Business owners and marketers know the importance of a strong content marketing strategy. Your blog is the first thing many visitors see when they land on your site. Similarly, if you hope to keep your audience engaged, you have to promote high-quality content through your various marketing channels.
I don’t have a single doubt that content will continue to reign king in the coming years. However, the way we create and distribute content has changed dramatically. Instead of creating static posts, we need to start thinking more about interactive content.
Interactive content is a post, form, or video that encourages users to engage with your business. The more people interact with your content, the more opportunities you’ll have to turn visitors into subscribers while convincing subscribers to become customers.
Today, we will explore several essential tips you can use to create more interactive content.
Ready? Let’s get started!
The best way to encourage more user interactions is to use personalization to send relevant content and offers. Research shows that 4 out of 5 consumers want more personalized posts and promotions from their favorite brands.
One way to make your content more relatable is by creating customer personas that align with the various people who visit your website. An online pet store would design segments around people who own specific animals.
The thought process behind this strategy is simple; people are more likely to interact with posts and offers that relate to the pet they own. Cat owners want to read and comment on cat-themed blog posts, and dog owners are interested in promotions specifically for dog food and toys.
Once you create your audience personas, you can use what you learned to add personalization to your on-site, social media, and email marketing strategy. If you’re not sure where existing customers fit into your personas, use on-site surveys and email outreach to ask users to tell you more about their interests so you can send them personalized content in the future.
Focus on Customer Loyalty
Another way to add an interactive touch to your content is to design your funnel with customer loyalty in mind. The eCommerce marketplace is fierce. If you’re not offering an incentive to keep visitors coming back for repeat orders, there’s a good chance they will experiment with multiple brands, which can damage your profit margin and customer relations.
There are several things you do to reward customers for their loyalty. One strategy that works well for us involves giving users promotions on our other products after their first order. We believe that this incentivizes users to stay loyal to our brand when plenty of other companies operate in our industry.
You can deliver these promotions through your mobile app, website, or email. If you use push notifications, you can create custom alerts to reward customers for their loyalty. These alerts work well because you can reach your audience even if they’re not on your website.
When you send users messages about their loyalty points, we’ve discovered that you can boost your conversion rate and add personalization by showing recommended products. Users are more likely to interact with your brand when they see products or services that resonate with their goals and pain points. Don’t forget to strategically include links back to your website to make redeeming their points as easy as possible.
Gamify Your Marketing Strategy
You can make your website and social media channels more interactive by adding gamification. Simply put, gamification is the process of adding game-like features to your marketing strategy. We use several different ways to keep our visitors engaged with this technique.
On a few of our sites, we use spin-to-win wheels to keep users who are getting close to leaving to stick around. When a visitor is navigating towards the X on their browser tab, we trigger a popup that shows a colorful wheel spinning with prizes that may convince them to stay. Some of the rewards we offer include: – Free lead magnet – 20% off their order – 50% off their order – Free annual license
These are all things our target audience would find valuable. If someone is genuinely interested in our products, this element of gamification could be the thing that turns them into a customer.
We are big fans of hosting giveaways on social media. Everyone loves a good raffle. Our team hosts giveaways during times that are important to us, like on our company’s birthday. There are times when we decide to create a contest so we can grow our lead list, social media followers, or sales.
When running a giveaway, it’s essential to determine how you want users to interact with your brand. Establish rules that will encourage them to take the specific action you’d like to see. For example, you could create a rule where visitors can enter by joining your email list. This strategy is an excellent way to generate new leads while interacting with your audience.
Post More Video Content
Did you know that 43% of consumers say they want more video content from their favorite businesses? One reason for this trend is video content is one of the best ways to interact with your audience.
The possibilities are endless. You could take your knowledge to social media and host interactive webinars. We like to create these types of events if we want to discuss a specific customer goal or pain point. You can appeal to most of your audience if you host a webinar that dives into one of these hot topics.
At the end of your presentation, give your audience a chance to ask questions and engage. You’ll find that these moments can help you build trust through direct interactions.
You could also create a YouTube channel for your video content. Globally, YouTube gets 2 billion visitors every month. You can safely assume that your target audience is out there, waiting to find your channel.
We suggest creating playlists tailored to your various audience segments. This step will make it easier for visitors to find the content they want to see. As a result, there’s a greater chance they will like, share, and leave comments on your videos.
It’s easy to see that interactive content is here to stay. The good news is there are plenty of tools and strategies you can use to keep your visitors engaged. The tips offered today will help you build a robust marketing framework that focuses on highly interactive content and promotions. As your brand grows, you’ll start to find new and inventive ways to keep your customers coming back for more.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be a jack of all trades—developing business ideas, marketing, public speaking, mastering finances and cash flow, and much more. But there’s one area that often leaves business owners paralyzed with fear: Writing. How do you create content if you’re not a writer?!
