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Industrial Blogging Lessons Learned from Working with Technical SMEs

IndustrMy clients often ask me to write posts for their industrial blogs. This requires me to work very closely with engineers and technical SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) on a daily basis for creating content. I have learned some important lessons about blogging that are specific to this technical and industrial audience.

  • Editorial calendar: This may sound like content marketing 101 but let me tell you why it is so important for industrial blogs. At a recent discovery meeting, I received little to no response when I asked a group of engineers about their customers’ challenges that we could blog about. I was expected to do the industry research and come back with a list of topics. Ideas for blog posts just flowed after I presented my findings. I kid you not; I now have weekly blogging topics lined up until the second week of November for this manufacturing client.
  • SME Interviews: I have found it a lot easier to write technical blog posts if I start by interviewing SMEs. I have to do my homework and come prepared with a list of intelligent questions to ask. Engineers can spot a novice quickly and they are not particularly patient with people trying to interview them about a topic that the interviewer knows very little about.
  • Be a ruthless editor: Writing copy based on interviews is one thing but the skill that I find most useful is editing. It takes time and understanding of the subject matter to publish blog posts that are compelling stories that educate and engage readers. One caveat I have discovered is that there is a fine balance between being a marketer and a technical content editor. What may sound geeky to a marketer may be just the right content for a technical audience.
  • Become an SEO expert: You’ve got to learn most everything there is to know about keyword research, on-page SEO and internal linking with keyword-rich anchor text. There is no point in publishing a bunch of unoptimized blog posts that your target audience will never find in search engines. SEO and social marketing skills are what separate a content marketing expert from a copywriter.
  • Add a touch of humor: This one is a myth buster. Contrary to popular belief, engineers do have a sense of humor and appreciate wit. Just don’t go overboard and try to be too clever and cutesy. Clever wordsmithing will only take you so far if your content lacks technical accuracy and substance.

For more on this topic, you may want to read my earlier post, “How to Coax Content Out of Engineers.”

As a Mechanical Engineer myself, I find it easier to interact with technical SMEs but I still have to go in there prepared to get my job done. I know I couldn’t just wing it after all these years and having written hundreds of industrial blog posts.

What has been your experience interacting with technical SMEs for writing blog posts and creating content for industrial marketing?

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Achinta Mitra

Achinta Mitra

Achinta Mitra calls himself a “marketing engineer” because he combines his engineering education and an MBA with 30+ years of practical industrial marketing experience. You want an expert with an insider’s knowledge and an outsider’s objectivity who can point you in the right direction immediately. That's Achinta. He is the Founder of Tiecas, Inc., an industrial marketing consultancy in Houston, Texas. Read Achinta's story here or follow him on Twitter @Achintamitra.

12 thoughts on “Industrial Blogging Lessons Learned from Working with Technical SMEs”

  1. Thanks for the informative post Achinta. Our company recently transitioned into industrial marketing and although I haven’t had the chance to interview an SME firsthand, I’ve found following LinkedIn group discussions and reading industrial websites super helpful as a secondary source in learning to market to a technical audience and as a source of inspiration for blog posts.

  2. We are industrial based company situated in India, We were struggling to find marketing platform. Now I have read a lesson from your article. Thanks for the post. I appreciate it.

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  5. Hello Achinta,

    I wondered if you could direct me to some good examples of industrial blogging please? We are making some progress with the company blog but would love to be able to see some top notch blogs.
    Thank your for your help.

    Colin

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