After years of being able to mostly get by without it, the manufacturing industry is finally beginning to embrace content marketing on a wide scale. However, this does mean they’re doing a bit of catch-up, compared to the industries which have been doing content marketing for years. Fortunately, a new report from CMI/MarketingProf – Manufacturing Content Marketing 2020 (PDF) – has plenty of information about how well the industry is handling the change.
The report also points towards several clear ways to improve content marketing efforts in the year ahead, and they match perfectly with our own experience. Here are a few tips!
1. Create a real content strategy
This is good advice in any area of content marketing: don’t just wing it. You need a solid content marketing plan. This should include:
- Overall goals, expressed as hard numbers which can be tracked and measured
- A budget, and a breakdown of how it will be spent
- Picking multiple content outlets and committing to building audiences on those outlets (ie, your blog, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc)
- Deciding on overall tone and presentation
- Picking topics to focus on, and areas where you want to show thought leadership
A good content strategy should be flexible enough that it can be updated as your needs change over the course of a year, while still giving you strong guidelines for creating content and measuring performance.
2. You need a team
One of the more worrisome statistics in that CMI report is that almost half (48%) of surveyed manufacturing organizations only have a single worker responsible for all of their content marketing! This is not a formula for success. No matter how good your blogger is, they can’t handle large-scale content marketing all on their own – and you’ll burn them out if you try.
There are arguments for and against either keeping your marketing in-house, or hiring an outside firm. Mixing-and-matching is also an option, such as hiring out your blogs, but handling social media in-house. Whichever approach you prefer, you need a genuine team handling the content marketing. This should include a leader overseeing content development, as well as some specialists in different types of content.
3. Look towards video marketing
Personally, it’s interesting that the CMI report apparently didn’t even ask about how many manufacturers are producing video content. Because you should be. Video is one of the most powerful forms of content marketing, and a strong YouTube channel can significantly elevate a company’s online presence while putting it in front of new audiences. Everyone from consumers to CEOs watch video.
Better yet, YouTube videos can be cheap. Just look at all the “unboxing” videos out there, which are just some guy sitting in front of a table under a couple studio lights. These don’t have to be fancy promotional videos, just quick-and-dirty vids showing off your products or illustrating their use.
4. Find influencers in your field
According to the report, only 1/3 of manufacturers are making a concerted effort to seek out “social influencers,” social media personalities who are particularly popular in their areas of interest. This is a huge opportunity for companies who are quick to take advantage!
Getting one or two social influencers on your side can mean a lot of free outreach, and a lot of exposure, for very little cost. Most influencers are absolutely thrilled to get a sponsored trip to a trade show, or an opportunity to exclusively demo your new products. A small outlay flying a few vloggers to your headquarters can produce huge results.
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