The pressure is high when you're already delivering across the full marketing mix — PR, Adwords, print, social — but if you get content right, the lead generation rewards are enormous!
But first, let's consider why you aren't investing:
Our Posts Aren’t Going Viral
You create content, you share it, it goes viral. That’s how it works, right? This may work for well-known manufacturers, but remember, large businesses have been investing in marketing for years, and it's why they're able to generate a buzz.
Content marketing isn't an overnight remedy. If you're not allowing enough time to build up momentum, it’s the reason you’re failing. You need to invest your time in content marketing, you need a tailored strategy and a lot of input to build momentum.
Also, you need to consider whether posts going viral will help. Why do you want it to go viral? Because it improves brand awareness? Okay, but what if you don't generate any more leads after you've spent thousands on a marketing campaign; surely that doesn't constitute success?
If you do think viral content will help, watch Embraer's video of their profit hunter aircraft being painted below. Notice how it isn't just a video of a plane being painted, it's a clear marketing message; the name and the animal are aimed at the buyer.
We Didn’t Want to Blow Our Budget
Don’t ignore the obvious, in-house content marketing is expensive: video editors, writers, and designers are expensive to hire. It's easy to understand why manufacturing companies choose to invest a little at a time and check the impact on their results.
The theory is, by investing minimally, you can judge your ROI on that amount. The trouble is, you get what you pay for. Check your blog, if your last post was 6 months ago, are you investing enough time into developing content? It’s a drop in the ocean when you realise that there are millions of blogs posted to the web every day.
It’s impossible to generate high-quality manufacturing leads if you aren't consistent with your marketing.
We Aren’t Achieving Our Goals
The Content Marketing Institute's 2019 Manufacturing Content Marketing Report, they state that only a third of organisations had clarity on what constituted success.
So what does that mean? Did you have clear goals and objectives? Were you sharing your content? How were you measuring success?
If you don’t have a written plan and haven’t documented your results, then it’s time to re-think.
Define your goals, do you want to increase website traffic or generate more leads? How will you judge success?
If you want to generate high-grade manufacturing leads with content marketing, you'll need a content strategy. Here are a few starting points:
- Create buyer personas — Insightful, semi-fictional accounts of who your target customers are.
- Brainstorm ideas — Get the creative juices flowing by playing some icebreaker games and throwing some ideas around.
- Run a content audit — Review your existing content and see where you can republish/repurpose it.
How Content Can Help You Generate More Manufacturing Leads
1. Content = Community
Content keeps your business relevant and gives your customers a reason to connect. Released a cool video on how to fit a tyre? Created a list of tools that you need to fix a car?
If your customers like your content then they’re more likely to interact with you. What do you do when you’re mind blown by a captivating piece of content? You like it, share it and link it over to friends.
You have to consider what your product is. If it's 'machine parts' or 'tools', how do you make that sound exciting? If your machine parts are the most durable in your field, prove it. Try to smash them up, give users a reason to engage.
Mack Trucks are invested in video content, and their passion is evident in their series Roadlife, where they hear the stories of people that spend their time on the road. It shows another side to 'truck driving', and there's never a 'come buy our trucks' message throughout. It's clear their audience is engaging with the content as well, the trailer has 127,653 views.
How would you make a boring topic sound exciting and investable?
2. You Build Authority in Your Area Of Expertise
Giving people information they love builds trust; as trust builds you gain more credibility.
That could be gaining followers, likes, shares or reviews. As your business grows you become a thought leader and authority in your chosen field. A prime example of a thought leader is US home improvement supplies retailer The Home Depot. They have over 150,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel where they offer home cleaning tips and DIY solutions.
Here are two video title examples
- How to replace a showerhead - 13k views
- How to make a wooden doormat - 5k views
The videos build their reputation, they're willing to share information that otherwise wouldn't be available. Think about how much phone time you could save if you had a simple video that resolved a customer issue.
Want to learn more about manufacturing marketing? Read our Ultimate Guide!
3. Your Pages Are More Likely To Appear In Search Engines
Alongside creating gripping content, SEO is the best way to get recognised online. SEO determines whether your content appears in the top results page on search engines, making you more visible to browsers. If your content is appearing on the top page, you’ll get more traffic to your website, this will generate leads who you’ll convert to customers.
