How to Write B2B Blog Posts That Drive Traffic and Generate Leads (With Examples)

A single dollar bill.
Photo by Emilio Takas on Unsplash

Blogging, if done right, plays a very important role in driving leads and sales to B2B businesses. However, creating B2B blog posts that get results takes more than picking a random topic, doing keyword research, and putting an average blog post together.

It is really hard to stand out from the 70 million blog posts published daily with average content. To create B2B blog content that keeps readers scrolling and sales moving, you have to do things differently.

In this post, I’ll share tactics and strategies top B2B blogs use to top their traffic goals and generate leads.

The blogs I analyzed were chosen based on recommendations from content marketers and writers in my network.

That being said, let’s begin.

You can jump ahead

ConvertKit

Dacast

Ahrefs

Animalz

ConvertKit

ConvertKit happens to be one of my favorite B2B blogs. I love reading their blog posts, especially their issues. They’re pretty in-depth and super helpful.

Oluwafemi Oyelola, freelance writer for B2B SaaS and Marketing brands

At any given time, there are a lot of topics to blog about. It is impossible to cover every single topic at the same time. But what is possible and beneficial to blogging success is creating content that covers a subject in-depth.

If you usually pick a topic, write 1,000 words on it and move on to the next one, you might want to rethink your efforts.

Jim Daly, B2B content marketer and Founder of Superpath explains that blog posts are often not strong enough to survive on their own. But if they are grouped (and linked) together strategically, they can thrive

To increase the strength and depth of your blog content, you should do more than creating surface-level content on a topic. Find out what your readers need to know about selected topics and write content that answers every single question.

Doing this requires you to build topic clusters.

ConvertKit implements this with Tradecraft. Tradecraft is a magazine-style blog with monthly issues covering topics in-depth.

Dani Stewart, Editor at Convertkit explains the idea behind this unusual way of blogging.

“We considered many different formats and approaches to delivering great content, and eventually we landed on the fact that our readers are a sophisticated bunch who want to build advanced knowledge that will help grow their business and pay it forward. We want you, our reader, to come to us for a no-nonsense filling of the information you need to get better every day.

With that in mind, we decided to curate content in a magazine-style, releasing one issue a month dedicated to a main theme. That means you can read in-depth on a topic designed to help you run a successful business. Each issue has eight to 12 high-quality articles from our team and experts from across the blogging industry and features real stories of entrepreneurs that we hope will resonate with you.”

Convertkit delivers on this promise constantly each time they publish a guide.

Take for example this guide on the benefits of email marketing. Now,, this is a very broad term with many related topics. Instead of creating a single post, they dive into subtopics as well.

They go on to provide comprehensive posts on related topics below.

Daly points out the effectiveness of writing in-depth blog posts.

“A table of contents is a guide. You don’t read the table of contents, you reference it. If you could install Google Analytics in your high school biology textbook, it would likely tell you that the table of contents has a really low bounce rate. People reference it, then “click through” to the chapter they need.

It works the same way in content marketing. The Hub (main topic) is your table of contents. It’s a central place where all related content flows to and from. It helps people discover and navigate a topic. A low bounce rate is key to making this strategy work, as it’s an important signal to search engines that people are moving deeper into your site once they discover the page.”

When your blog covers topics comprehensively, you gain the following advantages.

  • Longer dwell time
  • Higher rankings for related pages
  • Increased traffic
  • Higher authority
  • Provision of information to the different levels of decision-makers.

But what if you might want all these benefits but are a content marketing team of one or have limited time and budget?

Replicating this method will be overwhelming. But there’s still a way out.

Daly suggests that you start by picking a topic you plan to cover in-depth.

“Pick three to five keywords that are close to your revenue source. You want content that you can easily trace to acquisition, otherwise, you’ll have a hard time making the case for budget, designers, developers, more writers, etc…

Let’s say your product has a time tracking feature and you want to write about time management. You can employ the [Persona] + [Use Case] Formula to come up with all kinds of new and interesting ways to write about time management.”

The next step is to use a simple internal linking strategy.

“A cluster of posts on a single topic lends itself well to an internal linking strategy that supports this…

The key here is to place links above and below the content to ensure that a reader has ample opportunities to navigate to more content. You don’t need any special development resources to make this happen. Once you create enough content on a topic, create a table of contents for that theme and place links on every post on the topic.”

When you implement this, blog content will look like this

Source

To help the reader learn all they need to know, some topics might require you to write long-form content, like the one you’re currently reading. Unlike short-form content, longer blog posts have their own sets of rules that boost their effectiveness.

Let’s find out how you can create long-form content your busy B2B audience will pause to read.

Dacast

I would say that what makes this blog powerful is that we’re consistent and we have all of the resources that professional broadcasters need

- Emily Krings, B2B content writer

Imagine if you were a CEO of a growing B2B startup. Would you read a 29,000-word blog post? That would take you over 2 hours to complete?

