Why is content marketing important for manufacturing companies? It’s more than important, it’s critical!
It’s a strategic approach that gets companies noticed by attracting potential customers and keeping them engaged with regularly scheduled, relatable information. It educates and often entertains target markets - keeping a company and its products and expertise top of mind.
Several marketing tactics are ideally suited for manufacturing companies. Many are already being used by manufacturers. Some of the most common tactics include case studies, articles, white papers, blogs, e-newsletters, podcasts, webinars and videos - all of which need careful planning and preparation.
Has Content Marketing Changed for Manufacturers?
The short answer is, yes. The pandemic has required a huge shift for many companies, audiences and consumers. As a result, 70% of manufacturing marketers surveyed changed their targeting/ messaging strategy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Embracing this change could be a huge opportunity for many.
The constant has been the continued reliance on the top three content types used by manufacturing marketers: email newsletters (81%), blog posts/short articles (79%), and videos (79%).
According to The Content Marketing Institute, since the beginning of 2020, 60% of manufacturing content marketers have adjusted their editorial calendar and 57% put more resources toward social media/online communities, while 51% changed their content distribution/promotion strategy. 91% percent of these marketers expect some of the changes made in response to COVID-19 to stay in effect for the foreseeable future.
Where Should Manufacturers Start?
A robust content marketing strategy includes customized content that matters to your audience, is distributed in a way your audience wants to receive it and is followed by return-on-investment measurement to determine the success of a program.
Creating a great content marketing plan takes time and effort. It is not a stand-alone process or document. It should be a living, breathing and adaptable expansion of a businesses’ larger overall marketing and digital marketing plans. Together, these plans create the bones of the content that will be shared across an organization’s platforms.
Begin by mapping out your marketing goals. Every company has the ability to create high-quality content that people want to read and demonstrates industry leadership. Embrace the opportunity to connect or reconnect with current and potential customers. Learn from their comments and suggestions. Educate customers and followers about your business or industry and provide insight into how your company has evolved to meet their needs.
Remember to recycle your content across various platforms. A video shared on social media can also be posted to your website, added to your newsletter or become a topic of discussion for a podcast.
Related reading: 6 reasons your marketing isn’t working
Why Invest in Quality Content?
Like all things, you get what you pay for with quality content. Content that is relevant and useful for current and potential customers benefits your brand, influences decision-makers and creates interest in your business and products - all of which ultimately lead to sales. Investing in better content also makes it easier to adapt and reuse messages and ideas across different tactics and channels. Creating thoughtful, engaging and reusable content will:
1. Drive Website Engagement and Traffic
Content marketing helps you understand what your prospects and customers are looking for by showing you what they are downloading and reading on your website. Be sure to lead your audience back to relevant content on your company’s website, where it is possible and natural. Doing so will increase visibility for your business in search engines like Google, which in turn, drives traffic to your website. More traffic means your products are seen by more people, creating interest and inquiries as well as solid leads and sales.
2. Engage with Customers and Open Dialogue
The next step is engaging with your customers to develop long-term relationships. Social media, email and blog posts are great ways to encourage your audience to correspond with you. Ask questions, solicit responses and feedback and be open to answering back. We have some insight into how blogs can improve your business as well as simple tips to improve email engagement.
3. Gather Ideas for Future Content
Coming up with new content ideas can be a challenge. Listen to the questions and comments you receive about the content you share. Recurring inquiries could be a great way to develop new content. Does your audience ask how long it takes to create a product, where you source your raw material, how many of something you can produce in a certain timeframe or how many people you employ? Would a short video about a product line be of interest? Any of these topics could be turned into an engaging piece to reiterate your position as an industry leader.
4. Shine with Video
Today, web and social media users expect short, informative videos to highlight new products and the expertise of a company. Learn more about why and when to use videos and 4 steps to create them. It’s not as complicated as it once was. With a mobile phone in almost everyone’s pocket, you can easily create a video to highlight a new product, company expertise or manufacturing efficiency and have it online the same day.
The trick is keeping videos short and to the point. Ideally, videos should be no longer than three minutes (under a minute is bet) and share one main concept. If your content is any longer, consider creating a video series.
5. Build Contact Lists
The whole point of content marketing is to drive conversions. Every piece of content should drive prospects to download content, sign up for a newsletter, like, comment on or share your content and/ or subscribe to a newsletter or blog and help you build your contact list.
If there’s one lesson manufacturing companies can take from 2020 and beyond it’s that change will continue to be a constant for the foreseeable future and flexibility will remain key. Creating solid and relatable content is an essential part of business-to-business marketing and should be a top priority for manufacturers.
If you’re looking for inspiration to further enhance your marketing efforts read 7 Ways To Make A Bigger Splash With Your Marketing Content.
Mezzanine B2B Growth Agents specializes in B2B demand and lead generation for companies that have a complex sale. It’s all we do, so we have the depth and breadth of experience to help your manufacturing company continue to grow. If you’d like some help deciding what tactics will work for your manufacturing company, contact us today.
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Originally published in February 2013, this post has been updated to add new guidance and more information that was not included in the original post.