In recent years, manufacturing content marketing has gained serious traction. In fact, in the manufacturing sector, over 71 per cent of marketers have said that content marketing is an essential part of their digital marketing strategy.
However, despite its importance, 56 per cent of those manufacturing marketers would rate their organisation’s content marketing strategy as merely ‘moderately successful’. And 75 per cent say they have been asked by management to achieve more with the same resources.
This blog post will show you how to boost your online marketing content beyond moderate success and make it a real asset for your company.
How do you plan out your manufacturing content strategy?
Before planning out your content marketing strategy, there are several things that you need to consider as a manufacturing marketing manager.
First, you need to build your buyer persona - this means defining the target audience for your content to ensure that you produce relevant and useful content for them.
Then, you want to focus on your Unique Selling Point (USP) or value proposition. What is it that makes your brand different? Why should people buy from you? Having a clear USP can help you gain a competitive advantage over the competition.
Next, you need to consider how to implement your strategy. Which communication channels should you opt for? In which formats will you decide to publish your content?
Finally, you need to set specific key performance indicators (KPIs) for your content pieces to help you establish metrics for success and gain greater insight into what type of content works best for your brand.
Your content strategy will aim to influence the customer at every stage of their journey, known as the sales or marketing funnel. Different types of content will work more effectively at different funnel stages. It’s essential to identify which content resonates with your audience and create it.
Enhance your digital strategy with these 12 effective content marketing techniques.
The digital era has opened up a world of possibilities regarding content formats that can be used throughout the sales pipeline.
Whether looking at top of the funnel content to foster brand awareness and create first engagement opportunities, middle funnel content to create meaningful engagement or content for the bottom of the funnel, to convert prospects to customers, there is something for every stage of the customer journey.
Here are a few different content types and formats to help your manufacturing business attract leads and close deals with customers at each stage.
Ebooks & white papers
If a customer is interested in learning about a topic in more depth than a typical blog post will allow, then ebooks and white papers are a great way to accomplish this.
Anyone who wants to investigate a specialist subject within manufacturing can use your ebook or white paper as an introductory but in-depth guide that considers all aspects of a particular topic. Ebooks are a great tool for lead generation, effective at connecting with audiences at a specific stage of the user journey.
A white paper serves a similar informational purpose, ideal if you are speaking to your knowledgeable customers about a very specific area of what you do. Both ebooks and white papers can establish companies as thought leaders in their industry. They can be used by the PR department to share with media outlets and gain ‘share of voice’, a metric used in marketing to measure brand awareness. Or you can even offer them as a complimentary bonus when people sign up for more information on your website or join your newsletter.
Positioning your business as an authority in its chosen field is a great way to project your capabilities to potential customers. Offering insights and analysis on your industry or sector is an effective way of doing this.
It demonstrates that your business has expertise beyond the products and services you sell. It also provides an opportunity to highlight in-house talent, with key figures penning reports within their field of expertise. They may even be picked up as ‘talking heads’ to give opinions on manufacturing industry stories in the press, such as key trade publications or even general news outlets, in the future.
Industry reports are valuable tools for PR - consider sending headline figures and insights directly to trade publications within your field to get your message out there. And they also work for SEO purposes. You can post elements of the report as guest posts on well-ranked websites, creating valuable backlinks to your site.
Producing great video content can increase both sales and your SEO ranking. In manufacturing specifically, you can create video tutorials and ‘how-tos’ for your products or services for YouTube and spread this content via your social media channels.
You could build trust with your audience by creating a virtual tour around your manufacturing facility or factory and even host an interactive live stream to get audience members more involved. It’s believed that your audience retains 95 per cent of your message when watching a video.
PPC and social selling
Pay per click campaigns, or PPC, can help you modify your marketing approach more directly based on user location and search history. They often take the form of ads on active platforms like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
The latter, LinkedIn, is especially useful for B2B selling as it’s intended specifically for companies and professionals. You can specify the company size, job titles, and location that you want to target in your ad.
The great advantage of PPC campaigns is that they can drive traffic from a very specific and targeted audience. Finding the right audience is a great way for your organisation to generate leads.
On the other hand, the effectiveness of PPC means that it can be an expensive option as you pay each time someone clicks on your ad, and using different keywords comes with a different value, so you need to plan and monitor well.
New companies and brands should also ensure that there is fertile ground for PPC, through brand awareness and demand generation, before they can expect concrete sales leads.
