Manufacturing marketers are taking a more strategic approach with their content marketing and are gaining confidence in communicating complex content.
In addition, many are reporting success with their overall approach to content marketing, according to the research report “Manufacturing Content Marketing 2020: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends” produced by the Content Marketing Institute and sponsored by IEEE GlobalSpec.
One key area covered in the report is content creation and distribution. Manufacturers were surveyed about their processes, and the results reveal a number of best practices manufacturers should adopt to help improve their content marketing efforts in 2020.
1. Create Content for Different Audiences
The more closely your content is targeted to the needs of your buyer, the more likely potential buyers will pay attention because the information is relevant to them.
On average, manufacturers create content for four different audiences, with 45 percent creating content for 2-3 audiences and 53 percent creating content for four or more audiences.
Unless all of your customers fit the same profile and have the same needs, you should be creating different types of content for different audiences. One way to define your different audience’s content needs is to create buyer personas, which are profiles of the different types of customers you have. This article can help.
2. Create Content for Different Stages of the Buying Cycle
Currently, 40 percent of manufacturing marketers create content based on specific stages of the customer journey: from awareness of need, to comparison and consideration, to purchasing decision.
Half of the content that manufacturers create is for audiences in the early stages of their buying journey. The purpose of this top-of-funnel content is to create awareness and interest. But manufacturers also need content for their customers’ consideration, evaluation and purchase stages, as well as post-sale content to drive loyalty and brand advocacy.
3. Choose a Variety of Formats for Content
Engineers have personal preferences when it comes to searching for, discovering and consuming content, which means you need a variety of content types in order to effectively connect with your audience.
The top five content formats manufacturers use are social media (such as tweets and stories), videos, email newsletters, blog posts/short articles and in-person events. The majority of manufacturers also use infographics/charts/photos/data visualization content and case studies.
4. Align Content to Marketing Goals
The Content Marketing Institute survey asked respondents which content types are the highest performing for their organization in terms of building brand awareness, securing leads, nurturing leads and converting leads.
For both securing and converting leads, in-person events was the most common response for what type of content was the highest performing. However, for building awareness, social media was the highest performing content. Manufacturers should conclude that they need some type of social media presence as part of their awareness campaigns, but should also realize that social media, while important for capturing attention, is not a primary lead generator.
For nurturing leads, email newsletters are the top performers. Most manufacturers that nurture leads set up email drip campaigns to stay in touch with prospects who are early in their buying journey and to help move them along toward a purchase decision.
5. Use the Right Channels
Manufacturers use both organic (nonpaid) and paid channels to distribute content to their target audiences.
The top organic content distribution channels that manufacturers used in the past 12 months are social media platforms, their organization’s website/blog, and email.
Of the organic social media platforms they use, respondents say that LinkedIn generates the best overall content marketing results, although Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are also widely used.
The top paid content distribution channels are social media advertising/promoted posts, search engine marketing/pay-per-click, sponsorships (booths, workshops, branding), and banner ads to promote content.
Content marketing is one of the most significant and most effective ways for manufacturers to connect with their target audiences and to generate opportunities. Download your complimentary copy of the research report “Manufacturing Content Marketing 2020: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends” to find out more about how manufacturers approach content marketing, including strategy, teams, budgets, and overcoming challenges. Click here for your report.