19 min read

Serving Our Industrial Heroes Through Content Marketing with Chris Grainger

With a helpful mindset, EECO uses content marketing to educate and highlight the achievements of their "heroes" who build things and keep them running.

 

Chris Grainger, Engineering and Services Manager for industrial automation and power supply distributor EECO, has an unusual job. In addition to the many typical responsibilities you'd expect in his role, he is also deeply involved in helping customers through content marketing. 

In this episode, learn why EECO calls customers "heroes" and how thoughtful messaging, blogging, video, and the EECO Asks Why podcast have helped them serve those heroes and grow revenue in a scalable way.

Chris shares a ton of content marketing tips and success stories, and one that stands out is the tight-knit relationship between marketing and the engineering and services team, resulting in a shared commitment to publishing quality content that converts. We have a chuckle over the buyer's journey mindset when crafting a content marketing strategy, which has led him to look at other websites through a very different lens.

You'll also hear a touching story about Chris' personal ministry to help young (and not-so-young) people take control of their personal finances.

Resources

 

 

 

Transcript

 

On today's episode, you'll hear from an engineering and services manager who has a huge passion for marketing, so much so that he has become his company's spokesperson and helps write quite a bit of their technical content. Talk about a marketer's dream here, his journey and how he got started with content marketing, what they're finding to be most successful and where they're investing in 2021. Let's do this.

Welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. Your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Here is your host, Wendy Covey.

Hi, and welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. On each episode, I'll break down an industry trend, challenge, or best practice in reaching technical audiences. You meet colleagues, friends, and clients of mine who will stop by to share their stories. And I hope you lead each episode feeling inspired and ready to take action. Before we jump in, I'd like to give a brief shout out to my agency, TREW Marketing. TREW is a full service agency located in beautiful Austin, Texas, serving highly technical companies.

For more information, visit trewmarketing.com. And now on with our podcast. Hey, everyone. I'm here today with Chris Grainger. He's the engineering and services manager at EECO. He's also the podcast host of EECO Asks Why. Welcome to the show, Chris.

Oh, thank you. It is a pleasure to be here.

Well, you were the first engineering and services manager that I've invited on to the podcast, and I find it very unique that you are dabbling in a marketing more than dabbling. You're very involved in marketing. And so I just want to start off by saying what what steered you in this direction?

Well, I mean, back in a few years ago, we had the motor service division. I oversaw that from a server standpoint, but we divested of that and took over the engineering and services portion of our of for the eco Carolinas. And I was just I saw a need to serve customers differently. You'll have a bunch of smart people that work with me and the product management solution, architecture and groups like that, they're solving problems. But for me, I was trying to figure out how do we get the stuff that they're doing, you know, to to the to more people and let them kind of evangelize what we're doing.

So I said, well, we that we hired a marketing manager at the time and he and I just hit it off and just had a lot of commonalities in our in our backgrounds. And I learned a lot from him about marketing. And it was all just fascinating to me. I was always listening to podcasts like I remember going back and forth to our Georgia location. And I was listening to Gary V. Beckman and Gary V was talking like every week while I was driving down there.

You need to be starting the podcast. You're not starting the podcast. You're an idiot. And I'm just like, all right, I've heard it enough. So it's I can do it. So we I don't know. Is it was it was the the fall of nineteen. And I just decided to make a pitch to our executive team. I think we'd like to do a podcast, serve industry and talk about the ideas and the heroes out there that we that we want to serve, we want to help.

And they said, what, can you pull it off? I said, Oh, I think so, but I sure like to try. So, you know, if you if you let me try if if it's bad, we'll stop it. They're like, look, we're behind you. Try it out. And I guess 60 plus guests later. One hundred and fifty episodes record it. We're we're we're wide open. It's it's been a blessing.

We've had great feedback. I've been able to connect with people literally all over the U.S., but we have downloads all over the world, which is crazy when you look at it like on all seven continents, people have downloaded the podcast and then that's just led to, you know, business conversations to try to further develop our relationships. It's just it's just been a blessing. And then so I'm always surprised on my my email I'll get for someone. Hey, I heard your podcast.

