Considering that almost every brand and business has one, it’s hard to believe that blogging has only been around for the past 10 years. A few weeks ago, I ran across a New York Times article from 2007 that was written to convince businesses of the value of starting a blog. Now, it seems as if every brand has one. In fact, marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive ROI.

And while blogging continues to be a popular marketing tactic, we also know that using it effectively has become increasingly difficult. When everyone blogs, how do you ensure your blog stands out?

The Beginner’s Guide to B2B Blogging in 2017

Whether your business is considering starting a blog, or you’re looking to revamp your strategy, here are three keys to blogging success in 2017:

1. Identify Who You’re Trying to Reach

When it comes to blogging, having a clear understanding of who you’re trying to reach helps you understand what types of content you should be producing to attract your target customers. Interview current customers to understand their pain points and what makes your product or service helpful. Ask your sales team about the common questions they get from prospective customers. The best ways to create content that captures attention is to identify the specific person you’re trying to reach, and then write content that resonates with them.

2. Craft Content Strategically Around Valuable SEO Keywords

Making sure your blog content is optimized with keywords potential customers are using is essential for maximizing the ROI. Before you write anything, define the native content consumption habits of your target audience and the language they are likely to use to describe what you offer. Research the keywords people are using to search your industry, and then graft those words with the pain points of your audience.

3. Make it Easy for People to Take a Natural Next Step

Many times, blogs are the entry point in which people start engaging with your brand. And while blog content is a great way to capture the initial attention and interest of prospective customers, it’s important to remember that it’s just the first step.

You propose at the end of the first date. Don’t ask for the business at the end of a blog post. Whether it’s inviting them to download a free resource or encouraging them to ask a question they’ve been struggling to answer, making it easy for people to take a natural next step is essential for effective blogging.

I’d love to know: How long has your business been blogging? What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned along the way?