Blake Landau sonnhAlTercaptures this nicely: Blogging is free, lets you establish your brand and thought As push marketing becomes less effective - blogs become more leadership. important.And the bottom line for B2B blogging is really the bottom line for B2B businesses. TomRoxanne Darling points out that there’s a: PicK: Blogging and PR are natural direct correlation between blogging and B2B customer acquisition allies.4 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 5. summAry chrisBLogs need to Be integrated ABrAhAm:One of the common themes in responses was the need to think of blogging as an The blog will need to be part ofintegrated part of the overall marketing and communications plan for the organi- an integrated marketing andzation. Tony Zambito tells us that in 2011: communications plan. B2B organizations will need to not treat blogging as an afterthought delegated to a remote part of their organization. It will need to be JAy incorporated into an overall marketing communications plan. BAer: Social media is more importantThe blog is a very important communication channel and is often the hub for so- in B2B than B2C.cial media activity by B2B organizations. However, as J-P De Clerck points out: It’s not about the media, the channels, the formats etc. It’s about the Tom holistic experience. It’s integrated. PicK: 2011 ... Greater integration ofAt the same time, a blog should not get too mired in approval cycles. Ideally blog- blogging with other marketingging remains the voice of the individuals involved so that it can be seen somewhat a part of a mix of communication paths. Maddie Grant sees the mix of bloggingand other communication channels as a very important trend for 2011: 2011 - Key Trend - Better understanding of and mix of official and unofficial public sites.5 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 6. summAry sAmiropportunity to start B2B BLogging in 2011 BAlwAniAs noted above, fewer than 50% of B2B companies have blogs. There are various Without a doubt, 2011 is thereasons holding them back and we’ll try to tackle some of them below. One of the year to start a blog.common questions we hear is: does it still make sense to start a blog? Has theopportunity passed us by? The common answer from these experts was capturedwell by Tony Zambito: ArdATh AlBee 2011 is a good year to start a blog because there is still room to focus Get moving now. on specific topics and issues relevant to certain industries.But there was caution from many of the experts such as Chris Abraham: Only start blogging if you are going to get it right.That said, if you follow the advice from these experts, there’s fairly universal agree-ment that you can find a great opportunity to reach your audience through a blog.6 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 7. summAry TonyB2B BLogging - you need to do it Better ZAmBiToOne of the key trends emerging from these experts is that— because of the high There will be a weeding out ofvalue of B2B blogging and because there’s still plenty of room to grow— the overall blogs that cannot offer consistenttrend will be towards more B2B Blogs. But Jay Baer suggests that the trend in 2011 content an: Explosion of bad B2B Blogs ArdATh AlBeeSo, if you have a B2B Blog or are starting a B2B Blog, Erik Goldman tells us you: Don’t be me-too. Have to be good to get above noise. ceceHow do you get above the noise and differentiate yourself? There are lots of great leeanswers to that question provided by the experts in their responses. Several 2011 - Move from broadcastingexperts cited the need to start by listening and engaging first, then blogging after to insights and’ve done that: 1. Need to listen first. erik QuaLman 2. Social Monitoring is important. eric goLdmanOf course, you need to be highly focused on your audience, their interests andneeds, and how you can provide value to them. 1. Blogs need to be customer focused. kristin ZHiVago7 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 8. summAry 2. Focus on narrow audience. J-P de Harry HooVer clercK Move from Monologues to 3. B to B marketers to be successful in the world of blogging,you must Dialogues. be focused on your target market. JoHn sonnHaLterAnd you need to recognize that it’s a conversation, not a one-way broadcast: 4. More personalized interaction. Jeff korHan 5. Move from Monologues to Dialogues J-p de cLerck 6. The challenge to this is in finding blog contributors who understand conversational marketing and customer service. roxanne darLingA few other recommendations that jumped out: 7. Story-telling is important. BLake Landau 8. Companies need to move to blogs that have the face of an employee rather than of the brand. BLake Landau8 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 9. summAry ardatH 9. Commercialization of blogs may make them less credible. aLBee scott giLLum Short is good.curationSeveral of the experts note that one of the primary challenges for blogging is theeffort involved in content creation on a regular basis. One of the clear trends of2011 is the importance of curation - finding and filtering content that will be inter-esting to your audience. Bloggers don’t necessarily need to produce vast quantitiesof original content so much as they need to collect together the best from thoughtleaders. Yann Ropars captures it this way: Blogging allows brands to cut through the social media clutter and this will become increasingly important as 2011 is often cited as the year of ‘curation’.What does this mean in practice? Well, you’re looking at one example of curationright now. This white paper collects the thoughts of these experts.9 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 10. F irst, given the increasing popularity of also help with blog SEO by providing text inbound / content marketing (and the links back to specific, supplemental blog declining effectiveness of advertis- posts. And why not write press releases a ing), more companies will start blogs bit more like blog posts; make them actu- Tom in 2011. And given that less ally informative rather than just announce- than half of B2B companies cur- ments about your new product or customer? rently have blogs, there’s con- Finally, blasting your press releases out to PicK siderable room for growth. But that’s obvious and not the most interesting trend. Blogging and PR are other bloggers is annoying and largely inef- fective—but offering to write a guest post for an influential blogger in your industry can About the author natural What’s more interesting will allies. be a win-win for both parties. Tom Pick (@TomPick) is an be the trend toward greater Blogging and email marketing also work online marketing executive with KC Associates, a marketing and PR integration of blogging with well together. I’m surprised when I hear firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, other marketing activities. The most obvious marketers tell me they don’t have time to focused on B2B technology clients. integration is with social media (e.g., pro- maintain a company blog—but they do He’s also the award-winning writer moting blog posts through Twitter, LinkedIn, regularly publish an email newsletter. If you of the Webbiquity blog, which Facebook and social bookmarking sites), only have time for one, a blog focuses on B2B lead generation and and the majority of business bloggers al- is easier to maintain. And Web presence optimization -- the ready get that. The more untapped integra- if you have time for both, a fusion of SEO, search marketing, tion points, and those that will increase in blog can serve as the natural social media, content marketing A blog can usage in 2011, are PR and email. repository for newsletter con- and interactive PR. serve as tent. Blogs and newsletters the natural BlOGGING AND PR ARE NATuRAl AllIES; both can also be used for cross- reposi- Blog: are focused more on brand-building, im- promotion, increasing the tory for Twitter: @TomPick age enhancement and influence building audience for both. newsletter than direct selling. It would be poor form content. to simply republish a press release in a blog post, but there’s nothing wrong with linking to one where appropriate. Press releases can10 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 11. wHat do you see as key trends in ging is become a new form of brand identity B2B BLogging for 2011? i for B2B companies and not having such a believe that B2B blogging will become presence can be a competitive disadvantage. more refined and specialized. This in Tony response to B2B buyers seeking more wHat new cHaLLenges migHt exist informative content that in 2011 around B2B BLogging? helps them to make deci- The challenge will be in the proliferation of ZAmBiTo sions respective to strategies and addressing challenging issues. In general, there will There blogs over the past two years. The question of how to stand out from the literally thousands and thousands of blogs is a very significant ABouT The AuThor will be a be a weeding out of blogs that challenge. Offering consistent high value Tony Zambito. Founder and weeding cannot offer consistent con- out of