I think it's great. It's really helped us in this area. And that's what it's all about.

Well, I love that you are not confined by the I don't know the boundaries of your job title. And when you look at what you're tasked to doing is to help your customers be successful and that you saw that educating the customers through content, whether it be podcast or otherwise, we're a mechanism to do that. I mean, you're every marketer's dream to have this kind of technical partners. So it's it's outstanding.

Well, I appreciate it. I mean, we did it started a lot with blogs, too. You know, I started running a lot of blogs for our company and then, you know, Resharing, those blogs on LinkedIn. And so, I mean, all of that. I guess I've always just kind of had that service at heart to try to help people. That's what I get the most fulfillment out of. So the podcast was just a natural fit to try to take that.

To the next level, yeah, well, I saw on your eco asked why page and read my quote, here are our heroes are the people that build things and keep them running. We focus more on why our heroes exist, what challenges they are facing in the future and the goals they're trying to accomplish. That word hero, and you've already mentioned it actually went to this podcast. It's a very powerful word. What solutions led to using that word specifically?

Well, I mean, that whole tagline was from our executive team and our CEO, our CEO really did a lot and that that development. But I think they hit hero spot on. And I found no one likes to be called a hero. You know, when I tell them that I don't recall a hero episode with you, they're like, you're not cooperating with me. I'm not a hero. I'm like, yes, you are. And then, you know, we get to having a conversation and and they just feel good.

They get to tell their story. And for us, we get to share that. Half of our hero conversations are not even about work. They're about the people themselves outside of work. And that's what I enjoy the most, is all the different hobbies people have and they get to share about their families and the stuff that they enjoy consuming just on their own. So it's I think it's very pertinent to call them the heroes.

I love it. It's very sticky. And and it speaks to where your heart is as a business and as a professional. So let's talk a little bit about your content marketing process. So when it first off, what types of content are you finding to be most helpful for your target personas?

So far, we we've had some blogs do very well. I know blogs or that's kind of old school, but they're doing very well. We're getting a lot of good feedback. And we actually tied one of our most successful podcasts to the blog. And that's now just Rocketship from a download standpoint, because we just feel like once the people hear about or read about that topic, they want to hear more and the podcast is there. They can dig deeper there.

So that's been a really good one. And then just we've we're trying new things. We're trying to find ways to repurpose the podcast, but also create, you know, some landing pages on specific topics and to the blogs, the podcast, all the different areas of content together. And then we started recently dabbling into this thing called video. And, you know, even though I have a new invention, a video, now I have a face for radio, but they threw a camera up in front of me and so I go at it.

So we're having some fun with that and trying to figure out what we're doing. Like Little How-To videos. We started getting some good traction on that little demos and like, you know, five minute demo for for a new technology. If we could do with a video and put it up and just let our our customers self serve you. That's been great. And then we've even started doing videos with with customers and users where they're taken that the couple I'm working on right now, it was a really cool case study.

And I took the story and I said, well, we discussed what they'd be willing to share the story. So we actually did it over video where they were sharing their story. I turned that into a case study and shared it with them. And now we're turning that into like a campaign to talk about monetization and how. So it all just comes full circle, but it made the customers feel so good for one because, hey, they got a spotlight on them.

It's all about them. But in the end, what they went through, somebody else probably needs to go through it and they can just learn from them. So it's been a that's been one of the newest ways we've tried to create content to help people love what you said about how the customers were flattered and they enjoyed doing it because oftentimes when we marketers ask sales to you, you ask if your customer will be part of a case study that we get a lot of pushback at times.

And Sales is worried about asking for too much. You're killing the deal or whatever. But so many times the customers enjoy the process. And also, if done right, they have a piece of content that they can use to promote themselves as well.

Get that right. And we we found that, too. So they've asked us like now the customers that we did the case studies for. They have case studies that they want to use for themselves that we did the work for. We did the hard work, the heavy lifting, but it gives them value and it helps them. So it's a win win for everyone.

Oh, so, Chris, you have a technical background and you're pretty involved, it sounds like, in creating these content assets. And that sounds like a very unique situation. Is that the case that you're the subject matter expert when it comes to developing new content?

