If You Can’t Play the Perfect Host, Why Post?


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A Checklist for B2B Blogging Etiquette

Summer Solstice is 19 days away but the sizzle of BBQs started a few weeks ago. To most people, that means summer is already here! For those of us who love food and enjoy entertaining friends and family, there’s no better time of year than the warm summer months. I have had the privilege of being entertained by some of the most gracious and interesting hosts around the world—yes, lots of stories that I promise to share. So when my wife and I play host, we like to think of everything that will make our guests feel special. If it’s a really special evening, maybe we’ll order a custom designed cake from our daughter Amanda. We like our guests to remember more than just the food and watching the sun go down at 10 pm.

It’s the same with this lead generation blog. To me it is like a social get-together and I want it to be a meaningful, satisfying and memorable experience for anyone who visits my blog—once and repeatedly. Many companies jump on to blogging because they know it is a useful social media tool for B2B branding and relationship building. What they forget is that a tool is no use unless you use it the right way. You don’t use a sword to kill a mosquito. You don’t order take-out when you invite people over to your house. Unless it’s a last minute, impromptu party; and even then, there’s always that one special thing you can do to make it a night to remember. We once had friends show up within 30 minutes of calling to say they were bringing food and joining us for dinner. I was in the mood for fried ice cream but of course, neither was it prepped, ready to fry, nor was there enough time to fry it. So we just rolled balls of softened vanilla ice cream and coated them with crushed honey coated corn flakes. Delicious! And a tad healthier than fried ice cream.

My apologies, I stray sometimes when thoughts of food enter my mind space. Coming back to the point I want to make here which is that blogging requires following some simple etiquette and careful planning.

Simple Etiquette Rules Go a Long Way—5 Tips for Your B2B Blog

  1. Create a content blueprint and blogging strategy. This is your menu for the party. You plan a menu based on who you have invited. The topics you write about on your blog must, in the same way, be interesting to your target audiences and cater to their diverse tastes. Imagine serving up a zero-veggies meal and not taking the trouble to find out that some of the guests are strictly vegetarian! You can write a series of posts about the “cool, new functional features” of your office automation solution. But if the CFO at your prospective client’s company does not see anything about “cost-saving”, “energy-efficiency”, “helping the environment” or “minimizing manual resources”, he switches off and you likely lose a sale. Not that your blog is meant to sell—it should not in fact. But your blog can and should educate and inform buyers about things that matter to them; and somewhere down the line, once adequately engaged, they may be ready to buy from you.
  2. Address your visitors directly. You and your spouse are invited for the first time to a colleague’s house. Your colleague’s spouse, who you never met before, knows your names, what you like to drink and if you have any special food requirements. They made the effort to find out. It makes you feel special. On your B2B blog, you can’t be talking into space or to no one in particular. Talk to and address your audience directly so you engage them in thought; the first time and every time they come back.
  3. Show your personality. Don’t be shy. Don’t be anti-social. Don’t be lost in the crowd. It’s your party and you invited your guests. Give them a chance to get to know you and see some flavours of your personality in addition to the food. It’s easy enough to stand with the BBQ tools in hand all evening and stare into the smoke. It’s a lot more fun when you ask people to come watch their steak so it’s done exactly the way they want it. Company blogs are often faceless and I wonder how they can be meaningful without a voice. Yes, I agree that not every organization needs the CEO’s voice on their blog. Your B2B blog can use a combination of voices too and the variety may actually be welcomed by your readers. If you are a design and print agency for example, your zany, creative designers will probably make excellent contributors on your blog. You only need to ask.
  4. Don’t be boring. An intelligent conversation is more engaging than an elaborate spread of food. An interesting and entertaining host is remembered and valued much more than a delicious meal. Yes, of course, the food needs to be good too but one without the other won’t work. You need compelling content on your blog rather than a collection of factual data. It’s okay to quote from an industry paper but readers don’t expect to see just a summary. They want your perspective on it. Now, don’t go to the extreme and publicly trash a reputed organization’s point of view on your blog. If you must, do it in a professional manner and put it across as your point of view rather than “the right thing”. Remember, what’s right and wrong is a matter of opinion.
  5. Ask for comments and don’t be afraid to publish negative ones. Your blog is a medium of communication and interaction with your audiences. It is not a platform for selling. Your posts present your opinions on subjects that matter in your industry. You want your readers to feel encouraged and motivated to think about what you’ve said. But how will you know if you don’t ask them to comment on your blog. Once in a while you may get an angry or negative comment and that’s okay. I’d say that is good. It shows that your audience is engaged enough to show some emotion. Sharing emotion is the start of a relationship. A negative comment can be adeptly handled. You can take it miles deeper from that point on. Don’t you ask every guest as they leave your party whether they had a good time? You ask them to come again too. You say something about what you are planning for next time. The same etiquette rules can very simply be practiced on your blog.

Have you come across a “brag blog”, a blog that’s so in your face it puts you off, a blog that sells you into fatigue, a self-serving blog that talks down to you? If you have, you know what NOT to do. What are some blogging best practices your organization has benefited from? Feel free to share.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.


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