Writing A Blog Post? Know Your Goal

According to the latest survey from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, three quarters of B2B marketers use blogs as part of their inbound marketing plan. Two out of three believe blog posts are effective in driving traffic and acquiring leads. There's a good chance blogging is already part of your overall marketing strategy or soon will be. When writing your posts though, you might want to consider the old saying "if you don't know where you're going any road will get you there." That's because the power of your posts comes in knowing what you're trying to accomplish with each one. Here are three kinds of blog posts that you'll likely want to use.

1. Informational

In this type of post, you're looking to share information about your industry or some aspect of business in general. Focus these posts on enlightening your readers about a new trend or topic. Make it interesting by adding little known facts about a issue that's getting a lot of attention. For example, this post from Dan Singer at Dyntek ties together two highly visible current events: the latest rash of credit card breaches and the release of Apple's new payment system. Both have been widely covered, but Dan discusses how a new technology called tokenization connects the two. Readers will likely come away with broader knowledge of both the Apple Pay system and a possible solution to cyber hacking.

2. Thought Leadership

This takes the informational post a step further by offering an opinion or suggesting an action. They're meant to be thought provoking and offer readers a clear point of view. For example, this post by Ed Marsh of Consilium Global Business Advisors relates a botched inbound marketing effort. He explains about being intrigued enough to sign up for a blog subscription but was totally turned off when he was confronted by an overly legalistic landing page. He goes on to point out the lessons B2B marketers could learn from the debacle. After reading this type of post, readers should know exactly how the author feels (you certainly know how Ed feels!) and should provoke a rethinking of their position on the subject.

3. Promotional

These kinds of posts are important, but they should be used sparingly. They're meant to offer information on a topic but also to have a specific call to action. The goal of these posts is to get  the reader to sign up for a webinar, or receive a white paper or ebook. For example, this post from Shaun Pinney at Backupify provides some tips and hints from experienced Salesforce.com administrators. At the end, he offers the reader the complete free eBook on the subject. This type of a post should provide enough information to be interesting even without the call to action. These are effective in building your prospect list, but if they're the only posts you provide, you're not likely to generate much return traffic.

Each of these posts have their place and should be part of your total inbound marketing plan. Using a combination of all of them should help maintain interest and keep your post feed fresh and compelling.

Are you using all three? Which have you found to be most effective?