Somewhat. So I like to tell people, you know, I do oversee. Engineering a services, the subject matter experts themselves. They're on our own, my team, they're the ones with all the technical expertize. So I find myself a lot of time from from a content standpoint, I'm interviewing them. But because I have an engineering background, that interview can go a lot deeper, a lot quicker. And we don't have to cover so much to get to ground one.

Right. So that's been kind of beneficial for us and also for for Eco to allow me to have the time to do some of this development. But they're seeing the end game is helping so many people. And it is it's giving us a buzz, putting us in the position of thought leadership and where we can really help influence and to help so many people. Great.

OK, well, let's turn back to your content marketing strategy. So you said that a lot of these things you're trying out are having a real impact. How do you how do you measure that?

Yeah, well, the measurement of our marketing and e-commerce manager, Adam, who helps run the podcast, he has all sorts of metrics. I think he has several different ways to do analytics, as well as other measures that he measures. As we're looking at clicks and open rates and bounce backs and all the things that typical marketers would look at. And then from the social standpoint, we use a platform to to manage our our social media accounts. But that also gives us metrics to tell what's working, what's getting the most used or most comments or generating the most buzz.

And that will will help guide us to the type of content we want to start creating in the future. So he's the expert from that company with the metrics. I'm like, hey, this is working. We need to really focus in this area. So we did for like remote connectivity, for instance. That was a topic that we wanted to promote. So we got together. He was showing me some certain areas on the website that are performing well.

So we just we mapped that out to help a buyer on their journey. OK, if I'm here and I want to learn more, go here, here, here, just all the way down the funnel. And those are things that I never knew of before from an engineering and services standpoint. But now that's how I think I'm like, OK, I'll find myself now learning of other people's websites. Now, am I in the middle of their funnel?

Right. Do think tracking here.

Yeah, that's right. That's right.

Well, how has covered affected your business and in particular your sales and marketing?

Yeah, I mean it was big impact. We would be to be in the southeast United States. I mean, it's so heavy relationship, you know, where you're there. Our account managers are traditionally there at certain accounts on certain days of the week, and they have these relationships and that just got shut out. So, I mean, it really impacted us. We were we were fortunate to weather the storm fairly well. We obviously didn't meet our financial goals, but we we made it through.

We didn't have any risks or anything like that. And we were able to keep everybody employed. Our executive team just did a great job of managing us through that. And it's really shifted to where it's so much more digital now, you know, having teams meetings and zom meetings and trying to teach people how to be an effective virtual communicator because that has shifted. You know, not everybody is comfortable in front of a camera, even if just a webcam.

So just little stuff like, hey, make sure you have a good life. Make sure you have the right lights on. You don't, you know, make sure the camera is facing you and not looking up your nose and things like that, you know, I mean, those things are real, but they're the big thing for us is just trying to figure out how to bring value to customers and how to network with customers now that she can't get.

And the plant, you know, used to be you can just walk into a manufacturing facility. And if you knew one person, you could get in and then you can network from there. Well, those days are over. So shifted a lot more my time and trying to figure out, OK, how do we do more networking on LinkedIn or just trying to figure out different means to reach customers and clients or potential clients with our content. And that's just thinking outside the box.

Definitely not traditional B2B thinking, developing videos and stuff like that that you would never be doing in the past. But you're trying to do it now to be relevant and to be helpful and and to to really get in front of the people that you desire.

So how are you utilizing you mentioned LinkedIn and are you helping your sales people with content assets on LinkedIn or you yourself trying to engage from, I guess, a marketer standpoint so that that engagement leads to sales outreach?

Yes. I mean, it's more on that. I mean, we're doing a lot more from from Echo Company Direct. I mean, we've grown our following tremendously has been a blessing. We're we're up to almost 15000 followers online. And for a small distributor in the southeast, that's a that's a pretty good following and really so we're starting to be able to see how that's working, how that's paying off, and that the number of followers are steadily increasing.

