To Blog, or Not to Blog…That’s the Question Many Industrial Companies are Asking

Industrial blogging questionsManufacturers, distributors and engineering companies have read or heard about all the benefits of content marketing in general and blogging in particular but many are still sitting on the fence. I’m often asked the question, “Should we start a blog?” It is a simple question but the answer is not a simple yes or a no.

Yes, you should start an industrial blog if you haven’t already done so. No, you shouldn’t blog if you don’t have a well-thought-out blogging strategy in place already.

Even though blog strategy comes before content creation, only 19% of manufacturing marketers outsource this function. That was one of the findings from the 2014 B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs.

Industrial blogging strategy

Ironically, this is the function where I’m asked most often for help. Clients want and need my 25+ years of experience and expertise in marketing to engineers and industrial buyers. They’ve been burned before with other consultants and marketing agencies that had very little experience with industrial marketing and tried force-fitting general B2B marketing strategies and tactics. They don’t want to go through the same cycle of spending money on unproven marketing ideas.

Two of my old posts will provide you general guidance on blogging strategies. Read these articles:

Writing industrial blog posts

Another big deterrent for industrial blogging is the time and resources for actually creating the content. Since this an ongoing drain on their resources, it is very common to outsource this function. Of the companies surveyed in the same CMI report, 49% outsourced writing and 39% used outside resources for content distribution and syndication.

The problem they face with outsourcing industrial content creation is again a lack of understanding of their customers and the industry. Just publishing blog posts won’t help you generate more qualified leads that turn into sales opportunities. Passive reading without conversion is useless. See Purpose Driven Industrial Blogging and Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher, Act Like an Investor.

It takes more than just copywriting; it takes a good understanding of white hat on-page SEO techniques that are approved by Google, ability to extract technically correct content from busy in-house Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and ruthless editing to create cohesive blog posts that will persuade engineers and industrial professionals to take action. Blog posts by themselves may not be enough. You may need to surround them with other valuable content assets that are needed for lead nurturing and conversion.

Even though it may be easy to find content creation resources for outsourcing, it is difficult to find someone who is qualified to produce the results you want from your industrial bog. And this kind of expertise doesn’t come cheap.

You’ll find plenty of posts here on industrial content marketing. You may benefit a lot from reading my article, Industrial Blogging Lessons Learned from Working with Technical SMEs.

Here’s a shameless plug – get in touch with me if you need expert help in developing an effective industrial blogging strategy and writing blog posts that convert engineering and technical readers into qualified leads.

4 replies
  1. Bob McCarthy
    Bob McCarthy says:

    Hi Achinta

    I think the first step is to stop using the word blog.

    A blog has a certain connotation of a diary or a journal that needs to be constantly updated.

    Many industrial marketers may question the value of a blog but they have two overriding (and maybe unspoken) concerns – (1) what to write about and (2) how to get it done consistently.

    I think a better approach is to think about creating a learning center or an educational 101 forum where you would provide how-to workshops, industry overviews, regulatory updates and other educational resources related to what you sell.

    This gives you more focus on the type of content you need to create. And more importantly, it doesn’t come with the pressure of having to update it all the time.

    Reply
    • Achinta Mitra
      Achinta Mitra says:

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      I’ve come across a few who had a negative impression of the word “blog” but once I explained to them the real purpose of blogging, they understood that it is just a matter of terminology.

      A blog is just the backend marketing tactic or tool for creating relevant and engaging content. As you’ve suggested, one can use many creative names for a blog on the customer-facing frontend.

      A while back I read a good post by Marcus Sheridan where he talked about how “Learning Centers” is a better name than blogs. There is definitely a lot of value in gathering all your content in one place for visitors to find easily. I’ve used the term “Buyer Resources” on some of my client sites.

      However, I find industrial companies tend to use learning centers as more of a formal and structured training resource rather than an online repository of helpful content and industry news.

      The fact is industrial companies have been blogging for a long time even if they don’t know about it. Product Releases, case studies, application notes, calculators, how-to articles, white papers and frequently asked questions have been a staple of industrial marketing long before the phrase content marketing became popular.

      You can find here several of my earlier posts on how these companies can easily repurpose those same content assets into evergreen blog posts that will continue to provide good SEO value and attract qualified traffic long after they’ve published them on their industrial blogs. This is a quick way to overcome the problem of what to write about.

      I find providing my clients with a written editorial calendar helps them plan ahead and stay on track. Some pressure to publish regularly sometimes is a good thing otherwise blogs tend to be neglected once the enthusiasm fades after the launch.

      Reply
  2. Tom Repp
    Tom Repp says:

    Achinta,

    Good post and good point.

    I agree, once you explain “blog” to a naïve industrial marketer, they get it. You also explain the need for good SEO techniques to be successful at blogging. Many marketers, without a background in SEO, miss this skill completely and then wonder why their shiny new blog attracts no traffic and generates no leads.

    The typical business owner or industrial marketer simply wants to know, is it worth it? Can I gain a return on investment on my blogging efforts?

    I just wrote a short case study and analysis a couple weeks ago that addresses this issue directly.

    Enjoy.
    http://bit.ly/industrial-blogging-and-ROI

    Reply
    • Achinta Mitra
      Achinta Mitra says:

      Tom,

      Thanks for your comments.

      SEO is always at the top of the list but many fail to understand that being found in search engines is only the start of the journey. Good blog posts will set the table for turning those visitors into leads. That’s where ROI and the “Is it worth it?” questions get answered. The ultimate goal should be conversions and not just SERPs. See my post Purpose Driven Industrial Blogging.

      You’ve done good job of explaining the numbers in your ROI post.

      Reply

Comments:

Want to join the discussion? Feel free to contribute.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *