The importance of evolving your manufacturing content marketing program

It’s time for manufacturing marketers who are at the adolescent stage with content marketing to evolve their programs. While it was a breakthrough year – with nearly 60% of manufacturing marketers reporting in a recent study their organization’s overall approach to content marketing was more successful compared with one year prior – there’s still work to do. Despite that 86% of manufacturing respondents are using content marketing, their organization’s commitment to the strategy is weak, with only 38% of companies being “extremely to very committed”. The lack of buy-in is problematic as it limits program effectiveness.

It’s clear, not enough manufacturing organizations understand why content marketing matters and how a strong program or lack thereof can either help you beat your competition or succumb to them. Continually educating your manufacturing organization is essential, but demonstrating results by continually evolving your program is equally important. Here’s why: studies show most content marketing progress is built on a foundation of a strong commitment to the approach and a documented strategy, but without results to demonstrate a business case, management buy-in is unlikely. The study shows manufacturers who are in the adolescent stage with content marketing are able to develop a business case and better able to become more sophisticated with measurement and scaling than those at the infant stage. Here’s a few ideas on how you can evolve your content marketing program this year:

Start documenting your content marketing strategy
For now, give your team permission to keep it short and simple. Document why content marketing matters; who you are trying to reach; what you intend to accomplish; how it fits into your overall marketing strategy and how you plan to measure success. From there, it’s easier to identify the content you’ll need to produce and required support. Modify and update your plan as you go.

Create an owned content promotion strategy
Go beyond publishing on your blog by making sure content is promoted throughout your site with strong calls to action. Circulate and promote content through email campaigns and newsletters in addition to your social channels.

Start using a content calendar
The ability to visualize how and where your brand will show up over the course of the year is powerful as you look to gain buy-in from your manufacturing organization. Identify the most helpful elements to keep your team and content marketing program organized. This may include tracking key events, product launches, pillar pieces of content and derivative content assets, earned/owned/paid media, editorial calendars, vertical markets, award and speaking opportunities, key subject matter experts, etc. Just like the content marketing strategy, you should be getting lots of input from various departments across your organization. Make it a habit to share the content calendar outside of your department so that others in your organization can also visualize marketing’s plans for the year.

Combine your earned media and content marketing strategies
The two go hand in hand and work better together than independently. PR powers high-quality and relevant content and it plays a significant role at the top of the marketing funnel. It’s the only marketing communications strategy that has the added credibility of a third-party endorsement from a credible news outlet. Couple this with the right, non-promotional content developed using the lens of a PR professional, you can secure press coverage, adding fuel to your content marketing program. Many marketers have never realized the benefits of deploying the two strategies collectively. Lastly, don’t forget to deploy a paid effort (such as LinkedIn Sponsored Content) to surface the content in front of your prospects when and where they spend time online.

As you work to gain executive buy-in and evolve your content marketing program, it’s ok if you get stuck along the way. There are numerous resources you can lean on for support. Contact us, we’re happy to lend a PR lens and identify a few options for moving forward:

What's your take? Do you find this to be true in your work, as well? Share your comments on LinkedIn, tagging @Inprela.

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