How to get an engineer REALLY engaged in your digital content

Posted on Monday, December 09, 2019

Getting any type of B-to-B prospect engaged in marketing content takes constant refinement and insight on what triggers the best response from each type of persona. What we’ve learned at Strand over the last 25 years of marketing to electro-mechanical design engineers, is that to them, knowledge is power. They’ll only stop to download something if they truly believe the investment in time will pay back in an increased capacity to resolve a lingering challenge they have now, or most surely will in the near future.

Here are 3 keys we suggest you keep in mind while producing digital content for engineers.

1. Zero in on a topical point you’re certain your prospects will respond to.

If you’ve ever tackled a technical content project (white paper, tech brief, technical feature article, or blog post), you’re familiar with the challenge of developing a smart topic when there’s little to no direction from the top. But did know you have a treasure trove of ideas at the front lines of your own organization? Open up the opportunities by finding out the system-level challenges customers and prospects are discussing with your application engineering team. Ask them questions, such as: “What problems are customers looking to solve around the spot on a block diagram where our devices reside?” And, “What tradeoffs and ramifications are they weighing repeatedly?”

Another idea for topic brainstorming is to use a few of your search engine optimization (SEO) tools like SEMrush or Google Webmaster. Use your product names as a core keyword and then add “who”, “what”, “where” etc., to them and see what their suggestion engines provide back. Adding words like “designing with…” or best way to…” will also yield results. In fact, you might be surprised at the way people think as they search, and discover patterns for use in creating your own secret formula to hitting on engaging topics. Any topic that has been searched over 30 times, is well worth your while.

Here's an example from our client, Custom MMIC. They had discovered and developed a way to better optimize the amplifier stage of a microwave signal chain by utilizing their positive bias MMICs. After a review of the long tail keyword: "Designing with positive bias supply MMICs" revealed a decent amount of related searches (Google it yourself and see what pops up), we helped them produce a Tech Brief titled: "Simplify Amplifier Biasing Using Positive Bias pHEMT MMICs". It's been a foundation for several resourceful pages of content and online PR, and has netted Custom MMIC hundreds of new prospects by gating the Tech Brief download.

2. Engage your internal engineering contributors early and often in the process.

Let’s face it, your project is dead from the start if your engineers aren’t fully onboard. They will be key stakeholders in the project, so it’s critical to engage them early in the ideation process.  They’ll appreciate you listening and not requesting that they simply “come up with something” with nothing more than a pad and pen. They’ll also be more thorough and will think through the content from the beginning if you ask them to approve an outline and/or help with the table of contents. Drafts will move along smoothly if you gain buy-in on a solid outline first.

3. Avoid the impulse to inject marketing hyperbole, or conversely, “talking like an engineer”.  Just tell a good story.

Engineers like a good story as much as anyone. Given the choice of trying to interpret wandering, dry, technical content (woven with or without marketing hyperbole) over reading a clear, concise, well organized 5 minute read that provides a lasting takeaway, who wouldn’t choose the latter? So, like any good story, the technical content in your demand generation campaigns needs a story arc. It begins with a lead-in (introduction), establishes characters (readers and others in their application environment), describes the technical challenge in a way readers can quickly identify with, presents a body of how-to information (the takeaway), and concludes with a revisit of the introduction, a summary of the solution, and a suggestion of next steps.

Sounds simple right? It certainly takes practice and real collaboration, so start slow and share in the victories gained by the results.

Learn more by downloading our new eBook: “How to Produce the Ultimate Tech Brief”

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