So that's telling us we're doing something right now. We're also being very consistent with the podcasts. You know, our podcast comes out twice a week now. We're at three times a week and we're really trying to you know, we didn't want to just be a quick flame and it's gone. So we really were intentional about building a big backlog up front. And that's helped us kind of have a little breathing room. So right now, we're starting with a significant backlog looking in the future.

But it also is not so much pressure like we have to record this week. You know, we can we can still do business that we need to do and record, you know, as the right guest and the right topics come up that are going to bring the most value and things like that. So but LinkedIn, I mean, for us, we're on it all the time. I had the keys to the company linked in with accounts. I do a lot of posting and things like that.

So, yes, it was kind of cool. They're like, here we will give you the key. So now you can be Eco's. And now we even started like we have an Eco Carlina's page and Monico page my page and then we have Instagram accounts and starting a YouTube channel that that's that's starting to get some traction because we're going to start posting our podcast on YouTube as well. So just bringing all this together. But LinkedIn is is the vehicle that that we, I would say, utilize the most.

And I enjoy using it. And we use a platform called HootSuite to really manage a lot of that. So, you know, I can sit down and block an hour and do a week's worth of content that we've been working on and schedule that out. And then going about my day, you mentally shift away from that and not have to think, oh, Thursday at 10 a.m..

That's right. I got to do this. I got to do this. So now it just that has brought so much peace for me because it's like, all right, I can sit down, focus on it because it is important. It's the task. It's a process for the engineers out there. I know. Listen to your show. It's all about a process. We're very process driven. Also, we've got a process for doing the podcast. We've got a process for the Post podcast, production, social media, all that stuff that because we're ultimately we're just trying to bring the most value.

But if you put a good processor in, it can it can really work.

What if if a company out there is considering starting a podcast, what are some of the questions you might ask in order to decide if it's a good idea?

First of all, I think you mentioned it, I know we were talking in the past, you know, who you are as a company, first of all, and who do you want to serve? Because, I mean, if you try to be everything to everybody. It may not turn out as good as you want. I was talking to another podcast or I forget the statistics, but over 50 percent of podcast that start stop within the first 10 episodes, I think is just that it takes work, life, work.

Yeah. Everybody thinks like, hey, you got a cool mike, you just talking to people so it can't be that hard, but it is so much like just a pre in the post production if you want to do it right. And I feel like that's something that we've really focused on. It's just make sure you had the resources to do it and you probably need to make sure you have a good team. You know, our marketing ecommerce manager, I mentioned him, Adam Cheezy.

I couldn't do without him. And we've added a new marketing member, Andy Throe, or she's helping me with a lot of social stuff. So it just it really takes a good team. It's never about just one person. And then it's about all the prep work. You want to make sure you take care of your guest and that they know what they're getting into and that there's no bugs that were anxiety that they may have. You want to make it as comfortable, natural as possible.

And then then once it's done, all the post work that has to be done to get it out. So for us, it's just that we have a big master schedule for for everything that we've recorded and that we have coming up for release. And you may appreciate this. We actually took that schedule and tied in the blogs and the different pieces of content to the to the to the podcast episodes so that when we go to to do social media or the marketing or things like that, it's all mapped there together.

We say, oh, that's right. This this piece had these blogs associated with us. We'll make sure we tag them appropriately.

Everything's integrated.

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And everything has a process. And we know these voters mean this. These voters mean that. And it just it really makes it flow smoothly.

Yeah, we had a similar discussion. So we look on a quarterly basis at our content editorial counter for true marketing. And I remember late last year going into Q1, our marketing manager, Sarah, said, OK, I'd like to do have video, be a focus. So I have these three video blogs scheduled. And we I want you to bring on a video guest on the podcast, and then we're going to have a video Ekert that we collect all of these assets into.

And so she had a very methodical strategy. And it was great because I happen to already have a video guest lined up. So it worked out well for me. But and to your point, it has more impact if you can, you know, have a have a greater strategy. It's not just, oh, this guy said, hey, come on, let's say yes to anybody, you know, really be thoughtful about it.

