You’ve set up your new English B2B blog but before you begin, you need to take a moment to optimise your English content creation strategy. If you just start writing, you’ll end up with a mix of styles and topics. Blogs that don’t have a central theme feel disorganised and leave your readers confused.
The ideal situation is that your blog becomes an information hub for people in your industry or field. When they have a question or need inspiration, they turn to you. When they receive an email from you with a new post, they don’t delete and think ‘I really must unsubscribe sometime’, they click eagerly on the link, read your post and then share with others.
This post is the third in my series on starting an English corporate blog in Germany. If you haven’t read it already, start there and then answer the questions in this post.
What is the Name of Your Blog?
The first thing to consider is the name of your blog. Will it be simply called ‘BLOG’ or perhaps ‘NEWS’ or do you want to give it a name specific to your company and your style. Naming your blog makes it stand out in the crowd, helps shape your brand and sets the tone for the content you create.
Want to delve deeper into naming your blog? Check out David Hartshorne’s blog on this subject is titled ‘How To Choose A Blog Name You Won’t Regret: The Definitive Guide’ and it lives up to that claim.
If you do choose a name, make sure you google it to ensure it’s not a rude word in another language. And reach out to a native English speaker to find out if it sounds good in English. You can reach me on Twitter @lynn_nothegger.
Saying all that, there’s nothing wrong with calling your blog ‘Blog’. If you go with an individual name then you’ll need to ensure that it will be understood in any language. The word ‘Blog” has the advantage of being immediately recognisable to readers regardless which language they speak, so if you want to keep it simple, just go with that.
What English Content Will You Share?
Next, you’ll want to decide what to blog about. At this point, you should have already decided on a theme for your blog, but now you need to go deeper. But what does that mean? Here are some typical posts that you would find on a company blog:
- Upcoming Events
- Introduce staff members
- Employer Branding (look how cool it is to work here)
- Product developments
- Tips on using the product
- Maintenance and updates
- Buying Guides
- Special offers
- Package deals
- Early Bird offers of new products
- End of line offers of products that are being discontinued
Do you notice anything? All of these posts are all about YOU. If you want your customers and prospects to return to your blog and eagerly await a new post, then you have to offer them more. What is the added value that you can offer readers of your blog? What can you tell them that will actually help their business? Here are some ideas:
Industry News, History & Reviews
- Upcoming trade fairs and event
- News and reviews of related products (not from competitors!)Trends in the industry
- Insider news
- Look back at industry history
Business Advice for your Industry
- Start-up advice
- How to be successful / how to grow
- Interviews with industry experts
- Tips for specific events and seasons
- Marketing automation for your industry
For example, if your company makes machinery for ice cream manufactures, then it would make sense for your blog to be all about ice cream. It might be news from the ice cream industry, updates about innovative new products (your own and perhaps those of other non-competitors in your field), advice on marketing frozen dairy products, how to choose the right machine, how to run a successful ice cream shop. You might share recipes based on traditional German desserts, such as Apfelstrudel, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte or Rote Grütze, or explain the differences between the way ice cream is produced and marketed in various countries. Perhaps you highlight some of your most successful customers around Germany and beyond.
Why you don’t need FAQs but you should answer FAQs
FAQ — Frequently Asked Questions — are often posted as a list of questions and answers on a website. Even if you have a decent search filter on there, it’s a really boring way of presenting an answer to these questions. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t answer the questions that you receive most often, but you should do it in a different way.
Have a chat with the people who answer the phones in your company, whether that is in Marketing or in Sales. What are the questions that your customers ask most frequently? Get together with your Sales team and ask these questions:
- Which questions do your prospects ask most frequently?
- What objections come up regularly?
- Which concepts do your sales team find tricky to explain?
- What is the most common reason that a prospect decides not to purchase?
Now address these issues in individual blog posts. You can still have a list of FAQs, which have a short summary of the answer and a link to the blog posts.
You should also look at your product website and address why you aren’t answering these questions in your product descriptions. Prospects are engaging with your product, spending time on your website and still have questions. That means you have a gap that you have to fill. Not every prospect will take the time to search further. How many customers have you lost because they think your product doesn’t fit their needs?
Make a List and Get Feeback
Make a list of English content ideas. Think about what would be useful for your customers, rather than what information you want to convey.
Get feedback from other departments and from your prospects and customers. After you’ve been blogging for a while, you can ask your customers what they think — do a poll on social media and ask what topics they find most helpful, or chat with one or two of your long-term customers.
Set a ratio of posts about your company and products vs general posts. A good ratio, in my opinion, is 1:3. For every ‘Werbung in eigene Sache’ post, share three general information blog posts. Resist the temptation to turn an article with general advice on running a business in your industry into an ad for your products. Don’t stuff your post with links to various products, or try to shoehorn your company’s offering into text that really doesn’t have anything to do with the topic. Your goal is to establish yourself as an expert in the industry, not to spam readers with your products.
Evergreen Content vs News
One thing that I often notice when I look at a company blog is that they start off blogging once a week, then once a month and then suddenly the last post is about Christmas and it’s already August. When you post blogs about a specific time of the year or about an upcoming event, your posts have a short shelf-life. (Think of them as products in a supermarket. Yoghurt and milk don’t keep for a long time: they have a short shelf-life. Sugar and flour can sit on the shelf for months before they are out of date).
Evergreen Content isn’t time-sensitive. These are the advice and how-to posts that can be viewed years from now and still be helpful for your customers. A good trick is to update these every year or so with some new info or even just new photos and post them as new content, to bring them back to the top of your content feed (if your feed is sorted by the newest blog post, which most blogs are).
Write Content and Style Guide
This is particularly important if you have multiple authors of blog posts. Create a content and style guide with the most important metrics. You may already have this as part of your Branding Strategy. I’ll do an extra post on this soon, as it’s a bit too much to summarise in one or two paragraphs, particularly when writing for overseas markets.
Now you’ve learned how to optimise English content for your B2B blog, in my next post, I’ll look at the distribution of your posts. How will you publicise your blog? Which social media channels are suitable and how do you present your company there? If you missed the first posts in this series, you can find them here
Featured Image by Patrick Perkins;