Take a moment to think about the most recent project your company finished for a client.
Perhaps it was the kind of job so familiar to your team that you could have practically done it in your sleep. Or, maybe it was something unusually complex that required a full range of experience and customized, innovative solutions. Did you go above and beyond to fulfill an order? Was your team racing against the clock to meet an exceptionally tight deadline? Did you solve a problem for a client, or perhaps create a whole new process just to accommodate a customer’s specific requirements?
Whatever it was, you should turn that last project into a blog.
As an inbound-marketing company whose primary focus is manufacturers, we are used to hearing clients tell us that blogs can’t possibly be useful in their industry. Sometimes, drumming up ideas for new topics (and convincing our clients to let us write about them), can like pulling teeth. This is due in part to a lack of familiarity about content marketing and the strategies that make it successful, but it also stems from the misconception that blogging is only appropriate for B2C product reviews and lifestyle tips.
These assumptions are understandable, but what if we told you that you can turn your most recent manufacturing job into a lead-generating tool that attracts new customers to your business for years to come?
Yes, Blogging Works for Manufacturers, Too
The truth is that blogging is an essential part of online marketing, regardless of your industry. A blog is a publishing platform that gives your company a voice, allowing you to communicate directly with potential customers and educate them about your company. And it should be educational. In today’s content-saturated world, adding to the noise with meaningless self-promotion won’t help you drown out the competition like it used to. The value of blogs comes from their ability to build a loyal community; readers must trust your company to provide relevant industry insight, information, and top-notch service.
An active blog is also an immediate indicator that your website—and by extension, your business—is thriving and maintained. In addition, each new blog post you share serves as a page that can be indexed by search engines. This increases your visibility in organic search results, ultimately increasing traffic to your site.
The ROI of a blog is especially improved by well-researched content that provides readers with valuable insight or information about your industry. Informative blogs that answer fundamental, industry-specific questions remain relevant for years—marketers have coined the term evergreen content to describe these long-lasting posts. An evergreen blog vastly increases your ability to reach your target audience. It will also establish your company as a reliable, trustworthy authority within your field, earning you backlinks from other bloggers and improving your standing with search engine algorithms. Each post serves as a long-term source of leads, continuing to draw in new customers months (even years!) after publication.
Demonstrate Core Competencies and Company Values
“Recent project” blogs can easily be compared to case studies. A full case study generally provides an in-depth look at the partnership between manufacturer and client, providing details about both companies and the products they worked on together to produce. They take time and collaboration to plan, write, illustrate, and publish, because both companies must agree and approve on the information that is released.
If you are worried about obtaining your client’s permission every time you want to blog about a recent project, have no fear. A recent project blog is less in-depth than a case study, so there is no need to go into detail about your customer or the equipment you manufactured for them. These factors are easily discussed in broad terms that are accessible without being overly revealing.
The point of a recent project blog is to showcase your company’s ability to provide satisfactory service in whatever capacity that customer required. Potential customers in need of similar services will be able to see how your company handled a specific job that mirrors or relates to their own. A recent project blog should focus on why your company was the best option for that job and how your team was able to complete it.
Before you begin writing, you should consider the variables that set this job and your company apart from others, such as:
- What sort of materials did you use? Were they new or particularly challenging to handle?
- What kind of deadline did you have?
- Why did the client choose your company over your competition?
- Was your team able to provide additional support in the form of supply chain management, value-added services, or engineering and design consultation?
- Is this an industry for which your company would like to perform more work for in the future?
- Was this a particularly routine job? If so, what makes your company the best at performing this kind of job?
- Did your team have to work around any unexpected challenges?
- Did you develop any new processes specifically for this client?
- Which core competencies and company values did your team demonstrate to complete this job?
Ideally, a recent project blog should showcase your company and the quality of the services you provide.
Attract Industry Specific Customers
Blogging about recent work also provides you with great opportunities to focus on long-tail keywords. For example, let’s say you were ready to launch a campaign targeting 3D printing equipment. You could start by adding a 3D printing industry page to your website and sharing relevant articles about new innovations in 3D printing technology on your social media platforms. To further boost your campaign, you would then blog about any past projects your team has completed for 3D-printing OEMs. Not only does this kind of strategy add to the number of pages your company has indexed in search engines; it also gives potential customers a real-world demonstration of your capabilities in that field.
Recent-work content also streamlines the sales process by giving prospective customers answers to basic questions they might have about your manufacturing services. Once they are ready to request a quote, they can do so with a more developed understanding of your company and its capabilities, ultimately providing a more productive sales conversation.
Showcase Your Capabilities in Action
A blog is a great way for you to establish your company as an expert within your field. Ideally, your company blog should cover everything from answers to frequently asked questions to discussions about current events within your industry. A recent project blog is a great way to demonstrate your capabilities and showcase how your team goes the extra mile to provide exceptional service.
Whether you already maintain a blog for your manufacturing company or you are looking to start one, you should consider your past projects as valuable sources of inspiration for your next blog topic.
Download our free guide on how to create buyer personas and start blogging for your target audience today!