If you’re like me and the many other distracted people of the internet your answer would be no.

But why does Dacast write extended and detailed blog posts?

Well, that is because long-form content works.

Despite online distraction and shorter attention spans, a study by Pew shows that readers are more likely to spend time engaging with content that is 1,000 words or longer than with shorter content.

Another reason you can be sure it works is higher search rankings.

Backlinko analyzed 11.8 million Google search results and discovered that comprehensive content significantly outperformed content that didn’t cover a topic in-depth.

Outranking the competition and getting your reader’s attention? Sounds like long-form content is worth it.

But the question is how do you provide long-form content that doesn’t waste your busy B2B audience time and answers their pressing questions?

The answer is to optimize it for the reader.

Here are some easy ways you can do this.

Start with ledes

We all love surprises.

But when writing B2B blog posts, it is better to give the big reveal upfront.

Using ledes comes in handy for this.

Ledes summarise the most important aspects of your post. It helps your readers know what value they’ll get from reading on and it’s a great way to nudge hesitant skimmers to keep scrolling.

Here’s an example of a lede in action.

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Allow your reader to jump ahead with a table of contents

You know the frustration you feel when you’re searching for something and can’t find it?

Your readers feel it too whenever they open a 4,000-word blog post and can’t get right to what they want to learn about.

No matter how well written and in-depth your piece is, not everyone is going to want to read every single line.

You have 37 seconds to get the attention of your readers. Research also shows that 55% of readers spend fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page.

That’s not a lot of time to convince your reader to stay on your site, so use it well.

Use a table of contents with anchor tags at the top of the page so the readers can jump ahead to the section they want to read.

In this 32-minute long blog by Dacast, readers are provided with a table of content to help them navigate the content easily.

Utilize images and bold headlines

Staring at only text for 32 minutes would get boring. So the Dacast team included images to help break up the text as well as to illustrate the points they made forward.

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In the post, each subheading had an image attached (you don’t need to do this if your content doesn’t require it).

  • Make posts skimmable

Most readers skim through content. It is an easy way to scan for important information.

You can help them find what they’re looking for by using

  • Headlines
  • Lists
  • Bolded text
  • Images
  • Quotes

Here’s a great example from the Convertkit blog

Source

Write to match search intent

Not every piece of content has to be lengthy and detailed. Whatever you write should match your reader’s search intent.

This blog post on live streaming classes is 12-minutes long. This is much shorter than the 32 minutes blog post I referenced earlier.

One post compared the types of software and had to state all the features as well as pros and cons. This blog post only needed to provide readers with steps to run a live stream class.

In summary, the length of your content should depend on what your readers want. Giving them what they need in the format they want it in will increase your chances of stealing their attention in 37 seconds.

Let them save it for later

One of the good things about really long content is that your reader might not be able to finish reading it.

Why is this good?

You can offer it to them as a downloadable guide. In exchange, you’ll get their email and be one step closer to closing the deal.

Dacast does not do this so we’ll be taking an example from the ConvertKit blog instead.

For each guide, ConvertKit offers readers the chance to download a PDF and keep it to read or share later.

Source

This is perfect for B2B decision-makers as they can share the document with the rest of the buying group. This will allow the group to access it and consume the information at their own time.

Now you know how to organize your long-form content, let’s get into something that will have your readers scrambling to read your content.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs because their content is visual, engaging, easy to understand, and incredibly useful. From a marketer’s perspective, it is impressive because it gently pushes you to their products by proving how much value they give

- Joshua Nicholas, Content Marketing Executive at SnapSurveys.

Great research makes great content. The Ahrefs blog is an example of this.

The Ahrefs Insights within the blog is home to studies and experiments they’ve carried out. Each post has unique insights readers can’t find anywhere else. And even better, these insights are valuable for solving the pressing problems they face.

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Just how powerful is original research?

Aaron Crestodina of Orbit Media Solutions recommends leveraging original research to get heard in a noisy and overcrowded niche.

“We know that if we produce something original, that will have a better chance in rising above the noise because you will be the primary source for that topic.”

In a survey on original research, 49% of marketers agreed that the results from conducting original research exceeded their expectations. 94% agreed that original research elevates their brand’s authority.

According to a BuzzSumo and Mantis survey, marketers who carried out original research experienced an increase in

  • Website traffic
  • Social shares
  • Mentions from media
  • Leads
  • Backlinks to website
  • New subscribers to email and blog
  • Improved search rankings
  • Share of voice
  • Comments on post

Other benefits were

  • More content ideas
  • High-quality content ideas
  • Learning more about prospects and customers.

You might not be able to study 10,0000 websites or to pull data on liberal and conservative websites like the Ahrefs’ team.

But there are many other ways you can generate novel findings.

