Content has become a critical component of today’s marketing toolkit. Regardless of industry, B2B and B2C marketers alike have been incorporating content into their overall strategies. Research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs shows that 85% of manufacturing marketers are now participating in content marketing. This research also shows that while content marketing is widely adopted, less than one-third of industrial marketers have a documented content marketing strategy, and only 20% would rate their overall content marketing approach as very or extremely successful.
Many ingredients comprise an impactful content marketing strategy. Marketers need to take into consideration the message they are delivering (and the audience receiving it), alignment of content with overall company goals, how they will measure success, and more.
At a basic level, best-in-class content marketers know that the most efficient way to get an audience hooked on content is current, relevant, and compelling material. Keeping your content fresh is critical to a successful marketing strategy.
Here are four actionable ways for marketers in the industrial space to avoid stale content and become more successful:
- Know the shelf life of your content. When does your content shift from cutting edge to clutter? The answer often depends on your industry and its pace of innovation and change. Good news: as an industrial marketer, you know your business and have your finger on the pulse of your industry. Take an objective look at the content you are using in your marketing efforts. Ask yourself: Does it align with the latest topics or issues in my industry? Is it meeting the needs of my audience?
- Be confident that your content is helping you achieve your desired outcomes. It doesn’t matter how frequently you update your content if it doesn’t align with your organization’s strategy. What are you looking to accomplish with content? Do you want to be perceived as a thought leader? A trusted resource? A visionary? Ensure that your content is working to meet your goals.
- Work smarter, not harder. In many companies, industrial marketers are overworked and under-resourced. That’s why it’s critical to make your content marketing efforts work harder for you. Here’s a three-step process for accomplishing this goal:
First, you need to know the content you have available to your audience, what is working well for you, and what needs to be replaced. A regular content audit ensures that you know what’s in your library, the gaps you have, and what needs to be refreshed or retired. Consider regularly conducting a content audit, perhaps monthly or quarterly, to maintain a 360° view of your content portfolio.
Next, build content repurposing into your overall strategy. You invest significant time and resources into every piece of content you create. With repurposing, you extend the shelf life of your content, generating maximum return on your investment. For example, you can turn a white paper into an infographic, use it as the topic of a webinar, and showcase key learnings in a video. Repurposing also helps ensure your content is resonating closely with specific audiences. One way to do this is to update an existing white paper to pursue a new industry you seek to penetrate.
Finally, implement a variety of delivery methods to make sure that your content is reaching the widest audience. Some ideas to consider: put it on your website, make it the subject of an email campaign, promote it via social media channels, and rely on native advertising and other content marketing services offered by publishers to help you spread the word.
- Maximize your exposure to relevant audiences. Once you’ve established that your content is current and relevant, the next step is to reach your target audience where they’re looking for work-related information. Achieve this with a comprehensive marketing plan. Identify the right mix by diversifying your marketing spend, testing, and reallocating marketing dollars to the outlets that are working best for you. In the industrial space, we see engineers and technical professionals spending more time online, and relying more on online resources to find the content they need. Consider similar facts specific to your industry when developing and testing your marketing mix.
Content marketing has established itself as a must-have tactic for marketers today. Not only does it provide value for potential customers, but it is straightforward and easy to implement, making it attractive to marketers. However, be mindful that success in content marketing requires significant time and resources, always keeping the needs of your target audience at the forefront. With a few simple additions to your content strategy, you will avoid stale content and improve your future efforts.