108. Idea – Content Marketing, Engineered Transcript
You want to grow into having a partnership with your customer over time and so by sharing your knowledge and expertise, you’re not only demonstrating your own credibility, but you’re helping someone find a solution. And sometimes, maybe that solution isn’t yours, but you’re sharing that knowledge. And that’s very endearing to someone and will not only turn them into a customer at first, but turn them into a loyal customer over time.
Welcome to EECO Asks Why a podcast that dives into industrial manufacturing topics, spotlights heroes to keep America running. I’m your host, Chris Grainger. And on this podcast, we do not cover the latest features of benefits on products that come to market. Instead we focused on advice and insight from the top minds of industry because people and ideas will be how America remains number one in manufacturing in the world.
So welcome to EECO Asks Why. Today we have an idea episode and we’ll be unpacking content marketing engineered. What is that? Exactly. So we brought with us the author of Content Marketing Engineered, Wendy Covey, and she’s the CEO and co-founder at Trew Marketing. So welcome Wendy.
Thank you. I’m so happy to be here.
Oh, I’m excited. This book right here. It’ll tell you what, it’s been one. I have wore it out. I got notes all in it. I use it pretty much weekly, so it’s I’m excited. Cause for the technical listener, the engineers out there that we serve, I think this could be a wonderful conversation, but they may not know exactly what content marketing is. So how would you explain that to them, Wendy?
Start right there at the basics. Content marketing is basically utilizing content to build trust and to gain preference during the buyer’s journey. You do that through publishing a steady stream of content, and you can get found by optimizing that content, build trust with your buyers, build preference, and hopefully forge long-term relationships based on continuing to educate.
And be generous with your expertise to your target audience.
Absolutely. And the target audience for us, and a lot of times is that engineer. And I know that’s who you work with a lot as well, so far as that approach, when you think about brand and strategy, how would you get on the right track to get moving forward, to help those engineers?
Yeah. The first step is to understand who you are as a company and who you’re targeting. And so oftentimes when we start to engage, we’ll find that a company maybe has a strong bench of engineers, then they feel like they can solve, and they can solve, a wide host of solutions, but it’s important for a company to understand, okay, where are we taking the business who we really serving?
What are our most important solutions that we provide to the market. And then how do we message about that in a way that connects with the buyer? So to do this, you create buyer personas, and I know that sounds like a slick marketing term, but it’s basically profiling those target audiences. So think of one is maybe it’s a test engineer.
And so you think of that person and say, okay, what are their pain points? What are they trying to solve? What pressures are they under arch? Are they part of the buyers group? Who do they need to influence internally to move the solution forward? And so with, by profiling those people and then creating a differentiated message that combined your solution with the pain points of this persona, and that really becomes the basis for all of the downstream content that you create afterwards.
Yeah. I mean, Yeah. So I guess really getting down to brass tacks on who you’re trying to serve, and those with that persona, that’s a step that we, we definitely have tried to take and because it could be, the technical buyer to engineer, or it could be procurement, and how how message to those people is completely different.
Absolutely. And, companies sometimes can get overwhelmed with trying to create too many buyer personas and then it becomes impractical to create content for all of them or overwhelming. And what we like to encourage people to do is start with that specifier like who is the person that’s going to find you first and evaluate your solution.
And if you don’t have a lot of content for that person, then that’s your top priority. And then from there you build up content to the other people on the buyer’s team, like procurement, like the executives that need to be swayed in a different way. Maybe with business case studies or efficiency metrics rather than is this a technically viable solution, right?
You said something earlier, too about know who you are as the business, speak to that for a second. Cause that is so important to before you start doing any messaging, right?
Yeah. Yeah. So I’ll give you an example that we work quite a bit with system integrators and these, it is amazing to me, the depth of knowledge within one company that these integrators have to be able to do their jobs.
It’s astonishing. However, sometimes you see integrators that focused in a region, but within that region want to serve every application. So we’ll work with electricity and we’ll work with wastewater and we’ll work with pulp and paper and any manufacturing challenge under the sun. And it’s very difficult to gain traction and speak to an engineer with their specific pain points when you’re trying to be so broad.
And When you have business conversations, you really dive into that. There’s usually a few areas of expertise that our company has, where they truly excel, where they have proof points and where the low hanging fruit is for new business. And so we tend to start there and build out campaigns around those areas before branching out to new verticals to target.
Yeah, because let’s face it. People want to buy from the specialist. They want to talk to the specialist. So if you try to be too general, it’s can be a turn off and you may just miss your mark completely.
That’s right. Way harder to gain traction. For sure.
Now we hear sometimes in sales, you we want to be sticky. We gotta be sticky, so we can keep growing. So how do, would you correlate that to the information that engineers need or those technical leaders that help them, grow and find value?
Yeah. You mean you can’t just throw some specs out there or some technical information that’s it you’ll win?
