Blog it like Drucker: How to write a B2B blog that creates customers
Although he died nearly eight years ago, Peter Drucker lives on as one of the greatest business and management minds of the last 100 years. If he had blogged, he would have had millions of followers. As a content marketer, it’s a necessity that I teach businesspeople how to blog, and the most important insight I can share is to think like Drucker when you’re ready to write.
Many blogs have been written about writing blogs, although not as many about writing a business-to-business blog. But beware, they are not the same animal. Most of these “how to blog” blogs start with picking your subject, and that’s good advice as long as the subject is your audience. So here are the first few steps on the way to blogging like Drucker:
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”
(This and all of the following quotes are from Peter Drucker.)
That means know thy audience. How can you write something engaging and compelling if you don’t know what your readers want to read? In other words, you’ll need to know them well enough to be able to read between the lines. You might not know what your readers are saying, but you sure better know what they’re thinking.
“The purpose of a business is to create a customer.”
Which is, most certainly, one of the objectives of many business blogs. Understand that it’s not about you, it’s about satisfying the wants and needs of your customers and prospects. Or as Drucker said 40 years ago, “What the customer sees, thinks, believes and wants, at any given time, must be accepted by management as an objective fact …”
These two Drucker pearls of wisdom should get you started. Be customer-centric, no exceptions, and don’t keep stating the obvious – you won’t be relevant. People always ask me, “But how do I write something about an important new hire, a groundbreaking or an account win and have it not be about my company?” It’s actually quite simple – don’t lead with it, which is what almost everyone does. If you want to talk about your new executive vice president, spend a paragraph talking about one of her former clients and the insights she delivered that resulted in that client’s success. Do it twice if you can. Then lower the boom – she’s now on your team. Don’t think inside-out, think outside-in.
Okay, so you know what you’re going to write about, and I’m assuming you have all the research and proof points to back up your claims, opinions, and arguments, like these about blogging:
- B2B businesses that blog increase their website traffic by 55%.
- And these same businesses increase their inbound links by 97% and indexed pages by 434%, resulting in enhanced search engine optimization.*
This alone should make you want to blog it like Drucker.
"Efficiency is doing better what is already being done.”
Now, on to your incredibly efficient headline that you’re going to make better than what was done in the past. A good blog headline doesn’t need to be clever, although that won’t hurt, but it does need to provide some benefit to the reader; after all, he or she may become a new customer. “Main Street Partners Hires Executive Vice President” leaves me unenthused, but “Main Street Partners Offers Free Consulting Services” has me intrigued. Promote the hiring by promoting an affiliated benefit. Perhaps Main Street will provide a week of free advice from the new EVP. This will drive the reader to take a look at the coveted first sentence.
“Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.”
Now, about that first sentence. Make it a doozy. Spend as much time writing it as you do the rest of the paragraph. I’m fond of, “It was a dark and stormy night,” but probably not for your audiences. If you want to write a blog about marketing, try a first sentence with a little pop, like “Plan B required that the company needed to bring their marketing A-game.” Or on a customer’s use of innovation, “This technology is putting the ovations in innovations.”
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Next, think about the graphic element you’re going to integrate into your blog. Alert: Do not use the stock photograph of the attractive woman wearing a headset portraying a customer service representative. Think about creating something new that you can use in the future. Take the time to find an image that is meaningful, but note that it doesn’t need to be completely aligned with your blog. If you’re writing about training employees, use a ropes course, not a conference room image. Want to discuss ethics in advertising? Be more timely than showing an image of Herb Tarlek; instead, use an image of a Skechers Shape-Up shoe.
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
You’re almost home free, but don’t forget these three important acronyms: CTA, YMAL, and ALS. To my Chicago friends, this is not your transit authority, but it is your Call to Action. Don’t miss your opportunity to nurture your readers or the lead. It’s okay to contact you, but even better if they contact your customer. If you can’t do a You Might Also Like through the technology on your website, do it manually; post two or three more article links under your blog that are related. This will extend your previous content to new audiences, or those who passed it by the first time around. And don’t forget your Aggressive Linking Strategies. They will multiply your content reach and you can link to your customer’s information, which is why you’re here in the first place. Feel free to embed five or six links into your post.
“Time is the scarcest resource of the manager; if it is not managed, nothing else can be managed.”
Top off your innermost Drucker business blog with these final tips. First, don’t get hung up on frequency – it pales in comparison to relevancy. Second, unlike this post, be brief.
Sign up for the free IB Update – your weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. Click here. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.