The fact that you found this industrial marketing blog and are reading my post, tells me that you have asked yourself that very question and are curious about the answer. There are literally millions of articles written on why you should be blogging and they are easy to find in Google. I see no point in rehashing the same ideas here.
Instead, let me share my experiences in helping manufacturers, engineering and industrial companies launch successful blogs, produce results from them and in some instances, flat out advised them not to start one.
In this post, I’ll talk about some of the more difficult questions you should be asking yourself before jumping on the blogging bandwagon. Otherwise, you may be joining the ranks of countless other industrial blogs that were launched with a great deal of enthusiasm and expectations but were abandoned after only a few months.
Let’s dig a little deeper to understand what it really takes to achieve the four major benefits of blogging.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Fresh blog posts will help your SEO efforts but let’s look at the reality of that statement. Say you are a manufacturer or a distributor that sells industrial automation products. Google the phrase industrial automation and it will return 39,200,000 results (18,900,000 results if you search for the exact phrase “industrial automation”). Either way you can see there is significant amount of competition or pages that have done some optimization for that search term. You are going to have a difficult time, if not impossible to rank high if you try to optimize your blog posts for that broad phrase. The real questions to ask are:
- Do you know how to do basic keyword research and uncover keywords and phrases that have the right balance between search volume (Demand) and number of pages in search results (Supply)?
- Are you familiar with basic on-page SEO tactics like <Title> and <Description> Meta tags?
- Do you know enough about internal linking and wrapping anchor text around keywords? (See my post, “Internal Links – the Secret Sauce for DiY SEO”)
- Lead Generation – This is probably the biggest benefit that every industrial company wants out of their blogs. It is also the biggest trap for most of them because blog posts can quickly become thinly veiled promotional content for products and services. Questions to ask:
- Do you understand what it means to use deep linking to specific product pages?
- Do you know how to weave links to product pages within the body of your blog posts?
- Who will be responsible for tracking traffic and conversions?
- Do you have landing pages and compelling offers ready to supplement your blogging efforts?
- Thought Leadership – Static web pages on your company’s website are probably focused on talking about the company, its products and services. Blogs are very effective in highlighting your expertise and bringing your in-house subject matter experts (SMEs) to the forefront. Yet, it is common to find industrial blog posts with generic titles such “admin” or “marketing” for the author’s name. Questions to ask are:
- Who are the SMEs that will contribute content or write blog posts?
- Are they willing to make the time to engage with readers by answering questions and acknowledging people when they do leave comments?
- Who are the writers within your company or do you need to outsource content creation to someone who understands your technical audience?
- Social Media Exposure – Yes, it is a fact that participation in social media tends to be passive when it comes to the industrial sector. However, that doesn’t mean it is useless for industrial marketing. Ask yourself:
- How can we use our social media accounts to broadcast new blog posts and drive qualified traffic back to our blog?
- Who are the outside industry experts that we need to connect with on social networks so that they are more likely to retweet and/or talk about our blog posts with their circle of contacts? This is invaluable for gaining social proof and inbound links for SEO.
One last bit of advice – don’t expect an overnight miracle. Success with industrial blogging is a process that takes time to produce results. You won’t achieve the results you want if you leave managing your industrial blog to whoever has the time for it. You may also want to read my post, “Industrial Companies Underuse the One Social Media Tactic with Proven ROI.”
As you can see, to produce the kind of results you want out of your industrial blog, you first need answers to some tough questions. Do an honest assessment and make an informed decision as to how much of this you can do yourself and what you need to outsource. In my experience, the best results are produced by using a mix of do-it-yourself and help from an outside industrial blogging expert.
Is a blog part of your industrial marketing strategy? If so, what were some of the challenges you had to overcome?