My 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?