So you've been running a business blog for a while now. Maybe it's hosted on at a different domain to your regular business site, maybe it's not. Maybe you try to be more informal, more conversational than you allow yourself to be on the “real” site.
But what if it's not working?
- What if 90 percent of your daily traffic is from new visitors that don't hang around?
- What if Google Analytics tells you that your I came, I saw, I puked (Bounce) rate is 80 percent plus? (Tip: Check out this site for the best on using Google Analytics
- What if no one's leaving comments, questions or retweeting your posts?
And what if the Hippo (Highest paid person in your organisation) is complaining that the business blog that was given the OK earlier this year is failing miserably and due for the axe and your job along with it?
Nightmare on B2B Blog Street
When disaster strikes and you're failing to build a significant community around your business blog, it's time for action. Ask yourself some searching questions and try to develop a strategy that you can implement and monitor to turn things around. What's more, make sure you put a system in place that will measure your progress!
Do the Data
Rather than just making a subjective assessment of your site and flaying around in the dark as you try to turn things around, turn to concrete data. Look at what Google Analytics tells you about the performance of your site (Cf Content Marketing and Google Analytics 101 – podcast).
For example, three of my favourite questions for clients are:
- What are the top entry pages for your blog?
- What pages get the most clicks from unique users?
- What pages have the highest bounce rate?
Just these three simple questions can give you valuable data that can help you learn and refocus your strategy. For example, let's say you identify a type of post such as a “How To” that has the lowest bounce rate on your site. Perhaps you need to check the frequency of these posts and include more of them, say, one a week.
If you see patterns in your bounce rate â€“ that visitors arrived, checked out the page and rushed away â€“ you should look at these types of pages and think about how they could be failing. For example, are they short, rather whimsical posts or just “latest news about how we're selling loads” that fail to engage? Do you include highly desirable and visible calls-to-action in these posts that will get the visitor checking out more of your site?
If no, then why not?
Community building with a blog ain't easy
Getting people to stick around, engage with a business blog and build a relationship with your company or brand is not easy. In fact, I've witnessed first hand how many businesses massively underestimate what's required to build a successful blog. Typically, they give the task of writing to an inexperience blogger â€“ often a webmaster, who hasn't necessarily got much experience writing kick-ass copy. Other times, they don't provide the time or resources for the blogger to develop great onsite resources. The bottom line is it's imperative you're aware of what's best practice B2B blogging; i.e. including a variety of media in your posts. There's a reason a lot of successful B2B blogs mix their post format up to include text, video and audio, striving to engage, inform and entertain their audience.
Playing Devil's Advocate
Of course, the flip side to all this is that maybe a B2B blog doesn't have to be about community building. Maybe instead it's more about serving a community of fly by visitors that come to your site, never to return!
After all, it IS harder to get comments on a B2B blog. And often people visit a brand blog looking for a key piece of information that will help them with a task or problem:
e.g. How do we get the new printer to work? Do you have an online video that shows me how to use that really expensive app we just bought from you?
So maybe they don't need to stick around and engage at all. Maybe your blog is just a great way of keeping people happy by providing cogent information.
My personal view, however, is that it is worth your while trying to train customers and prospects to stick around your blog. Community matters. You learn so much more about your community if you can get them to engage. You can also introduce them to new products or services that you are developing. There's nothing better, for example, than getting nuanced feedback from existing customers via your blog about how you can improve.
Check out my B2B Business Blog Tips
Got a B2B blog community to recommend?
Go on, share a link or thought about a successful B2B blog that's successfully building community. What strategies do you see that are working? How can we all learn from this?