Engineers and technical buyers have an almost insatiable desire for content to help them learn about new products, technologies, and components — and to make more informed and smarter purchasing decisions. And almost every industrial company is getting involved with content marketing these days, whether they know it or not. If you have applications notes, technical briefs, installation guides, white papers, product demo videos and CAD files along with a website, blog, YouTube channel, and social media accounts, you’re already in the content publishing and distribution business.

But content marketing presents a two-fold challenge to industrial marketers. First, how do you create all of the content that your prospects and customers crave? And two, how do you integrate this content into your marketing efforts to get all this valuable information in the hands of your target audience where they go to search and discover information and in a format they prefer?

Reach Out to Create Content
They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a team to create a steady stream of good, useful content for your target audience. And not just a team of marketers. Marketing may be responsible for the content creation process, such as describing your target audience, identifying key themes and messages, establishing an editorial calendar for creating and publishing content, and production. But as far as content ideas go, they come from everywhere.

To keep a fresh flow of content, and to have better insight into the problems and needs of your target audience, you need to turn to other people. Talk to internal colleagues such as product managers, engineers, technical support representatives, and account executives to get their sense of customer needs and desires. And reach out to your customers, follow hot industry topics in the media, and read and listen to what industry analysts have to say. It’s only through this broader survey and multiple touch points that you will be able to generate enough ideas to keep the content machine churning.

The content itself might be a series of white papers or Webinars. Or customer case studies or use cases. Video interviews with experts. How-to articles. Blog posts. New Web pages. And more.

Integrate Content into Campaigns
Not every company in the industrial sector has the luxury of deploying sophisticated marketing automation solutions that distribute content to customer and prospect lists at regular intervals, track their actions, and implement rules-based follow-up content. However, every industrial marketer can produce content and offer it to customers and prospects through their established marketing programs.

How? By making content the offer in your campaigns. Let’s say you advertise in a product-specific e-newsletter each month. What better place to promote your new series of how-to videos or technical articles? Or perhaps you’ve signed up to exhibit at an online event to raise brand awareness among your target audience. Your booth is the perfect place to link to your blog and social media channels as well as for attendees to download your white papers, product demos, technical briefs and more.

In addition, every piece of content you produce should be distributed across multiple channels including your website, social media platforms, e-mail communications, online supplier directories and other industrial sites where you maintain a presence.

Integrating content into your marketing mix isn’t a short-term, hard-sell approach. It’s more of a strategic approach to marketing. You’re not asking a customer to “Buy now!” You’re not offering discounts or end-of-quarter deals. Instead, you’re cultivating a relationship and building trust with potential future buyers, helping to educate them and demonstrating ways you can solve their problems. This makes content marketing an ideal fit for lead-nurturing campaigns that help you keep in touch with prospects who aren’t ready to buy yet may still be interested in your products and services. And studies show that more than 70 percent of your new business can come from these long term leads. Keep the content flowing to them!

For more on how industrial marketers can use content marketing to establish thought leadership, build brand awareness and drive engagement opportunities, download GlobalSpec’s complimentary white paper Content Marketing for Industrial Marketers.

How do you integrate content into your marketing campaigns? What types of content have you found to be most successful? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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