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Manufacturing and Industrial Content Marketing Strategy: Best Practices

Manufacturing and Industrial Content Marketing Strategy Best Practices

Great content is the lifeblood of successful industrial brands. Most manufacturers are reluctant to produce content, but the few who do don’t understand the steps to make it “productive” in service of realizing broader strategic demand generation and reputation building goals.

Manufacturing Content Marketing Strategy is founded on eight pillars.

  1. Vision & Goals
  2. Audiences
  3. Purpose
  4. Content Ecosystem
  5. Types of Content
  6. Promoting Content
  7. People, Process & Technology
  8. Measuring Impact

Let’s explore each pillar in detail.

Vision and Goals

Before you begin articulating a content strategy, review your brand promise, values, pillars and the ideals you want the manufacturer to be known for.

Successful manufacturers connect communication efforts with broader strategic revenue and reputation goals. They expand their community of friends and allies that engage with its offerings and expertise by publishing insightful, practical and valuable content.

Get granular when formulating the goals of your content strategy. For example, the manufacturer aspires to grow year-over-year overall sales by a x%, increasing sales of bestsellers by x%, and systems sales by z%.

Audiences

Manufacturers serve a variety of channel partners. Depending on the number of distribution partners, a typical manufacturer serves one or more the following stakeholders:

  1. Buyers – distributors, wholesalers, retailers, agents, and customers (design engineer, plant manager, procurement manager or even the president)
  2. Influencers – engineering, production, operation, supply chain and quality control teams

In addition, a manufacturer is likely serving additional stakeholders like:

  1. Job seekers
  2. Rating Agencies
  3. Trade Associations and Groups
  4. Community at Large
  5. Media

Successful content strategy understands and meets the needs, wants and aspirations of all these stakeholders.

Purpose

The primary goal of content marketing is to earn attention and grow brand reputation by providing valuable content – that informs, persuades, engages and delights buyers and other stakeholders. It assures each stakeholder uniquely. Goals of Content Marketing

Content Ecosystem

Website, social media, e-newsletters form the underpinnings of a manufacturer content ecosystem. If a website is a manufacturer’s digital soul, then social media, e-newsletter and trade publications are its heart and brain. Successful content strategy renews and rejuvenates these with:

  1. High-octane case studies that show customers as heroic problem solvers
  2. Webinars by subject matter experts
  3. Videos of product demonstrations
  4. Infographics
  5. Whitepapers
  6. Comparison sheets and Buyer’s Guides
  7. News & Events information revealing business vibrancy
  8. Blog posts that show products as solutions to customer’s problems in various industries

It’s crucial for the website, social media, and e-newsletters are used as a content engines that treat each piece of content as a keyword-rich Google ranking asset.

Types of Content — Low, Medium, or High Fidelity

Since content freshness is a Google ranking factor, your editorial calendar should prescribe regularly creating fresh content, new stories, consequential news, and event coverage to maintain search visibility and authority. Fresh content can take many forms: copy, stories, photos, infographics, videos, thought leader interviews, articles, white papers, field guides, animations, slideshows, microsites and more. To ensure this content stays within the reach of search engine bots, avoid publishing these in formats like PDF and embeddable flipbooks.

Promoting Content

What’s the the use of creating new content if it’s going to become a lotus flower in the Himalayans, which only a few people can enjoy? Leading content marketing strategists orchestrate content, code, optimization so it surfaces on Google page one. They make it easy to be shared by pairing it with social share buttons. They promote the content to new prospective buyers groups using social media and content discovery networks.

People, Process and Technology

Because content is the lifeblood of great websites, brands and Google rankings, three things are needed to manage a health content ecosystem: people, processes and frameworks. Key components of a content ecosystem include Keyword Guide, Writing Style Guide, Content Governance Guide and Tools. These must be managed periodically, rationally and systematically. They must cultivate the content habit.

Writers

Your team of content creators, editors and designers should embody both an investigative mindset that discovers and uncovers brand evidence and proofs, and imaginative mindset that infuses brand romance to create persuasive content.

Keyword Guide

Craft a Keyword Lexicon that contains clusters of keywords and phrases spanning your products and services, brand ideals, and areas of thought leadership, innovation and intellectual capital. Laying claim to the keywords begins with an intentional plan. Categories in the lexicon should include products and services keywords, brand positioning keywords, reputation keywords, decisioning keywords, and location keywords.

Know that buyers use different clusters of keywords at each phase of the decision funnel. e.g. they’ll use reputation keywords during the awareness phase, category keywords during the consideration phase and branded keywords during the preference/purchase phase.Manufacturing SEO Agency Keyword Lexicon

Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar spells out content types and formats, publishing dates, content themes and topics, target audience, primary and secondary keywords, editorial guidelines, reference sources and more.

Writing Style Guide

Writing Style Guide spells out appropriate use of manufacturer name, product names, acronyms and abbreviations, style and tone guidelines, words to use and avoid, spelling and capitalizations, when to deviate from AP style, citations and references, and brand promise, values, pillars, line and statements, etc.

Content Governance Guide

Content Governance Guide recommends what content should be updated by various team members to ensure the website, social media, e-newsletter remain fresh and current.

Tools

Beyond content and project management tools, define acceptable use of AI writing tools.

Measuring Impact

As management guru Peter Drucker said “What you can’t measure, you can’t manage.” Effective content marketing strategy mandates you measure the impact of your efforts via dashboards and KPIs. Essential metrics worth measuring include:

  1. Views and popularity
  2. Bounce rate or time spent on a content asset
  3. Number of shares
  4. Google page one rankings
  5. Impact on inquiries and sales
  6. Number of new partnerships formed



Industrial Content Marketing Strategy Best Practices

Listed below are ten best practices for manufacturing content marketing strategy we follow:

  1. Connect communication efforts with broader strategic sales and reputation goals.
  2. Set aside any turf battles or territorial claims and convene your counterparts in sales, marketing, engineering, and production make a pact — to better understand how content productivity can change the manufacturer’s destiny.
  3. Ask each representative from sales, marketing, engineering, and production to make a list of five non-branded keyword phrases that would be of strategic value (non-branded meaning phrases that do not use any iteration of your name or derivatives of your name). Formalize this into an Keyword Guide.
  4. Begin an inventory of all existing/archived content, and its potential for digital productivity.
  5. Avoid diving deep into features and benefits right away. Reassure the prospects that you are a boundary breaker in your space. Tell them you are business problem solver. Remind them about why you exist and why you matter. A little swagger will go a long way.
  6. Avoid posting your content only as PDFs and embeddable flipbooks.
  7. Bring your investigative mindset to extract knowledge from engineers, technologists and subject matter experts. Bring your imaginative mindset to create persuasive content.
  8. If you create new content, make sure it’s simple, succinct, authoritative and useful. 
  9. Democratize knowledge. Be positive, real, helpful, accessible, insightful, professional and knowledgeable. Avoid jargon. Educate, engage and serve buyers.
  10. Quantify the impact of your content on essential metrics.

If you are seeking an inspired manufacturing content marketing agency, consider partnering with us.