Aaron Crestodina also suggests three ways to produce original research

  • Observation: Pick a data set and then gather data
  • Aggregation: Combine data from existing sources
  • Survey: Mass outreach and analysis

When you carry out research there are two things you should remember

  • Your research should be on something that will interest the readers and fixes a problem.

Ahrefs research on news sites works because it answers the questions of Ahrefs users who run news sites.

  • Your research findings should be interpreted into practical steps that your readers can use

Conducting your research and sharing your findings is just the first step of the journey. It is essential to go on to explain what the results mean for them and how they can use it to solve their problems.

In this Ahrefs article about ranking first on Google, readers learn that ranking no. 1 is not such a coveted spot. Then they are taught what exactly to do to gain much needed traffic to their blogs.

The best thing about original research is that a lot of blogs are sleeping on it. Only 47% of marketers carried out original research in 2019.

You don’t need to go all out and do a state of the industry report. Start from research that answers small relevant questions your audience is asking.

Animalz

Lately, my favorite blog has been the one of Animalz. It gives good inspiration for content creation. They introduce concepts that stand out from what we usually read and openly share their strategy. It’s also a good example of how to leverage visual content

-Adrien Lemaire, Content, and PR manager at RingCentral.

In the B2B content marketing space, thought leadership content is gold.

48% of over 3000 business executives and decision-makers spend 1 hour or more reading thought leadership content per week in an Edelman-LinkedIn survey.

49% of decision-makers said that thought leadership can be effective in influencing their purchasing decisions.

“Thought leadership is absolutely crucial to creating that separation in the marketplace, whether that’s deepening a relationship you have with someone or just making somebody sit up and listen. When everyone out there’s trying to do that same thing, there’s a real dearth of actual insight. Trust is an ongoing issue in our industry, where we have to be taken at our word or prove that we know what we’re talking about. If we lose that trust, we don’t have anything at all.” -Parker Ward, Global Head of Digital and Content at Capgemini.

In summary thought leadership

  • increases authority
  • builds trust
  • draws attention
  • deepens customer relationships

But many B2B brands are not benefiting from producing thought leadership content.

Less than 15% of these B2B leaders rated what they read as good or excellent.

Where are brands getting it wrong?

Katie Parrot, content strategist at Animalz explains that “The biggest mistake brands make is thinking that thought leadership is a type of content, the same way that how-to posts or ebooks or webinars are a type of content.

Thought leadership isn’t a type of content — it’s an approach to content.

When you say you want to “do thought leadership,” what you’re articulating is the relationship you want your company to have with your space. You’re describing how you want your brand to be seen — by your customers, by your competitors, and by your industry as a whole.”

Many brands don’t get this approach right.

The study listed low value thought leadership as having the following qualities

  • Repeats popular opinion
  • Gives elementary or superficial insights
  • Emphasizes selling instead of imparting valuable insights.

But there’s good news. While everyone is getting it wrong, you can get it right.

Source

So how do you do thought leadership right?

Share insights from personal experiences

Useful lessons from personal experiences are unique and can’t be replicated. Others can try to copy it but it won’t be as powerful as yours.

Take, for example, this blog post on content ideation by the Animalz team. It’s uncommon and strikes a distinct tone from other posts on the sample topic.

This is because it was based on unique knowledge that they gained from years of experience. Readers won’t find this anywhere else.

Analyze data

When you have a data set, you can interpret it in novel and relevant ways for your audience.

Source

In the post, 4 Realistic Traffic Goals for Small(ish) Blogs the Animalz team share unique ideas on how smaller blogs can set traffic goals. The information in the post is based on data gathered in a content marketing report and answers pressing questions few blogs are paying attention to.

  • Have a contrarian opinion

Rejecting popular opinion and mainstream ideas is also a form of thought leadership. But you should only do this when you can prove that a contrary idea is true.

In this article, Ryan Stewart tore apart the popular notion that brands should replicate content that gains the most social media response.

Hundreds of other blogs advise their readers to optimize content around likes and shares.

Ryan does a 180° turn. He points out that feedback comes from only a vocal minority on online communities while most readers prefer to silently read content and reflect. The vocal readers might not be your target audience (the decision-makers). So prioritizing their feedback alone throws the trajectory of your content marketing off course.

He then urges readers to find feedback that matters; from sales calls and customers.

Source

Ryan’s ideas not only challenge the prevailing thought, but they also provide an alternate path. Don’t create content with a contrarian view without providing a new way to solve a problem.

In a space full of blogs looking the same, your content will be different and set you apart.

Conclusion

Blogging shouldn’t be an item you tick off your content strategy checklist. It should be strategic, executed with consistency, and improved constantly.

Producing blog content this way isn’t easy. But the content generated from this process is an investment. That will bring you closer to surpassing your traffic and conversion goals in the long run.

Content Marketing Manager at Animalz. Part-time Otaku and occasional poet.