As we all know, these days being a “content creator” is a requirement for building your online business. Providing value through creating useful content helps to grow your audience, builds trust with your audience, establishes you as an authority in your industry, and invites people into your ecosystem.
This type of content, also called content marketing, is all about creating content that will invite people to come to you because of the value you offer, instead of just pushing out a message through advertising or traditional marketing.
Content marketing includes blog posts, email newsletters, social media, podcasts, YouTube videos, and other content that people actually want to consume. This content doesn’t involve the “hard sell” you put in your marketing and advertising efforts. Content marketing is more about offering help, building relationships, building trust, and building your community of superfans.
Content marketing is great, but it also requires a lot of writing, even if you’re creating a YouTube video or podcast.
So . . . what if you’re not a writer? What if you’re just not good at it, or don’t like doing it? What if you just don’t have the time?
Don’t despair! Here are some hacks that you can employ that will help you create great written content that will help you build your business.
Hire a Writer
This is a no-brainer, right? If you have the means to hire someone else to do your writing for you, then, by all means, hire away! This will allow you to focus on what you do best.
So how do you go about hiring a freelance writer? Ask around and see if anyone in your network can recommend a writer. Post a message on LinkedIn, or visit one of these platforms that can match you with a freelance writer.
Fiverr is a great website where you can find writers who have experience with just about any kind of writing, whether it’s articles/blog posts, white papers, sales and marketing copy, or ebooks. You can also hire editors and proofreaders.
On Fiverr, you can browse the profiles of freelance writers available for hire, and see which one may be a good fit for your needs. UpWork is a similar website.
Don’t be afraid to hire someone to help, even if it’s for only a few hours a week, or one project at a time. If the writer is a good fit, you may even eventually want to ask them to come onto your team full-time. Hiring freelancers is a great way to get to know someone before you hire them.
But what if you don’t have the money to hire someone?
Tap Your Team
If you have a team, even if they’re not in an official “writing” role, tap them to see if they will contribute.
You might be surprised that there are good writers out there who aren’t in an official writing role. So see if team members can focus on a specific topic they have expertise in, and ask them to contribute on a regular basis.
At SPI, we have several people on our team who write content, including me; our senior writer, Ray Sylvester; our co-CEO Matt Gartland; Sara Jane Hess, and David Grabowski from our podcasting team; and Jillian Benbow and Jay Clouse, from our CX team.
If you have someone on your team who is good at editing, you can also record an audio “brain dump.” This is where you record your thoughts and ideas for a blog post, and then have someone else edit the content into a cohesive article.
Repurpose Existing Content
You probably already have content that you can repurpose to make blog posts, email content, and even social media posts.
Do you have an online course? If so, take one module, or chapter, of that course and edit it down to create a blog post. At SPI, we recently did that with this blog post on how to nail your business idea.
You might think, “What if people know the blog post is taken from course content? That’s cheating!”
No, it’s not. It’s providing your audience with valuable information through more than one medium. Blog content is free. So offering free content from a paid course is adding value. Just be careful not to give away too much content for free, or that will devalue your paid content. But a slice here and there is a smart way to reuse content and serve your audience.
You can also reuse content from your podcast, if you have one, and YouTube videos. Take the transcripts, evaluate them to see what content will work best in a blog format, and edit them down.
Strategically reusing content is smart and efficient.
Invite Guest Bloggers to Contribute
Is there someone in your network who can write valuable content on topics that will benefit your audience? Reach out to them and see if they would be interested in writing guest posts. Ideally, these would be people who have a somewhat substantial audience, so you’re killing two birds with one stone—you’re providing content for your audience, and when a guest blogger promotes the post to their own audience, you’ll get some new eyes reading your content.
Make sure the guests know your audience and the types of topics you cover on your blog. Suggest topics they can write about, or collaborate to come up with topics. When their post is published, suggest ways the guest can promote the post to their own audience so you can get more traffic to your website.
At SPI Media, we frequently invite guests to write for our blog, including this one from our friend Heather Osgood, founder of True Native Media, on how to turn your podcast into a profitable business.
Whether it’s for a blog post or your weekly newsletter, curating content is another option for providing value to your audience without having to personally churn out a 2,500-word original article.
Curating content is simply putting together several pieces of content that you have found interesting and think your audience will like. For instance, a blog post could consist of a list of articles (with links) from other publications that you’ve found helpful on topics related to your industry.
