The below blog post was produced for AMBA Expert Insights: An Industry Blog, which features technical expertise and content provided by AMBA's Premier Partners.
By Shelly Otenbaker, president, WayPoint Marketing Communications
As in many industries, the B2B sales and marketing landscape has significantly changed in the last 12 months for manufacturing. Many of the tools and techniques traditionally used to find and convert leads are simply not available or possible now. But one tool – content marketing – has proven to deliver resounding success.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. In other words, in content marketing you are providing relevant information that helps customers solve issues and problems rather than selling your solutions.
Why is Content Marketing Important?
Content marketing is important because it answers your audience’s questions and delivers value – sometimes before they even know to ask the question. It helps establish your company as a leader and expert in your specific line of work. Other benefits include:
What Makes Good Content?
Content can come in many forms – video, blog, image, infographic or podcast – almost any form of written, visual or spoken words. The key factor is that it adds value and is meaningful to your target audiences and is shared consistently. A “one and done” approach won’t cut it. Following are examples of content that every company can create and distribute.
A simple tool that walks a prospect through an example of how your company has helped solve a customer’s problem. Effective case studies are concise and contain four key areas:
“How To” Article
A great foundation for a how-to article is to answer a question your customer may have. Step into their shoes and walk through the customer journey. What questions do they have and what do they need to know to choose your company? Some examples:
Once you have the questions identified, start working on the answer – that’s the body of your article. Talk with your subject matter experts, collect data, identify helpful resources and share examples. Don’t forget – the focus isn’t about your shop or capabilities; it’s answering the question. You can include something at the end about contacting your company for more information or help in addressing their specific needs, but this is not a “sales” article.
I know video seems a little scary and expensive, but today there are a ton of inexpensive tools that make it easy. All you need is your smart phone, a gimbal/stabilizer and free editing software. Still sound overwhelming? Record a virtual discussion on Zoom (also free).
Once you are armed with tools, you need to focus on the topic of your video. What adds value to your target audiences? You can use the questions from the how-to article. Can you collaborate with a supplier or partner? Maybe a fellow AMBA member! Did you recently invest in new equipment or technology? Consider a short video interview discussing the benefits – improved efficiency, shortened lead time, addresses challenges of building large molds or micro molds – with the equipment manufacturer or technology provider.
No NPE – no problem. Gather a few industry experts that you work with – materials providers, software providers, mold builders that don’t compete with you – and host a roundtable Q&A. Each participant can invite contacts from their target audiences, and you can moderate a discussion focused on key issues/trends facing the industry. This can be done live or pre-recorded using Zoom.
What About Distribution?
Now that you have created content, you need to get it out there for people to see. Here are some ways to do that:
The time has come – time to think about your content marketing strategy. What six pieces of content can you create and where will you use them? Once you have that identified, you are ready to start creating content. I can’t wait to see what you create – be sure to share it with me.
Shelly Otenbaker, president of Waypoint Marketing Communications, has nearly 20 years of marketing communications experience. Passionate about driving results, she takes a strategic approach to partnering with clients to determine what differentiates them from the competitor, developing impactful messages and determining the right tools to deliver those messages to key audiences. Skilled in client counsel, media relations, key message and brand development, social media, crisis management, event management, marketing communications program development, writing and editing, message development and strategy and internal communications, she is focused on cultivating relationships and connecting people.