Manufacturers, let's build a content strategy

It’s frustrating to go from the excitement of a having a new lead in your inbox to the disappointment of realizing it’s a low-quality false alarm. What a rollercoaster of emotions!

For manufacturers, bad sales leads can not only clog up your inbox – they can make you question if any of your marketing strategies are working effectively. That’s a valid question! Digital marketing in manufacturing has been becoming more popular, but many small businesses still have trouble crafting a successful plan to grow their business.

(Not to mention that last year, marketing strategies in every industry had to do a hard 180°. Seventy percent of manufacturing marketers adapted their messaging and targeting methods in response to the pandemic. I know, I’m sorry to remind you about 2020 – but it’s true!)

When working with new manufacturing clients, we always assess their content strategy. Why? Content that is engaging, valuable to your audience and specific to the services you offer will attract the type of clients you want.

Let’s talk about building a content strategy that will help more high-quality leads pop up in your inbox. Here we go!

Start with Your Goals 

Instead of launching your business into the big bad world of digital marketing without a strategy, let’s make some goals first.

Our advice? Create attainable content goals. We’ve seen many small business leaders get discouraged about their failed content plan because they took on more than they could handle. A strong content foundation is built thoughtfully through achieving reasonable goals.

To build these content goals, start by asking yourself:

  • How much time does my team have to spend on building my content efforts?
  • How big are my current audiences? (Email contacts, LinkedIn followers, blog subscriptions, etc.)
  • Who am I trying to reach? (A great time to revisit your buyer personas!)

Knowing your company’s time limits, who you’re trying to reach and what audiences you already have to pull from are significant first steps in building a successful content plan. How much time your company has to dedicate to marketing will inform how often you can engage with your audience (For example, weekly blog posts vs. monthly newsletters vs. daily social posting). Knowing what your current audience sizes can help you set benchmarks for new subscribers/followers throughout the year. And specifying who you’re trying to reach will help you with our next step:

What Avenues to Focus On

People who are new to marketing may assume that all content plans must include posting on every social media platform daily, monthly emails, weekly blogs – the whole nine yards. But the reality is, all of those assets won’t work for every manufacturer. Content plans aren’t one size fits all—quality (and specificity!) matters over quantity.

Like we said above, revisit your buyer personas and take a closer look at your current audiences. Do you have a solid email subscription list that you haven’t taken advantage of? Do your LinkedIn posts find a little traction while your Twitter has been DOA for years?

A strong content marketing plan cuts the fat and focuses on the areas where your ideal clients are already showing interest. This is also balanced with your company’s time capabilities; while a weekly blog may be of interest to your audience, not every small business can churn out weekly, valuable content. Instead, you might focus on building one high-quality blog post a month, which is much more attainable and still helpful for your target market.

Plus, don’t forget about opportunities to find leads on other manufacturing websites! Larger manufacturing organizations or groups are often open to blog contributors. This is a great way to grab the attention of sales leads who might not usually see your content.

If you’ve found a content channel that has exciting potential, but your internal resources alone aren’t enough to give it the time it needs, it may be time to outsource.

Find The Value 

A consistent, robust content plan will still fail if you’re not offering pieces that speak to your ideal client’s problems. A newsletter that only gives company updates or recycles past content isn’t valuable to high-quality sales leads. A blog topic that’s been beaten to death by other manufacturers isn’t useful (and in terms of SEO, it won’t help your content stand out amongst the competition).

Put yourself in your ideal client’s shoes and answer the following questions:

  • What problems are they facing?
  • What’s causing them to search for services like mine?
  • By the end, will my content have provided answers to their questions or concerns?

For example, say you manufacture industrial manipulators. Your ideal client may be a warehouse leader seeing a major decline in productivity or an increase in employee burnout. A blog piece on how industrial manipulators boost efficiency could catch that potential sale lead’s eye.

Stay Consistent (and Undeterred!) 

Once again, I must emphasize – no matter how strong your new content plan is, it won’t take off overnight.

Consistency is your biggest ally when building your content marketing foundation. That’s why we say you should honestly assess your company’s capabilities for content creation at the beginning of your planning. If you’ve decided on a daily social media posting schedule, but this responsibility is shared between four or five already very busy team members, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Consistency also goes hand-in-hand with staying undeterred. Say your first email newsletter is a flop (it’s okay, we’ve all been there). That doesn’t mean you should abandon your email strategy. Look at what your analytics are telling you and the message your audience is sending. How can you take this useful data and inform your choices for next month’s newsletter?

Give your content marketing plan time to breathe and grow. Once you’ve been consistently following your strategy for three to four months, then you can review your results and adapt as needed.

It’s Time to Get Started

Thoughtful content marketing is an excellent way to weed out leads looking for something that you’re not selling and find the ideal clients you’re targeting. While it takes research, thorough planning and commitment, it can offer big payoffs in the end.

Need help getting a content marketing strategy in place? Finding your efforts aren’t having the results you’re looking for? We’re here to help. Let our team of content experts make your strategy a success – click here to get started.