It’s been a solid five years since you could look online without seeing “content marketing this” and “content marketing that.” As of late, the term seems increasingly present in previously untouched manufacturing publications. Even the last handful of industry tradeshows you’ve attended included presentations or exhibitors touting the benefits of content marketing.
According to the report “B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America,” 86 percent of manufacturing marketers have adopted content marketing in some form. Social media, eNewsletters, whitepapers, case studies, blogs: Even if you don’t have one person in place to oversee and manage efforts, it’s likely your organization is already engaging in content marketing in some form. However, like many of your peers, you’re struggling to make content marketing work for your organization. According to the same study, a mere 30 of manufacturing marketers say they are actually effective at content marketing.
You think working with outside experts could be the right move for your organization, but you’re receiving pushback from members of the C-suite, possibly even the CMO. Even you may still need a little convincing. After all, your budget is limited and no marketer worth his salt adopts a new technique simply because everyone else is doing it.
To help justify your decision or to put your mind more at ease, check out these four reasons manufacturers should consider content marketing:
The way many people talk about content marketing today, you’d think it’s a recent revelation. Content marketing is not the “next big thing;” it’s a tried and true technique. From the initial production of The Furrow, a brand magazine published by John Deere, in 1895 to NASA’s use of brand journalism to market the moon to the American public in the 1960s, content marketing is well established. It’s a good thing to know if you’re pitching to people quick to dismiss “new” marketing ideas as fads.
If you want to launch a new product or tell how your organization is giving back to the community, how do you do so? Send a press release over the wire? Hey, it’s what you’ve done in the past. Your years of thorough media relations may have even garnered you some big industry contacts. But here’s the thing: Once that press release is sent, you have no control over what’s published when and by whom. Covering the story yourself, on the other hand, allows you to control the conversation and, to an extent, the distribution platforms.
Traditional advertising has an expiration date. Purchase ad space in a trade magazine and you could gain new customers. But unless you advertise again, the flow of new customers will stop when the next issue is printed. Engaging, optimized and strategically published content does not expire. It generates traffic through search and social media for as long as it’s live. As Content Marketing Institute’s Jay Baer says, “It’s an information annuity that can’t be replicated elsewhere.”
Audience growth and retention are always among the top marketing goals no matter your industry or what you’re selling. Producing helpful content like visual product comparisons or video demonstrations beneficial to your audience is one of the most efficient means for meeting this goal. Content created to entertain or delight also helps grow a broader community. Take Caterpillar’s Built For It™ videos for example. Videos of heavy machines playing Jenga with 600-pound blocks may not sell more product, but they can attract better quality employees and create excitement around the brand.
Beginning a new marketing technique is always daunting. Lack of expertise (especially around crafting an effective content marketing strategy), lack of internal resources and unfamiliarity with how to measure and report ROI are a few common reasons why most manufacturers say they are ineffective at content marketing. That’s why discussing your marketing goals with an agency that specializes in content marketing is often the first step to determining how you can make content marketing work for your organization.
What content marketing tactics are you currently using within your organization? Which have proved effective and ineffective? Which are you most interested in learning more about?
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