When I talk to manufacturers and industrial companies about blogging, which is practically every day, I can’t help but notice that these people do understand that blogging is a key component of good industrial content marketing.
What I find lacking most often is a clear understanding of purpose driven benefits from blogging. This gap prevents them from fully harnessing the power of blogs to boost industrial lead generation and drive sales.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of industrial blogging.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Marketers at industrial companies understand the importance of organic SEO. They realize that their sites and blogs need to be at the top of search engine rankings in order for their target audience to find them. The problem is their entire focus is on search engines, trying to find the latest “trick” to beating Google and other search engines.
Focus instead on writing good content that your human readers will find useful in solving their real-world problems and let the search engines follow. Search engines bots don’t convert into customers, people do.
A good SEO professional will know all about keyword research, on-page optimization (White Hat SEO), link building and social media to help you get there faster but there are no magic tricks for rising to the top of search engine results page (SERP). So give up this notion once and for all.
Thought leadership: Every business wants it but very few people get it right. Thought leadership is not about publishing a bunch of blog posts that are not much more than thinly disguised promotional material. How many times have you read a statement like this on an industrial website – “We have over 100 years of combined experience in XYZ industry?” That is an empty boast that your competition can claim just as easily.
Instead, bring your subject matter experts (SMEs) to the forefront of your industrial blog. Get them (or an expert ghostwriter) to write blog posts that demonstrate their unique knowledge, experience and expertise in solving customer problems. (See my post, “Industrial Blogging Lessons Learned from Working with Technical SMEs”)
Skeptical engineers and technical buyers want validation of your claims. They don’t care to read more marketing fluff. I’ve found nothing to be more effective than content that is from one engineer to another.
Education: These days everyone is selling “solutions.” Even industrial distributors have realized that providing end-to-end solutions are far more profitable than just moving hardware that is usually price sensitive. 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. Using your industrial blog to educate the market has to include raising 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.”
Campaign vs. commitment: This one has to do more with the mindset than a strategic benefit. Content marketing with blogging is a process and not a one-off campaign. Unlike an ad campaign, blogging will take time to produce results. It takes anywhere from 6-8 months before you start to see measurable results.
I get it that we all want to be results-driven. However, you will be disappointed if you expect overnight results from an industrial blog. What you can and should expect are incremental results before your blog starts to produce long-term sustainable results.
That’s why it is very important to have a good understanding of Google Analytics and implementing a robust Marketing Automation solution. Track, measure and refine your industrial blogging efforts. Don’t wait 8 months or more to find out that your industrial blog is an epic fail.
Those are my thoughts on making industrial blogging purposeful. What has been your experience with launching and maintaining an industrial blog?