The role of a 'news' blog in marketing for manufacturing companies

Ed Marsh | Jun 29, 2017
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Information that matters

Every manufacturing company invents and releases new products, participates in trade shows, hires industry rockstars, moves into larger facilities and wins important orders from marquis customers. They also publish helpful content, run webinars and create resources to help target prospects learn and excel at their jobs.

This information should be shared with the world!

Press releases are wonderful opportunities for optimized content. Published first on a company's website and later dropped on the wire (this allows you to get original google credit, but obviously is inadvisable for certain high-impact, time-sensitive news like an acquisition) they provide a "page" to be built around keywords, themes and topics which are integral elements of a program of marketing for manufacturing companies.

In fact a new downloadable guide, for instance, provides several opportunities to get found for related by slightly different versions of keywords. For instance a press release, landing page, guest posts on the content and several related blog posts can make a substantial and rapid ranking, traffic and lead difference.

However.....the self serving nature of press releases and news stories is antithetical to the fundamental guideline of content marketing for manufacturing companies.

Content should help prospects to their jobs better. 

But not to your prospects & subscribers

Hopefully your blog articles provide depth and breadth of perspectives and topics. While that is fundamental to success with blogging, many manufacturers struggle to move beyond their natural product focus to explore broad industry trends and business challenges. 

A great blog creates a body of relevant and enriching information that helps readers look at their challenges and responsibilities in new ways.

However, the biggest mistake that many companies make with their blog is to write periodic news stories about themselves - the inconsistent publishing and inward focus detract from the value and appeal to subscribers.

The solution is to build a primary blog which creates value for readers - in some cases even multiple blogs if you serve very different types of customers, have very different products/services, or perhaps have an HR blog to support recruiting & retention. And then to create a separate "blog" for news. (Here's an example.)

How can you have multiple blogs you ask? A blog is really just a publishing/categorization platform. There's no technical limit to how many you can have. You might also have one for upcoming events if you participate in a number of trade shows, sponsor conferences or send your execs to frequent speaking / thought leadership engagements. And you can allow people to subscribe to only the blogs that are relevant to them, to receive stories at the interval that's appropriate. 

Editorial calendar discipline...grounded in strategy not checklists

This will likely feel awkward, or comfortable, depending on how you view blogging. If you're focused on one or two posts/week, and tend to talk about the easy stuff - topics around the stuff you make, what you do and what's happening in your world - then you probably fold news items into your primary blog.

And you probably struggle with subscribers and engagement.

This is common, and symptomatic of a "checklist" approach which elevates process over outcomes.

On the other hand if you take an approach that starts with corporate strategy, and then combines that with qualitative persona research and other high level elements into a marketing strategy, then you almost certainly have a very robust editorial calendar.

Planning content in the context of strategic goals 

That brings us to a bigger question - how blog topics are selected and planned. This applies to the primary blog, news blog, events blog and even to the "Tech Notes" blog that I've suggested several industrial manufacturing clients create. (This is a great approach to create content for technical audiences such as maintenance and engineering - which wouldn't be of interest to important subscriber groups of the primary blog such as finance and marketing.)

Every article needs to be written for a purpose. You should know which:

  • corporate goals are supported
  • persona and stage in buying journey are targeted
  • questions prospects ask that you are answering
  • metrics it will impact
  • keyword themes it supports and which words will be incorporated
  • internal linking opportunities you'll use
  • social promotion approach will likely succeed
  • other articles or content will fit with it into a campaign

When you take this approach, it's clear that properly written news articles can provide an additional execution toolset for marketing for manufacturing companies. Their purpose though compliments rather than matches primary blog articles.

These are examples of the sort of nuanced approach that's supported by my manufacturing revenue growth program and revenue growth maturity model. 

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