Again, this may seem like a cop-out. But it’s not! People like convenience, and having links to several articles all in one place saves them time and effort.
Survey Your Audience
Enlist your audience to help you write content! You can do this by surveying them and using their answers to create blog posts. At SPI Media, we typically use a Typeform survey to ask our audience a question. Then we gather the answers and put them together in a blog post. This is a great way to provide interesting information, and also connect with your audience.
Last May, early in the COVID pandemic, we surveyed our audience and asked them, “What’s giving you hope?” Several people responded to our survey, and we compiled their answers in this powerful blog post.
Leverage the Power of Lists
A list of tips or recommendations is an easy way to pull together content that doesn’t require a lot of research and writing.
About once a month, our podcasting team puts together a list of their favorite podcasts. They write a paragraph about each one, and tell readers why the podcast is good. Sounds easy-peasy, right?
You could do this for anything. What are your top ten recommended online business tools? What are the best business books you’re reading right now, and what do you like about them? What are the top five things that helped you start your business? Giving people advice through a list is a great way to create valuable content.
If you’re good at asking questions and being curious, then you will probably be good at interviewing.
Interview an expert on a topic that you think will help your audience. At SPI Media, we regularly interview entrepreneurs who are doing amazing things.
Interview people in your audience who have found success, and write a success story for your blog. People love to read about people just like them who are succeeding.
Interview a mentor or someone you look up to. Ask them for advice, and create a blog post with the answers.
If you record a video of your interviews, it can be used in many different ways: for a podcast, a video for your Tube channel, as a blog post. You can get a lot of mileage from just one interview!
Which is probably why 46% of B2B marketers plan on investing more in content marketing in the future.
According to our research, the majority of B2B businesses are invested in content marketing and SEO.
However, a fair number of B2B companies are either not using content as part of their marketing approach. Or their content marketing is happening off-site (for example, on social media networks like LinkedIn).
The rest of this report mainly focuses on the majority of B2B companies that do use blogging as part of their content marketing strategy.
Key Takeaway: 28% of B2B companies don’t use blogging as part of their content marketing strategy.
61% of B2B Companies Use WordPress as Their CMS
Across the 360 SaaS companies with existing blogs, we identified 25 different content management systems in use. The most popular choice was WordPress, used by 220 (61%) companies.
Note: We weren’t able to discover the CMS used by 53 of the companies on our list (10.5%). These may have been custom-built solutions or CMSs that are not commonly used.
So the fact that WordPress came out on top shouldn’t come as a surprise.
However, powering 61% of all B2B blogs, it’s interesting just how dominant WordPress is in the B2B world. To put this figure into perspective, the second most-popular CMS was HubSpot. Which was used by just 9% (34) of the companies we looked at.
Key takeaway: WordPress is the most popular choice of content management system for B2B companies – by far. HubSpot was the second most popular CMS among the B2B blogs that we analyzed.
38% of B2B Company Blogs Publish Content to Educate Their Audience
Across the companies we looked at, there were four distinct use cases for company blogs:
Company news: these blogs only focus on the company and its products.
Educational content: these blogs share helpful content that is designed to solve problems and provide value to the reader.
Mixed: the company shares its press and educational content in one place.
Industry news: Blogs that focused on sharing news relating to the industry they’re in.
The “mixed” approach was most popular, used by 51% of companies. This all-in-one strategy is likely popular because it has the best of both worlds.
Most content is focused on providing valuable content that educates an audience on a problem they’re looking to solve. The blog is also where a company publishes company-focused content that position’s their company as an industry leader.
An example of this “mixed” approach is from Segment. All their blog posts sit within one directory (segment.com/blog/). But each post is clearly separated into different categories depending on the subject matter or post type:
As you can see in this screenshot, their blog posts are very clearly categorized into themes: company-related posts (such as the announcement of Segment’s acquisition by Twilio) in one category, and educational posts relating to growth and marketing in another category.
38% of the blogs that we analyzed publish 100% educational content on their blog.
Interestingly, only 8% of companies solely used their blogs for PR-style, company news-focused content.
This suggests that if a B2B company is investing in their blog, they understand they’re likely to see better results by providing useful content for their audience vs. company updates and news.
Key takeaway: 51% of B2B blogs use their blog as a home for all their content – both educational and company-focused.
Educational Blogs Receive 52% More Organic Traffic Than Company-Focused Blogs
We found that educational blogs receive 52% more organic traffic than those which focused on company news and PR-style content:
This finding isn’t entirely surprising: educational content is more likely to rank for a wider variety of keywords. On the other hand, a business that’s only publishing news is limited to ranking for their company name and a handful of other related terms.