content will be challenging since it takes time, Principal of Goal Centric, a tent value directly related to blogs that resources, and intense work to keep a blog up customer and buyer strategy firm their initiatives and business cannot in my opinion. B2B organi- based on a goal-centered approach to buyer experience innovation. problems. offer zations will need to not treat Goal Centric is also the originator of If you’ve not started a blog consistent blogging as an afterthought the buyer persona methodology yet, is 2011 the year to do so? content delegated to a remote part Tightly and Tony is the author of the ebook Why or why not? value. of their organization. It will integrate 10 Rules for Buyer Persona 2011 is a good year to start need to be incorporated into blogging Development. He has served as a a blog because there is still room to focus on an overall marketing commu- with member of senior management specific topics and issues relevant to certain nications plan. website teams with TRW, Knight-Ridder, and Compaq where he worked with industries. If your business and expertise can presence. add value in your specific industries, it is a many of today’s leading Fortune 100 companies. good time. Blog: wiLL anytHing Be different in 2011 in marketing your Business BLog? Twitter: @TonyZambito Yes, more effort will be made to tightly inte- grate blogging with website presence. Blog-11 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 12. B logging positions the company as a thought leader, an expert. It is also ideal for search – frequent updates vs. static websites. Figuring out how to JeFF deliver on those goals will be huge in 2011. Start blogging in 2011? It’s easy and almost ogden free. Why not? But some of us are not great writers. Make sure you don’t forget about: Contact- ing other related bloggers, using social net- ABouT The AuThor works, harnessing partners, I’m known as the Fearless it all changes. Competitor, an expert in B2B What new challenges marketing and lead generation. might exist in 2011 around Make sure B2B blogging? Blog: you don’t Do you use more video? forget Shorter blog articles? How Twitter: @fearlesscomp about: can you get more comments Contacting and sharing? other related bloggers.12 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 13. key trends in B2B BLogging in 2011 2011 can see them. The more may be the year subscribers you generate, the when B2B compa- more your blog becomes a Make sure nies finally realize way to nurture and cultivate it’s easy for someone to howArd blogs are more potential customers. than just a PR vehicle for propagating so- subscribe called thought leadership. Specifically, smart to the blog. sewell B2B marketers will wake up to the fact that blogs can also be prime sources of a) search traffic, and b) net new sales leads. Here are 3 ABouT The AuThor key principles we preach to our blog clients: howard J. sewell is President 1. Title blog posts with Google search results of Spear Marketing Group, a in mind. Ask yourself – if someone saw the full-service B2B marketing agency, title of this post and nothing and a 20-year B2B marketing veteran. He writes on demand more, would he/she want to generation, direct marketing, and read more? lead management at his blog, The Title blog 2. Forego standard, out-of- Point ( posts with the-box sidebar widgets like blog). Google tag clouds and “categories” in search favor of content that actually Blog: results in gets people to engage with mind. your company – for example, Twitter: @HJSewell links to gated content like white papers and archived webinars, labeled as “additional resources.” 3. For pete’s sake, make sure it’s easy for someone to subscribe to the blog. Provide options for RSS, Twitter, and email and place them prominently where the casual visitor13 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 14. B logs can be a very important part of become an accepted part of the online media your social media strategy. I use it as landscape and blogging is easy to do. the hub of all other “Trends in blog reading are expected to activity and get more maintain an upward course as blogs continue John hits to it than our website. It’s to gain influence in mainstream media,” said never too late to start blog- Paul Verna, a senior analyst with eMarketing ging. If you’re thinking about The oppor- and author of “The Blogosphere: Colliding with sonnhAlTer doing a blog, here are a few things to consider first, both pros and cons. tunity for you to build thought Social and Mainstream Media.” B to B marketers to be suc- cessful in the world of blog- ABouT The AuThor leader- • Pros-it’s free, lets you ship and ging, you must be focused You must John sonnhalter is the founder of Sonnhalter a marketing establish your brand branding on your target market. A consist- communications firm that and thought leadership is better blog should be central to ently • Cons-Time consum- your company’s social media feed your specializes in reaching professional served by tradesmen in the ing, anything you put blogs. strategy for new business. inbound Construction,Industrial and MRO out there will be there What fuels the engine to this marketing markets. He can be reached at forever. strategy is good content. You machine and must consistently feed your with rich his blog is www.tradesmeninsights. Blogs are still a very effective way of reach- inbound marketing machine content. com ing an audience, especially if you’re in a with rich content or you will niche market. While it may be true that social see a slow-down in traffic, search engine Blog: networks and microblogs have outpaced the results and prospective client leads. traditional blog, the opportunity for you to Twitter: @johnsonnhalter build thought leadership and branding is bet- Here are my 6 tips to Be more ter served by blogs. effectiVe witH your BLogging: More than 50% of web users will read blogs To be successful, you need to write a lot. this year. According to eMarketer, by 2014, 150 1 The more posts you add to your blog, the million Americans, or 60% of the population more traffic you’ll get. The more content can of the U.S., will be reading blogs. Blogging has also fuel repurposing content through other14 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 15. John sonnhAlTersocial media platforms such as Twitter, Face-book and LinkedIn. No content = no fuel = no use your writing to learn. When I firsttraffic = no new business leads. 5 started blogging, I was reminded of the old saying, “you don’t know what you know Be consistent. To keep writing, I visual- until you write it down.” It’s true. Writing 2 ize someone walking to the end of their strategizes and invigorates my learning. It candriveway to pick up the morning paper, only get me ahead of the learning curve and pro-to discover there’s nothing there. That helps vide me with a system to stay to stay motivated to write 2 to 3 posts per Keep focused. If your blog is broad, youweek. My readers know what to expect. I want 6 will not generate any significant give them a reason to consistently come Narrow your focus. Think narrow and deepback. rather than wide and shallow. Know who you are writing to, what you are writing about, write concisely. People are busy. They know the categories you will be writing to, 3 need your content to be easy to digest. the key words that you want to dominate forProvide them with the Readers Digest version. search.Make your content easy to scan, provide bul-let points and numbered lists. People will bemuch more interested in what you have to sayif you don’t try and fluff it up. use your analytics. Know what your read- 4 ers care about and what they respondto. It will help you to connect with your audi-ence. They’re the judge and jury of whetheryour content is relevant or not. I know dailywhere my readers are coming from, what posttitles and content generates the most trafficand what search terms they are using.15 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 16. r ecent data show that Fortune 500 far easier for customers to find you, get companies are joining Twitter (35%) to know your company, its products and at a faster rate than are adopting blog- services, and pre-sell themselves on the ging (22%). (Source: The Center for spot, 24/7. roxAnne Marketing Research at UMass Dartmouth; • The challenge to this is in finding blog studiesresearch/2010f500.cfm) contributors who understand conversa- dArling I would suggest that compa- nies beef up on the blogging as there are numerous ben- Direct tional marketing and customer service. I find having an editor with an editorial calendar is a great tool for keeping the ABouT The AuThor correlation efits derived from blogs that voices engaged and consistently deliver- roxanne darling loves to travel, between outweigh the use of Twitter in blogging ing robust content. speak in public, paddle the my opinion. and B2B 6-person outrigger canoe, and is • Data from customer • Your blog is your home trying to give up working really long hours. She walks the line between show a direct correlation acquisi- base - where you can post technology and