We recently had a chat with Marko Saric, online marketing expert and B2B blogging expert, and couldn’t wait to share it with you all. We wanted to pick his brain on some of the best practices (plus tools and apps) that B2B companies should be using in their digital content marketing content. Here’s his advice.

Hey, Marko! First off, tell us about what you do.

I’ve been involved in online marketing since I was a teenager and I started a site about my favorite band, Metallica. The next step after starting was to try and get someone to actually visit and check out what I had created, so this led me onto marketing.

On my blog (How to Make My Blog) I pretty much cover all the lessons I learn as I go along working on these different projects, starting from creation of great content to actually getting targeted people to visit and share that content.

What’s the biggest mistake, in your opinion, that B2B companies make on their blogs?

The biggest mistake companies make is that they talk about themselves too much rather than focus on the target market. For a blog to work, you should put your audience first and yourself second.

Create content that provides value to the audience you want to reach — content that answers their questions and solves their problems. Then, add messages about your own offering naturally within the content that people appreciate and find useful.

How do B2B blogs fit best within a company’s sales funnel?

Your blog is a great attention-creator and lead generator. Your website and your landing pages may not drive any organic traffic normally, but your blog posts that provide great value to the user can be discovered in search engine results and be found in social media too.

This means that your blog content increases your brand awareness and drives leads to your business. Blog posts can fit within any stage of the sales funnel as long as they are properly targeted according to the user needs and intent.

What tools/apps do you recommend to help with B2B blogging — from media creation to SEO?

The best tool for blogging is WordPress. It can save you weeks of development time as it gives you access to a wide variety of designs you can use and a wide variety of plugins that help you extend the functionality of your blog such as the Yoast SEO plugin which helps you be more Google-friendly or a variety of options for lead generation.

Another tool I appreciate and recommend is Canva as it helps anyone (even those who are not that good at design) create beautiful graphics for your blog content and your social media. These are important as the web is increasingly visual and using graphics can help you stand out and tell a better story.

What are your tips for promoting B2B blog content?

Promoting your content is just as important as creation of the content itself. I normally recommend at least 50% of your time be spent on marketing, and this includes going to all the different niche communities relevant to your target audience and telling them about yourself. It also includes syndicating your content to bigger sites that already have a large, established audience.

How can companies use their B2B blog posts to start growing an email list for email marketing?

Blog content is a natural place for you to establish authority and trust with your target market by being an expert and sharing your experience and advice. Most first time visitors are not ready to buy from you straight away, but if you provide value in your content they may be willing to sign up to your mailing list or in other ways give you permission to stay in touch.

This is what you should focus on as your main goal and call of action. And with WordPress you have multiple plugins that help you activate a wide variety of different calls to action — from those very intrusive ones to some more user-friendly ones. Experiment and see which ones fit best for your brand and which ones give you the best results.

There you have it, Marko Saric’s B2B blog best practices! For more information, see how Saric walks you through starting a blog step-by-step on his site. In addition, connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.