That’s one of the questions the UBM Mind of the Engineer survey asks each year.
And over the years, the survey has shown more and more engineers are seeking out information from digital sources, whether it’s through social networking, webinars or blogs.
These results show that engineers – like people in many, many other fields – are drawn to inbound marketing. Also known as “content marketing,” inbound is a way to draw customers to you by creating content that’s engaging useful to them.
Engineering.com breaks down some steps for telling your company’s story to engineers.
1. Know Your Audience
It’s important to know who you’re writing for. Engineering’s Ian Wright had published an article about a new adhesive, and recognized it would draw two kinds of readers: chemical engineers and engineers in other fields. That meant the story needed to be technical enough for the chemical engineers, but accessible enough for the other engineers.
2. Choose The Right Image
Use an image that helps tell your story. If you have a picture that shows the thing you’re writing about, or a person who’s quoted in your piece, use it. That sort of image will be often be more appealing than most stock material.
3. Write An Engaging Lede and Headline
It’s important to craft a headline that tells readers what the story is about, and also stands out on social media. Wright said he knew engineers love numbers, so he wrote a headline that said the new adhesive was “90 percent water” rather than “mostly water.”
“It’s impressive and stands out without being vague or hyperbolic,” Wright says.
The lede – the opening — of your story should be strong as well. In this blog post, we decided to get to the point: What kind of content do engineers want? When engineers are your audience, your lede can be more to the point.
In Wright’s example, he opened with a “what” statement: Here’s this new adhesive that conducts electricity and is primarily water. He followed that with a “how statement” that talked about the some of the properties of the adhesive.
4. Be Careful With Passive Voice
The score was 27-24 with two seconds on the clock. Fans held their breath. The ball was thrown by Adam.
That passage doesn’t quite work, does it? It’s the passive voice in the last sentence, sucking all the tension out of the scene. “Adam threw the ball” sounds much better.
Writing for engineers will likely involve much more technical material, but that doesn’t mean you need to communicate using passive voice.
Here’s something from the first draft of Wright’s piece:
“To create a tough and flexible bond, a hydrogel adhesive must be able to dissipate the energy used to stretch it while remaining chemically anchored to a surface.”
And here’s essentially the same sentence, only written in active voice:
“Hydrogels create a tough bond by dissipating the energy used to stretch the gel while remaining chemically anchored to a surface.”
As you can see, the second sentence flows much more smoothly than the first.
5. Show, Don’t Tell
That’s an important writing rule. In this case, it means giving readers concrete examples of how the thing you’re writing about affects the world at large. For Wright, it meant mentioning potential applications for the adhesive such as coatings for medical devices and actuators for robots.
6. Create A Call To Action
You should conclude your piece – just as we will in the next few graphs – with a call to action, offering the reader what to do next: learn more about the thing you’ve just described by downloading a guide, or signing up for a webinar.
7. Source All Your Material
This rule applies to whatever you write, whether it’s for engineers or English professors.
If you want to know more about creating content, whether it’s for engineers or any other field, contact IQnection. Our digital marketing experts can help you identify your target audience, and create campaigns that help tell your company’s story in a way that’s helpful and engaging.