Talk with any successful digital marketer, and the #1 thing they’ll tell you is the foundation of any lead-generating, sales-converting, customer-delighting strategy is content.
The internet gods (see: Google) love content -- especially blogs. The more, the better. A steady stream of search engine-optimized (SEO) articles is an offering their ranking algorithms can’t ignore.
For a blog writer or content team, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing an article they wrote perform well. Actually, there is one thing more satisfying -- learning their blog post helped you land a major contract.
It takes a lot of research and resources to reach the point where content production pays dividends. You and your blog writer need to commit to a long-range plan and work together to create articles that feed the Google machine to your benefit.
As the client or boss, your role is to be like Magic Johnson -- a point guard facilitating success -- and not like Dikembe Mutombo -- a massive roadblock preventing production. To help lead your content marketing team to great results, read up on the copywriting process -- and where stakeholders have historically helped or hindered efforts.
Behind the Blog Post: Who Is Your Writer?
Not just anyone is able to produce the type of blog content that gets results. To paraphrase Liam Neeson in Taken, it takes a person “with a particular set of skills … skills that are acquired …”
In all seriousness, writing blogs using inbound marketing methodologies isn’t something that “just happens.” Articles that bring best-fit prospects to you can take the better part of a day to compose. Unless you hired someone off Upwork for $5, your writer isn’t just someone pulled off the street who’s able to string a few sentences together coherently.
Who is your blog writer, ideally?
Someone who’s devoted to SEO-focused copywriting that appeals to both humans and Google. More likely than not, they’re a person who went to college for writing or journalism and has spent a few years putting that education to work. They’re also someone who (most of the time) doesn’t view writing as a process, but rather a way of life.
Before a true B2B blogger sits down to write their first piece for your company, they’ve immersed themself in inbound marketing. Even if this is their first content marketing job, chances are the writer has already:
- Sat through hours upon hours of training videos
- Learned content writing best practices, including SEO & inbound
- Pored over well-written and high-performing blogs for inspiration
- Examined blog articles that failed to inform or attract leads
- Had one-on-one workshops with a colleague
- Written a few practice pieces
A blogger (and by extension, their company) that’s poised for success in internet marketing content writing has developed a command over the written word and SEO best practices. This takes time and effort.
6 Tenants of Optimized Content Marketing Blog Production
Hiring an inbound marketing agency for content writing services that drives leads is like using a rowboat to cross a lake. It’s almost always a safe, smooth trip, but only when those paddling are working as a team.
While there is an onus on the writer to do their job well, the client has a responsibility in that effort. Put simply, the relationship between a writer and a client is a partnership.
The hallmarks of successful content marketing blog production include:
- Agreeing on a plan & sticking to it
- Showing up to content meetings
- Coming prepared to content meetings
- Trusting your writer
- Being ready to review
Impromptu topic brainstorming can be useful, but content performs best when backed by data and research. Any good content writing process starts with an absolute necessity -- a strategy session.
A fruitful strategy session identifies your company’s:
- Short- and long-term goals
- Ideal customer, & their pain points you’re able to solve
- Industry trends
- Struggles in attracting prospects
That critical information allows your content writer and/or manager to create ideas that, to paraphrase Weird Al’s parody “It’s All About the Pentiums,” do all the work without you even askin’.
Resource: See how content writing works in one industry. Check out our Guide to Content Marketing Writing in Medical Technology. The advice applies to just about any B2B!
2. Agreeing on a Plan & Sticking to It
With an understanding of your short- and long-term business goals, your writer will develop a content map (usually 3 months at a time) with articles to help meet your goals.
In a sense, the content map is a blueprint for success. Each proposed piece is a necessary cog in the machine that keeps your sales pipeline always producing new leads. Sticking to the plan is mission-critical to meeting your goals on time.