communication between blogging and B2B tion. breaking news, interact with a ballerina’s balance and has a customer acquisition. The with your customers, col- Your blog way of inspiring even luddites to try more you blog, the greater lect feedback, and share is your new things online. Please let it be the likelihood of acquiring customers via details of social marketing home known though, perhaps as a online marketing, such that blogging 2-3 campaigns, etc. base. graduate of uC Berkeley, she is not times a week generates an average 69% in- a bystander or interested in the crease in new customers. (Source: http:// • The best blogs increasingly feature in- status quo! She was voted #24 of teractivity (join the email list, add com- the 50 Most Powerful & Influential Women in Social Media. ers/reports/state_of_inbound_marketing. ments) and rich media (streaming Twit- pdf) ter messages, YouTube videos, live video streams of featured events, photo groups Blog: • The more you blog, and include your top from your vendors, customers, and staff) Twitter: @roxannedarling keywords and case studies, the higher and much more. you perform on search results, making it16 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 17. roxAnne dArling • All of this media-making and interactivity enhances conversations with custom- ers and builds your blog site as the most trusted destination for information and testimonials about your products and services. Although blogging has become mainstreamin selected tech-centric communities, thereremains a considerable growth opportunityin most vertical markets. With only one infour Fortune 500 companies currently blog-ging, you can still be the first in your sectorto use blogging to grow your business andstrengthen your customer relationships.17 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 18. key trends for 2011: i together a blog and skimp on design and see 2011 being the year businesses really content. For proof, simply compare sites from embrace blogs and realize that regard- before to what sites are now. less of the industry, blogging gives you All in all, it’s more difficult to be success- sAmir an advantage that you shouldn’t forego. ful online now than it was before. That being Aside from possibly publishing a book, noth- said, with hard work and dedication, busi- ing proves expertise better than a strong blog. nesses can still make their blogs work for BAlwAni Blogs give others the ability to peer into the business mentality, culture, and mission. them; it simply takes more sophistication and forethought compared to before. ABouT The AuThor starting a BLog in 2011: samir Balwani is a digital Without a doubt, 2011 is the year to start a marketing strategist, helping blog. Online, early adopters are given an ad- businesses create holistic vantage over those that delay. marketing solutions. His areas of expertise include digital The longer a blog is around, the more posts communications, online marketing, it accrues. The more pub- and new media pr. lished content a blog has, the more traffic it generates and Blog: more authority it commands. If your If your business doesn’t have business Twitter: @samirbalwani a blog and isn’t publishing doesn’t content, every day is a missed have a blog opportunity. and isn’t publishing cHaLLenges in 2011: content, One of the biggest challenges every day to businesses online is that is a missed users are becoming savvier. opportu- Before, businesses could put nity.18 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 19. corporate BLogging in 2011: options. Blogs are communication channels, ineVitaBLe cHanges s even if very few people sometimes actually ome people think that blogging is a respond to the posts. There are much larger thing of the past. And that corporate communities of readers, visitors and ‘fans’ J-P de blogs are ubiquitous. surrounding good blogs than the ones that Wrong. Even though are visible. And even reading about your we have been discussing the company’s story, about what you know and clercK importance of blogs for many years and all the changes in the area of social media and Dialogue is more per- about the people behind the company walls is a form of dialogue. This is taken up a notch by, for example, giving comments, register- ABouT The AuThor sonal and mobile have placed the sub- can lead to ing for the blog newsletter, subscribing to J-P de clerck is an experienced ject in a forgotten corner, cor- relation- the RSS feeds, following the Twitter account international blogger and marketing porate blogs are anything but ships and and much more. From that moment on, the consultant. He is specialized in widely distributed, as proven ultimately dialogue is more personal and content marketing, cross-channel marketing (email, social, by various studies conducted business. can lead to relationships and search,...), conversion in 2010. So, what are my pre- ultimately business. optimization, online media and the dictions for 2011? Blogging multi-channel use of content from an integrated, customer-centric more companies wiLL BLog: 5 reasons 2. Blogs are ‘hubs’ in the often is the complex ‘hub and spoke’ first step and data-driven perspective. You model of social media. The towards can connect with him via Twitter. I believe that companies will blog much more term ‘hub and spoke’ is used using J-P is also manager of the Social Marketing Forum. in 2011. There are various reasons for this. amongst others in aviation social and is a star-shaped model media. Blog: author/conversionation/ 1. Parallel with the increased use of social media, even in B2B, there is a need for other forms of dialogues between compa- whereby a central hub con- trols various star points and the star points lead back to the ‘hub’ In social media the . Twitter: @conversionation nies and (potential) clients. Or should I say: model is more complex because there may be between people working for the blogging various hubs and the various star points (so- company and other people. Blogs offer many cial presences used by a company for exam-19 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 20. J-P de clercKple) form a part of connected networks. Blogs important role. With the rise of social func- the various ‘target groups’ that you want toplay a centrifugal role in the distribution of tions in search engines and the increased talk with and that the people producing thiscontent and the establishment of social in- importance of content in the “findability” of content and responding to content of oth-teractions which, in turn, lead to interaction- a company, blogs are invaluable for content ers, come out and are treated as real humantriggered, user-generated or conversation- marketing, search engine marketing and beings of flesh and blood, not “labels” Blogs .induced content and stories. Blogs are the ‘inbound marketing’ just about all forms used , allow a more personal communication ap-websites of the social and viral Web. Compa- by people to find what they are searching for proach.nies are starting to realize this. and thus get to know your content, stories, blog posts and company. four cHanges tHat wiLL occur3. A brand and company is strongly in- fluenced by people, experiences andstories. This has always been the case, it is 5. People are genuinely tired of the stiff corporate language and the dull tone witH BLogging companies For companies that blog actively, there are also many challenges and changes ahead forsimply more obvious now. Companies are of classic corporate communication. Why? 2011.advised to “let go” of their brand more. Andrightly so. Very few experts, however, alsoactually recommend how to do this in prac- Because it is not actually communication. The word communication comes from the same linguistic stem as “community” and 1. Blogs should and will be much more integrated in a multi-channel approach. Interactions have to be realized between “(in) common.” Communication takes placetice. A company blog is a very important step various channels depending on the commu-for many companies. And for a lot of them it between at least two people. nication and information preferences of theis also a very difficult step. But it’s impossible And many companies had reader/visitor. The days in which blogs wereto stop the evolution towards more empow- forgotten that. By personal- independent from other channels are finallyered customers and that is exactly why more izing the language, the inter- over. The content placed on the blog and Blogscompanies will blog. In my experience (and action and the topics, com- produced by the community will be included should and will be panies are able to win backthat of many others) blogging often is the first more in other communication channels and,step towards using social media. much more lost faith. Authenticity and in return, people will have more possibilities integrated transparency are very impor- for a customized “blog experience” and this4. People are much more actively searching in a multi- for information in preparation to their channel tant. But this is only the basis. Much more important is that via the channels of their choice.purchases. ‘Content’ search engines, social ,recommendations and comments play an approach. the ‘content’ of the com- munication is customized to 2. Companies will start increasingly more blogs, besides the blogs they already20 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 21. J-P de clercKhave, and let go of their own brand. They will for their readers and customers. I would even zating and keeping the stories alive becomefocus more on the themes that interest their go as far as to recommend companies, in much more important.various target groups and are related to theiractivities. The “one size fits all” corporate blogis no longer good enough. Blogs should first the ambit of ‘co-opetition’ (the title of a great book), to start thematic blogs containing content of “colleagues” Companies have to . 