There are a few misconceptions or myths surrounding content marketing for manufacturers. I say this based on my hands-on experience working with manufacturers every day. In this post, I’ll mention the three most misunderstood concepts.
Myth #1: Content marketing for manufacturers is all about SEO
Manufacturing content marketing will certainly help in improving your organic SEO results. You may not be using the full power or the potential of content marketing for manufacturers if your entire strategy for content marketing for manufacturers is based on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as in getting “found in Google.”
Don’t get me wrong, high visibility in search results is crucial and challenging to achieve. After all, what good is your content if nobody can find it?
The problem is that not everyone who finds your site in search engines will click and visit, and those who do may not convert into leads. So don’t assume that visitor conversions are automatic just because your site appears in Google.
Remember, search engines don’t convert into customers, so create content for human visitors first and let the search engines follow. Not the other way around.
Myth #2: The number of leads is the best KPI for measuring the success of manufacturing content marketing
Every manufacturer I know wants to generate more leads from content marketing. However, you may be surprised by the goals achieved by manufacturers in the past 12 months. Here are the results from the most recent survey, Manufacturing Content Marketing – Insights for 2022, published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI).
Lead generation was middle of the pack at a little over 50% (55%). Brand awareness, building trust, and educating the audience were all above that goal. The top three goals play important roles in creating good leads. They are interrelated. See How Industrial Marketing for Manufacturers Helps in Building New Relationships.
Converting visitors into leads happens only after engineers and industrial professionals begin to trust your content and find it relevant to their needs. Only then will they subscribe to your list and/or contact your salespeople.
That’s why your manufacturing content marketing strategy must be based on the entire sales funnel and not just ToFU (Top of Funnel) activities. Traffic by itself means zilch if you can’t convert it into real opportunities. Therefore, understanding the difference between discovery optimization (SEO) and conversion optimization (CRO) is very important.
Not all leads are the same. This is especially true in industrial sales, where sales cycles are long, and many stakeholders are involved in buying decisions. Turning new leads into sales is not straightforward. Read my earlier post, Industrial Lead Generation for Sales – It’s Complicated!
Myth #3: Industrial content marketing is just another campaign
This one is a biggie! The most common question I hear is, “Why does it take so long to produce results?”
You probably already know the answer, but it is worth repeating, “Industrial content marketing is a process and not a one-off campaign.” Let me expand on that a little bit to provide some clarity. It can take anywhere from 6 to 9 months, depending on the competition and the state of your marketing.
Unfortunately, that truth doesn’t sit well with executives at manufacturing companies. Their mindset is still very sales-centric. Fair enough, the bottom line does matter in any business.
Of course, you can improve interim results such as site traffic, new users, average session duration, and reduced bounce rate. Those are all good stats from Google Analytics but mean very little to the higher-ups if you cannot show how they relate to sales.
It is a constant struggle for Marketing to connect the dots between their efforts and sales. That’s not just my observation.
The same CMI report found that “Manufacturing marketers continue to face content marketing challenges within their organizations: 51% said they are challenged with creating valuable content instead of sales-oriented content as well as with overcoming the traditional marketing and sales mindset.”
I’m upfront with my industrial clients by telling them that content marketing for manufacturers is not a quick fix for slow sales. Instead, I recommend they consider other options if they are not prepared to invest the time and money to do content marketing correctly over the long haul.
As a corollary to myth #3, I’ll add that content creation is not the same as content marketing. It is not just a matter of copywriting and or clever wordsmithing.
Creating optimized customer-centric content that’s presented logically and validates claims requires additional skills such as:
- A deep understanding of the buyer’s journey (Engineers and industrial buyers)
- Skills to prepare for interviewing Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to extract the key talking points
- Keyword research and keeping up with ever-changing search engine algorithms
- Knowledge of white hat SEO and link building
- Being a ruthless editor to remove unnecessary filler words
- Taking the time to let SMEs review your content before publishing
- Content distribution that’s more than just social sharing
It is not just a matter of outsourcing technical content creation. 60% of manufacturers reported that finding partners with adequate topical expertise is their top challenge.
Now you know and can separate facts from myths regarding content marketing for manufacturers.