When you're running a manufacturing business, almost nothing about your marketing campaigns is what would be considered 'normal'. Most manufacturing companies don't sell to consumers or, if that is an option, it's one rarely taken up.This already sets you apart from the general business marketing pack. While it can be fun and even beneficial to your brand to build a social media presence and get into the constant race for virality, what most manufacturing marketing campaigns really need is the ability to reach out to the business owners, execs, and managers that decide which manufacturers their businesses will source from.
Inbound marketing is exactly the right approach for making these connections and building these professionals as the human point of contact for your B2B business because inbound marketing allows you to both appear conveniently on search engine results related to your industry and to position your company and your brand as an authority.
However, it's also true that the vast majority of manufacturing professionals are not experts at writing appealing ad copy. Fortunately, that's what professional content creators are for.
Whether you're just getting into outsourced inbound marketing or you've been looking for the right solution for some time, the key for any highly specialized industry in generating high-quality inbound marketing content is to know how to work with your writers.
1) You Are the Expert on Your Business
The very first thing you need to understand is that your writers will do their best to read your mind and write articles the same way you would if you had more time and skill to express your thoughts, but they can't pull years of industry knowledge and experience magically out of your head. You are the expert in your industry, products, procedures, policies, and customers.
You have a collection of highly valued and likely quite specialized skills and, of course, the best way to position yourself as an authority is to share your industry insights, tips, best practices, and detailed explanations in article form and your writers would love to translate that experience into compelling content but they can't do it without your help.
The best way for a manufacturing business to work well with their marketing content writers to create detailed articles about your industry is to be prepared to explain your industry and the points you'd like to make. Working with the same writers over time they will learn your industry and how to write for it.
2) Pictures, Examples, and Stories
The next trick is knowing how to explain your industry and the specific topics you'd like to cover. While writing out or verbally explaining your points to the writers is a good place to start, words may not actually be the best way to convey some of your points.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and when it comes to educating your content writers on your industry, never has that been truer.
You don' need a professional photographer, just take a few snaps of what you're talking about or trying to describe to your writers. You might be surprised how much insight can be gained from images.
Another great way to help your marketing content writers capture your voice and the detail that should come with your experience is to tell a few stories.
Give examples of what your industry is like, how your company works on the inside and a few memories of specific projects and clients you recall working with.
3) Describe Exactly Who Your Target Audience Is
One of the most complex and often puzzling aspects about marketing a manufacturing company is understanding exactly who your target audience is.
It's easy to say "B2B" as a rough direction for who to target but much harder for your content writers to imagine the actual people you most often work with.
Using examples, describe to your content writers exactly who your content should be targeting and do your best to cover all salient details.
Most likely, you are targeting a specific level of manager with the ability to choose supply partners and a certain amount of influence in the company. You may also be targeting their assistants or businesses small enough that the founder/execs are still filling vital roles.
Describe who you're hoping to catch the attention of with your inbound marketing tactics. Talk about what kind of companies they work for, their power inside those companies, and the tone of writing you think they'll be most receptive to.
4) How the Content Should Feel
The next thing you'll want to talk to your writers about is, in fact, the tone and approach your content writers use when composing a new article.
Some companies are looking for a promotional twist to every written piece while others are looking to build something more like a neutral library of useful advice and thought leadership articles.
Talk to your writers about how light-hearted vs serious the articles should be, how wordy or efficiently phrased, and what kind of feeling you want to leave the audience with at the end of each article.
The last point is the most important and you can bet that experienced content writers can create a target feeling as well as writing for a target audience.
5) Prepare for New Industry Topics Together
Once you have been working with your writers for long enough that they understand your industry fairly well and can generate a steady stream of interesting industry-relevant content, it can be easy to forget that they're borrowing your expertise and are not actually manufacturing experts themselves.
When you want to introduce a new topic of discussion, aspect of your business, or recent industry news, you will probably need to debrief your writers on the expert insider perspective for anything they haven't already researched and become familiar with.
This will allow your writers to keep you on the cutting edge of thought leadership and authority positioning.
As a primarily B2B industry, manufacturing businesses have a great deal to gain from forming long-term partnerships with their content writers and working together to build an inbound marketing and organic SEO bonanza of high-quality articles.
For more tips on inbound marketing for manufacturing companies, contact us today!