No being sticky is important. And when I hear the words. Sticky, I think memorable. And so how do you create something that’s both um, informs technically and is memorable. And that really is where storytelling comes in and in visual elements. So there’s a lot to all different ways to create sticky content, but it all first comes back to, okay, I have a buyer, I’m trying to meet their needs. I’m creating a piece of content for them. How would this content best be digested? How can I present it in a way that speaks to their pain points? And then how can I use visual imagery to drive home that point? Because it’s often those visuals that we remember most.
It might be an infographic. It might be a video. Even sometimes intricate diagrams are what sticks. And so just trying to get in the head of that buyer and think creatively about how to present the content, to connect with them.
Yeah. And maybe have a little fun with it too. The best content I’ve seen has been entertaining.
Yeah. And that’s taken a page right out of B to C, but I’ll tell you, one thing you need to understand is what is my company brand and what is the tone that my company uses. And so being playful, being humorous, that’s great, but it doesn’t fit every brand. Some brands want to be, have a voice of authority and they want to maybe be edgy in their comments.
They want to technically challenge people and that doesn’t maybe fit in with playfulness or entertaining. uh, Both have a place.
Good point. And then it goes right back to, to know who you are as a company. It all ties back together. So if you’ve got people out there who are listening and they want to start promoting, they want to start creating content to serve their industries.
What tips would you have to get started?
So if you’re brand new to this, obviously we’ve talked about, know who you are as a company and identify your target personas. And I would say start in one area of the business with one persona and sit down and brainstorm. What their buyer’s journey looks like and what are the pieces of content that you would need.
In other words, what are the topics that you need to put in front of them at each stage, in order to build trust, to show you’re credible and move them to the next step. And so once you have that mapped out, then you say, okay, where are my content gaps? Oh, I have a bunch of stuff. Maybe that sales is using, but I’m missing awareness or maybe I have high level, but I don’t have a lot of technical depth.
And so start to fill those in and then think about how to use tools like automation tools to move people from one to the next. And so, instance you want to have web content, obviously that’s optimized to draw people in to your site. Once they’re there, you can offer them more information, more in depth things like case studies and white papers. And some of that will be in front of a forum.
Once you gathered their name doesn’t mean they really want to talk to sales. They may be still trying to educate themselves figure things out. And so you have an opportunity to utilize email and what you know of this buyer. So think you’re profiling them behind the scenes and you can offer more content assets and more information that’s directly related to what they were doing and then prime them for a sales conversation down the line when they show more interest.
Oh, okay. So don’t go right in for the kill right off the bat, right?
No, if you’ve looked at some of my research and I know some of it’s in that book, you’ll see that over half of the buyer’s journey is conducted online before an engineer wants to speak to sales. And so it’s really as a turn off to pick up that phone too soon.
And while it’s so tempting to do just that. Step back, let them go through the journey. And then by the time they already talked to sales, they’re so educated about your solution and they’ve probably already shortlisted you. And so it becomes a very helpful educational conversation that, that picks up from where that person left off on your website.
No doubt when we were trying some of those exact items because of the guidance from your book and just mapping out some of those assets on our site. Around us, a couple of relevant topics to wherever they are. Top, middle, bottom of the funnel. Yeah. They, if we see them move through it at some point, okay, then we know it’s properly to engage because they consume enough.
We should like, that’s a, really a warm lead and it’s not it’s not jumping too far ahead, too quickly.
Exactly. Exactly. And I know you may have also seen in the book, the concept of having a pillar page and I, I love this because it is so helpful. So let me explain what it is. So imagine a long scrolling page on your website on a specific subject.
So this probably is an application area that you serve or solution that you provide. And within that one page are it’s a, it houses all of your content assets along the buyer’s journey. And so you may have a high level description than a case studies and white papers and some FAQ’s and FAQ’s are really popular.
And and those tend to link to blog posts. That, answer that question. But if you think about how people search these days, a lot of times they’re searching, how do I do this? How do I find that? And these and have you noticed how Google is now surfacing these really short answers and they try to answer it without you even going to the page?
The way to get in to have you be one of those answers is through these FAQ’s. So think about those questions that your target persona would ask and then answer them in a short, succinct way on this pillar page. And then you can still have a link for more information. These are some of the ways that you can not only serve your persona along the buyer’s journey, but you can also optimize for search.
So really good tip there for starting out with content marketing.
It’s a great tip. And I got my con my marketing and e-commerce manager sitting in front of me and he’s smiling and nodding and either some of the exact things that he’s implemented and it really works. So for those listening, definitely take Wendy’s advice here and help and and grow yourself.
But Wendy, sometimes that comes to back to sales and we got to have that growth. And we need to be hurding to lead. How can we develop that type of content to enable that sales growth that we’re looking for?
Yeah. So this gets into that buyers team. And oftentimes sales will pick up where marketing left off with that specifier and then that specifiers excited.
They want to bring you in you’re shortlisted to the table. Okay. Now we’re getting into who are the rest of the people at the table and how do we talk to them? And then how does that salesperson communicate with them in a way that is compelling? What is that value proposition and what are those assets are presenting?
