In the ever-evolving marketing landscape, no industry is safe from the continual pendulum swing of SEO updates, new platforms, and changing buyer preferences. Manufacturing marketing has its own unique blend of deliverables and initiatives that can spell success for B2B industrial firms.
In this post, we explore the top content marketing trends for B2B Industrial Manufacturers and some strategic steps you can take to stay ahead of your competition.
The Content Marketing Institute and Content Profs published a comprehensive analysis of content marketing efforts for manufacturing. You can find that research here.
What does all of this mean for your manufacturing organization? It means your competition is seeing the value and ROI from content marketing and is starting to invest in it. And we expect to see this trend continue.
In fact, there has never been a better time to invest in a content marketing strategy for your business.
Let’s outline some of the steps your business can take to develop a strong B2B manufacturing content marketing strategy:
Many of the B2B industrial manufacturers we work with wonder: do we really need a documented content strategy?
The answer is yes. 41% of manufacturers say they have a documented strategy.
While it’s great to develop content for your blog that answers your ideal customer’s questions, you should always write with an end goal in mind.
Do I really need to write content for my products?
Chances are, your marketing team is small. If you've made it this far in the post you could be a one-person marketing machine. Here's a peek at how other manufacturing teams are structured:
If you're responsible for developing a content strategy for your company, here are the most important elements to include.
Understanding what frustrates your buyers gives insight into how to answer the questions they type into Google. There are a few ways you can determine what questions your buyers have:
Here's an example of how Spyfu analyzes shared organic keywords. Reports like this can help you see what other sites rank for similar phrases -- and where your strongest opportunities for NEW content lie.
It’s also valuable to see what your competitors are doing on social channels - especially Facebook and LinkedIn. You should have a pulse on your competitor’s email and nurture efforts, as well.
While it’s never a good idea to copy what your competitors are doing, insight into their organic performance and other content marketing efforts can help inform a strategy for YOUR business that outperforms theirs.
Creating more TOFU content is invaluable for driving more traffic to your website. And that’s why most manufacturers focus more than 50% of their content marketing efforts on TOFU content.
What is TOFU content?
TOFU content (or top of the funnel content) is targeted to buyers who have high-level pain points or questions they want to have answered. In manufacturing, this usually revolves around researching problems they have in their day-to-day jobs. Whether that's solving a business problem (reducing manufacturing time), or solving an equipment issue (streamlining operations). These are usually questions that include:
However, it’s just as important to focus on creating middle and bottom of the funnel content as well.
These are usually product or solution-based questions like:
In other words, searchers already know they’re looking for a product or solution you can offer them.
Here's a quick reference guide of marketing jargon if you need it.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It’s not enough to drive more traffic to our site; we need to give our visitors the next step to take once they’re on our site.
Start by adding:
When manufacturers think of “content” they usually think of creating blog content. And a blog is a must-have for a strong SEO strategy. However, it’s important to create content outside of the blog as well.
What channels should manufacturers use for content development?
This chart shows how other manufacturers prioritize their content marketing channels:
Top-performing content strategies span so much further than the blog, using a variety of content types to cast a larger digital net.
PRO TIP: Content repurposing can really streamline your strategy. A blog can be broken down into 10 - 100 social posts if it’s written thoughtfully. Segments of a webinar or sales presentation can make for great teaser videos. Repurposing your content is an easy way to get fast, free ROI across channels.
In the manufacturing industry, especially, you get out what you put in. If most of your business has come from word of mouth or referrals, it could be time to invest in a strong digital presence. A content strategy is the best place to start because it gives you the best long-term ROI online.
Content that you write once can perform for you in the background daily. And thoughtfully written evergreen content can drive exponential traffic growth — sometimes over the course of years.
Want some proof? Our top performing blog post was written more than 3 years ago. Here's a peek at how other manufacturers outsource their marketing services:
As more manufacturers see the value of investing in a strong content marketing strategy the harder it will be for companies to rank. With relatively low competition in the B2B manufacturing content sphere the highest SEO return will come to those that invest in content early.
Why? As your site develops topical authority online, it becomes harder and harder for your competitors to outrank you.
Our advice? Start early. Start today.
Choose the top 5 questions your customers ask. Type those questions into Google. See what else is ranking. Then, write a helpful, comprehensive, and not-salesy blog post that answers the questions better than anyone else out there. Use unique images where you can. Link to other pages where it makes sense and is related to your topic.
Then, repurpose all of those blogs as social posts scattered over the next six months.
You’re already on your way to making your brand name known online.
Want to see how your website stacks up against other manufacturing sites? Check out our digital lead generation report here:
Do you need some help developing your manufacturing content strategy? I hope you'll reach out today.
Kate Moore is a Content Strategist by day, HubSpot expert by night. When she’s not getting distracted by her many fans (ahem – work emails and phone calls), she’s hunkered down, plugged into Spotify and writing about stuff that will make your work with HubSpot smooth and simple.