Gone are the days when contract manufacturers could simply operate as invisible suppliers within the value chain. Today, they must transform into proactive partners who offer valuable insights and innovative solutions to the market to win the business of OEMs.
To differentiate themselves from the competition and avoid being perceived as just another supplier, contract manufacturers need to take charge of their content strategy and establish a strong brand presence.
Creating great content is one part of this. But you'll also need a B2B content distribution strategy so your content finds itself in the hands of right-fit OEMs.
The benefits of a B2B content distribution strategy
There are several benefits of a B2B content distribution strategy that are important for contract manufacturers:
Increased brand visibility and awareness
A well-executed content distribution strategy ensures your brand is consistently in front of your target audience. By distributing valuable and relevant content across various channels, you can build brand recognition and increase awareness among potential customers.
Enhanced lead generation and customer acquisition
Effective content distribution helps generate quality leads and drive customer acquisition. By delivering valuable content to your target audience at the right time and through the right channels, you can attract and engage potential customers, guiding them through the buyer's journey.
Improved engagement and relationship building
Content distribution is not just about reaching a wide audience; it's about creating meaningful connections with prospects and customers. By distributing valuable content that addresses their pain points and offers solutions, you can foster engagement, build trust, and establish long-term relationships.
Build authority and position yourself as a thought leader
A well-implemented content distribution strategy allows you to position yourself as an industry thought leader. By consistently sharing valuable insights and expertise, you can establish credibility and gain the trust of your audience, making OEMs more likely to choose you over competitors.
The components of an effective B2B content distribution strategy
Creating a successful content distribution strategy involves several essential components:
Identify your target audience and channels
Conduct thorough research to understand your ideal customers' demographics, preferences and behaviour. And identify the channels and platforms they frequent to ensure you distribute content where they are most likely to engage with it.
If you have already developed buyer personas, you will have all this information to hand. Buyer personas are essential to developing an effective B2B content marketing strategy.
Ideally, you should select a mix of distribution channels. Your blog is an excellent place to start. By regularly publishing content through your blog, you will boost traffic to your website.
Social media is another essential distribution channel. Contract manufacturers should prioritise LinkedIn. You may also consider posting on Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms.
Be sure to select distribution channels based on where your customers are. You'll also need a plan for promoting your content. Will you share your new post on LinkedIn rather than your website? When will you share your latest eBook with your email mailing list?
By planning your social media posts and email campaigns around your content, you can ensure your target audience finds it.
Optimise your content for search engines
Implement SEO strategies to optimise your content for search engines to ensure it ranks higher in relevant search results. You want your content to be in the top search results when OEMs are looking for content related to your industry.
For example, keyword research will help you identify relevant search terms that OEMs use to find information about your industry or services. You can then optimise your content to ensure target keywords are used strategically.
Share your content on social media
Be sure to tailor your content for social media platforms to maximise its visibility and shareability. Here are some tips for sharing your content on social media:
- Utilise features like hashtags and trending topics to help make your content more discoverable
- Encourage users to engage by asking questions, inviting comments, and fostering discussions
- Utilise visual elements such as images, infographics or videos to make your content stand out
- Optimise publication based on target audience behaviours for maximum visibility and engagement.
You might also engage your team and encourage them to share your content on their personal social media profiles - this expands your reach exponentially and helps build credibility and trust, as content shared by employees is often perceived as more authentic
Leverage paid advertising and sponsored content
"If you want your content to get discovered by the right audience at a scale that will help further your business purpose, you’re going to need to amplify its power by incorporating paid promotion into your content marketing strategy" (Content Marketing Institute).
Consider utilising paid advertising and sponsored content to amplify your reach and target specific audience segments. Platforms like Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and sponsored content partnerships can help boost your visibility among relevant audiences.
Here's a closer look at how you can effectively utilise paid advertising and sponsored content:
Search engine ads
Platforms like Google Ads enable businesses to display targeted ads when users search for relevant keywords. By bidding on keywords related to your industry or offerings, you can ensure your content appears prominently in search results, increasing visibility and driving traffic to your website.
Social media ads
Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter allow you to define your target audience based on demographics, interests, job titles, etc. Creating compelling ad creatives and targeting the right audience segments can increase brand exposure, generate leads, and drive conversions.
Display ads appear on third-party websites, allowing businesses to reach a wider audience beyond their owned channels. These ads can be in the form of banners, text ads, or rich media and can be targeted based on audience demographics, interests, or website context. Display advertising can help increase brand visibility, generate website traffic, and boost conversions.
Native ads are designed to seamlessly blend in with the organic content on a platform, providing a non-disruptive advertising experience. They are often presented as sponsored articles, recommended content, or promoted posts. Native advertising enables businesses to reach their target audience in a more subtle and engaging way, enhancing brand perception and driving engagement.
Collaborating with industry influencers and thought leaders allows businesses to tap into their existing audience and leverage their credibility. You can extend your reach and gain access to a highly targeted and engaged audience by co-creating content or sponsoring influencer-generated content. Influencers can endorse your brand or services, share your content, or provide reviews and testimonials, amplifying your message and driving conversions.
Many industry-specific publications, blogs, and online platforms offer opportunities for businesses to sponsor content. This can involve creating and publishing guest posts, thought leadership articles, or case studies that align with the publication's audience and editorial guidelines. Sponsored publications allow businesses to leverage their authority and reach, positioning themselves as industry experts and gaining exposure to a targeted readership.
