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5 Reasons Why Your B2B Biotech Company Should Blog

Biotech companies have been slow to take advantage of blogging to communicate with their core audiences, but it’s my impression that this situation is finally changing. Some of the interest I’ve been seeing among entrepreneurial life sciences companies is driven by an understanding of how blogging supports search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. There are more benefits to blogging than SEO, though, so here are five points I’d put forward to encourage B2B biotechnology companies to blog.

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1. Blogging provides an avenue for creating and participating in discussions about ideas, issues, products and technologies that matter to you.

Of course this won’t take the place of writing journal papers or participating in meetings. But when it comes to talking about news that matters to your company, blogs can be a fast and efficient way to offer your perspective to people you’d like to reach, such as potential partners and employees. When you have information you want to share and a news release feels wrong, your company blog can be a good way to get the word out. If you’d like an example, check out the GenomeQuest blog.

2. Blogging may help you reach B2B buyers.

B2B marketing and selling is often not a straightforward proposition because there may be several people involved in the purchasing decision and it would likely be tough for you to email, call, send stuff to or otherwise touch all of them. Blogging gives biotech companies another way to influence a potential customer’s view of your company.

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to consider Forrester Research data from a survey of B2B information technology buyers ("The Social Technographics of Business Buyers" by Laura Ramos and Oliver Young). In a post titled "B2B buyers have very high social participation," their colleague Josh Bernoff summarizes: "91% of these technology decision-makers were Spectators …. This means you can count on the fact that your buyers are reading blogs, watching user generated video, and participating in other social media. Note that 69% of them said they were using this technology for business purposes."

I don’t know the precise number for biotech buyers and am not sure that anyone does, but think it’s reasonable to assume that a high percentage of potential customers, particularly for things like lab products and services, look for information online. Your thoughtful blog entries may help convince those people that they’ve come to the right place.

3. Blogging and attracting links can improve your company’s SEO or ranking in organic (i.e., unpaid) search engine results.

If your biotech company is publishing information about topics that people are searching on, is doing so with some frequency, and the blog is a part of your company website and not hosted somewhere else, blogging should help your company appear more prominently in search results over time. It’s important to keep the "over time" part firmly in mind and not get too antsy–SEO works pretty slowly. Think "many months."

4. Blogging can help you communicate with journalists.

PRWeek and PR Newswire recently surveyed 1,300 U.S. journalists to find out how they’re using social media. (The results of the survey were published earlier this month.) One basic conclusion is that reporters are open to using blogs to support their research–46 percent "sometimes or always use blogs for research purposes." Reporters don’t view corporate blogs as the be-all and end-all, but they’re one information source consulted.

Beyond research preferences, understand that a broad trend in corporate communications is toward creating content that you might, in the past, have expected to see from a reporter. Publications that cover life sciences are, like many media outlets, running with thin staffs due to reduced ad revenues and resulting layoffs. They aren’t able to cover all the topics that they once did, so if there’s an issue that’s important to your company, you may need to write about it yourself. A blog can be a great outlet for publishing this type of content.

Finally, don’t forget that reporters are people, too. They use search engines as much as anyone to research topics of interest. A blog that’s being regularly updated and that may have other people linking to it is more likely than a static website to be discovered by a search engine.

5. Blogging forms the cornerstone of broader social media involvement.

Large pharmaceutical companies are using social media. Judging from the angst in some quarters that stems from the absence of FDA guidance on social media, though, you’d think it was the third rail of pharmaceutical communications. But big companies are in fact using it and even the FDA is on Twitter, so it’s certainly not necessary for entrepreneurial and mid-sized biotechs to sit on the sidelines.

A blog is a great way to dip your toe into social media because it gives you a place to write long or write short, as well as a destination for readers of your Twitter posts who don’t think that your 140 characters were enough. When you get tired of writing, post short videos.

For inspiration, check out the Dose of Digital Dosie Awards finalists and see what many pharmaceutical and biotech companies are doing with blogging, Twitter, video and so on.

In sum, blogging can help B2B biotech companies be found by and connect with prospects. It is the direction that corporate communications is heading and may help you make a favorable impression on journalists. I’d suggest that if you thought blogging wasn’t right for biotech, it’s time to reconsider.

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Laura Kempke

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