Where the Rubber Meets the Road: B2B Companies Struggle to Find Their Fit with Blogging
There’s been a lot of discussion recently about how to measure the value of blogging, including in B2B organizations. Forrester Research recently released a study entitled “How to Derive Value from B2B Blogging,” and it contained many valuable insights into the state of B2B blogging and its adoption today.
Some key findings from the report include:
- While adoption of corporate blogging has been growing over the past few years, the number of new blogs established in 2007 took a nose dive.
- Corporate bloggers can’t seem to keep the conversation going. The challenge for many B2B marketers seems to be that writing for a blog is often more conversational, while many B2B marketers have been trained to write with a strictly business or technical focus.
- Because B2B marketers aren’t trained to write for blogs, many blogs read like press releases. And let’s face it, that’s no way to start a conversation on your blog!
- Many blog users experiences are poor.
The other main struggle B2B marketers have had with blogs is that they often fail to meet expectations or deliver the desired result. Because blog efforts are difficult to track back to actual ROI, marketers are beginning to downgrade the importance of blogging in the overall marketing mix. In fact, 53% rated blogging as “marginal” or “irrelevant” in their 2008 marketing strategy.
I would also comment here anecdotally that I’ve personally found many B2B marketers are looking for some sort of direct ROI measurement for blogging. When there are such a variety of tactics that have proven ROI, how can B2B marketers budget time and resources to a tactic that may not produce high ROI?
Forrester also offers four blog strategies that can help B2B marketers improve their blogs and hopefully begin to realize community engagement:
- Be a conversation stater, not a spoiler.
- Make blog content entertaining, easy to digest and easy to use.
- Connect the dots between events and community involvement.
- Invite thought leaders and coach them on community etiquette.
Lastly, Forrester encourages B2B companies not to give up on blogging just yet. The value and measurement of blogging is still evolving.