All aboard! Your train is pulling away from the station and you’re on it.
Your company has embarked on a blogging journey to increase the right kind of traffic to your site and to convert visitors to leads. Those leads can then be nurtured toward a sale and become raving fans of your company.
Your blog posts are helpful and educational, and focused on your buyer persona’s interests and challenges.
Even better, your company’s management and sales teams are on board, having bought in to the importance of blogging and how the sales team can use blog content during the sales process.
What helped get everyone on board the blogging train? Here are a few reasons:
B2B companies that blog only 1-2x/month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t blog. Click to tweet!
Companies that increase blogging from 3-5x/month to 6-8x/month almost double their leads. Click to tweet!
An average company will see a 45% growth in traffic when increasing total blog articles from 11-20 to 21-50. Click to tweet! Source: HubSpot
And while blogging can generate long-term marketing success, you also know that blogging doesn’t usually generate overnight success.
In fact, that period after a blog has launched can be a scary and precarious time for a blog’s success and longevity. It’s a time when there seems to be more effort going in than results coming out. Management might start to wonder if all the content creation efforts are worth the investment.
To help get you through that long first leg of your blogging journey when you hope you’re headed in the right direction, here are five things to measure to know if your B2B blog is on the right track:
After you have begun publishing blog articles you’ll be able to see which ones are getting the most and least views. The results might surprise you, but that’s OK because blogging is an iterative practice where what you’re doing becomes informed by data and analytics. That in turn enables you to do more of what’s working and less of what’s not working.
What is it about the more popular posts? Is it one particular author whose posts are getting more views? Is it a particular subject? A post format (e.g. how to, list post, controversial topic)?
Many people who visit your blog may ultimately buy what you sell. They just aren’t going to buy immediately. Or from you.
On average, 80% of a blog’s readers are first time visitors. That means that most readers don’t return.
That’s why it’s important to capture visitors’ email addresses so that you can keep in touch with them and nurture them toward a deeper relationship with your company over time. The best way to do that is with an email newsletter. If you can get visitors back to your blog you’re on the right track.
Measuring the net growth of your blog’s subscribers is also important because the average email list deteriorates 25% per year due to unsubscribes, people changing jobs, etc.
Similarly, the number of subscribers to your blog via RSS reader is also a good number to track for an indication of a growing audience.
Inbound links are one of the most important indications that your blog has remarkable content. It is like a vote of confidence from other websites.
Inbound links are also one of the most important ranking factors in Google’s search algorithms. If other sites are linking to your content, your search rankings are most likely on the way up.
A Call to Action (CTA) is a website button, image or text link that encourages a visitor to take an action by typically clicking on the button, visiting a landing page and filling out a form in return for some kind of content. Often, that content is a white paper, eBook, webinar or a newsletter.
Every blog post should include CTAs, ideally offering more indepth content about the blog topic. For instance, at the bottom of this post there is a large CTA for an ebook about business blogging (click here to download). ☜ That is also a CTA, by the way.
Look to see which CTAs are getting the better conversion rates (views to clicks). Some posts will have a better click rate perhaps, because of a more relevant CTA.
One of the primary purposes of your blog is lead generation. Analyzing the CTA performance is a strong indicator of how well your blog is serving as a means to that end.
For many B2B companies with long sales cycles involving several buying decision makers, this will be a challenge. But with closed-loop marketing analytics, you can determine which blog posts are not only generating the most leads, but also which of those leads are converting into customers.
Linking specific blog posts all the way to a sale can be illuminating. Sometimes you will find that while some posts generate more leads, other articles generate a lower number of leads but a higher percentage of sales.