Proactively Put Your Marketing Content To Work for Your Team
Guide to episode
- Content is an important manufacturing marketing lead generation and sales enablement tool.
- But simply creating effectively search engine-optimized content isn't enough
- Content distribution and promotion are critical to maximizing dynamic content reach
- An effective content distribution strategy should leverage several effective and inexpensive tactics to improve content marketing distribution and content promotion
Hi, I’m Ed Marsh. Welcome to this episode of Signals from the OP. My biweekly videos are intended to be thought-provoking for industrial manufacturing company execs. If you know of one who you think might find some value, please share it with them.
Content is The Basic Fuel for Manufacturing Marketing
I’m sure you’ve heard endless yammering from marketing people about the importance of “content” for your manufacturing marketing.
Content is the dark matter, if you will, that ties many of the marketing and sales disciplines together. It’s key to SEO ranking, website conversion, and sales enablement.
Content can mean a variety of things – most commonly website pages and blog articles. But also downloadable guides, white papers, calculators, checklists, podcasts, videos, webinars, trade association speeches, guest post articles, short-form videos, knowledge base, tech notes, and more. Lots more.
Good content is evergreen – in other words, it’s enduring in its value and substance. A great article written today could generate thousands of visits every year for the next decade.
And good content is also multi-purposable. That means that if you create a great buying guide and checklist, it’s easy to take the work that’s gone into that and easily turn it into an optimized landing page, an email announcement to your list, a couple blog articles, a video overview, a webinar and a couple sales enablement tools like a checklist that can be used in the sales process. Sure, there’s a bit of work for each piece, but the interviewing of your SMEs, the research, and much of the original thought are already done.
Well Optimized Content Helps Boost Domain Authority
In a perfect world your domain authority is really high – that’s the overall value Google ascribes to all your content because they find that at a high-level your website is really strong. And each new piece of content is carefully built around a rigorously planned editorial calendar and fully optimized. So that will gradually drive traffic over time.
But it’s not enough.
I say it’s not enough for two reasons.
First, for many industrial companies, creating content is like divorce, moving, bankruptcy and a root canal all mixed into one horrendous experience.
It takes cajoling, begging, threatening – lots of carrots and sticks to get it going. (Incidentally, the biggest factor is the CEO involvement and buy in. The example and tone they set as they socialize the requirement is enormous. And even just once agreeing that someone can skip it because they have another priority can doom a program! (Check out Marcus Sheridan’s book They Ask, You Answer for a great framework and tips.)
The second reason I say it’s not enough is that the process of building authority and SEO strength takes time. Most companies expect faster results when they commit to an investment in inbound content marketing for manufacturing (even when they say they know it will take time and promise to be patient.) So because it’s such a heavy lift, you can’t comfortably wait years for it all to pay off. You need some faster results.
Content Distribution & Content Promotion Accelerate Content Effectiveness
That’s why content distribution and content promotion are so important. Let’s assume that your content isn’t self-serving pablum but is actually meaty, insightful, and worthwhile – that’s a baseline requirement here for any content success!
A good content distribution strategy helps to put your content in front of people using channels beyond organic search. Maybe they’d eventually find it through search, but in the here and now, they might be researching, and you want to reach them.
Tactics for Content Marketing Distribution & Promotion
There are various simple and inexpensive approaches that industrial manufacturers can use for content promotion and content marketing distribution. These include:
- paid sponsorship
- press releases
- social media
- partnerships and associations
Each of these will help to put your content in front of potentially interested folks long before they’d find it on their own. Let’s look at each of these elements of a content distribution strategy in a bit more detail.
Sponsored Content Promotion
Sponsored content promotion can be done in a couple of ways. One is to have industry trade journals run your content (original – not duplicating what you have on your site) in emails and or their site. It will be identified as promoted content but can reach buyers in your industry pretty economically.
Another effective method is to pay small amounts to have the content promoted on LinkedIn. You can select the type of audience (industry, job level, demographics, geography, etc.) who you’d like to see it. A modest investment – say $10-20K/year (less than your trade show booth cleaning budget!) can make a big difference.
Press releases can be very effective with certain kinds of content. You wouldn’t have a press release about a new blog article or knowledge base topic, but a substantive downloadable guide, one of your execs speaking at an industry event, or an upcoming webinar can be appropriately announced with a press release. For short money – a couple hundred each, say once or twice/month, you’ll purchase access to the wires’ reach for content distribution. (Learn more about the role of PR in manufacturing marketing.)
Social media is often overlooked. Let’s say you’ve got a sales team of 15, a marketing team of 5, a management team of 5, and a few other customer-facing folks. It’s easy to have new articles published automatically to each of their LinkedIn feeds. Certainly, there’s some overlap, but let’s say there are 25 folks participating, with an average of 500 contacts each and 20% overlap, that’s an opportunity to reach 10,000 people with your content. Your marketing automation and/or social media software should make this simple.
Partnership Ecosystem & Partner Marketing
Partnerships and associations are a great tool for content marketing distribution. Let’s say you’re planning an informative webinar on a topic of mutual interest to you and one of your vendors. With some advance planning you can put your brand and content in front of their entire list and reach their audience via their email and social media. It’s a great way to help them create value (do the work of the webinar, have them join as a panelist) and leverage their audience for your content distribution.
Podcasts are a great opportunity to promote your SMEs through established audiences.
Finally, email. It’s a great tool for content marketing distribution. Even if you have a relatively small list like many industrial manufacturers - say in the 5-20,000 contact range with half undeliverable – email will help you reach people who know you and accelerate distribution or your valuable content, even if they’re not regularly visiting your site.
A periodic industry news email is a good opportunity to include some links to your most popular recent articles to share them with folks who may not be subscribed to one of your four blogs but are on your general email list.
How can we refine our content distribution strategy?
So as you ask about optimizing your manufacturing marketing for 2023, a great question is “How can we refine our content distribution strategy?” The short answer for many companies isn’t to worry about refining it but to finally put one in place.
Content is incredibly powerful if it’s created to benefit prospects and customers (not just vomiting up "we love us" stuff.) But it only helps prospects, and eventually you, if those people know about it. That means you need a solid plan for content promotion (paid) and content distribution.
I’m Ed Marsh. Thank you for joining me for this episode of Signals from the OP. If you enjoyed it, please share it and subscribe – either to my YouTube channel EdMarshSpeaks.TV or at the related blog SignalsFromTheOP.com.