Ran Mullins By Ran Mullins • January 23, 2018

How B2B Manufacturers Can Improve Their Content Marketing

success-improve-marketingIn an industry that's relied heavily on in-person events like tradeshows and other traditional marketing methods, manufacturers are some of the newest members of the content marketing community. It's been a successful shift, too, as B2B manufacturing content marketing is bringing in a whole new wave of buyers who prefer plenty of time for self-guided research before engaging with a company.

On the other hand, only 22 percent of manufacturers rated their content marketing as mature or sophisticated, with the rest still feeling like they're in the early stages. We're here to help the other 78 percent get their B2B manufacturing content marketing up to speed. Here's how.

Start With Thought Leadership

The key to success in today's landscape is building trust with potential customers. People want to know that they're getting more than just a good deal; they want to be working with the best in the business. Traditionally, manufacturers created that confidence by meeting with people and building relationships. Today it's done with content.

Thought leadership is the idea that you are more than just the gatekeeper to industry information; you're also the source for the latest and the greatest. You know what needs to be done to solve problems, and people can count on you for answers. You're more than just a manufacturer. You're a trusted advisor.

Content that establishes you as a leader in your industry is packed with helpful information that your customers need before reaching a purchase decision. It's not full of sales pitches and pricing information. Instead, it speaks to your customer's pain points and addresses them head-on.

Think about creating pieces that go into detail about the different ways your products solve problems. Think about where your industry will be in the future and how you plan to be a part of that. What research is out there that supports these ideas? If you can't find any, consider doing your own!

Content doesn't have to be written, either. Create videos of company ambassadors speaking at industry conferences and events, do a webinar series, or even a live Q&A session.

The Next Steps

Once you're gearing your content toward the needs of your audience and establishing yourself as a leader in your industry, it's time to put that content to work. The first thing you need is a written plan that documents your goals, which strategies you will use to get there, and what you'll be measuring to determine whether you've succeeded.

Next, you'll want to focus on delivering your content on a regular basis. Whether you're filling up a blog, sending out a newsletter, or doing an interactive session, you want to get it on the calendar and stick to your timelines. The more you're able to get high-quality content delivered consistently, the more credible you'll be as a leader (while creating more opportunities to attract leads!).

Then, make sure your expectations are in check. Content marketing isn't a one-and-done. It's not even a set-it-and-forget-it. B2B manufacturing content marketing takes time to work, and your strategy must be flexible enough to change as you start analyzing the results of your work.

You Can't Be Everything to Everyone

Remember to think about all the steps your buyers take as they make a purchase decision. Create content for every step of the journey rather than trying to create pieces that are meant for everyone. When you try to do it all in one place, the result is usually thin content that's not helpful enough to anyone, let alone everyone.

When you start with thought leadership and then build a strategic plan that's designed to capture the attention of your audience at every step of the purchase process, your content marketing will be well on its way to success.