Many B2B companies struggle with what to blog about. I recently came across two examples that work well because they lead with information, ideas and insights and only indirectly tout themselves.

The first is a trip report of TM Forum Management World by Bill Ahlstrom, a vice president in CA’s Infrastructure Management and Data Center unit. He did a good, complete job recapping not only the speeches and sessions, but the buzz among the service provider audience. Like a good reporter, he didn’t gloss over bad news, but used a “best of times/worst of time” theme to quote attendees on the challenges they face from the recession and the fact virtualization and cloud computing (apps and other services delivered over the Internet) are creating new competitors like Amazon.com.

Among the best things he did was sharing an especially thought-provoking prediction he heard, that in the future “IT groups will morph into Platform Services Groups, buying and providing everything as a service…(which)  will feed a firestorm of creativity and agility unlike anything seen before – even more than the wave of creativity spawned by the Internet itself. “

Speaking of keeping the sales pitch low-key, Bill may have gone overboard by mentioning CA only at the end, saying “There was considerable interest in CA's virtualization and cloud initiatives…(and that) as we follow up with customers and partners, CA's role in these two interlinked major trends will become both clearer, and more important.” Without going into marketing mode, he could have provided valuable insight and indirectly promoted CA by saying “Two pain points we kept hearing from prospects were managing virtual machine sprawl and sharing security attributes across public and private clouds. Look for news from us on both those fronts soon…” A tease like that also prompts readers to subscribe to his blog or follow him on Twitter.

The second example comes from a China-based professional services firm, Symbio Group (who is a client, but no, I didn’t write this post.) It is a rebuttal to a story in The Economist claiming many Chinese firms simply copy business models from other countries without tweaking them for the Chinese market. The post described several customers who, with Symbio’s help, had indeed customized outside business models for the China market, and predicted that as China matures it will eventually develop business models that will be exported worldwide.

This post was effective because it clearly pointed out how Symbio helped its clients, but kept the focus not on Symbio’s contributions but on how their clients succeeded, and how the success of those clients bolsters the main point: That Chinese firms can do more than copy outside business models. Very importantly, they also cited other examples that were not Symbio clients.

What’s neat in each case is that the subject matter came from activities executives do anyway – attending trade shows, talking to prospects, reading, thinking and arguing about industry trends. You can always hire someone like me to polish their writing (there’s my understated pitch) but your people already have the subject matter. You just have to ask them to share it.

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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