Industrial blogs are not often talked about by manufacturers when it comes to lead generation. They tend to brush it off as too time consuming and/or not very effective. They are not completely wrong about their complaints, but don’t be too quick to discard industrial blogging.
Let’s face it, your audience of engineers and industrial buyers is not actively looking for your products every day, especially if you are a manufacturer of custom-engineered systems. They have very little reason to visit your static website regularly. Whereas industrial blogs can drive a higher volume of traffic and more frequently if you publish relevant content consistently.
Industrial blogs are integral to content marketing
You are going to need an industrial blog if you are doing manufacturing content marketing. There is no getting around that. Why do I say that?
- A WordPress industrial blog is easy to use to publish content
- Optimized blog posts will improve your SEO rankings
- 85% of manufacturers use their website/blog to distribute content (See chart below)
- Content distribution using social media channels depends largely on fresh content published on your industrial blog
- Blogging tends to be more customer-centric than product-centric product pages
- Industrial blogs written or published by in-house Subject Matter Experts highlight your company’s expertise and experience (See Lessons Learned from Working with Technical SMEs)
- Blog posts help to create thought leadership, build awareness and earn trust
- Marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI (HubSpot, 2019)
All the reasons that I have cited here, together play an important role in industrial lead generation.
Winning the engineer’s mindshare with industrial blogs
Industrial blogs are invaluable if you target engineers of any kind, especially if your goal is to educate younger and less experienced engineers.
That’s not just me making that claim. Here are some findings from the study “What’s on the Mind of the Engineer?” – A Global Research Study produced by Beacon Technology Partners, LLC and UBM Tech Electronics Network.
- Solving problems that haven’t been solved before – this solution orientation pervades everything an engineer thinks or does
- The #1 concern among all engineers regardless of their experience is keeping their skills current and their technology knowledge up to date
- Engineers are eager consumers of information regardless of level of experience because of this need to stay current
- Engineers communicate with and trust other engineers. Marketing must leverage this collaborative ethos without wasting the engineer’s valuable time with content noise
NOTE: Over the years, I have published a few posts here where I’ve talked about the power of one engineer to another.
Expectations of industrial blogs and reality don’t align well
At the very beginning of the post, I acknowledged the fact that complaints about industrial blogs weren’t completely unjustified.
However, I see the problem a little differently. I say that based on my actual conversations with manufacturers and other industrial companies. There is a definite disconnect between expectations and the reality.
The reality is that industrial blogs are not specifically designed for direct response. They are more of a “set the table” kind of a strategy. Which means you have to be patient and be consistent with publishing fresh blog posts.
I have seen too many cases where a website redesign involved setting up a blog with a few posts and is neglected after that. That simply won’t cut it. No wonder I hear many manufacturers complaining about blogging not producing the results.
That doesn’t mean blogs can’t generate leads. I have seen several instances where a comment left on a blog post, started a meaningful conversation which led to a substantial order or project.
Creating content for industrial blogs is a challenge
It is a known fact that creating relevant technical content for industrial blogs is time consuming and most manufacturers and engineering companies do not have the necessary bandwidth and/or the in-house resources.
That’s why 87% of manufacturing content marketers outsource technical content creation.
I’m not suggesting that industrial blogs are a good fit for every industrial company. For example, an industrial distributor of standard products and/or consumables, may find it very difficult to create original content themselves since they depend primarily on their principal manufacturer(s) to provide them product information. For others, industrial blogs are important for their success with content marketing and lead generation.
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