Creating great content for your website, social media channels and for your sales team to share with prospects is no longer optional in today’s online world. Fresh, highly valuable content drives leads to your website, shows your expertise, answers your customers’ questions and boosts search engine optimization.
However, many manufacturing and industrial companies struggle with creating B2B content that attracts, informs and engages potential customers. They are unsure what to create and where to start. They have engineers and technicians on staff — not writers and designers.
The secret sauce — content collaboration.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is creating and sharing online materials that include content (words), such as website pages, articles, ebooks, case studies, infographics, emails, data reports and tip sheets. Content is the information you put out there to engage and build customer relationships.
How to Develop Content
Content development should not be the sole responsibility of a solo marketer or one subject matter expert. It should be a collaborative effort between marketing, sales, customer service and your subject matter experts (engineers, architects, chemists, etc.).
Also, most companies succeeding in content marketing today partner with a digital marketing agency that can bring a team of professional writers, editors, digital strategists, web developers, SEO specialists and more.
A study found that many B2B marketers consider an outside agency a necessity in content development. A whopping 95 percent of B2B marketers and executives say it’s a priority to work with an agency for content strategy and production. Why? A digital marketing agency can offer a wide range of expertise and execute complex projects more quickly than internal teams.
Let’s dive into what you should expect from your team and what to expect from an agency when producing content.
What to Expect from Your Team in Content Development
Your team has in-depth knowledge about your products or service, industry and buyers. Therefore, it’s essential to tap into that knowledge to create great content.
Here’s who you should include in your content efforts:
Get buy-in by showing them the value of content and how it aligns with the company’s overarching goals. Look for a strategic digital marketing agency that can support you in mapping out a content strategy with goals, expected ROI and tactical execution.
Subject Matter Experts
Your experts know your products or services best. They know the new features, how to explain spec drawings and the key productivity numbers and benefits you want potential customers to understand.
For some experts, they may want to write/author an article or white paper. Others shy away from writing and would rather just be a resource for the content, answering questions and providing expert information. Look for an outsourced digital agency that can collaborate with your team on the writing, editing, design and execution.
Also, be sure to ask your subject matter experts for their ideas on valuable content that would help buyers in the decision-making process.
Sales and/or Customer Service
Your sales and service teams know your customers best because they talk to them the most! They can help identify customer pain points, triggers, obstacles and those top questions they always ask. This information is gold in developing a buyer’s journey and content strategy. (Keep reading to learn how an agency should support you in these areas.)
Employees are often most valuable in helping with content for recruitment marketing. This type of content may include employee testimonials for job boards and social media, information to put on your careers website page and videos that highlight your company culture.
The fact is — buyers trust other buyers. They read reviews and testimonials before making a purchase. Video testimonials, reviews and quotes by satisfied customers should be key parts of your content marketing strategy.
What to Expect with Content Marketing from a Digital Marketing Agency
While your team has the in-depth product knowledge, you likely lack the skillset for strategic, digital content development. Many companies do not have a team of strategists, writers, editors, designers, web developers and SEO specialists to execute online content.
Here is what to expect from a top-quality digital marketing agency:
Buyer Persona & Buyer’s Journey
An agency can help create a buyer persona, which is essentially a profile of your target audience. It includes their demographics, challenges, triggers, needs and goals in relation to your product or service. An effective buyer persona helps develop content that answers the top questions your buyers are asking.
A buyer’s journey maps out the customer's path to purchase. This includes how they research a problem, find potential solutions to it and then choose one of those solutions.
An agency can partner with you in developing a content strategy, which looks at the why behind creating the content. Don’t just develop content for the sake of developing content! Each piece of content should be strategic — it should serve a purpose for your buyers and help achieve your company goals.
Great SEO helps search engines (such as Google) understand your content, your website and the products/services you sell. The better the search engines can understand your information, the more likely your content will show up on page 1 of search results.
An SEO strategy, developed by a professional SEO specialist, should include keyword analysis and a keyword map to help ensure your content shows up when potential customers search online.
Interviewing Subject Matter Experts
Look for an agency with professional writers who are experts in interviewing as they know how to phrase questions to draw out the best information. Interviews can be done in a variety of ways, such as video or audio recorded, phone interviews or sending email questions.
Writing and Editing
Many manufacturing and industrial companies don’t have professional writers on staff, especially not digital writers (often called content strategists). Having a professional writer draft, edit and/or polish your team’s work is key to ensuring the content piece performs. An agency partnership should include a review process so you/your team gets final approval on all content before it’s published.
Look for an agency with digital designers who are experts in digital content (website pages, ebooks, digital white papers, brochures, spec sheets, etc.). Graphic designers are typically experts in print products, whereas digital designs require an understanding of online user experiences and code.
Execution — Publishing and Promotion
A digital marketing agency with a range of skillsets can efficiently and effectively execute and promote your content. From positioning your content on the right website pages to promoting it on LinkedIn, your content is only good if your potential customers see it. Look for an agency that also provides data monitoring, analysis and reporting so you can easily show the ROI of your content marketing.
Start Co-Collaborating on Content Today
Marketing Essentials is a full-service digital marketing and sales agency based in Ohio, one of the country’s top manufacturing states. Whether you’re looking for a one-time project or a vendor partnership, our team will work with your team to set up a strategic content program that achieves your goals and drives revenue.
Request a free consultation with our experts today.