Most industrial marketers understand the importance of content marketing to help feed the industrial professional’s almost insatiable appetite for useful, relevant information. For that purpose you produce a steady stream of white papers, datasheets, how-to videos, webinars, social posts, technical articles and more.

But cranking out content just because content marketing is the thing to do won’t get you very far towards your goals. Your content marketing efforts should fit within a larger plan to build awareness and thought leadership, as well as to generate engagement opportunities.

To achieve these goals, you should check that all of your content meets these parameters:

  • Fits within the framework of the key positioning and messages you want to get across as a thought leader and industry expert. All of the content producers on your team should know the key messages and guidelines to follow.
  • Focuses on the informational needs of your target audience and is educational in nature, helping them do their jobs better. You may want to get across specific messages or positioning, but the content also has to be about your audience and what they want. When the two are the same, your company is in a sweet spot.
  • Is widely distributed and visible across those media channels used by your target audience. Your audience is online, using websites, search engines, email, video sharing sites, online catalogs, social networks and more. That’s where your content needs to be.
  • Is “actionable.”

By actionable we mean that your target audience can and will do something after consuming your content. This is one of the best ways to give your content marketing more momentum. The action could be a small step (get more content, re-think a position) or a large step (engage with your sales team, make a purchase), but the point is to help your customers and prospects move forward through the phases of their buy cycle.

Here are some tips to make your content marketing more actionable:

  • Make the next offer. For example, at the end of a white paper, promote a webinar that’s based on a related topic. In a blog post, link to other articles of interest. Add a link in a short video interview to a more in-depth case study. Think in terms of “if my audience likes X, then they should also be interested in Y.” Give them X, then offer them Y. The idea is to always be offering more, and making your audience want to say yes.
  • Create content that’s easy to share. Especially with complex industrial products, the buying cycle can be long and involve a number of decision makers, influencers and recommenders. Therefore, it’s important to make content easy to share among the decision-making team. Include a forwarding feature in emails. Make web pages that are easy to print, email and share. Don’t be shy about asking your audience to share and recommend content that they like.
  • Ask for interaction. Getting your audience involved helps boost the momentum of your content marketing, helping it reach farther and become more visible. Ask provocative questions about important industry topics on your blog or Facebook posts to get the conversation rolling. Take a stand on an issue and ask your audience for their opinion. Use polls on web pages and emails—and share the results.
  • Include contact information. You never know when your content might motivate a customer or prospect to contact you. That’s why you always need to provide a contact mechanism. It doesn’t have to be, and probably shouldn’t be, a hard call to action (Buy now! Call us today!), but it’s easy and non-aggressive to add a ‘For more info’ or ‘Have questions?’ or ‘Contact’ at the end of your content and put in an email address or phone number. It’s surprising how many marketers skip this step.

Content marketing is essential in today’s industrial marketplace. Make sure you do it with purpose and action in mind, and you will experience forward momentum.

Download IHS GlobalSpec’s complimentary white paper, Content Marketing for Industrial Marketers,  and get the information, inspirations and recommendations you need to develop or accelerate a winning content marketing strategy.

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How do you make your content marketing “actionable?” What tips and ideas would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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