Forrester Report: Most B-to-B Blogs Fail

bwblogsA report by Forrester Research found that most corporate blogs kept by business-to-business (B2B) firms failed to energize their intended audiences and engage them in meaningful conversations about trends and products.

Corporate bloggers are apparently struggling to sustain a conversation, while many B2B marketers are failing to realize that good blogging style should resemble a coffee shop conversation, not a whitepaper.

As a result, most B2B blogs are dull, drab, and don’t stimulate discussion, according to the Forrester report.

More than 70% of the corporate blogs it reviewed stick strictly to business or technical topics and don’t share much personal insight or experience.

74% of B2B blogs receive a minimum of commentary or trackbacks because readers fail to find conversations worthy of their involvement.

Successful blogging, Forrester insists, is not a one-way street, but most corporate bloggers yak away about their companies and products, seemingly oblivious to whether their audience is listening or not.

56% of blogs we examined simply regurgitate company news or executive views, while relatively fewer blogs work to establish thought leadership by enlisting internal experts–with deep, specific knowledge of a particular topic–as their primary blog authors.

“B2B marketers should embrace strategies prominently used by mainstream bloggers to attract readers, build conversations, and engage community members in sharing their experiences with their online peers, the report’s author advises.”

If you can’t get excited about what you do, then please don’t start a blog. It takes time and commitment, and without passion, it’s going to be impossible to move it forward. Your readers will soon spot the lack of passion in what you write.

This isn’t a school project that you do for a set period of time and then it’s done. It’s an ongoing dialog with your audience and it takes planning and managing content and having the right contributors. If you’re organized and have a road map of where you’re going, it will lessen the daily time commitment each of us has. I’ve said in other posts that if you can’t allow 1-2 hours a day to your blog, then don’t do it or find someone who can.

Lee Odden recently gave a presentation, Tips For Better Business Blogging, where he outlines 4 tips for developing a successful blog:

  1. Develop a practical purpose for your blog
  2. Plan your editorial and source content
  3. Socialize by utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Trackbacks to generate traffic
  4. Measure and promote success to that committee

Conclusion: Social media isn’t going away and businesses will sooner or later figure that out. The key is those that do it first will have a competitive advantage.

Have you had  a similar experience you’d like to share?


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  1. Mary Harvey

    Passion and subject knowledge are key to a good blog. In addition, bloggers should be good writers. The subject matter experts (SME) with a passion for the subject might benefit from a quick edit from an independent set of eyes so that the SME can maintain credibilty (save face) by ensuring postings are literate and understandable.

  2. Nicky Jameson

    Very good points.

    There is something about blogging that is intensely personal in its expression. Similar to the personal voice a copywriter needs to have when writing to a potential prospect or client. It’s hard for a company to emulate that personal connection, because – well they are a company and not “a person”. The difference is huge.

    A person can have a conversation over a coffee or a drink or the water cooler. A company – or even a marketer can’t or, at best, will find it very difficult to do so. Also, when you are blogging “on behalf of the company” that puts one more layer of “company-ness” in the way. It’s a very fine and difficult balancing act.

    Those companies who have successful company blogs have somehow managed to find their personal voice and establish a real connection with the reader (maybe they have trusted a blogger internally or externally to simply run with blogging. But I believe these are still very few and far between.

    So even when you plan a purpose for the blog, plan the content etc,what makes it come alive is that elusive “personal voice” Without it, the blog is,as you say, just more company-speak and whitepaper-like.

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  4. Dwight Walker

    If you watch your traffic you see what pages are hot on your site and address or edit your blog to focus better on what people are searching for. I did this for my wireless blog.

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