B2B Beat: How Our Team Grew the Blog

Introducing the “Building Blogs” Series

April 17, 2016

“The blog is the social media rug that ties the room together,” Jason Miller, Group Manager, Content Marketing, at LinkedIn, is fond of saying — paraphrasing The Dude in “The Big Lebowski.” What Jason means is that the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog, as it is for many companies, is a focal point in our overall content marketing strategy.

We use the blog to promote our big rock pieces of content — that is, our ebooks, videos, podcasts, and more. The blog is also a conduit for LinkedIn news, such as product launches. But most importantly the blog enables us to provide useful content, whether that content has to do with Linked in or not, on a daily basis to our audience, which in our case is primarily digital marketers.

In today’s B2B Beat, we’re publishing our first installment of our new “Building Blogs” series, which examines our successes and failures in growing the LMS blog over the past 18 months. Our hope is that by sharing our customer-focused, data-driven approach to growing our blog, we’ll share some lessons that marketers can apply to generating growth in their own company blogs. 

The “Building Blogs” series will explore five main elements of our blog-growth strategy, diving into how we:

  • Serve our audience
  • Create useful content
  • Generate traffic from our target audience
  • Increase the subscriber base
  • Promote our content to a wider audience

In this first part of the series, we’re going to look how we serve our audience. For this blog, we subscribe to the philosophy that nothing is more important than our readers. From the time the blog was launched three years ago, one of the guiding tenets has been: All content published on the LinkedIn blog must serve marketers by either by providing practical knowledge, sharing news, or delivering entertainment.

Alex Rynne, Associate Content Marketing Manager; Megan Golden, Senior Content Marketing Manager; and I have continued this focus on serving the audience. (Our agency, TopRank Marketing, also helps us create excellent content and optimize it for search engines). We focus on the topics marketers care about and are fighting to master: content marketing, account-based marketing, and social media marketing to name a few.

Here’s an example of a post that conveyed knowledge: “20 Books Every Marketer Should Read in 2016

Here’s an example of news: “Introducing LinkedIn Account Targeting

And finally here’s an example of entertainment (which is also pretty useful): “The George Costanza Approach to Content Marketing”

In part because of this relentless focus on providing useful content to our audience (and tremendous help from our demand generation team), we’ve seen our subscriber total increase by more than 25 times (27.6 times to be exact) over the past 18 months — from a small base. And in the first quarter of this year, sessions on the LMS blog increased by 48.9 percent compared with the same period in 2015.

The blog audience is not only bigger; we are certain it is the right audience, too. The data supports this assertion. Our analysis of the audiences indicates that 5 percent are already customers. Another 25 percent are prospects poised to be customers, because they score a 90 or above on our predictive lead model.  

Our analysis also shows that we’re reaching the right demographic mix of people in digital marketing and in digital infrastructure. About 62 percent of our audience is in marketing and advertising, 14 percent are in information technology, and 7 percent are in public relations and communications.

We believe the customer-focused, data-driven approach is the only way to operate a blog — and the only way to operate any business, really. Our team has focused on delivering relevant, useful and entertaining content to grow our readership. And we’ve used data to not only prove this growth but also to analyze whether it’s on the right track or not.

Stay tuned to the B2B Beat over the next few months as we roll out our complete “Building Blogs” series, which we hope will provide ideas that can help you grow your own blog. If you’re not yet a subscriber to the LMS blog, sign up now to get useful content on a daily basis that will help you do your job better. Subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog today.