Improve your SEO by:
- Optimising your content for mobile.
- Linking to relevant articles, from other websites and your own
- Writing longer, quality text
- Including relevant keywords, but don’t stuff your text with them
- Speeding up your website
- Researching your competition
- Writing like a human!
See how the last example from The Home Depot appears at the top of the search engine for 'how to replace a shower head' — although this may not always be the case as many factors affect search page results.
4. You Aren't Pushing A Sale
How do you sell a product without pitching how good it is? By being patient, giving people information and not expecting an immediate return.
Focus on the core problem that your business solves and put out lots of content about how to solve that problem - Laura Fitton, Inbound Marketing Evangelist at HubSpot
Build up an expansive portfolio and your business could become a go-to source for information. Traditional marketing methods have a sell-by-date, campaigns end, you analyse their performance and start the next one.
Content is different, it works overtime. Get a piece of content ranking in a search engine, and it’ll generate leads for years.
See how to adapt to customer behaviour by reading this article on new buying processes.
5. You Can Raise Brand Awareness
Marketing requires excellent brand awareness. While your company may have a big brand presence offline, building a digital-footprint is challenging for some marketing professionals, especially if your industry is deemed boring.
The good thing about brand awareness campaigns is their flexibility, feel free to be creative with content and only give subtle hints about what you do. Design these campaigns to let people know you're out there and don't make them too promotional.
You need to make people aware there's a solution to the problem, and you’ve got the information they need.
A fitting example would be Samsung. The video shows how they made a moving, emotive TV advert showing how technology can aid premature babies when their mothers aren’t in the hospital.
6. You Can Drive More Website Traffic
Using tools like Google Analytics will help determine what content website visitors are looking at, such as how many people have visited your site, per minute, per day or per year.
Content marketing isn’t free, but it’s cheaper than paid methods of advertising, so if you write valuable content for your buyer personas you’ll generate rewarding visits.
And to put it simply, more people of your website means more chance of generating leads.
What Tools Can I Use To Create My Content?
In the digital age, content creation is a key tactic for manufacturers. Remember content can take many forms, white papers, infographics, images and webinars. Here are a few examples of how you can generate engaging content:
Blogs are the central hub for all your content. It’s where website visitors navigate through your work and view articles that interest them. Blogs are versatile and host various types of content from podcasts, graphics and videos.
Although content creation can be expensive, blogs are inexpensive to maintain. Content audits allow you to review your existing content, checking logistics, consistency and accuracy every 3-12 months.
Take a look at NIST's blog, it has a search function, category selection dropdown, an about section and links to their social media site. It isn't the most visually striking, but the user experience is considerate.
If you want to generate leads, it’s essential to implement CTA’s into your blog.
A call-to-action directs viewers to take a specific action, whether it's a downloadable resource or a call. For example, you may offer a free report template in return for some basic information, like an email address.
CTAs are effective as you can assume someone is interested in your business if they take action, which qualifies them as a lead and moves them further down the sales funnel.
3. Social Media Posts
It’s vital you target the right people when you’ve got a strong content portfolio, and social media gives you the option to do it.
There are so many social media platforms to select when sharing your content. It’s important you pick the right platform and deliver the right message.
Many businesses and business people use LinkedIn to network and promote professional content, whereas YouTube promotes videos so you would be delivering the message in a different style.
Consider this: 44% of online women use Pinterest, compared to 16% of online men.
If you’re manufacturing women’s clothes, Pinterest would be an ideal platform to share your content on. It’s all about building knowledge of where your customers are.
4. Use Online Tools
There are plenty of content marketing tools you can use on the web. Read the article 5 Killer Content Marketing Tools that Increase Website Visitors.
Investing in Content Marketing
If you don’t have a content marketing strategy, you should start building one. It's your job to educate your buyers, building trust by being honest and understanding. by doing that, you'll be opening the door for better quality manufacturing leads.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Think about why you aren’t committed to content marketing now. Can you justify those reasons?
- If you want to generate more leads, do you think content marketing is a good strategy?
- Do you think setting goals for your content would generate more leads?
- Do you think using toold would help you generate more leads?