Earlier this year we wrote about the benefits of content marketing for manufacturing, following research published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) at the end of 2016 which showed 85 per cent of manufacturing marketers use content marketing but only a third (33 per cent) say that their organisations have clarity on [what constitutes] content marketing success.
In this post we will give four examples of how your manufacturing company can use content marketing to your advantage.
The FAQ page, if done well, can be highly effective in improving your search rankings and reducing the number of support calls your customer service team receive.
They should cover the basics, such as:
- How to place an order
- Product lead times
- Shipping/ freight costs
- Credit terms
- Your industry certifications (e.g. ISO…)
But you should also include information on your products, processes and services. Start by looking at your support call logs and identify trends – what questions come up again and again? Then ask your sales people, what are the main issues your customers are having?
Your FAQs can be repurposed into other content formats. FAQs with a short response can be turned into social messages, but remember to include a link back to your FAQ page. Questions which require a longer response can be used as a future blog article, or even the topic of an eBook. By including links to the landing page of these resources on your FAQ page you will convert more visitors into leads.
The questions from your customers can also be used as part of your keyword strategy, ensuring you are matching the language used by your customers in your content.
A recent Edelman survey of more than 1,300 U.S. participants found that 63% of business decision makers feel that thought leadership is one of the best ways to get a sense of the calibre of thinking an organisation is likely to deliver, and almost half (45%) said that thought leadership has directly led them to decide to do business with a company.
A thought leader is an individual or organisation that is recognised as having authority in a specialised field. Customers looking to make large scale or complex purchases are more likely to take the time to educate themselves properly before making a decision, and positioning yourself as a leader in the field will gain you trust.
Here are a few ideas to create thought leaders for your manufacturing company:
- Interview your specialist staff, or even customers and publish blog posts that address the challenges your customers are facing in a deeper more technical way.
- Look for opportunities for your senior team to speak at events, trade shows or conferences.
- Publicise new advancements in your processes or a newly developed patent in trade publications.
- Encourage your senior team to use LinkedIn Publishing to share articles, to build audience and awareness on social.
- Make predictions on industry trends for the next 1, 5 or even 10 years.
A case study should solve a problem that most of your potential customers face and can relate to. They suit manufacturing content marketing due to the often complex products, and long sales cycles involved.
If possible, the case study should feature a well-known customer within your target market. A business that is well respected and typical of your audience.
It is important the customer tells as much of the story as possible. Arrange interviews with their key staff and use their own words with minimal editing. This will make the case study more believable and more powerful. Honest words will add trust and credibility to the study.
Make sure your case studies tell a story and include an outline of the challenge faced, and how your product or service overcame the problem. HubSpot offer free case study templates. For more tips on writing case studies read our previous post: 20 tips for writing an effective B2B case study
White papers are a valuable part of your content marketing strategy, read our previous post to learn more about the benefits of them: 4 benefits of using white papers in your content marketing strategy.
Like thought leadership, white papers require a high degree of expertise and should be backed by solid research that is fully documented and referenced.
Unlike a blog or an eBook, they are advanced problem-solving guides. Typically, white papers require at least an email address for download (usually they require information more than that), making them great for capturing leads. (HubSpot)
It is important not to sell your products in your white paper, but to inform and persuade based on facts and evidence. They are by no means a quick fix, and may take several months to pull together but they're a great resource for helping build credibility and trust with your readers.
These are just four examples of how you can use content marketing for manufacturing. Content is a crucial element of an overall inbound marketing strategy, to find out more download our eBook below.