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Inbound Marketing Blog

This Is Why Your Manufacturing Company Needs Online Content

This Is Why Your Manufacturing Company Needs Online Content

By Claire Giesige July 25 2018 Manufacturing & Distribution
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Do you use content marketing for your manufacturing company?

If you answered “no,” you’re in the minority.

A 2018 study shows 86% of companies in your industry are using it to drive profitable customer actions. If you want to keep up, it’s time to change. Here’s why and how.

Content Marketing Manufacturing

Source: Manufacturing Content Marketing: 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America

What Does “Content” Mean, Anyways?

Well, for starters, this blog that you’re reading right now is what you would call content.

But online content doesn’t just mean blogs — it means videos, whitepapers, infographics, how-to guides, emails, social media posts and so on. It’s the information that shows up when people Google a problem, question or solution they are seeking.

Content marketing puts that content to work for your company. As Corey Wainwright writing for HubSpot explains, “content marketing is a marketing program that centers on creating, publishing and distributing content for your target audience — usually online — the goal of which is to attract new customers.”

Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, content marketing is a major part of digital marketing, also known as inbound marketing. To give you a quick summary, the inbound marketing method is all about providing informative, useful content online to pull targeted prospects to you and entice them to take a closer look at your company.

It’s different from traditional marketing, where you throw ads in front of lots of people while they read the news or drive to work and hope they pay attention.

Content Marketing for B2B Manufacturers

It makes a lot of sense for B2C companies to use content marketing — people are online shopping and reading, so brands want to be in front of those potential customers, and they want to connect and show their human side with sassy tweets and Instagram posts, etc.

But can it work for B2B?

Yes. Because your audience is online too. They are following leaders on LinkedIn. They are reading top industry trade publications online. And when they need a solution, they Google it.

This is where your opportunity exists. You can connect with prospects and retain and upsell current buyers by being the thought leader and providing the helpful, informative content they seek online.

You may not be creating fun quizzes on Facebook but you could be the one providing a foreman with a case study that shows real-world proof of your solution. Or, your enewsletter could be the one a plant manager is reading on lean manufacturing efficiencies or tariffs and the supply chain.

Of the 86% of manufacturing companies already utilizing content marketing, 70% can demonstrate how content marketing has increased leads and 42% can demonstrate an increase in sales.

Metrics Agreement STatemetns

Source: Manufacturing Content Marketing: 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America

Is Online Content Marketing Worth It?

I’m prejudiced, obviously, but the answer is a resounding “yes.” Content marketing helps you build your online presence so you’re easier to find. It sets you apart from your competitors, positions you as an expert in your field and wins you new customers.

But what’s the ROI? Let’s dive in to some of the reasons why online content is worth the investment of both time and money.

1. Content Drives People to Your Site

It does this through a variety of ways. To name just a few, content drives web traffic to your site organically (people search and find your information), through enewsletters you send out, through information you post on social channels and via referrals from other sites.

In terms of organic traffic, well-written content helps with SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. It’s a complex process of optimizing content so search engines find it and rank it. If you’re creating quality content that’s optimized for search engines, you’re increasing your chances of ranking higher for the keywords your customers are using when they search.

Want more on SEO? Watch the video: What You Need to Know about SEO

Content also helps with referrals. If you become a reliable resource in your industry, other websites may start linking back to you in their content. If you create a killer piece of content, existing customers may share it with other buyers.

Another way content helps drive people to your site is through email. You can send out newsletters, personalized email campaigns and more to nurture prospects and upsell current customers by driving them back to your site.

2. Content Shows Thought Leadership

How are you different from your competitors? What sets you apart?

Whatever your answer to that question is, that’s what should guide your content strategy. Write authoritatively about your areas of expertise and let them get to know your experts.

Is there a new trend facing your industry? Write a blog with your company’s take on it. Do you have suggestions for how to solve a common problem? Empower your engineers to create a how-to guide or how-to video.

Your company knows its stuff. Become a thought leader in your industry by creating content that shows that.

3. Content Keeps Your Site Up-To-Date

Fresh content helps your SEO, but it also helps keep your website feeling fresh and up-to-date for the user. If someone is on your site and sees that you haven’t posted since 2012, it may raise some flags for that potential customer.

It can also help you appear technologically savvy. For example, video continues to grow in popularity online. By incorporating video and other emerging technology in your content strategy, you’re showing customers that you’re a modern, forward-thinking company while also engaging with them in their newest favorite format.

4. Content Strengthens Your Social Strategy

Social media marketing and content marketing are two different beasts (although they have a lot of overlap).

You should be thinking of your social media channels almost as separate websites for your company. They’re a way for you to connect with customers.

You should have your own social media marketing strategy, but the online content you create can help fill out that strategy. You can promote your online content on social media, or you can break it down into standalone posts on the channel. Your sales team can use that content and connect with prospects through channels such as LinkedIn.

The great thing about content marketing is that it lets you build up a library of resources that you can then borrow from for other platforms. What does that look like in practice?

If you have a high performing blog or webpage, take snippets of it and create posts on LinkedIn to reach buyers who may not have seen it yet. Do you have product videos? Enable your sales team to share them with prospects via LinkedIn or Facebook messaging.

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5. Content Tells Your Brand Story

Content is about more than selling your product. It’s about telling your story.

People may think they choose a company because of its prices or its customer service. But that isn’t really true.

Research has shown that consumers use emotions rather than information when evaluating brands. We want to feel good about the companies that we choose to work with — and whether that’s subconscious or not, it affects our choices.

Use content to create a clear brand identity and show people your human side. Highlight your products and tout your customer service when necessary, but make sure you’re telling a story about your company and what you stand for.

DIY Content Marketing vs. Outsourcing

In the 2018 Manufacturing Benchmarks report, the research shows “almost three out of five (58%) of respondents outsource at least one of [their] content marketing activities.”

Many companies have someone internally cranking out content. The problem is, that person usually has other duties. They have to wear many hats. They may be great at producing thought leadership white papers but not-so-great at creating how-to videos and promoting through social channels.

The advantage of working with a digital marketing agency is you gain access to multiple team members who are experts in various fields and up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies. The key is finding the right agency to work with your company. How do they show results and ROI? Do they offer the services and strategy you seek?

If you’d like to learn more about how to partner with a digital marketing agency, download our free resource, The Ultimate Guide to Partnering with the Right Inbound Agency.

Also, for additional resources, I recommend checking out HubSpot as they have an extensive library to help you learn more about inbound marketing.

The Ultimate Guide to Partnering with the Right Inbound Agency

Manufacturing & Distribution

About the Author

Claire Giesige

Claire Giesige believes every person — and every company — has a story to tell, and she enjoys finding that story. With a passion for writing and editing, she works with clients to share their company stories and messages in unique and compelling ways. She’s an experienced journalist, knowledgeable marketer and team player.