Key takeaway: Blogs that focus on educating their audience (rather than promoting their own company) receive 52% more organic traffic than company-focused blogs.
Are B2B brands publishing content to create a community with their audience? Or is it a one-way street?
Our research found that only 106 (29%) of the B2B blogs we looked at allow readers to leave comments.
Allowing comments isn’t necessarily a “best practice” for blogs anymore. There’s certainly a case to be made that comments can lead to more site engagement. However, the data is unclear on whether comments actually generate more traffic and links.
Comments also come at a cost: moderation and fighting spam. And according to our data, most B2B companies prefer to run their blogs without a commenting feature.
Key takeaway: 70% of B2B blogs don’t allow readers to leave comments on their posts.
65% of B2B Blogs Use Stock Images
65% of the blogs we looked at used stock images as their featured image. 14% used no images at all. And only 21% of blogs used custom images for their posts.
Using stock images is an easy way for busy content managers to bring visuals into their posts.
However, during this study, we saw the same stock images crop up multiple times on different blogs.
In 2019, Reboot conducted a long-term experiment to investigate whether stock images (which are often used across hundreds of other sites) are treated by search engines as duplicate content, and as a result cause a ranking issue. They concluded: “Using unique images on your website does have a positive impact on organic web rankings… compared with equivalent sites using duplicated images across the web.”
While it’s impossible to draw wide-sweeping guidelines based on a single SEO experiment, it’s fair to say that custom images can help your blog content stand out. Which may make creating unique images worth the investment regardless of any potential SEO benefit.
Key takeaway: Almost two-thirds of B2B blogs use stock images for their content’s featured image.
23% of B2B Blogs Don’t Have a Call-To-Action
Content can be an excellent source of traffic for B2B blogs. But with typical bounce rates hovering at around 50%, a clear call-to-action can help convert that traffic into a lead or trial.
We found eight different types of call-to-action used across the B2B blogs in our data set:
Subscribe to our blog/newsletter
Download gated content
Book a demo
Start product trial
Note: several companies used more than one type of call-to-action on their blogs.
The most popular type of call-to-action was to show-case related articles, used by 39% of companies. The second most-popular call-to-action was to subscribe to their newsletter, used on 35% of blogs.
This data suggests that many B2B companies understand the importance of using their content to build ongoing relationships with their audience and to encourage multiple pageviews.
Interestingly, almost one-quarter of the blogs that we looked at didn’t use any type of call-to-action.
Key takeaway: 39% of B2B companies use “related articles” as a call-to-action on their blog. This is an even more popular CTA than “subscribe to the newsletter”, which was only used by 35% of companies. 23% of B2B blogs don’t have any CTA at all.
24% of B2B Companies Use Pop Ups On Their Blogs
Our research found that only 24% of B2B companies were using pop-ups on their blogs.
Note that we didn’t consider cookie notifications a popup. As that’s a legal requirement in certain instances.
Of the 88 companies that did use pop-ups, we saw nine different types:
Subscribe to newsletter
Promote specific content
Book product demo
Sign up to product
Allow browser notifications
Complete a survey
Start free trial
An example of this is from Grammarly. They use a pop-up on their blog to encourage visitors to sign-up for a free trial.
Or this example from Pindrop, who use a pop-up to promote recommended content (in this case an upcoming webinar).
The most popular types of pop-up asked visitors to subscribe to a newsletter (41%) and to promote specific content (28%). Again, this shows that the majority of B2B companies are focused on building a relationship with their audience vs pushing product demos or sign-ups right away.
Key takeaway: Only 24% of B2B companies are using pop-ups on their blogs. But those that do, the most popular type of pop-up is encouraging visitors to subscribe to their newsletter (accounting for 41% of the blogs with pop-ups).
B2B Blogs Get an Average of 282 Visits From Organic Search Each Month
Next, we decided to look at the SEO performance of the blogs in our dataset in terms of organic traffic and keyword rankings.
(Note that the data here is an analysis of the entire blog. Not individual blog posts)
We found that the average B2B blog receives 282 visits from organic traffic each month.
However, this finding doesn’t show the full picture.
Visits from organic traffic (median)
All websites in our analysis
As we can see in the table above, there’s a significant amount of variance in organic traffic levels among the sites in our dataset. While the top 10% of blogs receive a median of 22,000 visits from organic search each month, the bottom 10% get essentially zero.
In fact, 32 of the sites we looked at didn’t get any traffic from organic search – and 70 of them were getting less than 10 visitors from SEO per month.
We also looked at the number of keywords that a typical B2B blog ranks for in Google organic search.
