There’s a good chance that you’ve heard the phrase "content marketing" thrown around whenever people start talking about marketing strategies. It’s a popular approach, and for good reason: it costs 62% less than outbound marketing, but generates three times the number of leads. These impressive results explain why nearly 90% of B2B marketers use content marketing as part of their overall strategy.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a form of advertising that involves creating content — blog posts, news articles, videos, or social media interactions. Unlike traditional marketing collateral, such as brochures and fliers, these types of content don't explicitly promote a company or a product.
Instead, the focus of content marketing is to provide value to readers. Content might be amusing, so that people send a link to their friends. It might be informative, so that people researching a specific topic find the article or blog post helpful. It might simply engage people and spark a conversation.
Creating A Content Marketing Strategy
Do you want to develop your business’s content marketing strategy but aren’t quite sure how to get started? We’ve put together a roadmap for you.
Determine Your Goal
It’s generally best to start with a single goal for your first content marketing campaign. Remember to be realistic and set a goal that’s in line with your budget and resources.
Define Your Metrics
It’s important to set metrics before beginning your content marketing efforts; this will help you measure your progress and determine if your efforts were successful. Depending on your goal, there are few options to use for your metrics:
- Website analytics
- Email/Social media post statistics
- Number of followers/subscribers
- Positive/negative interactions
- Number of leads generated
Identify Target Personas
Persona targeting is a way of taking diverse information about your target market and lending it human faces and characteristics. It might feel as though these are out of place in industrial marketing, but in fact, your content still needs to appeal to readers in specific roles across a manufacturing business. Personas help you plan a campaign by allowing you to:
- Think of them as real people rather than an abstract set of demographics
- Identify key personality or character traits that you’d like to appeal to
- Test your campaign’s reception from people who align with your target personas
- Segment your content to make it more relevant
All of these techniques are essential for branding, but theres more to consider when executing a successfully appealing content marketing campaign. Your content only goes as far as what your readers understand.
To determine a persona, consider the following information:
- Job title
- Education level
Examine Existing Content
Review your current content, both online and offline, to see if you can utilize what you already have in your new content marketing efforts. This could include:
- Spec sheets
- Product brochures
- Case studies
Think about which content you could repurpose by expanding, updating, or rewriting to better appeal to your target personas.
Understand The Funnel
To really understand how you want readers to interact with your content — and what you want your content to achieve with these readers —you’ll need to understand the idea of the inbound marketing funnel. This consists of a number of stages progressing from "uninterested consumer" to "loyal customer":
- Education: Provide useful and high quality information to collect their contact information.
- Evaluation: Start showcasing your strengths, knowledge, and the value you can offer relative to your competitors.
- Conversion: Focus on requiring the visitor to commit to an action with your sales team.
- Delight: Make the customer happy to encourage referrals and repeat business.
Your overall content marketing strategy should include ways to bring people through each stage of the funnel.
It can also be helpful to look at how other businesses in the manufacturing industry are doing their own marketing and see if this sparks any ideas.
Brainstorm Content Ideas
Before you start brainstorming, map your products or services against the needs of the target personas that you created earlier. Know what you’re selling them and why — then throw around ideas about how. During the process, identify which stage of the funnel you’d like the content to impact. Will it convert a consumer to a prospective customer? Will it delight existing customers?
When it comes to text content like blog posts and articles, there are a few key elements to remember to ensure the content you create is effective. Make sure your text is:
- Helpful: Give people useful information that they want to know, not a sales pitch.
- Professionally Written: Make sure content is well laid out, easy to understand, and informative.
- The Right Length: Aim for at least 500 words per post; this is enough to confer information without becoming excessively lengthy or overwhelming to a reader.
The final step to effective content marketing is getting your content in front of the right people at the right stage of the marketing funnel. With a broad variety of channels through which to share new content, including email, social media, and advertising, there are a number of ways to get new readers — and hopefully, new customers — to see your content.
Ready To Get Started?
By following the plan outlined above, you’ll get your content marketing off to a strong start. Remember, though, that this is a continuous process: you’ll need to keep measuring responses to your existing content, making improvements to your process, and creating new content to bring people further down the inbound marketing funnel.
Interested in content marketing, but not sure if you have the resources to do it yourself? Many industrial marketing departments use a content marketing agency to help them develop and deliver high-value content. Contact us to get started with your own content marketing initiatives.