I just finished reading an excellent research report from the good folks at Content Marketing Institute (CMI). This report is chock full of statistics and graphs about B2B content marketing. In this post, I want to focus on some of their findings that I feel apply to content marketing for manufacturers and industrial companies.
Even though the content marketing adoption rate for these companies is at an impressive 83%, I am surprised that it is even that high; the Manufacturing/ Processing industry (as defined in the report) is dead last among the six industries studied.
What is encouraging though is the fact that 68% of companies with 10 – 99 employees maintain a blog as compared to only 55% for larger companies that employ this content marketing tactic. Many of the manufacturers and industrial companies fall in the smaller size category.
That’s not the only good news for blogs. Even though other marketing tactics like in-person events and webinars are still seen as the most effective tactics, this year blogs registered a 45% increase in “perceived effectiveness” as compared to the study done in 2010. (See chart below).
These results match what I’m finding on the ground. I am working right now on creating a new blog site for a manufacturing client that is scheduled to launch in mid Q1 2012. I’m also in serious discussions with two other industrial clients who want to set up an integrated blog. And they want it done as soon as possible in 2012.
This year, B2B marketers are measuring the effectiveness of content marketing slightly differently from the past year. More marketers are now applying SEO criteria like ranking and the number of inbound links to evaluate the effectiveness of their content marketing strategies.
An industrial blog can provide a huge boost to your SEO efforts because it is easier to optimize posts for long tail keywords than it is to optimize static Web pages. Link building is easier too and adding links to product pages deep within your site will seem more natural when they are part of the text within your posts. Blog posts written by internal experts establish thought leadership and help to differentiate you from your competition. This is far more effective than making unsubstantiated claims on your Website.
Getting internal experts to write blog posts can be a challenge. You may require the help of a professional copywriter to interview engineers and other subject matter experts to get the core ideas. Then have that person edit the content into compelling blog posts. (See my post “How to Coax Content Out of Engineers”)
When it comes to social media, Twitter trumps all other channels for content distribution. 74% of B2B content marketers reported using Twitter followed closely by LinkedIn (71%), Facebook (70%) and YouTube (56%). I have seen a lot of manufacturing related tweets coming across my timeline, especially from material handling, construction, adhesives and electronics enclosures industries.
The use of videos in content marketing is on the rise and this is reflected in the increase in the use of YouTube as a distribution channel. It scored a 47% increase in usage, the highest growth rate among all other social media channels.
CMI’s report also found that 60% of respondents intent to increase their spending on content marketing in 2012. Over half (62% of respondents) use outsourcing for at least a portion of their content marketing activities, a significant increase over last year’s use of outsourcing (52%).
Video production is one area where I have found more manufacturers opting for DiY videos to avoid the high cost of outsourced production. These videos may lack the slick, studio quality but the informal approach seems to work well with the target audience. The DiY approach allows these companies to produce more videos, launch and repurpose them quicker than outsourced options.
Those are some of the findings from the report that I think manufacturers and industrial companies should pay close attention to in 2012. Download CMI’s report, “The 2012 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report” from here.
What emerging trends in content marketing for the industrial sector do you see in 2012?