We found that on average B2B blogs rank for 784 keywords. But as with organic traffic, there’s a huge variance across the sites we looked at:
Number of organic keywords (median)
All websites in our analysis
On average the sites we looked at ranked for 784 organic keywords. But the top 10% ranked for 34,550 keywords. But the bottom 10%? Only 2.
Key Takeaway: The average B2B blog gets 280 visitors per month. However, this figure is slightly skewed by the significant number of B2B blogs that get little to no traffic from SEO. And the top 10% of B2B blogs that rank for thousands of popular keywords.
B2B Blogs Receive 1145 Backlinks From 120 Referring Domains
We’ve previously outlined that we discovered huge levels of variance in terms of organic traffic and keyword rankings. And that pattern continues here.
In this case, the top 10% of B2B companies in our analysis have an average of 147,000 backlinks from 2,560 referring domains. However, the bottom 10% have only 4 backlinks from 2 referring domains.
Key Takeaway: The typical B2B business has links from 120 referring domains. We also found that top-performing B2B blogs received 2,560 referring domains on average.
Total Backlinks, Referring Domains and Keyword Rankings Correlate With Organic Traffic for B2B Blogs
Next, we looked at the relationship between backlinks, keyword rankings and organic traffic for blogs in the B2B space.
Our research found that there was a fairly weak correlation between both the number of backlinks and the number of visits from organic search.
There was a stronger correlation between referring domains and organic search.
This suggests that it may be better to generate links from a number of different sites, rather than focus on getting a large number of links from the same set of sites.
These findings are in-line with other search engine correlation studies, like this and this.
Not surprisingly, there was a specially strong correlation between the number of keywords a blog ranks for, and how much traffic it gets from organic search:
Key Takeaway: Consistent with other correlational research, referring domains correlates with higher levels of the organic search traffic for B2B websites.
Top-Performing B2B Blog Posts Receive 49 Monthly Visits From Organic Search
So far we’ve focused on the analysis of B2B blogs as a whole. Now we’re going to switch gears and take a deep dive into the benchmarks that top-performing b2B blog posts tend to have.
Specifically, we identified each company’s best performing blog post, as measured by the organic search traffic it received each month.
Then, we analyzed each top performer in terms of organic traffic levels and keyword rankings.
Top performing B2B blog posts
Visits from organic traffic (median)
Ranking keywords (median)
All websites in our analysis
Our research found that the average best-in-class post ranked for 29 keywords and generated 49 visitors from organic search each month. 49 visitors may not sound like a lot of traffic. However, it’s important to keep in mind that B2B terms tend to be more commercially focused and have higher buyer intent when compared with B2C keywords. Also, organic traffic can often be reliable and consistent, especially when compared to traffic from the referral, direct traffic, social media or paid traffic.
As before, the top 10% of companies far out-perform the rest of the group. Their best posts rank for 678 keywords and generate 2,001 monthly visitors from organic search.
We also looked at the length of these top-performing posts. We cover that in more detail below.
Key Takeaway: Top-performing B2B blog posts tend to bring in 49 visitors from organic search per month.
Top-Performing B2B Blog Posts Generate 99 Social Media Shares
So while a median of 12 referring backlinks doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s infinitely more than what the vast majority of blog posts receive.
Key Takeaway: Top-performing B2B blog posts have 12 referring domain backlinks.
Long Form Content Performs Best In The B2B Space
Do longer blog posts perform better in B2B?
We looked at the word count for the top-performing blog posts across four different categories:
Posts that generate the most organic traffic
Posts that receive the most shares on social media
Posts that generate the most dofollow backlinks
And posts that get backlinks from the most referring domains.
On average, the best-performing posts (in terms of organic traffic) was 855 words long, compared with 1454 words for the top 10%, and 509 words for the bottom 10%.
For the top 10% best-performing posts in terms of social media shares, the average length is 1,116 words. Compared to 679 words for the bottom 10%.
For posts that generate the most dofollow backlinks, the average post is 780 words. Compared to 495 words for the bottom 10%.
And for posts that get backlinks from the most referring domains, the top 10% of posts contained 1552 words. The bottom 10% were only 554 words in length.
For all the metrics we analyzed, the trend is the same: the top 10% of posts are significantly longer than average, and the bottom 10% are significantly shorter.
Of course, a long post won’t automatically perform better just because it’s long. It needs to deliver value to earn those shares and links.
But our research does suggest that all things being equal, longer blog posts outperform shorter ones in the B2B space.
Key Takeaway: Long-form B2B content generates more social shares, backlinks, referring domains and organic traffic. For blog posts that rank well in organic search, the top 10% of posts are almost 3x the length of the bottom 10% of posts.
I hope you found this analysis of the B2B content marketing space interesting and useful.