5. Companies should and will let go of their company- and even thoughtleader- centric and narcissistic blogging models.of all aim at nurturing interest-based com- be more open for other parties and cooperate Don’t (only) think of blogs as PR-instruments.munities to enter them into the influence closely in their blogs. Nor should you think of them as a means tosphere of the blogging company, without its indicate just how good and smart you are.brand(s) being too prominent. It’s not shout-ing but of course businesses can show whatthey offer and stand for. Doing this, blogs 4. Companies should think of their blogs as publications. Which also refers to setting up editorial calendars, transpar- You should even think of them less as SEO optimization tools. Think more of them as channels for dialogues and concentrate onwill also become “spokes” and networks will ent planning and thematic or other series. what the people that are visiting them want.become at the same time more complex and A blog is not something on which you oc- The rest will simply follow. The only thingmore relevant, with all hubs reinforcing each casionally post something. The community you should do is to be ready when someoneother, the brand and the offered value. around your blog has expectations, as is the wants to do more than simply visit your blog: case with any other medium. Focus on the so prepare the necessary “lead generation”3. Guest blogs will become more impor- tant, and the “opening up” of corporateblogs for other blogs and bloggers in general expectations; provide subjects and series that people look forward to. Follow the multi-media path instruments for when the reader is ready for essential. Content curation and aggregation more and turn your blogsmodels will also become more important. into full fledged interactive ContentCompanies have to optimize the value of media. By setting up editorial curationtheir blogs and offer the content in various calendars in function of what and ag-ways. Just as private bloggers, they need to is going on in the market and gregationtap more into the network effects of a con- models will events taking place duringnected blogosphere. Many companies don’t also be- specific periods in the lifeallow guest bloggers, don’t provide links to come more cycle of your target group, theother blogs or include neutral observations important. value of your blog increasesfrom third-party bloggers, that are of value even more. Planning, organi-21 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 22. driVe tHe conVersation ments empowers B2B marketers to drive the witH B2B BLogging w conversation in a 24/7 news cycle, especially cece hile more and more corpora- when competitors remain silent. tions have started a blog this The challenges? How to curate the corpo- past year, we have not fully rate blog content and leverage it across the sAlomon-lee realized the full potential of B2B Blogging to drive marketing and PR objec- tives forward. I envision 2011 to be the year B2B marketing channels. And how to balance the business objectives of the blog with the transparency, honesty and con- ABouT The AuThor when marketers move from “broadcasting” a publish- versation that organically grows cece salomon-lee is principal of company-related news into a publishing ing plat- around any successful blog. PR Meets Marketing, which platform to provide insight and commentary form to explores the intersection of PR, on industry news. provide marketing, and social media. This ability to provide real-time analysis of insight industry trends and competitor announce- and com- Blog: mentary on industry Twitter: @csalomonlee news.22 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 23. w elcome to the era of “content content. Provide an appetizer (catchy title, snacking” Attention span is di- . meaty summary) before inviting your reader minishing and as a result con- to the full-course meal. tent consumption is changing. AmBAl Notice how we consume content as continu- ous feeds - blog posts, twitter updates, short BAlAKrishnAn podcasts, 2 minute videos etc? Respect Information overload is an understatement. your target Multitasking cannot be avoided. Attention is audience’s at an all-time premium. This can be a major time. ABouT The AuThor problem for B2B bloggers and marketers OR Ambal Balakrishnan is the Co-founder of it can be an opportunity for those who chose ClickDocuments. She is a technologist- to look at it from a different perspective, the turned-marketer. Ambal spent about a decade “content snacking” perspective. in the Corporate world in various roles – engineering, program management, business What if we B2B bloggers and marketers pre- development, strategy and marketing for package content with a brief summary? This premium and fast growing product divisions will allow your target audience (blog reader, at fortune 500 companies. Ambal received her potential client or customer) MBA from Wharton, univ. of Penn and Masters to get a flavor of the content in Computer Science from Purdue university. before digging deeper to Attention finding out more. Blog: span is Example: Story Highlights Twitter: diminishing (3-4 bullet points) for CNN. and as com articles. a result content consumption action for 2010: is changing. Respect your target audi- ence’s time. Minimize your23 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 24. key trends in B2B BLogging for 2011 m arketers will seek more personal- ized interaction with consumers The influence JeFF in 2011. Creative methods of social marketing that encourage engage- of social ment will become the norm – along with a search KorhAn noticeable decrease in traditional brand mar- keting. This will be reflected in the content and voice of business blogs. will have a profound effect on ABouT The AuThor all aspects The influence of social search will have Jeff Korhan is a new media and of social a profound effect on all aspects of social small business marketing speaker marketing. marketing. As more companies begin to and trainer, a frequent guest understand how social interaction and shar- blogger, and a social media columnist. He applies over three ing works to create contextual maps that decades of marketing experience to personalize their brands, they will intensify helping entrepreneurs and small their blogging efforts to create and curate that business owners capitalize on content. emerging Web marketing trends. Blog: Twitter: @jeffkorhan24 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 25. T he biggest trend I see for B2B blog- if you’Ve not started a BLog yet, ging next year is increased adoption. is 2011 tHe year to do so? wHy or As more B2B marketers confront the wHy not? constant need to fuel the demands for If you haven’t started a corporate blog, get ArdATh content, blogging can give them the edge. A moving now. As David Meerman Scott coach- blog post can be very com- es us, marketing is a real-time endeavor. With pelling with only about 350 a blog, you can respond quickly to a market AlBee words on a tightly focused topic. Your posts can be shared on social networks to A blog trend or business development. We all know that prospects prefer to self-serve their con- tent. If updating your corporate website is a ABouT The AuThor post can pull inbound traffic, help to timely undertaking, you need to have a way to Ardath Albee, CEO of her firm be very boost search engine results compelling publish content quickly and a blog provides Marketing Interactions, Inc., helps and promote interactive with only the platform for doing so. B2B companies with complex sales dialogue. Blog posts can also about 350 Prospects also want value in create eMarketing strategies and contagious content that turns be used in nurturing pro- words on addition to products. To give prospects into buyers. She writes grams, eNewsletters and to a tightly your company a competitive the Marketing Interactions blog and earn media mentions. With focused advantage, get your expertise If you her book, eMarketing Strategies for prospects short on time, a topic. onto a blog and let it shine. haven’t the Complex Sale, was released last quick 2-minute read can often The other advantage to a blog started a fall by McGraw-Hill. Ardath’s clients produce the engagement you need to spike is that no heavy production