Posts

Blogging Still Lagging in Industrial Marketing

Compared to most B2B marketers, blogging still plays a minor role for most manufacturing and industrial companies. Look at these charts from two different surveys to illustrate my point.

The first chart is from the survey – Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ fourth annual B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America.

B2B Content Marketing Tactics Usage

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Content Marketing Challenges for Industrial Distributors

Industrial distributors face a unique set of challenges when it comes to content marketing. These companies have traditionally depended on the depth and breadth of their line cards to highlight their strengths and sell industrial products.

In the past, their marketing content came straight from the manufacturers they represented. You will find the exact same product content on sites of various distributors serving a particular industry. They’ve never had to create and publish their own content before.

The problem is republishing the same manufacturer’s content won’t help your SEO or add any value for your customers and neither will it help to differentiate one industrial distributor from another.

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5 Most Popular Industrial Marketing Blog Posts from 2012

Happy New Year!

For my first post in 2013, I thought I would take a quick look back at the past year. Here are the five most popular industrial marketing blog posts from 2012. I picked these based mainly on the number of Pageviews and the Average Time on Page according to my Google Analytics.

Social sharing and comments also played a part but to a lesser extent since my primary audience of engineers and industrial professionals tend to be passive participants in those channels as many studies have shown.

  1. Content Marketing for Engineers
    I’ll go out on a limb and state that content marketing for engineers is different. Yes, I do get it that the lines between work and personal lives have blurred thanks to today’s hyper-connected world where everybody is always “On.” And I agree that at the end of the day, marketing to engineers is still all about communicating with people. Call it P2P (People-to-People) marketing if you will. (Continue reading…)
  2. How Manufacturers Use 3D CAD Models and 2D CAD Drawings as Sales Enablers
    Manufacturers usually want their industrial marketing to generate leads that result in RFQs as quickly as possible. Inbound marketing tactics such as SEO and other content marketing strategies do fill the top of their sales funnel but converting leads to sales opportunities takes too long for their liking. Read more

Add a Blog to Jump Start Industrial Websites

It is not uncommon to find industrial websites that have not been updated for a long time or with outdated content. Providing a cosmetic facelift is not going to improve the site’s performance either. What can you do if a complete website redesign is not feasible?

Adding a blog to your current site is a quick and easy way to breathe new life into an old or underperforming industrial website. Now, every time I mention the word blog to manufacturers and industrial companies, they put on their mental brakes. This is because they think they won’t have anything to write about, at least not as far as publishing new blog posts on a weekly or even a monthly basis.

Here are two practical tips to help you overcome this hurdle of content creation for industrial marketing:

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Why Industrial News Releases Make Good Blog Posts

Press or news releases about industrial products have been and still are very popular. They work because the content is mainly about features that help engineers specify these industrial products.

In the past, manufacturers used them primarily in traditional print media like an industry-specific tabloid. People sent back a completed reader service or bingo card and leads were generated that way. Of course, those days are long gone. Today, you are more likely to see a URL like http://ogpe.hotims.com or http://powereng.hotims.com printed at the end of the news release.

Since industrial companies struggle with content, I think one way to overcome the problem is to take a traditional marketing tactic like a news release and turn it into a blog post for use in digital marketing.

What I’m suggesting here is not to copy word-for-word from your old product releases but to expand on them and create new blog posts. Instead of listing product features and specifications, your blog posts can add a lot more information, which will be more educational rather than a blatant sales pitch.

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Blogs and Social Marketing in the Upstream Oil & Gas Industry

The Upstream Oil & Gas industry, also referred to as the exploration and production (E&P) sector, has a reputation of being very conservative and conventional. Even though the companies that operate in this sector are well-known global brands, they are not exactly forward thinking online marketers who use business blogs and social media regularly.

However, these companies are no slouches when it comes to using the power of blogging and social media to talk about a politically and emotionally charged topic like hydraulic fracturing. Google the search phrase hydraulic fracturing blogs and it will return 2 million results!

Sure, there are plenty of blogs written by die-hard tree huggers and other environmentalists with their own agendas but the list of blogs on hydraulic fracturing from companies and organizations reads like the “who’s who” of the E&P industry.

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Industrial Blogs and Their Benefits-Challenge Duality

Blogging is proving to be just as as paradoxical for industrial companies as the wave–particle duality in quantum physics. Manufacturers, industrial distributors and engineering companies that I talk to do understand the benefits of using a blog as the hub of their inbound marketing strategy for SEO, lead generation, thought leadership and branding. However, they are struggling with the challenge of creating engaging content for their industrial blogs.

It is difficult for these companies to shift their mindset to think like “publishers” when their entire library of content is strictly product-focused. Industrial distributors find it even more challenging to come up with their own content when traditionally they have depended on the manufacturers they represent to supply them with all the marketing content.

The problem of creating content and blogging is not limited to industrial companies. General B2B marketers are struggling too. This chart published by MeraketingSherpa illustrates my point.

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Retrofitting Blogs and Converting Industrial Websites into Blog Sites

I am seeing more manufacturers and industrial companies willing to try inbound marketing with content. A sure sign of that is the number of conversations that I have had recently with my current clients and new leads. They all want to either add a blog to their static industrial websites or convert them into dynamic blog sites.

Retrofitting a blog into an existing site is quicker and less expensive than recreating the site on a blogging platform. However, a blog site with a fully integrated blog has many advantages over the retrofit option. For a full list of benefits, refer to my earlier post, “Build Industrial Websites as Dynamic Blog Sites.”

Some companies need help setting up their business blogs but for most, the biggest obstacle is creating content. One way to get over this hurdle is to repurpose some of your existing content into blog posts.

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Don’t Let Lack of Content Stop You from Blogging

The mantra for effective business blogging is to regularly pump out fresh content that is reader-centric and not focused too much on you, your products or your company. I agree.

More power to you if you already have a horde of avid readers who visit your blog every time you post new content. For others, the bulk of your blog traffic, in some cases as much as 80%, will come from first-time visitors. These people find your blog while searching for answers to their current problem or visit via social media.

It is not just your latest post that draws traffic. Your blog posts will remain online in perpetuity. A post that is a few months old to you may be news to someone else, as long as it is not time sensitive.

As an industrial marketer, you recognize the importance of constantly publishing fresh and relevant content to attract qualified visitors and convert them into leads.

However, at the end of the day, every manufacturer or distributor of industrial products wants to sell more widgets and not just publish more content. (See my earlier post, “Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher, Act Like an Investor.”)

Many manufacturers and industrial companies tend to back away from launching their business blog because of this content dilemma.

Is there a way for industrial marketers to solve this “Catch-22” problem for blogging? There is!

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