Technical content creation is a big challenge for manufacturing marketers of all sizes. Is it any wonder that content creation is the most commonly outsourced content marketing activity by manufacturing marketers?
“64% of manufacturing marketers outsource at least one content marketing activity; content creation is the activity they’re most likely to outsource (87%).” (Source: Manufacturing Content Marketing 2020 by the Content Marketing Institute/ MarketingProfs).
You’d think most manufacturing marketers would need outside expertise in formulating their content marketing strategy, but that isn’t the case. It ranks second to last at 19%.
Technical content creation is not the same as copywriting
In the previous year’s report, 68% of manufacturing content marketers reported creating content for multi-level roles was their top challenge. That has come down to 53% in the recent report.
Unfortunately, I have seen too many manufacturers rush to create content for the sake of manufacturing content marketing. As a result, they tend to think of content creation as nothing more than copywriting and clever wordsmithing.
Content creation for industrial content marketing for lead generation requires much more than just basic copywriting. Assuming that you have a documented content marketing strategy and have a clear understanding of your buyer personas, (I seriously doubt it since I haven’t come across too many manufacturers who have done this), you still need to provide detailed instructions (project brief) to your outsourced copywriters.
More importantly, the copywriter needs to take the time to understand your project brief and have the necessary experience to communicate well with engineers and technical professionals. And that is only the beginning.
Content creation vs. content marketing
Creating the right kind of content requires several steps and careful planning. Creating well-defined buyer personas and understanding their work-related challenges is the first major step. This takes time and your active participation. It will help you plan your content or editorial calendar.
Create content that addresses those challenges. In other words, don’t go inventing problems to fit your products and services (AKA, solutions). It may be difficult for you take this step back and think from the perspective of your customers. Keep in mind, it should be about them and not you (Address their WIIFM concerns).
Doing keyword research should follow. After all, your target audience needs to find your content. However, discovery optimization (SEO) is not the same as conversion rate optimization (CRO). Create explicit calls to action if you want your readers to take action instead of passive reading and then leaving.
Next step in your planning should be content distribution. Publish and promote your content actively. Don’t rely 100% on your own website and/or blog for the audience to discover your content. Promoting new content via social media channels is the bare minimum these days. This important step cannot be an afterthought.
Once you’ve got an efficient content creation system in place, you need to rinse and repeat the process every time you create new content. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time. Think of ways of repurposing some of your blog posts into high-value content giveaways for lead generation.
It should be very clear by now that technical content creation for industrial content marketing requires many steps beyond copywriting.
3 tips for outsourcing technical content creation
If you’ve found a qualified copywriter who is also a good content marketer, hang on to him or her because they are worth their weight in gold. Outsourcing technical content creation can be a little tricky. Here are three tips for a smoother experience:
- Review your copy thoroughly and ask the copywriter to make your edits and changes until you are satisfied. An automated spellcheck is the bare minimum
- Have your in-house Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) review the content for technical accuracy and to ensure that it is current
- Make sure you have a good way to detect plagiarism, don’t get caught up in copyright violations
If all this sounds too daunting and time consuming, then take a look at my new technical content creation service for industrial companies to help you use content marketing more efficiently.