Getting the green light to undertake a rebranding project is a moment to savor. You’ve got a mandate and a budget: time to hit the ground running. But you’re going to need an agency partner — even companies with in-house capabilities often go outside for fresh perspectives and expanded resources. So you’re…
One of the biggest takeaways from our recent discussions with B2B marketing leaders is that their roles can be lonely. B2B marketing teams are often smaller than those at their B2C counterparts, and CMOs’ peer executives frequently underestimate the value of brand. What’s more, there are few convening opportunities for B2B marketing leaders; CMO groups are dominated by those from B2C industries. Such relative isolation is not only rough on the psyche, it also means that it’s a greater burden to keep up-to-date on evolving trends in marketing and technology.
That’s where B2B marketing blogs can make a world of difference. By following a variety of sources, you can stay in the loop about the latest and greatest in brand strategy, design, martech, and corporate communications. Some publications even act as a forum of sorts; if you have insights you’d like to share, you can join their community of writers. To help you find the blogs that will contribute most your role, DeSantis Breindel polled the office for our employees’ favorite sources for B2B branding and marketing content. While some of our selected resources do come from services providers, they all share a commitment to high-quality, unbiased, and informative writing. With these resources in your toolbox, you’re sure to feel more in sync.
Branding Magazine and Branding News
Since its founding several years ago, Branding Magazine has worked hard to grow its roster of writers, attracting many executive-level contributors from highly-respected agencies and industries. Although it publishes free, themed digital editions, you can also browse its content by date, writer, or subject — which ranges from data and design to strategy and social good. Branding Magazine offers something for everyone; you’ll find C-suite interviews, design interviews, strategy insights, and practical how-to ideas. Importantly, the magazine’s focus is broad enough to include many topics relevant not only to consumer goods marketers, but also to B2B audiences.
Branding Magazine has expanded its portfolio to include Branding News, a companion site that provides updates on recent launches and upcoming events.
Check out: “Delivering Trust with Empathy: Where Next for Financial Brands?” Written by Steve Moncrieff, this article details the demands facing fintech start-ups experiencing exponential growth during COVID-19.
Ragan, the publisher of PR Daily, provides fantastic content not only for PR professionals, but also anyone whose work involves corporate communications, internal branding, or social media. Its content is practical, relevant, and to-the-point — a perfect resource for the always-strapped-for-time corporate marketer. One of its most unique features is its strong emphasis on writing and editing skills. Ragan reminds us never to grow complacent about our content, offering quick style tips and compelling article thought starters.
Check out: In “How Scotts Miracle-Gro Sees Its Purpose “Jim King, the company’s Chief Communications Officer, takes readers through the company’s new CSR initiative. This case study is valuable for other leaders interested in aligning brand values and CSR activities.
Long a favorite among graphic designers, Brand New provides thoughtful commentary on recently launched logo and design language updates. Reviewer Armin Vit — loved and feared by the design community — gives context-rich explanations that help even design novices understand what makes or breaks a great logo (in Armin’s opinion). Somewhat uniquely for a creative blog, Brand New features a significant amount of B2B work. This makes it a great place for corporate marketers to learn current trends and best practices in the world of B2B design. Although the site recently launched a subscription model, the investment is likely worth it for brand and design professionals.
Check out: “Take at Face Value” which presents a fascinating look at the political considerations behind Facebook’s new corporate logo.
Branding Source‘s concept is similar to that of Brand New: commentary on design, particularly corporate identity. However, it brings several unique features to the table. It is less critical, analyzing design more so than critiquing it. Its focus is more international, which means it catches redesigns that you might not see on the more North-American-oriented Brand New. Finally, it periodically revisits blasts from the past — analyzing “vintage” logos you may have forgotten. It’s a quick, fun read that will alert your attention to great corporate design that may have slipped through the cracks.
Check out: Take a trip back to the early Internet era with “From 1998: The moody Geocities’ G.”
Gartner for Marketers
Although much of Gartner‘s content requires a free registration, signing up is worth it because of the research company’s rich insights made at the intersection of marketing, technology, and business transformation. Gartner’s sterling reputation and its focus on metrics-driven marketing make this blog a great place to find the stats and white papers that will go over great in the board room. Make sure to pay extra attention to Gartner’s insights on customer experience; the firm has invested heavily in this area in recent years.
