By Trish Holder
I don’t like how the word “content” gets thrown around these days. It calls to mind the random stuff that falls out of a Great White’s belly right after Richard Dreyfuss slices through its abdomen in the movie Jaws. Out falls a toilet seat…a license plate…a fish...
We never spoke this way about the precious and informative words that once filled company brochures, media kits, booklets, editorial submissions, or whitepapers. These words were a means to an honorable end, which was sharing valuable information about our companies and products, educating our customers and prospects, and strengthening our brands.
These days, “content” is something companies feel obligated to crank out just so they maintain their obligatory internet presence.
The No-So-Big Company Dilemma
I get it. The internet changed everything. It ramped up the pressure to be seen and heard. The problem is that in the rush to continuously publish new content (i.e. keep their blog up), some companies resort to filling their internet bellies with, well, license plates and toilet seats. And then they wonder why their blogs fail to generate traffic.
Big companies -- the Tranes and the CertainTeeds of the world -- have the resources to avoid most of the pitfalls and embarrassment of a bad blog. It’s not that easy for smaller manufacturers, rep companies, and design/build firms to implement and maintain a quality blog. If they take that bold step, all too often they quickly realize how hard and time consuming a venture it can be. At that point, one of two things usually happen: They start feeding the beast with material that is easy enough to come by but inconsequential to their audience, or they begin posting less and less frequently until they suspend efforts altogether. In either case, they end up hurting, rather than helping, their brand.
That’s a shame, because technical industries like HVAC have a lot to gain by developing a quality blog. But they must commit to well-written content that is not only something their prospects want to read but need to read.
Substance: The Main Ingredient to a Successful Blog
James M. Pleasants (JMP) is one company that gets it right.
A 60+ year-old representative for hydronic HVAC equipment in the southeast, JMP has always had valuable information to share. The company has helped educate thousands of contractors and mechanical engineers across the southeast with their highly regarded training seminars. A blog was natural extension of that traditions and the JMP brand.
For JMP there is no last-minute scrambling for blog content and there is no substituting fluff for substance. Instead, the company uses their blog to tackle highly technical design topics, like how to balance a domestic hot water recirculation system and how to size hydropneumatics tanks.
The blog feeds the educational needs of the HVAC community and because of that it draws an enviable amount of traffic, not to mention accolades from industry peers and customers.
Trish Holder, Marketing Communications helps fashion JMP’s wealth of resources and expertise into weekly content for their blog. After all, publishing a weekly technical blog requires time, planning, writing, promotion, and content management system skills. These are not tasks that can be easily handed-off within a busy sales organization.
Fortunately, JMP has plenty of “substance” to work with. This, along with the company’s commitment to consistently thoughtful and carefully crafted content, has been the key to JMP’s blogging success. No empty calories there. It is content worthy of a feast.