Webinars and events - Sponsoring webinars or industry events provide businesses a platform to showcase their expertise, engage with a relevant audience, and generate leads. You can gain visibility through logo placements, sponsored sessions, or speaking opportunities by partnering with event organisers. This allows you to establish thought leadership, capture leads, and forge connections with potential customers.
When implementing paid advertising and sponsored content, setting clear goals, defining your target audience, and allocating a suitable budget are essential. Regularly monitor the performance of your ads and sponsored content, make data-driven optimisations, and adjust your strategies as needed to maximise your return on investment.
Utilise email marketing and newsletters
Develop a strong email marketing strategy to distribute your content directly to your audience's inboxes. Utilise newsletters to share valuable insights, updates, and exclusive content, nurturing relationships and driving engagement.
Here's a deeper look at how you can do this:
Build an email subscriber list
- Place opt-in forms strategically on your website, blog and landing pages to encourage visitors to subscribe to your email list. Offer incentives such as exclusive content or newsletters.
- Create targeted lead generation campaigns, such as downloadable ebooks or webinars that require users to provide their email address to access the content. This helps expand your subscriber list with interested prospects.
Segment email lists
- Segment your email list based on various criteria such as demographics, industry, interests or past interactions. This allows you to tailor your content and messaging to specific segments, increasing relevance and engagement.
- Utilise personalisation techniques to make your emails more personalised and engaging. Address recipients by name, send content recommendations based on their previous interactions, and use dynamic content to deliver customised experiences.
Develop an email content strategy
- Deliver content that addresses your audience's pain points, offers valuable insights, and provides solutions. Whether it's educational articles, industry trends or case studies, ensure your content provides value to the reader.
- Each email should have a clear call to action (CTA) that directs readers to take the desired action, such as visiting your website, downloading a resource, or registering for an event. Make the CTA prominent and compelling to drive conversions.
- Incorporate visually appealing elements such as images, infographics, or videos to enhance the visual appeal of your emails. Well-designed emails with compelling visuals will likely grab attention and drive engagement.
- Establish a consistent sending schedule for your emails and newsletters to keep your audience engaged and accustomed to receiving your content. Whether it's a monthly newsletter or weekly updates, maintain a regular cadence to stay top of mind.
Monitor and analyse performance metrics
Regularly track and analyse key performance metrics, such as website traffic, engagement rates, lead conversions, and customer acquisition. Use this data to identify areas of improvement and optimise your content distribution strategy accordingly.
To do this, you'll need to:
- Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) - Define the metrics that align with your content distribution goals. Common KPIs include website traffic, conversion rates, engagement metrics (e.g. click-through raes and time on page), lead generation, and customer acquisition.
- Utilise web analytics tools - Use tools such as Google Analytics to track and analyse performance metrics. Set up goals and conversion traffic to measure speciifc actions taken by users on your website, such as form submissions of purchases.
- Track channel-specific metrics - Different channels may have unique metrics to monitor. For example, social media platforms provide engagement metrics like likes, shares, and comments, while email marketing tracks open rates and click-through rates. Identify the metrics that matter most for each channel and track them consistently.
Common challenges in B2B content distribution
While implementing a B2B content distribution strategy can yield significant benefits, businesses often face several challenges along the way. Understanding these challenges can help you navigate them more effectively. Some common challenges include:
- Content overload and lack of visibility - The digital space is saturated with content, making it difficult for businesses to cut through the noise and gain visibility. Without a well-planned distribution strategy, your content may go unnoticed, limiting its impact on your target audience.
- Difficulty in identifying the right channels and platforms - With an array of distribution channels and platforms available, it can be challenging to determine which ones will be most effective for your specific audience. It's crucial to conduct research and experiment with different channels to find the optimal mix for your content.
- Limited resources and budget constraints - Small or mid-sized businesses may face resource and budget constraints when it comes to content distribution. However, with careful planning and prioritisation, businesses can optimise their resources and still achieve effective distribution within their means.
- Keeping up with changing algorithms and trends - Digital platforms constantly update their algorithms and introduce new features, making it necessary for businesses to stay informed and adapt their content distribution strategies accordingly. Failing to keep up with these changes may result in suboptimal performance and reduced reach.
Best practices for implementing a B2B content distribution strategy
To maximise the effectiveness of your B2B content distribution strategy, consider the following best practices:
- Conduct thorough audience research - Gain a deep understanding of your target audience's demographics, interests, pain points, and preferred channels of communication. This knowledge will guide your content creation and distribution efforts.
- Develop a content calendar and distribution plan - Create a content calendar that outlines your content topics, formats, and distribution schedule. This will ensure consistent content creation and help you plan for optimised distribution across various channels. Utilise content distribution tools like HubSpot and Hootsuite to schedule posts on social media.
- Experiment with different content formats and distribution channels - Don't be afraid to try new content formats such as videos, infographics, or podcasts. Additionally, experiment with different distribution channels and platforms to identify the ones that resonate best with your audience.
- Track and analyse data to optimise strategy - Continuously monitor key performance metrics such as website traffic, engagement rates, conversion rates, and customer acquisition. Analyse the data to identify patterns, trends, and areas of improvement. Adjust your strategy based on these insights to maximise results.
- Continuously adapt and evolve your strategy - The digital landscape is ever-changing, so it's essential to stay agile and adapt your content distribution strategy as needed. Keep up with industry trends, platform updates, and shifts in audience behaviour to ensure your strategy remains effective.
By putting valuable and relevant content out into the world, contract manufacturers can build a reputable brand and showcase their unique value.
These are just a few ideas on how to distribute your B2B content and best practice tips to follow. If you would like to learn more about how content distribution fits into an overall content strategy, then read our guide.