Because data center service providers sell to a highly-technical audience, a website with helpful, educational thought leadership content is more of a necessity than a luxury.
In today’s highly competitive data center marketplace, that pretty much means that your website must have a blog and promote its content on social media.
But it’s not enough to check off the box and say that you have a blog.
Blogging = The Foundation for SEO and Social Media Done Right
No one ever generated leads, revenue, and profits from their data center blog just by giving their blogging initiative lip service or a half-baked effort.
In a world where 60% to 90% of the buyer’s journey is over before prospects are ready for a sales conversation, what you publish becomes perception – if you want to get found early enough to still matter in today’s modern data center sales cycle.
And frankly, embarking on social media publishing or search engine optimization (SEO) without a content strategy that’s centered on your blog almost always leads to self-serving, spammy content that no one wants to read.
So with that in mind, which data center service providers seem to be blogging the best, hitting on most of the widely-accepted content marketing and Inbound marketing best practices?
Here are a few solid examples worth studying.
Findable directly through a top navigation choice just to the left of its phone number, IsoFusion’s Our Blog has blog posts on the history of the Internet, network security, fiber alternatives, and bandwidth.
The formatting makes it easy for skimmers to dive in. And the blog titles promise something compelling to the reader.
Where could IsoFusion improve?
- Blogging frequency – This Seattle-based data center service provider has published just a handful of posts for the first half of this year. For companies that want to generate leads from their website, if you’re not blogging at least twice a week, it’s unlikely that a blog will be effective in achieving goals around traffic generation, lead generation, and sales cycle acceleration.
- Long tail keywords – It’s pretty rare that businesses blog just for the sake of blogging. More often than not, data centers want to see some ROI from blogging. However, if a blog post doesn’t use a long tail keyword in its Title that’s relevant for its buyer persona and achievable based on its current search engine authority, it’s pretty difficult to get any organic search visibility.
- Images – The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. So it’s an important best practice to include a relevant image with every blog post. Images are also extremely helpful for driving more visitors when sharing blog posts on social media, such as Twitter or LinkedIn.
- Calls to action – Providing readers with relevant educational content is great. But if you want your hot prospects to raise their hands and self-identify as leads, every blog post should end with a highly relevant call to action for a premium content offer. For a typical data center blog post, calls to action are usually for white papers, eBooks, planning checklists, or webinar recordings.
TierPoint TalkingPoint Blog
Headquartered in St. Louis, TierPoint has over a dozen data centers throughout the US.
While its TierPoint TalkingPoint Blog isn’t all that prominent in its web navigation, TierPoint is definitely putting some serious effort into blogging.
It's great to see so many different blog authors at TierPoint involved in creating helpful, educational content. In the first half of this year, TierPoint had nine employees contribute to the blog, including sales professionals, the CTO, the CSO, and several managers.
This variety is vital because stakeholders hear vastly different questions and concerns from prospects and clients that can turn into highly remarkable blog content. At many data center service providers, the marketing department produces nearly 100% of the blog content – limiting the blog to primarily what marketing alone hears from prospects and clients.
Most of the blog titles include a long tail keyword. And a quick skim of the opening paragraphs shows that these long tail keywords are being mentioned early in the posts, which is another important best practice.
Where could TierPoint improve?
- Web hosting control over CMS – The blog footer shows “Blog at WordPress.com.” For a data center service provider as large as TierPoint, it shouldn’t allow someone else’s brand to detract from their blog. And most sophisticated blog owners that use WordPress want to control their own web hosting (commonly known as WordPress.org) --- especially a company that’s in the data center industry.
- Missed sidebar opportunities – While the blog sidebar includes sections for categories, tags, and some basic contact information, it’s completely missing opportunities to convert visitors into subscribers, leads, and social media followers.
- Blogging frequency – With nine blog authors and the resources behind TierPoint, the data center service provider should be able to blog at least twice a week.
- Calls to action – The blog posts, while helpful and educational in nature, leave readers dangling at the end of the posts. The more common best practice is to include a call to action for a related premium content offer at the end of each post. So following the post on “Start of Hurricane Season is a Good Reminder to Keep DR in Focus”, perhaps a planning checklist or eBook is available for download behind a landing page on XX Ways to Prepare Your Technology Assets for Hurricane Season.
So between IsoFusion and TierPoint, some really solid best practices are being followed. But there are also a number of issues that may be standing in the way of getting far better results from each of their blogs.
- 6 Ways to Keep Your Data Center Blog Fresh
- How Your Data Center Blogs Impact Success
- Tips for Creating Data Center Blog Titles
- Tips for Data Center Blogging Strategy
Which data center service providers seem to really excel at blogging? What do you think they’re doing right? And what could they improve on? Let us know your take in the Comments below.