A 3D Look at the Power of a Knowledge Base for Manufacturer Marketing

Ed Marsh | Aug 22, 2018

A Cure for Stale Content

knowledge base is perfect SEO optimized content marketing tool for manufacturersConstantly generating relevant, effective and interesting content is the elephant in the room in most industrial digital marketing discussions. It's anywhere from a challenge to a monstrous task.

It doesn't need to be.

Various approaches including answering common questions for customers and prospects, transcribed interviews with your internal SMEs (subject matter experts) and survey type articles which use HARO to collect field perspectives, all simplify the creative and execution requirements.

Nevertheless, it takes ongoing execution. Companies have to grind it out, and someone has to have ownership of the effort. As a result, many programs that start with great energy, eventually wither. Even when they persist, often content ends up in a repetitive rut. Blog articles often circle around a couple topics, basically saying the same things. This certainly reduces subscriber engagement, and eventually as Google discerns the repetitive nature, it tends to reduce the new visitor/search value as well.

Easy to Create

Perhaps the biggest barrier to the creation of fresh content that appeals to user perspectives in the industrial manufacturing space is the natural inclination of companies to write about their product/service. Many B2B companies look at the world through the lens of their product/service and have a hard time stepping outside to explore the outcomes that their buyers seek and need.

That's important, and often an outside consultant can play an important role in uncovering the topics that can enrich the content.

However, there's an approach that simplifies the process by building on a company's inclination to talk about product / service.

Creating extensive knowledge base content in articles and videos on the company's domain is a wonderful way to generate a strong flow of content that's natural and easy. Knowledge base articles are simply a digital version of the conversations that companies have every day. They have a secondary benefit of being great for customers searching for help and answers in a way that's convenient for them. 

The consistent creation of new content is recognized as an important search ranking criteria, and knowledge base articles are almost always naturally keyword rich and built around topic clusters that enhance search results.

Naturally Optimized for SEO

Marketing and sales content that's stuffed with keywords is ineffective and unsuccessful. However, knowledge base content is almost always naturally keyword dense and grows around similarly natural clusters.

If you write an article offering tips on how to set your category of machine up to do certain manufacturing tasks, not only will you use a large number of technical and industry terms, but you also will be answering questions that might be applicable to a broad swathe of industry users beyond your existing customers.

And that creates a wonderful secondary benefit of knowledge base articles - attracting new visitors with helpful content.

Natural and Effective Content for Industrial Manufacturers

As more industrial companies recognize the importance of digital/content/inbound marketing, the content creation barrier becomes more pervasive.

Knowledge base content addresses many of the challenges in a way that's easy and natural for manufacturers to create - and it delivers many of the benefits of content marketing.

Plus it delivers a better customer/buyer experience particularly in technical and complex industries.

Execution Tips

Sounds interesting? Great, it should. While I don't want to dampen enthusiasm or momentum, a bit of planning and proper tools will help to really maximize the value.

First, you need to ensure that your knowledge base content is properly presented, well organized and searchable - both from Google Search and for website visitors/users. HubSpot's Service Hub provides the publishing, interface and optimization capabilities among other important ones. 

Decide on your schema for categories and subcategories. Be clear about the keywords and content pillars which are important to your performance. Design titles and URLs to optimize for those (but do it naturally as outline above - not artificially in a way that will detract from user experience.)

In many cases you can record and transcribe actual or recreated customer calls (obviously editing to remove customer specific details.) HubSpot's new video collaboration with Vidyard allows you to embed easy to create videos and screenshares right in the articles as they're being created - or later updated.

And remember that many visitors may want to access through bots. Design your knowledge base to allow them to access and search knowledge base articles through a bot as well.

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

Did any of your "marketing" agency advisors ever suggest a customer focused knowledge base as an enormously beneficial content marketing tool? Probably not - because most industrial marketing tends to be formulaic and based on the process that's evolved for tech and SaaS companies.

But understanding your business, your buyers and even your channel partners - and understanding sound industrial marketing strategy for manufacturers - provides a different perspective. That's where ideas like this come from. Ideas that drive results rather than complete a checklist.

Want to talk about ideas like this for your biz? Great!