And you may you may appreciate this. And so we had our team actually this past month was our first one. We were working our engineering service team. We were working so closely with marketing on a regular basis, we actually set up a monthly recurring some one hour meeting and I went into the first meeting. So, OK, what are going to really talk about for our marketing team and with our engineers and solution architects, we filled up the entire hour and a whole page of, hey, we're working on these case studies where we got these videos were cranking out.

We have these articles we need to write. And it wasn't marketing. It's like just, you know, it wasn't just one sided, like it was the engineering team saying, hey, we need to do more of this. I won't commit to this. We need to do a campaign around it. We need to a campaign around this. We need to do inbound or outbound outbound focus around this topic. And it was just beautiful. And and it's because they've seen this it grow over time and marketing work with us and how it's impacted them.

And they have better leads now. And it just it just brings everybody together.

Yeah. And look at that commitment from the engineering team because they were involved in the process and understood how it all connected. And I'm sure marketing, sharing metrics of how impacting the business. So beautiful.

Absolutely. They love it. They love numbers for sure.

Well, if someone's listening and they're saying, I know I need to do this content marketing thing, how do I get started? What advice would you give them? Because you've been there?

Yeah, I mean, for me, it's blogs. That's just such an easy way to get started. Just get start writing and we pick topics that you can really help people with for me. Also, content marketing is not about yourself, it's about helping others. So keep the sales reps out of it. You can ask for that order later, you know, really focus on serving others and trying to help them solve a problem and solutions. And then, you know, I think your voice is like, you know, three jobs and then a hook or something.

Like that, something just always focus on serving others before you ask for that, but it's that's a big thing for me. Just blogs. I do blogs for for our company. I do blogs for MassArt, for my side hustle where I try to to help people and some things that I'm doing from a ministry standpoint. So any time you can just write a piece of content that helps answer a question or connect dots for someone who could be engineering or could not, I think that's a good way to get story.

Great advice. But what it what is this ministry blog? I think I need to know a little bit about that before we go.

Yeah, it's called FMG Financial Hope and it's basically it's financial coaching for anyone. And I do I've started doing more of that type of mentorship. I got some some young high school guys are graduating right now. They're getting ready to go into college. And I'm coaching now. And then I'm actually coaching some some other people in our church just trying to help them. I lead Financial Peace University through that through that ministry as well. But it's just a great way to try to help people who, you know, we weren't ever taught this stuff in high school.

I was checking account was for one case, you know, what's a Roth IRAs? I was taught that. So it's just it's been a great way. And I'm trying to find ways to get my daughters involved. And we're going to be starting to make videos around you. I'm just going to be one. I was in fifth grade, so I'm going to sit down with her and we're going to talk about what a checking account is. You know, what is debt and why is debt bad?

And so we're just going to sit and talk about that. And it's generated a lot of buzz. I've been got a Facebook page and LinkedIn and all that, and I'm actually going on a local radio station here later this month to talk about it. And it's just a it's just a great ministry, hopefully, to turn it into something more one day. But right now it's just about helping people.

Oh, that's wonderful. Well, how can people find both you professionally and also find that ministry?

Yeah, I mean, for me, connecting on LinkedIn that I'm there every day is really just working on both sides. But EastCoast Wise EECOL asks Wired.com, and that's where you can find our podcast. And then FMG Financial Hope is the letters FMG and then Financial Hope dot com. That's where my my personal side is. And that just for people to know FMG, that that's very close for me and my wife. That was a the the initials for our we had a stillborn daughter.

And so that was we named the company that right after right after that happened. So just to keep her keep her legacy going for us. And so it's a very touches our heart. So we're hoping that that that we can help touch other people's hearts as well.

Nina. Well, thank you so much for sharing your your content marketing successes and your professional journey. This has been very interesting. I appreciate your time now.

I thank you so much, Wendy, for the opportunity. You have a great day. You too.

Thanks for joining me today on content marketing, engineered for show neutze, including links to resources, visit True Marketing Dotcom podcast. While there, you can subscribe to our blog, Inari newsletter in order a copy of my book, Content Marketing Engineer. Also, I would love your reviews on this podcast, so please, when you get a chance, subscribe and let me review on your favorite podcast subscription platform. Thanks. And have a great day.