Here’s a familiar scenario: You’ve crafted a series of blog posts full of useful information designed to capture leads and move them through the sales funnel. Everything is working as it should: Potential customers are reading your content and converting on your calls to action, but then you notice your leads and traffic start to wain. What’s the deal? Your content is great, why aren’t people reading it?
It’s not that your content isn’t impactful, it’s that your leads and potential customers are hungry for more.
But creating consistent content can be difficult, especially in a niche industry like manufacturing. While 82 percent of manufacturers report using content marketing, according to research from the Content Marketing Institute, 59 percent said one of their top challenges is being consistent with content creation.
Where can you find ideas? What topics should you write about? How can you overcome writer’s block?
Here are three content strategies for manufacturers so you can get the creative juices flowing and create consistent content.
Focus on the Problem, not Just the Solution
When it comes to creating content, manufacturers tend to shine the spotlight on features and benefits of their solutions and their executive team’s thought leadership.
While you want to establish your brand as a thought leader — educating your leads on best practices, industry developments and other helpful tips — you should step away from the features and benefits and focus on educating your audience about the problems your solutions solve.
As Seth Godin pointed out, “No business buys a solution for a problem they don’t have.”
So, how do you let your audience know they have a problem?
First, you have to be aware of their buyer’s journey. Once you’ve established their pain points, create content around each one. This can take the form of blog posts, videos, tips sheets or white papers.
Or, maybe your audience is aware they have a problem, they just don’t think anything needs to be done about it. In this case, consider educating them about the consequences that come with ignoring the problem. Are there safety implications? Does their business face the risk of becoming less efficient? What are the long term implications of ignoring the problem?
Utilize Case Studies
For manufacturers, case studies can pack a one-two punch. They can add credibility to your claims as a vendor, and they can open your audience’s eyes to a problem they might not have known they had. Sharing real examples of how a business was able to overcome a challenge with your help not only shows that your product works, it adds a human element to an otherwise industrial industry.
Not sure where to begin with a case study? Keep in mind that case studies don’t have to be long technical productions. A simple one- or two-page piece outlining the problem and solution are enough to get your point across. If you’re struggling to find a client willing to be featured in a case study, try adding an incentive for participation, or tell the story without mentioning their brand. These non-branded case studies can be helpful if you want to focus on a certain niche.
Be a Newshound
You want your audience — whether they’re a delighted customer or in the awareness stage — to view your brand as the trusted source for information.
An easy way to become that trusted source is to educate your audience on news they may have missed. Everyone juggles busy schedules. Why not provide your audience with a roundup of news via an email newsletter or monthly blog post?
Remember that buyer’s journey we mentioned above? As part of your buyer insight interviews, ask your audience where they get their news and information. Then monitor these sources and keywords for breaking or useful news items. This can be as simple as signing up for a publication’s newsletter or creating a Google alert for a specific term.
To add more impact to a news item, have your thought leaders write about their opinions on a development or story. Are your thought leaders too busy to write? Consider interviewing them for 5 or 10 minutes and writing the post yourself.
The Bottom Line
While it can be difficult to break out of the “me, me, me” focus of promoting your product, doing so can have immense benefits. Taking time to learn more about your audience’s pain points, educating them about the problem (and solution) and being a trusted information source can help you create consistent content with the added benefit of establishing your brand as more than just another vendor.