is corporate include, Cisco, FPX, Avid their interest to learn more from you and your required. Type, save and pub- blog, get Technology, Tyco Electronics and BMC Software. company. The challenge, of course, is the lish. Yes, it’s that fast. Blogs, moving discipline of writing. Writing short and doing done well, can provide your now. it well is a skill that B2B marketers need to company with a competitive Blog: acquire and polish. advantage. The only reason I can think of not to have a blog is if you can’t dedicate the Twitter: @ardath421 resources to keep it current. There’s nothing worse than a stagnant blog. This said, if you weigh the pros and cons, I think you’ll find a25 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 26. ArdATh AlBeecompelling case for making a blog an integralpart of your B2B marketing mix.wHat new cHaLLenges migHt existin 2011 around B2B BLogging? The challenge for blogging in 2011 will befresh ideas. With the avalanche of availableinformation, there is a lot of “me too” infor-mation out there. B2B marketers need tocontinually source ideas differently than theirprospects will find elsewhere. And that willraise the level of difficulty for many. Other-wise your blog will be seen as contributing tothe noise, rather than a desirable destinationfor fresh and credible expertise. Be dry, stuffyand repetitive at the risk of losing your audi-ence. Instead, challenge yourself to come upwith new takes on the issues that interest yourprospects and customers. The ultimate chal-lenge with blogging is making it more than anitem on your marketing “to do” list.26 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 27. key trends for 2011: start BLogging in 2011: Start Now! 1 More and more blogs will appear (about 1.5 million blog posts are Syndicated A A Blog allows you to communicate to the Internet at large newsworthy items con- published a week already). content will eric cerning your company. I believe the social me- continue as a rapid growth goldmAn dia monitoring tools like Radian6 and Sysomos will thus need to become even area. B A blog is also a great way to boost your rankings on Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs. When you write a post, you can use smarter at sifting through this sea of posts to your keywords in it and each occurrence of ABouT The AuThor find ones that are relevant to your own “con- these words helps to boost your site’s author- eric goldman is the CEO of versation” . ity in the search engine’s eyes. Gossamar, one of Canada’s leading 2 c Inbound Marketing Automation Posts individually have to get better. Inbound Marketing Automation relies on consultants. We bring 60 years of business to business experience to Aiming for visibility above all those posts using the content on your site to engage bear on providing Marketing, means your own posts have to be factual, visitors once they arrive. Blogs are an im- Software Development and Sales provide real information (value), and above portant part of this con- and Marketing Automation Process all, be entertaining. tent, as blogs allow you to design for SMBs. demonstrate your thought- Blog: 3 Syndicated content will continue as a rapid growth area. As more and more people learn something about SEO and the leadership clearly. If you successfully demonstrate leadership in this way, your Blogs allow you to Twitter: @gossamar demonstrate importance of external links to your own blog’s readership will grow your site, I believe more people will embrace the and with it your reputation thought- concept of sharing their posts to gain the ad- as a leader, which in turn leadership ditional links. will attract yet more readers, and so it goes…27 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 28. 2011 will be the year will be that many new B2B that the B2B blogs will not have content companies widely quality, publication fre- recognize the quency, personal touch, SEO An aptitude, or any other compo- explosion JAy importance of having a viable blog. Social media and online content creation is actu- nent of success. If there is an of bad B2B ally more important for B2B companies than explosion of B2B blogs - and blogs. BAer it is for B2C companies. That’s because B2B usually has fewer customers (magnifying the peer influence of each); B2B is often a highly I believe there will be - there will also be an explosion of bad B2B blogs. This is because a blog is much more of a liv- ABouT The AuThor considered, researched purchase; and B2B ing organism than is a website. It has to be Jay Baer is a tequila-loving, often relies more on search watered and pruned and cared for consist- hype-free social media strategist. - which blogging impacts ently. And many B2B companies won’t put in He’s the founder of Convince & significantly. that level of effort - yet. Convert, a leading social media strategy firm, and author of the B2B companies will popular Convince & Convert blog. Social recognize that blogging is His first book, The NOW Revolution media a relatively easy an inex- (co-authored with Amber Naslund) and online pensive way to accomplish will be released February 1. content three important communi- creation cation task: humanize the Blog: is actually company to drive kinship more and purchase preference; Twitter: @jaybaer important answer questions among for B2B prospective customers (in- companies creasing conversion rate); than it is and widening the cus- for B2C tomer funnel through better companies. search optimization. The challenge, however,28 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 29. s ocial media and blogging use by B2B SafeNet employee Holger isn’t as prevalent as B2C today, but Schultze, this group on it will catch-up. It’s similar to how LinkedIn connected over Google played out for B2B. Many 67,000 people interested in The first discussing cloud computing, step is to eriK thought there would be special search verti- cals for B2B and that Google was a pure B2C data protection, encryption, listen. play, but what we saw instead was delay of hacking with other people in QuAlmAn 1-2 years before B2B realized they could use Google in a similar fashion as B2C compa- nies. the industry. SafeNet cultivated relationships and eventual business from this group. Vocus is an On-Demand Software for ABouT The AuThor Public Relations addressing the critical func- erik Qualman is the author of two Quick exampLes of companies tions of PR including media relations, news Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do utiLiZing BLogging and sociaL me- distribution and news monitoring. Vocus business. dia to capture saLes: achieved $500,000 in new sales by blogging He is an MBA Professor at the Hult SafeNet is the third largest information se- and posting about changes in the Public Rela- International Business School. For curity company in the world, which brings tions industry. What they found to work bet- the past 16 years Qualman has to market integrated so- ter than their own blog posts, was highlight- helped grow the digital capabilities lutions required to solve ing relevant post by others around the public of many companies including customers’ increasing relations industry. Cadillac, Earthlink, EF Education, security challenges. The The first step is to listen. All B2B compa- Yahoo, Travelzoo and AT&T. What they organization serves more found to nies should start monitoring what is being than 25,000 corporate and work better said about their company, brand, executives, Blog: government customers than their etc. If there isn’t much being said about the Twitter: @equalman in 100 countries. SafeNet own blog company then one needs to listen to your garnered $1,000,000 in posts, was customer’s customer. For example, if you sell revenue by setting up a highlighting coffee sleeves or coffee stirs to Dunkin’ Do- group on LinkedIn called relevant nuts, then start monitoring for any customers “Information Security post by complaining about these at Dunkin’ Donuts. Community.” Managed by others29 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 30. i n 2011, we’ll see an audiences. Large companies may find that increase in the number B2B blogging is not a strategic fit for a corpo- of B2B blogs, particu- rate wide blog, but does work for certain lines larly among Inc. 500 and B2B blogging of business, or for specific audiences. For ex- has proven hArry Fortune 500 companies. A ample, Bank of America has a pair of studies by the Center to be a thriving blog aimed at its own for Marketing Research at worthy retail level employees, but has hoover the University of Massachu- tactic, so setts Dartmouth has taken a look at these groups and we’ll see continued no active, public facing blog. focused on narrow ABouT The AuThor their blogging habits. Since acceptance, audiences. harry hoover is co-owner of My 2007, there has been steady Creative Team, a North Carolina growth in the percentage of marketing agency thatdevelops and these companies blogging. designs websites and online applications, produces corporate At the end of 2009, 45% of Inc. 500 compa- videos, and does print and nies were blogging. In 2010, 23% of