Industrial blogging is usually not a favorite subject of discussion with my manufacturing and engineering clients. Probably the most common complaint I hear is, “We’ve been blogging for a while but haven’t seen any tangible results (leads, sales opportunities etc.).” Another major concern is that it is too time consuming to create fresh and relevant content that will engage engineers and industrial professionals.
These issues with industrial blogging are valid and justifiable, but don’t give up on it just yet. I’ve found industrial blogging to be a strong content marketing strategy for engaging with time-challenged engineers. That’s been my own experience working with my clients and in my own industrial marketing consulting business. 100% of new leads are now inbound leads and usually originate from this blog. I admit it has taken me several years to build up to this stage (I’ve been blogging since 2008).
Using industrial blogging to win the engineer’s mindshare
Engineers thrive on solving problems and they love a technical challenge. They are keen on gaining knowledge and staying current about their industry. They trust, respect and want to learn from their peers. Those are not just my observations.
Here are some key findings from the study “What’s on the Mind of the Engineer?” – A Global Research Study produced by Beacon Technology Partners, LLC and UBM Tech Electronics Network.
- Solving problems that haven’t been solved before – this solution orientation pervades everything an engineer thinks or does
- The #1 concern among all engineers regardless of their experience is keeping their skills current and their technology knowledge up to date
- Engineers are eager consumers of information regardless of level of experience because of this need to stay current
- Engineers communicate with and trust other engineers. Marketing must leverage this collaborative ethos without wasting the engineer’s valuable time with content noise
Industrial blogs as a content marketing platform
External resources such as the Content Marketing Institute and HubSpot, all tout the benefits of blogging. According to most independent research studies that I’ve read, and I’ve read most, industrial blogging doesn’t rank very high when it comes to manufacturing and engineering marketing.
That’s a shame because in my opinion, blogs are the foundation of effective industrial content marketing and distribution. I see blogs as the perfect platform for all other content marketing tactics.
You are probably already very familiar with all the benefits of industrial blogging, but it is worth reminding yourself as to how it helps you meet most, if not all your content marketing goals.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): While rankings and Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) are important in SEO, don’t get hung up on them. It’s a mistake to base your entire content marketing strategy on SEO. Understand the difference between discovery optimization and conversion optimization. (Read “Why Industrial Content Must Be More Customer-Centric”)
- Thought leadership: It is not about publishing a bunch of blog posts that are just thinly disguised promotional content. Bring your subject matter experts (SMEs) to the forefront, even if Marketing creates the content in the background. This is the best way I know of for earning trust, credibility and showcasing your knowledge, experience and expertise in solving customer problems. (See my post, “Industrial Blogging Lessons Learned from Working with Technical SMEs”)
- Education: These days everyone is selling “solutions”. Educating the market about your solutions is one of the primary objectives of industrial blogging. However, you are not likely to move the needle on your lead generation if all you are doing is touting your solutions. Use your industrial blog to raise awareness of problems and/or improved ways of doing things. Think about it, why would anyone buy your solution if they were not even aware that they have a problem in the first place? I call this “Problem-centric Industrial Marketing.”
- Setting the table for sales: Blogging is rarely a direct response marketing tactic. It is best suited for earning the trust of skeptical engineers and technical buyers who want validation of your claims. They don’t care to read more marketing fluff. Build your credibility with content that is truthful and demonstrates the value you provide. This will help them logically justify their choice that may be driven by the fear of failure. (How Manufacturing Content Marketing Sets the Table for Sales)
Independent research studies have shown that industrial blogs are effective in content distribution.
- 62% of manufacturing marketers use blogs to distribute content for content marketing purposes (Source: 2018 Manufacturing Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)
- 25% net spend growth for blogging in 2018 by engineering marketers (Source: 2018 Budget Trends in Industrial & Technology Marketing, engineering.com)
I’m not suggesting industrial blogging is the right platform for every industrial company. For example, a distributor who relies primarily on the principal manufacturer to provide content, may find it difficult to consistently create fresh content of their own. For many, an industrial blog is the right distribution platform for other content marketing tactics such as white papers, guides, videos, social media posts and the list goes on.