Check out: The Annual CMO Spend Survey aggregates and analyzes how CMOs are reckoning with the unexpected budget shorfalls associated with COVID-19. In addition to offering leaders data with which to compare their own organization, this resource may also help them plan and justify 2021 budgets.
Content Marketing Institute
From the publisher of Chief Content Officer magazine, this frequently updated site is great for B2B marketers because of its unrelenting focus on content creation. The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) offers advice for every step of your thought leadership campaigns: idea generation, writing, SEO, link building strategy, social media, and more. In B2B markets, where content is key to building reputation and loyalty, the tips from CMI are particularly resonant. Getting regular updates from their writers are a way to remind yourself of the small moves you can make to optimize your content’s effect.
Check out: In “Overcome a Boring Blog With These 5 Techniques,” Jodi Harris dispels rumors that blogs are out of fashion. Instead, she offers five tactics that B2B marketers can use to re-energize their corporate blogs.
HubSpot’s blog sits squarely at the intersection of marketing and sales enablement—two sites that B2B marketers are constantly trying to align. While you may run into the occasional HubSpot sales pitch, most of the blog’s content is highly actionable, even for those who are not HubSpot subscribers. One of the site’s most valuable offers are its templates, such as those for marketing plans, sales plans, and content calendars. Extremely useful for those who learn by example, these take a lot of the guess work out of launching more formalized content and sales enablement initiatives.
Check out: Trying to get inspired? Check out “The Best of B2B Marketing Content: 10 Examples.” This piece highlights recent standout campaigns, breaking down what each does well and presenting the takeaway for marketers.
Convince and Convert
One of the longer-running digital marketing blogs on the web, marketing guru Jay Baer’s Convince and Convert has earned a well-deserved reputation for providing frequent, useful thought leadership on content, digital, and social media marketing. Convince and Convert does a great job presenting its insights in a variety of mediums—text, audio, and video—so you’re sure to find a way to make it fit into your busy work day. Its pieces are highly actionable; you’ll find many “how tos” in its archives.
Check Out: Sometimes marketing thought leadership can seem pie in the sky, but not at Convince and Convert, which focuses on boots-on-the-ground tactics. For example, Anna Hrach writes on “How to Repurpose Content Without Getting In Trouble.”
If you’re anything like us, you find tech news sites like TechCrunch a little overwhelming. However, keeping up-to-date with innovations and industry buzz is important; they not only affect your business and marketing, but also your clients’, meaning they’re a great source of inspiration for branded content. ReadWrite makes finding the most relevant updates easier. A clean site with a manageable number of skimmable articles, the site aims to “provide information in a way that favors readers’ productivity instead of page views.” It’s a great source for the latest on AI, startups, fintech, and the like.
Check out: “The Digital Era and Global Lockdown” presents a concise overview of how industries such as banking, healthcare, and aerospace and defense have pivoted in the last six months. Its easy-to-digest insights provide a quick primer for professionals struggling to keep up with this watershed moment.
Business intelligence company Forrester SiriusDecisions is unique in its focus on B2B industries. As such, its blog a must-read for B2B marketing and sales professionals. Its posts read like executive-level briefings, complete with important takeaways displayed in bullet points at the beginning of each article. They are authored by the company’s own experts, so you can be sure insights have been market-tested. This blog is especially useful for those investing in a martech or sales stack as it demystifies solutions and frameworks.
Check out: With a focus on complex B2B businesses, Barry Vasudevan explains “How to Use Messaging Hierarchy to Assemble Buyer Messaging.”
All Your Insights in One Place
We’ve discussed a wide range of blogs for B2B CMOs and yet only breached the tip of the iceberg. Additionally, you’ll likely want to complement marketing blogs with industry-specific and strategy-focused blogs. How to keep all your links and sources straight? We recommend an RSS reader app, such as Feedly, which collects new articles from your favorite sources in a single place. It’s a personalized B2B marketing digest, delivered straight to your desktop. Simply subscribe to blogs’ feeds and you’ll see their new posts in real-time on your feed.
With great B2B marketing blogs and a convenient reading solution, you’re in good shape for staying on the pulse in 2020. What blogs do you think will be the most critical for marketers this year? We’d love to hear what we’re missing…contact us!
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