Fortune packaging design for Fortune 500 500 corporations report having blogs. Rapidly firms such as lowe’s, Newell growing firms, like the Inc. 500, look for ways Rubbermaid, Nucor, and National to stay ahead of the competition, so they tend Gypsum. He has been B2B blogging to adopt new technology and tactics quicker. since 2005, at THINKing, http:// That will continue. Fortune 500 companies don’t like to be pioneers, trying things that may not work for Blog: them. B2B blogging has proven to be a worthy tactic, so we’ll see continued acceptance, but Twitter: @MyCreativeTeam probably not explosive growth, among larger firms this year. Much of the B2B blogging at the Fortune 500 firms, I believe, will be focused on narrow30 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 31. T he social ecosystem of different kinds of homebases, but it should around an organiza- be pretty clear that a well-designed and man- tion, company or aged blog ticks all of these boxes. If you have brand is made up If you don’t one, concentrate on making it awesome and have a blog mAddie of a homebase - your own on connecting it (by commenting on oth- website or very active official yet, start ers’ blogs and linking to existing conversa- public space - and outposts, one today. tions) to the wider blogosphere around your grAnT which are a mix of official and unofficial public sites like Facebook or LinkedIn groups and Twitter industry. Use it to feed your other outpost spaces, but consider the social etiquette for each space (meaning don’t shotgun blast ABouT The AuThor communities. We see a key trend for 2011 in everything everywhere). If you don’t have maddie grant is co-author of organizations understanding the complexity a blog yet, start one today. If you have any Open Community and her consulting and importance of the relationships between content worth talking about, you have fodder firm, SocialFish, helps associations all of these online spaces. for a blog. Think you suck at writing? Or only and nonprofits build community on the social web. She can be found Given that, if your homebase is the heart write in marketing-speak? Then find others blogging daily at SocialFishing: of your ecosystem, it needs to be the place to write for you on a regular where people know they can find you and basis. Don’t worry about blog where you can be completely clear about why template features or the look Blog: your organization or business exists and how of it or how often you should your community can help you achieve what- post or ideal post length - all Having Twitter: @maddiegrant ever goals you have. A good homebase has of that stuff will happen as a good some crucial elements: frequent updates, you practice and find your blog is the two-way interaction, openness (about who voice. Having a good blog is number is speaking and about the kind of informa- the number one best thing one best tion you’re sharing), searchability (public you can do to grow your busi- thing you content), and shareability - content that is ness (or helping your clients can do to interesting enough to pass along and the grow theirs) in 2011. grow your mechanisms, like sharing buttons, to make it business easy for people to do just that. There are lots31 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 32. i think one of the key trends is one that is company, and find out how already in process: If you don’t have a cor- much they actually care about porate blog already, you are way behind customers. The potential the curve. Potential customers coming to customer will scan the head- your corporate KrisTin a website in search of a B2B product expect to lines and think, “Is this infor- find a blog. It serves a specific purpose be- mation helpful to me? Or are blog must yond any of the other pages on the website. they simply talking to them- stand out ZhivAgo We are starting to see firm standards for a successful corporate blog. First, not only the CEO contributes (and in many companies, selves?” In other words, “Who are these folks, and what do they care about? Do they care among all the others in your ABouT The AuThor the CEO does not contribute). Second, the industry. about me?” Kristin Zhivago is president of articles are getting shorter and more to the The challenge going forward Zhivago Management Partners, Inc. point. Third, too many companies have been is to answer that customer She is a “revenue coach” who helps generating content that is typical of “insider question in the affirmative. In order for your CEOs and entrepreneurs increase their revenue by understanding thinking,” such as the musings of one of the blog to carry its weight as a marketing tool, what their customers want to buy company’s programmers on the subject of your corporate blog must stand out among from them and how they want to good programming practices and/or an anal- all the others in your industry. It has to be the buy it. Her new book, “Roadmap to ysis of the tools that program- one that customers not only visit, but book- Revenue: How to sell the way your mers use. This content is easy mark and/or add it to their preferred content customers want to buy,” will be for the programmer to write, alert/reader systems. released early in 2011. but does little to answer the The only way for that to happen is to ask questions buyers ask as they If you don’t customers what they’d like to know more Blog: are in the process of making have a about. Your current customers will tell you their buying decision. corporate which questions they were hoping to find Twitter: @kristinzhivago What purpose does a “good” blog the answers to when they came to your blog. blog serve in the customer’s already, Potential customers will have those same buying process? It allows the you are questions. Your content should be aimed at potential customer to get to way answering those questions. know the people inside the behind the In addition, your blog should help your curve.32 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 33. KrisTin ZhivAgocurrent customers use your product more ef-fectively. There are dozens of ways to educateyour buyers. Prospective customers comingto your blog will take note of that helpfulness,and will decide that they want to do businesswith your company.33 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 34. T he best blogs are recording that narrates the blog. conversational in I have a blog where I focus on social busi- nature. They aren’t ness--but under that umbrella there are quite heavy with corporate the best a few related real-life topics. I try not to repeat bloggers use BlAKe jargon. The content is clear the same stuff that everyone else is saying. and simplistic in addition to story-telling The me-too game gets old fast. being easy to read. Some of as a tactic In 2011 we will see more companies create lAndAu the more popular blogs--like to draw Seth Godins--share stories that draw from real life. conclusions about the brands with the face of one of their employ- ees. My personal brand is just as important to me as what I am working on professionally. ABouT The AuThor Some of the best bloggers business The lines are blurring between what I say with Blake landau is a writer and use story-telling as a tactic to world. my work hat, and what I say in my personal social media strategist. She has draw conclusions about the socialsphere. experience working in social business world. For example Rosabeth Moss With regard to old school marketing, push business software, the contact center space and conference Kanter of Harvard Business Review writes a messaging will become increasingly scarce. production for senior executives. compelling blog and a lot of her commentary Consumers are sick of it. Marketers-as they She loves cooking and writes a food draws parallels between two possibly unre- compete for eyeballs--will blog called The Blakery. lated topics. Her blog is of interest to people have to work harder to who are not solely coming from the business make themselves interest- Blog: world. Her content is very relevant to real life. ing. Marketers will have to Corporate blogs--those hosted on the verse themselves in com- In 2011 we Twitter: @blakelandau company website--never get as much traffic munity management which will see more as those that are run by individuals off the will become key critical to companies corporate website. the marketing community. create We are seeing more mashed-up content. brands with For example written content might be cou- the face of pled with a vlog, podcast and Tweet stream. one of their One trend I would like to see disappear are employees. blogs that have an audio component-a digital34 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 35. wiLL tHe commerciaLiZation ability with readers because of BLogging kiLL it? of commercialization of the Blogs play a vital role when customers are medium? It is estimated that searching for product information: 70% of 900,000 new blogs are created One thing is certain, scoTT individuals turn to user or customer reviews each day, so we have to ask, or ratings before purchasing a product. In which ones are only in