Anyone can blog. The concept really isn’t difficult to grasp and all of the evidence supports the idea that it can be a game changer for B2B marketers.
In fact, according to HubSpot, companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. And B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month.
That said, while the concept itself is easy to understand, achieving results is much more difficult. What and how you write and publish each post plays a critical role in the overall success of your blog.
Traffic to your blog is a lot like traffic to your website as a whole. If you’re getting 10,000 visitors a month but none of them are converting to leads, the traffic number really doesn’t matter.
The key to success with any blog is writing posts that convert…posts that grab the reader’s attention, engage them and inspire them to want to learn more.
B2B blog posts that convert consistently include five common elements. Here they are.
1. Descriptive, clear and compelling headlines
The first step in getting a reader to convert is getting them to be a reader. Without clearly written, concise, catchy headlines, the chances of someone clicking on and reading your post are slim to none.
According to Neil Patel at Sprout Social, effective headlines should include the four “U’s.”
It’s hard to incorporate all four into any one headline but if you include one or two, chances are your headline will be more compelling.
Additionally, don’t treat headlines like an after-thought. The headline is as important as the body copy. Invest time creating attention-grabbing headlines. It will be a sound investment.
2. Strong introductions – hook the reader
After the title, the next most important element is a strong introduction. Readers want to know why they should care about your topic and you need to deliver the answer to that why in the first paragraph or two.
In this post from HubSpot, the author describes several ways to write strong introductions including:
- Using short sentences
- Using the word “you” at least once
- Saying something unusual or provocative
- Not repeating the title
Another great resource for writing introductions that engage your reader is this article from Neil Patel. Just like his post on writing titles, he goes into a lot of detail and provides many examples of what to do and what not to do.
The key takeaway for introductions is to always be sure you’re establishing the “why.”
3. Eye-catching images
While it may seem like a no-brainer, including an image at the beginning of your post can be the difference between someone clicking and reading and someone just passing it by.
At Imagine, we include a photo with every post and so should you. We don’t follow an exact science when we select images. The key is to select something that is eye-catching but also relevant to your message.
Some B2B marketers create images for each post. Others simply use stock photography and illustrations. Whatever you choose, be sure the images are professional looking and adhere to your company’s branding guidelines.
4. Clean design and layout
The Demand Creator Blog follows a template. We use the same format for every post. Titles and subheads are always the same size as well as bullets.
While consistency and maintaining brand guidelines are important, a clean design and layout can go a long way for readability.
Incorporate subheads and bullets where it makes sense. Most people won’t read every word. Bullets and subheads allow your reader to easily decide which sections to read and which to skip. If your reader feels overwhelmed, they may abandon the post and miss most of your message.
Also consider using bold or italic text or color to emphasize important parts of the post. Highlight key statistics. Use pull quotes.
Remember, it is all about the reader and making it easy for them to find the text that matters most to them.
A blog post cannot convert a reader to a lead without a call-to-action (CTA)…or several. There are many ways to include a CTA.
One way we have found to be effective is including an in-line text CTA like this:
Within the first 1/3 of the post, we insert a link to a landing page for a piece of content relevant to the text. If someone doesn’t read the whole post, they have the opportunity to see the CTA without scrolling to the bottom.
At Imagine, we also use CTAs at the end of each post. See below if you’re wondering what I mean.
You may also consider pop-up or slide-in CTAs within the text of your post. Many marketing automation platforms include that functionality.
BrightInfo is another option to try. It displays additional content options for the reader giving them even more opportunities to convert.
When creating and placing CTAs, it is important that they are clear, relevant and tell the reader exactly what the offer is.
If your blog posts aren’t converting, make sure you’re including these elements. Test different approaches to each one and find something that works for your audience. Blogging can yield great results. Make sure you’re getting the most return from your efforts.