That’s not to say that company changes or industry news deserving of an article don’t come up. Your writer understands this and is willing to pivot as need be. However, deviating from your original content plan is not without some consequence. Spending time on a topic that doesn’t align with your overall strategy takes time and resources away from meeting your goals.
3. Showing up for Content Meetings
When it comes to producing a blog article, content meetings are where the rubber hits the road.
During a productive content meeting, the writer will discuss your vision for the next article and ask you or another expert on your team for their unique insight.
In some respects, a content meeting is no different than a news reporter interviewing a source for a story. Like a journalist, your blog writer is looking for as much information as possible on a topic. And like an interviewee, you’re the identified expert whose presence is required.
Sure, the writer can lean on Google to fill in blanks, but ultimately your company knows your product and industry -- and their nuances -- best. Depending on your industry, some topics may be too complex to rely on Google for. Without consistent meetings, the writer can’t produce the content you -- and, more importantly, your next happy customer -- will love.
4. Coming Prepared to Content Meetings
Showing up is only half of a successful content meeting.
The other half? Showing up prepared to discuss the topic at hand. A content meeting is essentially an information download, after all.
Your blog writer depends on you to provide the information, resources, and guidance needed for their next article. One-word answers aren’t helpful, especially for a complex topic. Your first-hand knowledge of your company, its products or services, or access to internal experts is invaluable to your writer. There are some things that the University of Google can’t provide insights on the same way you or your team can -- such as what sets your company apart from the competition.
Being unprepared to have a robust and informative conversation only makes the writer’s job more difficult and increases the chances they’ll miss the mark.
Conversely, showing up & coming prepared to a content meeting helps streamline the work you and your writer do together. Not only are you both able to stave off potential delays in production but also avoid additional back-and-forth conversations outside of the meeting.
5. Trusting Your Writer
No self-respecting writer takes on a job with the intention to do it poorly.
As someone hired to help your company, your writer is committed to your success. The decisions they make in producing high-quality articles are rooted in:
- Meeting your goals
- Maintaining brand voice
- Real-world data
- Keyword research
While you aren’t writing the article, it’s still going on your website and is representative of your company. Your writer understands and respects this, and is working to help your business put its best foot forward as a credible thought leader.
There’s also a 99.9% chance your writer has a superior understanding of the nuances of content writing for SEO. That means they know how prospects are most likely to find your company online, even if the writer is new to your industry.
To that end, your writer produces each piece of content with a particular stage of the buyer’s journey in mind. And, through interviews with your top current customers and deep-dives into SEO tools, they’ve learned how your buyer persona thinks and speaks.
For example, you might think a certain industry-related word or phrase is common vernacular to your buyer. Yet in reality, they’re using totally different words in Google Search to research that concept. A good writer will know this.
6. Being Ready to Review
That new blog idea you need written “yesterday?” It’s ready today. The only thing standing in its way is your review.
Almost every successful piece undergoes some level of editing. However, the review process shouldn’t push back results. Use a feedback system that’s:
- Timely: If you don’t have the time, find an expert that consistently does.
- Specific: “I don’t like this” isn’t helpful. Explain the change you want and why, so the writer doesn’t repeat the mistake.
- Only a few cooks: Having several reviewers causes delays, especially when it’s unclear whose authority trumps others during clashes of opinion.
- All at once: Drip-feeding your critique adds overhead to the budget and makes it unclear when something’s actually approved.
It can take several months for your content to rank on page 1 of Google for important keywords. Slowdowns in content marketing writing can prevent you from securing a top spot in Google before your competitors do.
Making Content Marketing Blog Production Work
B2B content writing is key for long-term business growth amid a long sales cycle. This is the content that B2B buyers read in the months between major purchases.
Without buy-in to a streamlined process, content marketing blog production efforts fall flat. Your internet marketing strategy will stay firmly in 1998 while your competitors grow their website traffic.
To see how the benefits of content marketing in healthcare can apply to your own industry and company, grab this free e-book, Your Guide to Content Marketing Writing for Medical Technology: