A successful manufacturing marketing strategy relies on creating and publishing relevant content that appeals to your “buyer persona” through the different stages of their buyer’s journey.
So what exactly is content marketing? And how can you use it to build your brand, nurture relationships with your prospects and convert those leads into customers?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that involves creating and sharing useful and engaging online material that informs, stimulates and inspires your target audience.
Well crafted content can be used to build and reinforce brand awareness, to encourage lead conversion, to move your leads through the buying cycle and to create long-term value for your customers.
Identify your audience
The first thing to consider when putting together your manufacturing content plan is to identify who it is you’re writing for.
The goal of any content marketing strategy should be to make your reader your number one priority by being helpful, educational, insightful and informative about the issues that matter to them.
Let’s say your target audience is Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) who are looking for outsourcing solutions.
It could be that they’re considering outsourcing part or all of their manufacturing operations and need advice on next steps.
Perhaps their company’s had a change of ownership or a shift in priorities? Or maybe their in-house operations are at full capacity and they need additional support?
The key in creating your content marketing plan is to put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes and to consider their pain points and their challenges.
What’s driving them? What are they asking? Where and how are they seeking answers to their questions?
And how can you help?
Choose your content type
The next step is to think about the kind of content that will best suit the needs of your target audience.
Again you’ll want to consider who you’re writing for and where they are in the “buying” process.
If they’re at the start of their exploration, then simpler items of content such as How-To’s, infographics or industry reports may provide useful initial “signposts” for their research.
If they’re further through the process and are at the stage of considering their options or making decisions, then they may be drawn to more substantial pieces of content such as eBooks, case studies or webinars that dig down more deeply into a topic.
So what’s the best strategy for coming up with ideas for content?
When brainstorming ideas, remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Often the best material is right under your nose.
Look for inspiration in your existing resources - your eBooks, pillar pages, white papers, case studies, customer testimonials or videos.
Online brainstorming tools such as Feedly and Buzzsumo can also help you to identify popular and high-performing content by monitoring and analysing social media shares around topics that are important to your sector.
Create (and stick to) a schedule
Another vital element of successful content creation is having an editorial calendar.
This stage involves thinking about the different forms of content you’re looking to produce and the frequency with which you’re looking to publish those items. And most importantly, it’s about sticking to the plan.
A typical month’s work of content creation for example could well comprise a weekly blog post, several daily social posts and the curation of your blog articles into a monthly newsletter.
You can then plan larger items of cornerstone content such as eBooks, pillar pages or videos to be completed over a period of three or four months.
A final but equally important step is to delegate the creation of your content.
Who’s going to do what and when? And do you have the in-house resources to see these goals through to completion?
A common challenge for a busy manufacturing company can be to identify subject-matter experts who have the ability (and the time) to convert their knowledge into accessible and engaging content.
If you think you’re going to struggle to maintain that capacity in-house, then it may be worth considering outsourcing part or all of your content creation process to an inbound marketing agency.
Content marketing for manufacturing can play a hugely valuable role in helping you to connect with your ideal audience, to build trust, to convert leads to customers and to retain customer loyalty.
And by taking this customer-centric approach to your marketing you’ll continue to prove yourself as an authoritative and trusted thought-leader within your sector.