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Content Marketing All-Stars Q&A: Nick Blandford of Schneider Electric

By NativeAI / March 23, 2017
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Schneider Electric has figured
out one of the hardest marketing challenges: how to turn employees into content
creators.

Through an innovative program,
the energy management and automation solutions provider has trained more than 500 staff members on the basics of blogging. Now this large cadre of in-house talent is creating a constant pipeline of smart, well-informed content about every aspect of the business.

Recently we chatted with Nick
Blandford, Global Blog Program Manager at Schneider Electric, to learn more
about the program and company’s content efforts in general.

Check out the Q&A below:

Q:
Starting broadly, what’s your role at Schneider Electric and what role does
content play for the company?

A: I am the Global Blog Program Manager here at
Schneider Electric. I was responsible for the birth and development of the blog about four years ago, and I now curate the look, the
feel and the flow.

I also work on the backend
framework to manage how we engage our various employees to become writers; how
we empower leaders and subject-matter experts to become content producers and
captivating storytellers.

As for content overall, it’s huge
for Schneider. When we create high-quality, web-optimized, easily-digestible
content, it helps reach people who start their purchasing decision making
process via search, and it also helps to get us referred via social and other
platforms.

The idea is to be present at
that first touch-point in the customer’s journey. We want them to come to the
blog to get that initial information, and then see if they want more detailed
information, or to speak with one of our experts.

Q:
What’s the scale of your content creation? How many markets are you targeting?

A: Because we are the leader in energy management and
automation, we are present in every industry where energy is consumed.  

We don’t necessarily manufacture
the turbine or the solar panel when energy is being created, or necessarily the
TV or the refrigerator where it’s being utilized, but anywhere in the energy spectrum
between, we have a play.  

So, we work across multiple
global and regional businesses within Schneider Electric to produce content for
industries ranging from smart factories and smart cities to power-critical
facilities like data centers.

Basically when there’s applied
energy you’ll see content being produced by our experts that have that
experience in that space.

Q:
How is your content actually created? How do you turn employees into content
creators?

A: When it comes to content creation for the blog, we’ve
taken an innovative approach in the sense that we’ve set up a process where we
can essentially train any Schneider Electric employee to become a blogger.

We did that because every employee
within Schneider has a unique story to tell.
The environment here encourages people to move around and experience
different fields, and evolve as a professional. That creates opportunities for unique
stories and opinions to be shared.  

We engage more than 500
Schneider Electric employees from 24 different countries to produce content for
the blog.  They all go through the same
training; they understand the goals of the blogging program, how to write
web-optimized content, how to create posts that quickly convey the main points
across and how to get specific facts across; all while engaging the reader

We also work with and empower our
executive-level leaders. They provide the bigger picture; the visionary ideas.

The goal is to spark many
conversations. With this army of bloggers we’ve nurtured, we’ve been able to
build a large repository of content. And on any given weekday, we are
publishing between one and four new posts.

That constant flow helps retain
readers and attract new readers.

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Q:
How do you ensure your content reaches its intended audiences? Which
distribution channels work well for you?

A: We use various tactics and channels.  

So, for example, the primary
goal behind the blog is to influence individuals at the beginning of their
customer buying journey. By publishing high-value content, we rank well in
natural search.  

We’ve seen success with that, since
for so many of us, if you’re going make purchase or if you have a question or
an inquiry about particular topic, you go to Google first.  

We are also focused on having
our content integrated into larger campaigns at Schneider.  So, a blog post may lead to a whitepaper,
which may lead to a study or eBook.  And
all are interlinked, so that we can provide the details on how to move forward.

Q:
How do you measure the success of content? Which metrics and KPIs do you pay
close attention to?

A: We pay attention to a lot, from page views and
comments to social shares and reader engagement.

Ultimately, the goal
of any piece of content is to spark a conversation and show our readers that we
are the experts in this field.

We want to make sure that our
readers are looking at our content, engaging, asking the questions that they
need to ask, and then being paired up with our experts in that particular space
to help them find the solution that will meet their needs.  That’s the core of what we look at.  

Then there are other metrics we
pull from our analytic tools to determine best practices for certain blog areas
and topics that we should be focusing on at particular time.

We also reach out to bloggers if
we see that their blog posts are being actively shared on platforms like
LinkedIn forums. We ask them what’s working and what’s not.

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Q:
Finally, do you have a favorite piece or pieces of Schneider Electric content?

A:
One is a campaign called EcoStruxure: Driving Innovation at Every Level.

It is an interactive story that
shows how our technologies and approaches apply innovation at every level and
across markets. It includes content from people from our CEO down to subject matter
experts.

I love the campaign,
because it’s applicable to anyone in any industry that utilizes energy.  It shows the scope of what we do and how well
we can tell that story.

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Written by NativeAI / March 23, 2017