it for how addition, 90% of online trust recommenda- the money? Expect new rating blogs are gillum tions from people they know while 70% trust reviews and recommendation from people they do not know1. To understand the context sites to come online and for Google to roll out tools that allow readers to rate blog written, used, searched ABouT The AuThor of these figures, a mere 14% of individuals sites. One thing is certain: for, and r. scott gillum rated will trust direct advertising. how blogs are written, used, Scott currently heads the Channel Marketing certainly Companies and agencies have taken note searched for, and rated will practice, and the DC office for GyroHSR, a B2B change in of this fact. Bloggers are constantly fielding certainly change in 2011. agency. Previously, he was a management 2011. consultant for 12 years. Scott has been named to calls from agencies and companies asking 1 Research from GyroHSR’s several “best of” lists as a B2B blogger. He also them to blog about or mention a product or Channel Insights white paper has authored a chapter on Channel Marketing that company in their posts. entitled; The Impact of the Great Recession will appear upcoming book entitled Advice From One of the most popular and Social Media on Sales & Marketing Inte- the Top – The Expert Guide to B2B Marketing, to be blogs is totally dedicated gration, December 2010. published by the Business Marketing Association. to teaching others how to His work on integrated sales and marketing funnels Blogs play a vital profit from blogging. Other was the subject of a Harvard Business School case role when digital “cottage industries” study. customers like Business to Bloggers, are are recruiting “for profit” Blog: searching bloggers to hawk every- Twitter: @scottgillum for product thing from baby clothing to information: gift wrap. The question for 2011 is will blogs lose credit-35 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 36. key trends in 2011: The English Cut blog <http://www.english- I believe that there will be a return to basics in> was one of the first corporate blogs 2011. In the past, people thought of blogs as and is still one of the best. Why? Well, it give a vehicle for SEO, as a platform for shameless away the farm. The blog was not about how chris self-promotion, as just a place for very long- cool you would look in a bespoke, Savile winded “letters from the CEO,” and especially Row suit. It was a daily or weekly spyglass places where companies mainly just an- into the world of high-end English tailoring, ABrAhAm nounce things. In 2011, we’ll see B2B blogs return to where they started and what they should be. Blogs old-world style. It was -- and is -- a process blog. It goes into the people, the fabric, the techniques, traditions, the quality, the sizing ABouT The AuThor started out to be much more process-orient- and the wear around the sort of suit made chris Abraham, President and COO of Abraham ed literally a “web log” -- blog. This is akin to in the traditional, old world style. The goal Harrison llC, is an Internet analyst and Web a captain’s log or an adventurer’s log or even of the blog is, of course, to offer services -- to strategy specialist with expertise in Web 2.0 something much more like the letter writ- sell suits. However, when it comes to drop- technologies, including content syndication, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated ing or journal writing of the past. In the past, ping more than $1,000 on a garment, you are media. Chris has had an influential web presence journals and diaries were written very care- investing -- learning to trust -- in the values since 1993 and started blogging in 1999, focusing fully because they would eventually be re- and priorities of the tailor and his shop as on community, connection, innovation, and brand hashed into either a memoir or willed to sons well as on end-quality of the suit of clothes extension. Chris received his BA in American and daughters upon death. Really part of a itself. Words like “tradition” and “quality” literature from The George Washington legacy, as the blog should always have been. and the sense of having something “made university, studied American literature at the And I believe that companies will again -- 5 just for me” is as important university of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and years later -- stop being sneaky or salesy or as the perfect cut and the studied French at the university of Hawaii. pitchy. They will go back to writing a process best quality fabric. Many blog -- a “what we do and read and think on a big decisions are emotional, Blog: daily basis.” Readers will begin to know who and blogs allow companies There is you are on a more personal, intimate, intel- to build much more of a nothing Twitter: @chrisabraham lectual, and values-oriented way. In other perceived personal bond in worse than words, the blog will say a lot about what mat- a way that can truly touch a ghost ters most to that company or organization. many more people. This is town.36 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 37. chris ABrAhAma much more efficient way of sharing your so forth. They won’t come back. They won’t dit, etc. You should also make sure that youvalues than by meeting folks by sponsoring trust you any more. have your blog set up to auto post new Face-conferences and events only. If you’re going to do this, you had better re- book Page wall posts and tweets the moment I warn people not to commit to blogging if source it right. Get the right people in. Com- your new blog post goes live. Today, readerseveryone you ask thinks that blogging is BS mit to funding for at least 12-18 months and may want to get their blog updates via email,and that they’ll only do it if you make them. don’t get gun shy at month 3 or 6 and then Facebook, or Twitter. Asking them to remem-It amazes me how many offices have some- cancel the project. ber to visit your blog via some bookmark isone who happily puts together an elaborate Don’t do it! not going to work anymore.newsletter every week or month and also put Companies who use a blog as an essentialtogether elaborate emails and so forth and yet start a BLog in 2011: part of their business marketing and com-considered blogging to be either too tough or Don’t worry. Blogging died (and Facebook munications plan are now much better attoo hard or too below him or her. and Twitter took over) and then blogging was it, and they have a lot less competition. The If you don’t have someone who really loves reborn. This is a perfect time. Blogs are awe- land rush is over and there are still a dearthit, is motivated to brainstorm and collaborate, some for SEO, Google still loves blogs more of “best of” examples of blogs that are con-and is ready to get the people who matter to than anything else. People are still monitor- sistent, open, engaging, interesting, reliable,contribute a little something for the blog on ing and reading blogs. And now, because of honest, friendly, and personable.a weekly basis, then hire someone else -- or digg, Twitter, Facebook, the iPad, and all the People are still too often treating blogsbetter yet, outsource to my agency! rest, is it easy for people to share your amaz- and blog posts like they’re status reports to There is nothing worse than a ghost town ing blog content with their friends, associates, their boss or book reports to their teachers.-- if you’re not able to commit to at least a partners, and venture capitalists. They’re too stiff and you can tell that theycouple posts-a-week, every week, forever, This is a perfect time. There are more peo- either don’t want to do it or are scared thatthan you had better just wait until 2012 when ple online now than there have ever been and they’ll either do it wrong or that they’ll not beyou have your priorities right and you’re not they’re more savvy. They also feel entitled to professional enough. Peoplewasting everyone’s time. assume that anyone worth anything can be who are not passionate about If you start a blog all hot and heavy and reached anywhere: Twitter, Facebook, blogs, writing have a hard timethen trail off and then it stops around month etc. This makes social media and online pumping out content. Peoplesix (if I had a nickel for every time that hap- monitoring is essential in 2011. So is making who are risk averse, also, will This is apened to a blog...), then you’re just going to sure that all of your new blog posts can be always play it safe and will run perfectdisappoint your followers, your readers, and shared to Twitter, Facebook, digg, Buzz, red- their posts through their very time.37 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 38. chris ABrAhAmown “dull small talk at the company Christ- might need to also add “customer support” tomas party with the boss” filter, too. marcom -- as we see on a daily basis on Twit- ter and Facebook. People want their queriesdifferences in 2011: and questions solved and answered. I haveThe blog will need to be part of an integrated seem some terrible instances of siloing andmarketing and communications plan. It what universities