Blogging isn’t dead, and other thoughts on B2B marketing strategies to boost audience engagement

Every so often, a critic prematurely declares a culture, trend, or style dead. The novel is dead. TV is dead. Blues, jazz, and hip hop are dead. Heck, culture itself is dead, depending on the source.

Often fueled by nostalgia (and clickbait), these declarations are skewed and point to individual perception. Sure, books, the small screen, and all genres of music have undergone major changes, partly due to the digital revolution—but declaring them obsolete is a great exaggeration.

Such announcements and declinism know no bounds. And thought leadership blogging, newsletters, and white papers have been confirmed dead too, thanks both to oversaturation and to the philosophy that dictates when anything reaches a certain level of popularity, it is considered passé. But despite certain leading authorities calling the times of death on these valued strategies, blogging, the newsletter, and the white paper remain relevant in 2017, especially for B2B businesses seeking to boost audience engagement. Here’s why.

Blogging

With the rise of microblogging platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, some think the end has arrived for traditional blogging. While these messaging apps are useful for promoting content and have come a long way since the days of Myspace, they’re still more of a complement than a substitute for brand building and driving traffic to a website. Even with an increase in caption characters, users are far too limited in providing audiences with compelling, medium- and long-form content, which is key for maintaining readership and audience engagement.

If you are contemplating starting a blog for the first time ever in 2017, or rethinking your current one, remember that content is still king. Okay, that bit of information isn’t so groundbreaking but it bears repeating. Whether it’s for ranting, helping clients produce distinctive editorial content, or attempting to get someone to purchase a service, buy into an idea, or download a product, blogging is still your best resource for an all-out showcase of your skills, portfolio, and experiences.

Newsletter

Don’t call it a comeback. The newsletter predates blogging and consistently has been an important marketing tool for cultivating relationships between businesses and their supporters. This email arrangement between the two is simple and more effective than social media for gaining new supporters and getting subscribers to share content. Don’t take my word for it; ask your customers: more than 70 percent of people like to receive promotional content by email. Old-fashioned? Yes, but most important, valid.

The sentiment that the newsletter is lifeless and unclear has more to do with execution than premise. Many complain that company newsletters, specifically, have become too lengthy, too intrusive, and too stodgy. Perhaps worst of all, subscribers gripe that most newsletters focus too heavily on promoting the business and lack value to the reader.

There’s a good reason that daily newsletters round up a variety of headlines in list form, highlighting one specific topic. They’re giving readers easily digestible, bite-sized chunks of informative and entertaining news, while directing their attention to the most pertinent portion.

White paper

A popular and traditional approach to producing thought leadership content is the white paper. Yet, many proclaim this B2B marketing asset a goner. In the age of short, easy-to-digest content, conventional wisdom holds that white papers are too long-winded to hold the reader’s attention. The aversion to white papers might come from annoyance that these reports can sometimes have an air of self-importance or are just thinly disguised marketing collateral. Masking a sales pitch as quality content will have new and existing clients questioning your business’ credibility.

In actuality, white papers are the content type that B2B buyers are most likely to share. It’s common knowledge that white papers have a positive effect on word-of-mouth marketing, as these reports are examples of a business’ expertise. However, the white paper’s sole purpose is to provide an audience with solutions.

As our digitally connected world continues giving us options in the platforms and mediums that businesses can use to convey their messages, blogging, the newsletter, the white paper, and all channels will constantly evolve. The key for increasing audience engagement is implementing several channels as part of an integrated plan that centers on quality content. Dull is dull, no matter if it’s a video that disappears within seconds, a 140-character update, or 30-page document. Once you have the attention of your audience, be sure to show them something meaningful. Fresh perspectives, solutions, and compelling narratives are qualities that will have everlasting life.

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