A well-designed buyer guide can help your business drive the narrative around a product or service with precision. The internet can be a minefield for anyone seeking reliable information, particularly when it is as technical as the manufacturing industry. A buyer’s guide is your company’s chance to claim ownership of your product or service, your backstory, and unique selling points.
It gives you the chance to address customer questions and concerns, be transparent, and communicate openly without worrying about altering or weakening your message. It also allows you to go in-depth about your product benefits for those really motivated buyers.
Today’s buyers want to see user reviews and recommendations before making decisions, making them more valuable to a brand or business than ever. One of the most convincing things for a customer is to hear an authentic success story from a peer about your brand.
A well-crafted case study takes the reader on a journey, informing them about how a previous customer overcame a problem with the help of your manufacturing product or service.
A strong case study can help build loyalty, provide extra content in the form of snippets or quotes, and help leads earn your trust. These are ideal for middle-of-the-funnel opportunities.
If you need to explain a complex process or technical jargon, then an infographic can help you do so in an appealing, accessible visual format rather than a wall of text. Attractive infographics can be applied as a demand-generation tool for top-of-the-funnel leads. You can pay for tools to create infographics, but plenty of great free tools exist, like Canva, Venngage and Piktochart.
Don’t underestimate the importance of infographics in marketing. These graphics can be used to support sales materials, present information in blog posts, and more. When they’re good, they can also be picked up and reused by other publications who will, in turn, link back to your website.
Creating compelling blog content can help you boost your overall SEO strategy. You need to create a strategy for content marketing blog post ideas rather than just writing them ad-hoc. By creating a plan, you’ll find it’s easier to come up with ideas and to plan which topics will be written when for maximum impact (for example, linking a blog post to a specific date or event such a UN World Water Day).
Applying SEO principles to your blog articles will help people find the information you’re sharing. You position your website as an authority and can take the time to answer customer questions.
A blog also enables you to add fresh content to your website regularly, which search engines like. Your fresh content could also attract backlinks from reputable websites to drive traffic, you can add internal links to direct users around your website, and increase your organic click-through rate, which means more site visitors.
Overall, a blog strategy promotes your website as an active, authoritative source of relevant content that is regularly updated.
Most effective for middle and bottom-of-the-funnel leads, you can develop online courses that are specific to the product or service your business offers. Increasingly, consumers are turning to online courses to enhance their skill set or learn more about specific products or services.
You may consider offering a simple course for free as an investment. Or perhaps you would like to go really in-depth and use experts, charging a fee for this knowledge. For loyal customers, you could then consider offering it at a discount or for free to build on that important relationship.
It’s wise to research and learn what your audience wants from an online course, and if there is high market demand before proceeding.
If you’re happy there is, you can build an online course to generate interest and passive income while helping your brand reputation. They also present an excellent opportunity for content generation and can even be used in-house for your current or prospective employees to learn more technical aspects of manufacturing.
By offering real-time engagement between you and your attendees, webinars have become tangible assets for lead generation. They provide opportunities for questions and answers and, like online courses, position your business as an authoritative source within the industry.
Webinars require few overhead costs and investments, as they can be quite simple events, taking the form of workshops, lectures, classes, round-tables, or presentations. You can educate your audience, present a new product or service, promote your company, or showcase your success stories and case studies.
You can nurture leads with the time-tested method of insightful, engaging emails. Like blogs, emails can help you provide valuable insights while reaching out to leads in an active way.
Remember to keep emails short and focused on one relevant topic, and follow up by tracking key metrics to see how they performed. You can categorise your leads, helping to establish a personal touch by targeting specific topics or updates.
Looking to boost engagement? Link your email to these other content marketing ideas. You can share key excerpts from blog posts, the latest figures from your research or even offer free webinars and white papers to keep readers interested.
Stand out from the competition with a strong, enticing employer brand. Maintaining your reputation as an employer helps attract and retain the best talent, but first, you must establish your employer's value proposition (EVP).
Your EVP reflects the core values of your company, its mission, culture, and benefits. It means considering everything we’ve spoken about already, including your target audience selling points. You can use your key performance indicators to help you build your EVP, along with additional tools like surveys, data analysis, and focus groups.
For every stage of the funnel, from lead generation to closing that final sale, you must build a strong content marketing strategy for your manufacturing business.
Authoritative, engaging content that places your business as a reputable source of information and actively drives traffic to your website is transformative for your digital marketing strategy.
Only 10 per cent of manufacturing marketers have no plans to implement a content marketing strategy to improve their online presence. Don’t be left behind with the 10 per cent - get informed and up to speed!
Want to get started in building a successful content marketing strategy?