call departmental separa-would be great if the blogger him or herself tion... Marketing, public affairs, PR, commu-could also be the tweeter and the face behind nications, advertising, the C-suite, and cus-the Facebook page. tomer service and support have an awesome The blog is a community and the comments opportunity to play together and collaborateneed to be on because all the magic happens some all with the express aim of meeting thenot in the prepared speech but in the ques- needs of the customers and clients.tions and answers afterwards. The peoplewho blog need to either have a staff to make new cHaLLenges in 2011:sure that all questions and queries are ad- At the end of the day, the challenges in 2011dressed and that inappropriate (not simple are much the same as they have been: under-challenging or nega- blogging, under-monitoring, not respondingtive) comments are or engaging visitors quickly enough, as wellmoderated. Quickly as issued of moderating, misinformation,and timely. The com- part of an or other ways of using your words and yourments and @replies integrated blogs and your messages against you. Onethat pop up on blogs marketing and new one is that maybe 2011 is the year of theand social networks communications social media crisis plan!and in emails are not plan.just community build-ing but also essential and public opportuni-ties to serve the customer and offer solutions.Make it timely. Heck in addition to market-ing and communications, in 2011 that plan38 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 39. B logging is clearly one of the most 2011 is often cited as the powerful tactics for B2B when con- year of ‘curation’ People . sidering social media. It allows for 3 and algorithmic curations main benefits: google search visibility like those embodied in the In 2011, B2B blogging yAnn (long tail), thought leadership and inbound iPad application FlipBoard, blogger outreach. Most businesses struggle web applicaton or will be to get started in blogging however, as they places like, increasingly roPArs lack an understanding of what to blog about and why it is important to go through such hard work. People leading a brand’s blogging are all trying to increase the signal to noise ratio important. and their use is on the rise. This trend will ABouT The AuThor efforts need to understand that it’s not about increase pressure on average quality content yann ropars runs A themselves nor the brand they represent. (you just won’t be seen as relevant and worth PR 2.0, Inbound Marketing, Social It’s about the constituency and their need to curating). Blogging quickly and strongly dif- Media Agency. He is passionate learn new things related to the brand. Start- ferentiates brands and content creators, so about humans, web startups & new media. ing a blog is also a very big commitment and brands need to increasingly see themselves if a company doesn’t commit a team to this, it as journalists of their own industry. They are Blog: will fail and quickly become here to inform and curate, becoming central a waste of time and resourc- to the market in which they playing. If they Twitter: @yannr es. In 2011, B2B blogging will can do that, they will reap the benefits of all be increasingly important as that is to come in 2011. companies wake up to the Blogging is fact social networks are low clearly one hanging fruit and bring lower of the most rewards as referral mecha- powerful nisms. Blogging, on the other tactics for hand, allows brands to cut B2B when through the social media considering clutter and this will become social increasingly important as media.39 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 40. summAry featuring many of the people who B2B marketing professionals leverage contributed to this white paper. Aggregage’s topic sites to reach their specific audience. Our topic-centeredTom and I would like to thank each of sites aggregate the most engagingthe contributors. We have received aBout aggregage content available online around yourconsiderable value from their input. We Aggregage is the Next Generation of specific market segment. If you are suchhope that you have as well. Business Media. Aggregage creates online a marketing professional, visit www.If you’d like to continue to receive communities by bringing together content to view the topic sites wevalue from these experts, we’d highly from the best sources around particular have already launched. If you see yourrecommend that you subscribe to: topics. We identify a topic (e.g., social industry, contact me to discuss how we • Aggregage Central - collecting the very media, eLearning, careers, leadership, can help you build your brand and deliver best content around aggregation, etc.), find high-quality blogs around that on your marketing objectives. Contact curation and marketing topic, and then display those posts on a me even if you don’t see your industry; it’s • Aggregage Blog - Tony’s continued targeted site dedicated to that given topic. very likely a site we have in the works to writing about these topics As an example, our site on eLearning has launch soon. Contact me at tony.karrer@ • B2B Marketing Zone & Social Media now become the highest traffic site on that Informer - content communities around topic. b2b marketing and social media40 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 41. 11. Save Time & Stress – Blog Editorial Calendar 26. Rick Short Explains How to Turn Staff Into Pro-AddiTionAl Template lific Bloggersresources 12. New research shows impact of blogging on 27. Business Blogging – Do You Have What It Takes? your corporate site’s SEOUsing the power of Aggregage to pull together 28. 7 Essential Tools for Business Blogs 13. The Future look of Articles, Blogs and IMsome great resources around particular top- 29. Optimizing Your WordPress Business Blogics, we were able to compile a list of great 14. 5 Tips and Tricks to Make Your Blog ROCK!resources on B2B Blogging. Enjoy! 30. Top 10 List on the Positives of Corporate Blog- 15. The ultimate guide to blogging when you don’t ging have time to blogB2B BLogging Basics 31. Checklist: How to Start a Business Blog1. How to Start a Business Blog or Corporate Blog 16. B2B Blogging Excellence 32. 5 Tips for Business Blogging While Traveling2. How to Launch a Successful Blog in 12 Weeks: 17. How to Write an Effective Business Blog Lessons from Webbiquity 33. The Other 6 P’s of Blogging 18. The Anatomy of a Blog Post3. Easy Steps to Amplify Your Blogging 34. 4 Business Blogging Best Practices 19. 9 Reasons Why You Need to Have a Business4. Is a Blog Just a Container? Blog 35. Business Blogs - Should they be part of your main domain or separate?5. Three Elements of a Winning Blog Post 20. Blog Checklist: 10 Items BEFORE You Publish… 36. Should a Blog be Part of Your Corporate Website6. How to establish a voice of authority in a blog 21. Variety of Content is the Key in the Early Stages or Stand on Its Own?7. 5 Ways to Write a Killer B2B Blog Post 22. 78 Questions to Ask Before Launching a Blog 37. How to Find Killer Topics for Blog Posts8. 37 Reasons to Blog 23. The Four P’s of Effective Business Blogging 38. Ten reasons to blog – even if nobody reads it9. 10 Simple Strategies for Business Blog Content 24. 10 Posts That Re-Energize Your B2B Blog 39. Proper Care and Feeding of a Blog10. 6 Reasons Why Your Blog Is Your Most Important 25. Why Your Blog Beats Your Website to Your 40. Stop boring me with your blogs Social Media Tool Prospects 41. Blog as hub, site as spoke41 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick
  • 42. 42. Linking blogs and newsletters together 8. 5 Ways B2B Blogs Can Fast-Track Marketing curation / aggregation Efforts43. Checklist: How to Start a Business Blog 1. Is Content Curation an Easy Way for Content Marketers to Do More.44. 10 Corporate Blogging Tips and Strategies market your BLog 2. Content Curation in B2B Marketing45. Seven Ways to Revive a Neglected B2B Blog 1. 9 Awesome Ways to Market a Business Blog 3. Content Aggregation: The Future of (B2B and46. B2B Blogging Excellence Consumer) Media? 2. 7 Tips for Getting People to Your B2B Blog47. Tips for Getting More Comments on Your Blog 3. Six killer ways to boost blog traffic and revenue via social media48. 33 Common Business Blog Mistakes 4. Drive Blog Traffic Without Using Twitter 5. Does Your Blog Have a Long Tailusing your BLog to generate 6. 35 Ways to Market Your BlogLeads and moVe tHrougH tHesaLes cycLe1. How to Convert Readers into Clients on Your Blog B2B BLogging roi and metrics2. Using Content to Move Prospects Forward in the Sales Cycle 1. 3 Business Blogs with Proven ROI from Industrial Companies3. How to Use a B2B Blog to Win Customers and Influence Prospects 2. Spoof: Classifying Business Bloggers Based on Industry4. B2B Lead Generation Using a Business Blog 3. Meaningful Metrics for B2B Blogging5. A simple strategy to convert blog visitors into sales leads 4. Blogging Benchmaks: In Search of the Missing Metrics6. Blog to Generate Leads7. Blog Makeover Nets Sales Leads for Software Company42 B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 Tony Karrer and Tom Pick