59% of manufacturing marketers outsource at least one content marketing activity, according to the CMI. Here we explore how outsourcing to a B2B content marketing agency could help you to meet your business goals.
Content marketing is a great way to generate traffic, conversions and leads for your business. But it takes a lot of time and resources to implement successfully.
With most Contract Manufacturing Organisations (CMOs) having small or one-person marketing teams serving the entire organisation, finding time to plan, create and promote content can be challenging.
And finding time isn’t the only difficulty CMOs face when adopting a content marketing approach.
The latest research from the CMI reveals half of manufacturing marketers face a hurdle in overcoming the traditional marketing and sales mindset. Half of those surveyed also say they are challenged with creating valuable content instead of sales-oriented content.
It’s no wonder so many companies choose to outsource. But is working with a content marketing agency right for your CMO? And just how can they support you to meet your goals?
To outsource or not to outsource?
The pros and cons of working with a B2B content marketing agency
The decision to seek help from a content marketing agency is a big one, and there are pros and cons. On the one hand, you know your customers best and how to engage them. And it may be hard to find a partner who can match that.
Indeed, 60% of manufacturing marketers say their top challenge is finding partners with adequate topical experience. And nearly half say it’s hard to find partners who can understand and empathise with their audience.
But on the other hand, working with a content marketing agency doesn’t mean relinquishing all control. Think of them as a partner, working with you to help you achieve your goals.
By engaging a B2B content marketing agency, you’ll have access to a whole team of specialists with a range of skills and knowledge who can act as an extension of your team. From SEO experts to content writers to strategists, hiring a content marketing agency will give you access to all these skills, meaning you can fill the gaps around your in-house marketing team.
By choosing an agency that has experience in your industry, you will also get access to broader industry experience. They will know what works and what doesn’t for companies like yours and use this insight to inform your content marketing strategy. And they’ll have invested in the tools and processes required to help you achieve your content goals.
With many manufacturing companies choosing to outsource at least some of their content marketing activity, hiring an agency to help you is not unusual. But most importantly, it will save you time and help generate great results.
So, just how can a B2B content marketing agency help you meet your content goals?
5 ways a B2B content marketing agency can support you
1. Content strategy development
A content strategy is a playbook for using content (audio, visual or written) to meet your business goals. A successful content strategy will attract your target audience at every stage of the buyer’s journey and keep them engaged beyond the purchase.
Let’s say your business goals include increasing brand awareness. To achieve this, you may implement a content strategy that focuses on SEO to increase your website’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive traffic to your products and services.
A good B2B content marketing agency with a strategic mindset will listen to you to understand your goals and work with you to create a strategy tailored to your specific situation.
Developing a content strategy usually involves:
- Creating buyer personas - Detailed buyer personas drawing on real data and knowledge from your sales and marketing teams will give you clarity on who you are creating content for.
- Mapping the buyer’s journey - The CMI’s research found one in four manufacturing marketers rarely or never craft content for specific stages of the buyer’s journey. If you understand what your buyers need and want at each stage of the buying process, you can create content they are looking for at key touch points in the journey and nurture them as they move through each stage.
- Determining which types of content to create - There are many content formats, from written content like blog posts and ebooks to videos and podcasts. Figuring out which formats to focus on involves meeting your audience where they are.
- Determining how to promote content - Just as you can create content in different formats, you’ll have several channels you can publish to, from your website to social media. This again will reflect where your customers are.
According to the CMI, 54% of manufacturing marketers operate ad-hoc without a clear strategy for their content marketing. That means they are failing to leverage the power of strategic marketing to grow their business.
Research consistently shows that companies with a clear content strategy see greater success from their content marketing efforts. An agency can help you to create a content strategy tailored specifically to your business and implement it successfully - so you get the results you’re looking for.
2. Search engine optimisation (SEO)
Changes to SEO and search algorithms are top of mind for manufacturing content marketers in 2022, according to the CMI. Search intent, for example, is becoming increasingly important, and SEO professionals must adopt a more holistic approach.
Working with a content marketing agency will give you access to SEO experts whose job is to stay at the forefront of these trends. They will ensure your content is optimised for search engines so that it gets found by the people looking for what you do.
3. Content creation
An issue many manufacturing marketers face is simply not having time to create content. Maybe you enjoy writing and have been publishing a blog post here and there. Perhaps there are others in the business who are keen to get involved, whether putting pen to paper or showing their face in a video. But despite the best intentions, you may not always have the time to dedicate to creating content.
Partnering with a content marketing agency allows you to lighten the load. An agency will have a team of content writers and creators who can ideate, plan and create content on your behalf. You will have a whole library of high-quality content to share with your target audience. And the more high-quality content you can get out there, the more you’ll see your traffic, conversions and leads start to rise.
4. Content promotion
It’s not enough just to create and publish great content. You also need a plan for distributing and promoting your content so it reaches your ideal customers. A content marketing agency can take care of this for you. They’ll document where your content is shared and when and take accountability for making it happen, so you don’t have to.
5. Measuring content performance
Knowing how well your content is performing is valuable information because it will help you identify whether your marketing efforts are driving sales and help you discover insights that can guide you on what to do next.
Measuring and analysing your content performance will help you understand who is reading your content, which content formats produce the best results, the best days and times for publishing new content, and more.
An agency will have all the best tools and techniques to gather all this data, which they can share with you in monthly reports. You’ll have a dedicated team of people, an extension of your team, continually analysing your content performance so they can make changes and improvements so that you get the best results.
Tips for choosing a B2B content marketing agency
There are plenty of B2B content marketing agencies out there. The hard part is finding one that is right for your CMO. It’s a good idea to keep the following in mind when exploring your options:
- Success rates - Look for case studies, example campaign metrics, or even ask to speak to one of their existing customers so you can see how successful they have been in the past.
- Industry expertise - It’s always best to choose an agency with proven experience in your industry. In manufacturing this is especially important - the manufacturing sales cycle is long and complex, and you need a partner who understands how to generate results.
- Strategic mindset - A good content marketing agency offers more than just well-written, optimised blog posts and engaging, high-quality videos. They also help you build intelligent, data-driven strategies that achieve tangible and measurable results.
- Customer-centric approach - A good content marketing agency will help you understand your customers’ pain points and create content that is helpful, not promotional. Everything they do should be centred around the needs of your customers.
- Cultural fit - The chances are you will be spending a fair amount of time with your chosen content marketing agency, so making sure they’re a good cultural fit is really important. Speak to them, learn about their values, and you should be able to get a good sense of whether you could work well together.
A B2B content marketing agency can help to create a content marketing strategy and to create and distribute high-quality content that will drive the traffic and leads you need for your business to grow.
Think of an agency as an extension of your team, working with you to achieve your business goals. You’ll have access to a whole team of people with a range of skills and knowledge that you won’t find in one person.