Manufacturing isn’t a boring industry. Yes, it can be highly technical and involve a lot of words that are hard to pronounce. But it’s certainly not dull. It’s full of innovation, ideas, creative problem-solving, and new discoveries.
For those who are willing to put in the effort, all that can lead to engaging stories that your audience wants to hear. These stories are the foundation of successful content marketing for manufacturers. So, before you decide that content can’t be compelling in your industry, explore these ways to inject some personality into it.
Reframing Content Marketing for Manufacturers
Some of the most traditional manufacturing brands have embraced content marketing. They see it as a way to convey their solutions to an audience hungry for information. However, not all of them are leveraging the discipline to work for them.
According to the report, Manufacturing Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, those in the industry aren’t thinking enough about their audience, with only 51 percent always prioritizing the audience’s informational needs over sales and promotional messages. Further, only 32 percent use storytelling in every aspect of their content strategy.
This disjointed approach is probably also because of the fact that only 21 percent of manufacturing marketers have a content strategy. There is no doubt that manufacturing faces many challenges in content marketing—highly technical concepts, many different buyers, getting leadership buy-in from executives who may think “traditional” marketing is still viable, and accessing subject matter experts.
Those are all significant tasks to overcome, but when you have a well-formed and easily executable content plan, you can tackle them, ensuring your content has more substance and speaks to your audience in a way that matters.
Making an Impact with Content Marketing: Pro Tips for Manufacturing
No matter where your organization is on its content marketing journey, there are some specific things you can do to boost the performance of your content. You can take complex subjects that you thought were only good at putting people to sleep and turn them into interesting pieces. It requires understanding your audience and the topics they want to learn about, coupled with excellent planning and ingenuity.
Many manufacturing concepts are visual in nature. Writing long paragraphs about them isn’t going to make them easier to understand. You should take the perspective that your audience has more than general knowledge, but that doesn’t mean they want to read a manuscript.
Instead, consider content formats that deliver visuals with less copy. Create infographics and diagrams that explain the concepts in detail. To present how machinery works or its capabilities, produce a video series. This interactive content can immediately engage customers and is much more memorable than long-form content.
Business storytelling is one of the most impactful ways to connect with audiences. Telling a great story hooks readers and helps them imagine the scenario. As a manufacturer, you probably focus a lot on developing case studies. You can make them more exciting by setting them up as a narrative and writing from the perspective of the customer.
When others consume this type of content, they’ll be drawn into the journey of how an issue was resolved. Setting your customer up as the hero of the story is the best approach. Your company came up with the solution, but you’re really playing a supporting role.
Have a Personality
Every brand needs to have characteristics and attributes that describe its voice and tone. These are the aspects that make up a brand’s personality. You don’t have to be cold and sterile because let’s face it, that’s not what buyers want. They want brands to be friendly, approachable, and genuine. Emotion matters in the decision to buy or not, so it’s time to make an impact.
A few examples of manufacturing companies that have a distinct personality are:
- Rockwell Automation, a global industrial automation manufacturer, could easily play it safe with content. However, their blog has some creative content that not only addresses processes and solutions but also weaves in topics like women in manufacturing.
- Veritiv Corp, a manufacturer of packaging solutions, has a very entertaining blog. Because they serve lots of industries, topics range from the history of direct mail to what’s trending in wine and spirits packaging. Who knew paper and packaging could be so interesting!
No matter how complex the subject or how dry it may seem, your voice doesn’t have to be dull. Balance being professional while also not taking yourself too seriously (probably one of the most important aspects of content marketing for manufacturers).
Make Buying Guides More Interactive
Most manufacturers create buying guides, and these documents can be voluminous. The majority of manufacturers have moved these all online with the ability to search. But what if your buyer isn’t sure where to start?
It’s possible to gamify buying guides by making them more interactive. You could start the exercise with questions to narrow down results, then provide different “paths” for the buyer to take. To make it even more engaging, the use of virtual reality could bring your customers into a digital showroom of sorts as they choose the products that meet their needs.
Start a Podcast
Podcasts are a popular content format these days. It’s an easy, cost-effective way to offer your audience information in a format they can enjoy. Bringing on guests for podcasts will help form these discussions. From product management to new ideas, there are so many things that you could talk about that your audience would love to hear more about. Bring what happens on the floor or in the field to your listeners.
If podcasts aren’t part of your content calendar, you should consider making them a priority, especially since the dynamic of your buyers is changing. Younger, digital native generations are attracted to this type of content.
A Bore No More
There is probably a long list of interesting and exciting things happening in your business every day. It’s time to share them with the world. If you’re still living within rigid lines of marketing, it’s time to rethink how you market. Get guidance, tips, and ideas from the DivvyHQ crew by subscribing to the blog today.