How to Crush Your Competition with Epic Blog Content
Let’s be honest. If you’re a marketer, you already know how to blog and probably don’t know what I could possibly say that you don’t already know.
Here's the thing, I’m not going to tell you something you already know or don’t know. Chances are, if you’re reading this article you’re some type of marketer, writer or content developer.
And, since so many of the requests that we get for advice on content marketing and lead generation are from engineering firms, I'm going to address these issues using engineering firms as the examples. You may or may not be part of an engineering firm and that is okay either way. This article applies to all industries.
So you’re probably wondering “If you’re not going to tell me anything new, then what the heck are you doing here?!”
I’m going to team up and brainstorm with you throughout this article to help get you set up to have the most epic and expert blog out there.
Even with all of the online content being published today, the engineering industry is still behind in producing the content that is highly searched for by other engineers, architects, contractors, construction managers and more.
But I'm not talking about just any content just for the sake of publishing content. Google says that’s not good enough. You need to have quality content.
And let’s face it. We all want Google to like and rank our content.
So let’s brainstorm on how to create the most epic, sought-after content for your blog.
Basically, I'm saying let’s make you the “Oprah” of talk show hosts.
The Power To Question Is The Basis Of All Human Progress
What better way to find out what engineers are searching for online than to ask your own? Sometimes, your own people are your best resource.
What if you picked the brain of engineers at your firm every week? What would that look like?
Well, if it was me, I would visit different engineers, of different trades, in different positions and hierarchies every week. I would ask if they had 10 minutes to spare to sit down with me so I could ask them a couple of quick questions.
10 Questions for 20 Articles
You'll find that one answer to one question can result in multiple topics for blog articles, case studies, or other types of relevant content.
Some examples of what I would ask them are:
- Have you searched for anything online this week related to work?
- If so, what were you looking for? Did you find it?
- If not, how would you have liked to see your problem answered online?
- Did the article make your job easier and answer your questions?
- If you were to find any information online, any at all, about the current project you are working on right now, what would it be?
- What were some mistakes or lessons learned from your last project or assignment?
- In what ways do you think you and your team accomplished your last project or assignment better than most would have?
- What metrics were you measured by?
- How do you think you could have cut down time or budget on that project?
- How many hours per week would you say you spend researching for your job?
These are just some of the questions I would ask them. Even if you only had time to ask two of these questions, that gives you at least two ideas for a new blog article.
Now you might be asking, "but, how would you write the extremely technical information on the topic you just interviewed for?"
You Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours
Maybe you’re like me and have your degree in Civil Engineering, have experience working in the engineering and construction industry and have now found yourself in marketing and writing a blog article like this one. So you might think, “Well I know the technical stuff – that’s easy!”
Maybe you’re not a random anomaly, having people wondering how you’re both marketing and engineering. You might have your degree in marketing, English, communications or business. In fact, you’re absolutely the bee’s knees at writing and really don’t need much help in that area.
But now you’re stuck having to write for an extremely technical blog about something only an engineer knows about (and also might be regretting this brainstorm you and I just had).
That’s when you ask to pick their brain one more time. You don’t have to meet if they don’t have the time. But maybe you could persuade them to be a team player for the firm and have them show their drive and commitment to help the firm grow by writing a brief description of the topic you two just discussed.
It might be about:
- product specifications,
- lessons learned from the project,
- safety habits they just implemented in a dangerous project,
- or a design of a new system that you don’t quite grasp yet.
Either way, have them write it for you briefly in their words.
Let them know that you appreciate their hard work and want to share it with the world. Tell them that you want to feature their brilliance and expertise.
You want to show how awesome your firm is for having the most qualified qualities and practices.
The more technical you get the better. And the more passionate you get about what they have shared with you, the more passionate they will be when it comes to sharing more information with you.
Not only does this help your job and the company blog, it helps the engineer with their career and position within the company.
You’ll find yourself going to them again in the future for more information on other topics. They will start becoming, in your head, the expert. The go-to engineer. The accomplished hard worker who has the firm’s best interest at heart because they are so willing to provide you with the right information.
So what’s in it for them?
First off, they set themselves apart from their peers in the company.
They look amazing. Not just to you, but to the company and to the people reading the company blog. Chances are, you'll be quoting them quite often.
Also, try thanking them by recognizing their contributions to the company and to their superiors. They scratch your back and you scratch theirs. Help their career advance by hinting at their knowledge, expertise and willingness to be a team player for the company.
Basically, they should be looking at themselves like Ron Burgundy in Anchorman.
Just A Little Supply And Demand Action
It’s simply economics people. Supply and demand.
There’s a high demand out there for educational and technical engineering information. There’s also a very low supply of the content that is being searched for by engineers.
You just have to find out what it is. Use your people. Use the tools out there that are designed to help you with this. Nurture your leads.
Content creation is the number one challenge for engineering companies.
And it’s not a one and done thing. This epic blog we just created together is an ongoing project. It has to publish content on a consistent basis, and it has to be epic.
Epic enough to:
- Drive traffic to your website
- Convert prospects into leads
- Qualify them as sales opportunities
- Connect with your sales leads through a lead nurturing process.
Be The Go-To Engineering Firm
Be the firm that people go to for:
- How-to articles
- Safety guidelines
- Building Codes
- OSHA best practices
- Lessons Learned
- Project Management Tips and Tricks
- Product Specifications
- Installation videos
You have a blog filled with that type of detailed, technical information, and it will be awesome.
Not only will your engineering firm rank higher in order to win contracts and awards, but more engineers will want to come work for your firm. And I know for many firms, that’s a hot topic.
Get By With A Little Help From My Friends
Maybe you’re thinking you don’t have the capacity, budget or man power to pull off this awesome brainstorm session.
First let me ask you these questions to think about:
- What happens if you don’t pull it off?
- What happens if you don’t create some change to move the stubborn needle of metrics you’re being measured on per quarter?
- What happens to you?
- What happens to your company?
I’ve got good news.
There are agencies out there offering specific services for this exact situation, throwing you a lifesaver. They supply you with the manpower, resources and expertise for the length of time that you need to use them.
And trust me, it’s less expensive and you receive a greater ROI in the end by hiring an agency like that, instead of hiring a new person internally.
Distinguish yourself from the other firms with your epic engineering blog and market your firm uniquely from the others.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in June 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and freshness.