Content, content, content.
It’s all the rage right now and if you’ve been following our blog, you’ll know it’s a topic that has featured quite prominently in our own discussions recently.
But that’s because we, the business world, are collectively waking up to the reality that content marketing has firmly embedded itself into the modern marketing mix: it’s not a fad, and it never was.
In fact, in a recent survey report by management consulting giant Accenture, content has been identified as being ‘as essential as water’ to today’s businesses. Yes that’s right, dubbed the “H2O of Marketing”, content marketing is even essential to manufacturing firms like yours.
So you need to take action. Quickly.
With the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 B2B manufacturing report finding only 18% of manufacturing businesses find their current content marketing efforts effective, it’s clear that (effective, research-driven) content marketing presents a great opportunity for quick-thinking firms to carve out a competitive advantage. And this opportunity is made even more welcoming given the industry wide stagnation the industry finds itself in.
Recognising this opportunity, we’ve created this blog to help you get started creating effective content that will yield real marketing results and help you establish your firm as a thought leader.
Focus on Pain Points
In order to reap the benefits of any marketing activity, let alone content marketing activity, you’ll need a firm grasp on what keeps your customers up at night.
We’re talking about pain points.
Simply put, pain points are the challenges and problems your customers are looking to address. And they should form the basis for all your marketing efforts.
However, in order to accurately identify your customers’ pain points, you’ll first need to conduct research and develop detailed buyer personas.
See, effective content marketing is driven by content that is both engaging and valuable to target audiences, making buyer personas content marketing bread and butter.
Simply put, buyer personas are generalised, semi-fictional descriptions of your ideal customers. Based on market research, they help you build detailed visual representations of those you’re trying to attract. To help you get started with your own buyer personas, we’ve written a blog specifically on the subject, viewable here.
Armed with these buyer personas, you’ll be able to pinpoint the pain points each of your customer segments is looking to address. You can then use your industry specific knowledge to create content built around these issues, bringing your ideal customers to you.
Don’t Neglect SEO
Simple, but worth repeating - pay particular attention to search engine optimisation (SEO). In order to reap the benefits of content marketing, you need to attract readers in the first place.
And this means creating SEO optimised content.
Fundamentally, SEO refers to the use of strategies, tactics and techniques that help you increase the number of visitors to a website. By following SEO best practices and making on-going changes to the content on your site, you can allow search engine algorithms to better ‘understand’ this content’s relevance to specific search terms. The result of this is that your content will be more competitively ranked on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The flipside of this however, is that failure to keep up to date with the frequent search engine algorithm changes can see your content become poorly ranked on SERPs. And this will greatly decrease your ability to attract the readers you want to convert into customers.
Remember, search engine algorithms are constantly evolving and require an on-going commitment from your marketing team. With this in mind, we’ve outlined several top tips to help you ensure your content remains super discoverable.
As content marketing becomes increasingly popular, it’s no surprise we’ve seen an influx of content.
And we’ve also seen a lot of crap content and copy-cat nonsense.
Naturally concerned by this, we thought we’d put on our detective glasses and work out exactly why so many brands were falling into the trap of creating sub-standard content.
And what we found was that many brands, especially in the manufacturing sector, are afraid to move beyond the status quo.
They’re bound by convention, churning out the same old blog posts about the same old subjects. And this needs to change.
As we’ve mentioned before, if your content bores your audience, you’re doing it wrong. You need to build your content around your audience and their pain points. And this includes the format: whether it’s white papers, slide decks or unorthodox physical toys, you’ll need to experiment to find your content sweet spot. To do this, you’ll need to measure and refine your approach consistently.
See, as with SEO, content marketing for manufacturers requires a flexible and fluid approach. To stay valuable and relevant, your content must evolve and stay aligned with the concerns your prospective customers face. You cannot afford to stick to a predetermined agenda in an industry that is inherently unpredictable.
What this means is that you need to stay one step ahead of the market. You need to arm yourself with deep insight into the challenges, threats, opportunities and developments of the manufacturing industry. Being reactive to customer needs alone is not enough.
As a result, you’ll need to invest in both primary and secondary research, pulling out data and using it as the basis for on-going changes to your content strategy.
While this can be a daunting prospect for manufacturers looking to embrace content, it doesn’t need to be. Trust us.
In fact, to help you get started, our analysts have pulled together a series of the most recent statistics and industry insights to create a comprehensive overview of the most pertinent challenges in the manufacturing sector.
If you’d like to download the guide and take the first steps to content that sets your firm apart from the rest of the industry, simply click the button below.