Is it PowerPoint? Are they having video chat? Do they need a business case study that shows ROI of that solution or, reduction in time or increase in uptime or whatever it is, those assets are very different than what you use as a magnet to bring in that specifier.
Okay. Now salespeople also a very number driven. So what about metrics, or management in general metrics to measure what works what’s out there? What do you pay attention to? What do you say? Okay, this is the number to watch to see what works?
Oh, if there was just one number. Yeah. There’s not just one number but there are a few that are important. So when we develop a marketing strategy, we’ll create a marketing scorecard and these are high-level metrics that you can gauge the health of your overall marketing program.
And then we have other metrics like KPIs associated with particular campaigns, and those are different things. Those are more detailed, but high level scorecard, is it working? It depends on where you are as a business and your maturity and content marketing, but certainly, how many visits am I getting to my website? And how is that trending? And then out of those visits, how many are coming from organic search versus maybe you’re doing some paid campaigns.
Some referrals, things like that. Ultimately you’re wanting to see organic grow and you not have a reliance on paid because the moment you turn, you close your wallet, that all of that traffic goes away. And so that’s an important one to look at. And then when someone comes to your website, how long are they staying?
What is their time on site? And that says, are we attracting the right people? The interest in what we have to say. And then furthermore, how many of those people, are willing to fill out a form to download an asset? So research shows us engineers will fill out forms of the content is compelling.
And so how successful are you at converting these visitors to long-term readers of your website and then ultimately to leads. So those are big ones, top of funnel moving them down. And then you need to look at other metrics as you start to nurture leads. So where people opening up your e-newsletters, are they filling out contact us forms?
Are they interacting with chat? If you have that on your page? So what are those middle metrics to show readiness? And then finally, how many times are people coming back to your website? And how often are you converting a lead into a marketing qualified lead and reading them for sales?
How often do you pull that data though? Cause this is a fast moving field. Is this monthly? Is it weekly? Just how often are you looking at those numbers?
Yeah, so we look at those numbers monthly and then quarterly is where we tend to take them actions if we need to ready to ship or whatever.
So monthly gets you trends and quarterly is when you say we need to retool something. This isn’t working or let’s double down over here because this is. So that’s how we tend to do it. And then there’s other metrics you may need to look at weekly, or maybe even daily things like if you’re running a LinkedIn ad campaign where you want to be monitoring that because the whole campaign maybe only last a month and you may need a retool more quickly.
Right now for the engineers out there where the people that support engineers, that they’re hearing this conversation, maybe talk to them briefly about your book. Cause it helped us tremendously grow. So that just what they could expect from your book and how it can help them with their journey to supporting that technical buyer.
Yeah, first, thank you. I’m really glad that it was helpful for you. And that’s exactly what I was going for. Trew Marketing can’t serve everyone in our industry and we want to share our knowledge and our experience of what works. And we tend to be very practical, straightforward communicators. So this book is a reflection of that.
So I wanted to make it a bit of a guidebook of explaining that the strategy behind content marketing. Why it’s important in particular for technical buyers and then walk someone through the process and give them best practices of implementing it step by step.
I got it. That’s wonderful. And we’ll make sure that’s linked up in our show notes for everybody that wants to go and check it out.
And, Wendy, this has been a lot of fun talking about content marketing, particularly for the technical buyer, because that’s who we really want to help serve here at EECO Asks Why. We saved the why for the last it’s the heart of the show. So if you had the answer to why, why is it important to build that trust with engineers through this content, because it’s so meaningful and you want it to be meaningful because we’re trying to grow partnerships in the future. So what would the, why be?
A boy you answered it right there. You want to grow into having a partnership with your customer over time. And so by sharing your knowledge and expertise, you’re not only demonstrating your own credibility, but you’re helping someone find a solution.
And sometimes, maybe that solution is that yours, but you’re sharing that knowledge and that’s very endearing to someone and will not only turn them into a customer at first, but turn them into a loyal customer over time.
No doubt, you know, there may be manufacturers listening, Wendy, that their content itself is very technical that you’re trying to sell to their end users and to their buyers, how would they get in touch with you? What should, how could they learn more about Trew Marketing and how you could help them?
Sure. The easiest way is to visit TrewMarketing.com and that’s spelled T R E W MARKETING.com. And on our website, you’ll find the resources section. And that’s where we have a ton of information for you like eBooks and webinars. My book is there, a link to my podcast is on the website. And so that’s the best way to plug in. You can read our blog, look at some of these resources. And then if you’re looking for agency help to come in to, build a marketing strategy or be your outsource marketing department, I’m happy to meet with you and we can discuss more and you can find me on LinkedIn with Wendy Covey on LinkedIn.
All right. This has been a lot of fun, Wendy. Thank you so much for bringing so much insight and wisdom for our listeners here.
You bet. Thanks for having me.