- First post in our three-part guide on writing B2B technology blogs
- How to write successful technology-focused blogs
- Understanding your audience, adjusting your tone, using calls-to-action and more
Along with being high-quality, your content also needs to be consistent. This is especially true in an industry where there are a lot of organisations that are providing similar solutions or selling similar services. In the Microsoft Partner ecosystem differentiation is critical. And one of the best ways of differentiating your organisation from the competition is through inbound marketing excellence. So, whether you are an ISV with your own product or a consultancy specialising in Microsoft solutions, improvements across your inbound marketing will set you apart.
Putting your organisation in the window
Writing blogs about business problems and how they are solved by specific technology and solutions is useful because it allows you to showcase your organisation’s knowledge of your industry and customers. These types of blogs also showcase you as experts in your field.
While the Microsoft world is large, the best kinds of technology-focused blog posts are usually highly specific about their subject. The blog posts we are talking about are often about niche subjects, such as the ins and outs of migrating from SharePoint 2013 to SharePoint 2016 (for some B2B technology companies, this kind of content comprises their entire output). The advantage of this narrow focus means it’s easier to define who your readers are and provide them with value.
In putting together our annual Top 50 report on the best inbound marketing that Microsoft Partners have to offer, we read a wide variety of blog content. From thought leadership to practical guides on updating your systems, we’ve seen the good and the great; what works and what to avoid. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the most important steps we think you should take when drafting a quality, value-driven, tech-focused blog post.
To download our latest report and see which Microsoft Partners produce the best inbound marketing, click here.
The steps to great B2B technology blog posts
1. Understand your audience
Writing of any kind is always concerned with its audience. The importance of this is even greater when when your subject matter is technology-specific. So, it’s important to ask:
- Who is this blog aimed at? Is this a high-level post that is targeted at decision-makers like the CEO, CFO or CIO? Or will it be targeting a more technical audience, like developers, in which case you can afford to be more esoteric with your language and delve deeper into technical explanations.
- What do you think they hope to get from reading your blog? Are they looking to find a solution to a known issue or bug in a Microsoft solution? Or are they hoping to discover a better solution to a business problem?
Answering these questions will help define how you draft your post.
2. Build structure around problems and solutions
When you are setting out to write a blog about a piece of technology, it is important you remember that age-old writing advice: show don’t tell. A good way of structuring a blog post, no matter how technical the subject matter, is to think of it from a business problem to business solution perspective. This helps you avoid the pitfall of laboriously telling us the features of the tech by instead showing us how it’s useful in a business context.
You might structure your post roughly along the lines of:
- Business problem – perhaps your employees are finding it difficult collaborating
- Show how the technology solves the problem – Office 365 and SharePoint are designed to enhance and speed up collaboration by providing tools for flexible working
- Call to action – find out more about the technology…and how your business adds value
3. Research your topic
If you don’t know what you are writing about it shows. If you don’t have practical experience using the product or aspect of technology you are describing, read as much as possible around the subject, or talk to someone who does.
4. Adjust the tone for the medium
Tone of voice is your brand’s personality expressed in words. So, the tone you use for your blog should reflect the type of language you use in other areas of your marketing and communications. However, your blog is a medium where you can add in a little more personality, than say a press release or a longer piece of content like a whitepaper, which calls for a more formal tone.
So, why not make the most of the opportunity? Encourage your teams to write posts in their own voice. Add a human dimension to corporate communications. But remember to stay on topic and keep your focus in the right direction, i.e. there’s not much point producing content that isn’t related to what you do as an organisation – no matter how ‘fun’ the post is.
5. Search Engine Optimisation
It’s more important than ever that your content is optimised correctly. What’s the point of producing great content if you’re not giving yourself the best chance of it being seen? Appearing on the first page of a Google search is one of the most important ways of being seen. That means finding and using keywords in your blog posts. We recommend coming up with key words for posts at the same time you come up with blog ideas.
6. Find the right angle
Blog writing is mainly about producing content that is relevant to the product/service you are promoting. It’s important that your posts are not just being produced for the sake of it; there should be a good reason for your latest blog entry. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, you may just need a jumpstart. Here are some boosters to help – just make sure your product or service finds its way in:
- Tell a story about your topic
- Start with a definition
- Write a how-to guide
- Write a beginner’s guide
- Predict the future
- Compare and contrast
- Write a list
7. Include a Call to Action (CTA)
We are all familiar with the final line of a post asking us to ‘find out more’, but you may not have noticed the other smaller calls to action dotted around the post. These include links to other areas of your website or other posts you have written. Include a balanced blend of these smaller calls to action as well as the final one to increase your chances of turning a curious reader into a potential customer.
Join us again for the next post in this series where we will continue our focus on advice to help you produce better content for your B2B technology blog, engage your readers and generate more leads. You can also access all of our content and see what else we’re up to here.