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For some companies, blogging is an obvious and necessary communication channel. Walker Sands, as a marketing and PR firm, needed a blog. But for some industries, there's an assumption that they don't need a blog. In my time with Walker Sands I've been fortunate to meet a diverse lot of companies. Somewhere out there is a company that makes the ball for your ballpoint pen, the brass handle for your kitchen cabinet, and the handle of your toothbrush. Does a company like this need a blog? Common sense says no.
Matrix Tooling says yes. Matrix provides world-class injection molded components for the medical device industry and in other performance critical applications. Last year Marketing Manager Andy Ziegenhorn launched the Plastics Injection Molds & Molding Blog. Many looked at it as a waste of resources, but his results show otherwise.
We sat down to interview Ziegenhorn about the success of this effort and the challenges he overcame to make it a success.
What made you want to start the blog?
Short answer: There was a push to increase our sales and marketing effort. Having a little background in I.T. my initial thought was to start by revamping our website and online listings. After that, the next obvious question was – “How do we drive traffic to it?”
We felt the website clearly showed our capabilities but we still needed a way to get people to find it. That's where the blog came in.
What were the goals for this project?
We wanted to use the blog as an SEO tool; a means to attract technically-savvy potential customers to our website. The idea was to focus in on our niche areas of strength and provide a glimpse (or more) of why we're considered experts in these areas. Our target audience is engineers and project managers who purchase our products, people who understand what goes into building a mold and running production, because those are the customers that truly appreciate what Matrix offers compared to the competition.
What was initial feedback from other areas of management? Were there a lot of people saying you're an idiot?
I had a lot of people ask me "What's a blog?" at first. And then after explaining it, there were some blank stares and some doubts. But once you tell people that a well-written article has the potential to hit on the first page of a Google search for a related keyword, they start to appreciate what you're going for. And after it was up and running, I didn't need to defend it much anymore because the results spoke for themselves. Management loves blogging now. The president of our company has submitted several posts himself.
What was your process? What technology did you pick?
I'd never done any of this before so I wanted to test the waters but keep things as painless as possible. I started by opening a basic Blogger.com account and creating a variety of links to our main website. After a few months, I decided to move the blog directly on our main site using Wordpress.
Was that difficult to do?
Blogger was just about as easy as it gets. Wordpress took a little better understanding of web applications and hosting (particularly with regards of moving from an existing blog), but all in all it wasn't too difficult either. Assuming I did it right, of course.
How did you choose your writers?
I've basically opened it up to the point where anyone at my company is welcome to submit a blog. They get reviewed first, and not all make it to the Web, but good blog entries are hard to come by so I'm not limiting my writers more than I have to. That being said, not everyone is interested in writing for it.
How often do they have to post?
I was hoping for once a week originally. Given everyone's workload and general lack of desire to write, I'm now pretty content with once a month. We’d love it to be more often, but even at this level, we’re still seeing the benefit.
How was that adoption process - were they always complaining?
Like everything, it's still a work in progress. I've had about six or seven different people submit entries so far. I’m still trying to get others to participate, but it’s a difficult process. Some need more coaxing than others.
What have been your results?
The results have been pretty good. We've gotten a couple jobs and multiple RFQ's as a direct result of it. I've even had a comment someone left on a post turn into an RFQ. Considering we started with nothing I can't complain, but there's a lot of room for improvement, that's for sure.
Do you think it was worth starting a blog?
Absolutely. It’s creating business and positioning us as experts for some very specific topics. We think it’s worth taking the time to build and are working to improve what we've got right now.
What advice would you give to others in a similar situation?
The biggest hurdle for me has been getting our technical employees, who have spent decades in the industry and are incredibly knowledgeable in their areas, to temporarily become writers. They have plenty of knowledge and info to share, but a lot of them struggle to organize it on paper. Be prepared to work with your team to help them structure their thoughts so it makes sense for the target audience. Ultimately, it’s worth it, but it can be a little like pulling teeth to get the right people involved.
Matrix Tooling & Matrix Plastic Products provides high-quality plastic injection mold design, precision moldmaking, close-tolerance injection molding and comprehensive inspection services for a complete custom manufacturing experience. You can visit Matrix Tooling on the web at www.matrixtooling.com.