Industrial Marketing Strategy — Make Your Content Work Harder
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You’re probably ready to dive into sweet features and sexy design, but here’s the thing about a great industrial marketing strategy:
It revolves around a content-rich website.
I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Wait, what? More content? But… we covered content last time, right?”
We sure did, but we can’t walk away from content just yet — we have to talk distribution.
Distributing Your Content Is Key to Your Industrial Marketing Strategy
We’ll get to what you need to write, but let’s start with knowing how people will ever actually see that content.
There’s this huge misconception about content marketing.
People like to believe that writing content is the important part and that the Internet Gods will simply take care of the rest, sending masses of people to your website to devour your every word simply because you put in the effort to write it.
Neglecting content distribution isn’t unique to industrial marketing — a strategy formulated in any market might be missing this, and we see exactly that on a consistent basis.
Let’s shift our focus to what you can do with all that precious content, how you can get it out in the world after it’s written.
Sharing on Social Media
Yes, you can use social media to share your content. I don’t care who your audience is, what market you are in, or how stuck in the past you think your customers are — You can use social media to share your content.
Let’s pretend you’re right and absolutely none of your customers would ever login to Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. (That’s not true, but we’ll go with it just for this example).
The publications that cover your industry have writers and editors who most certainly are on social. These writers and editors are always looking for new, fresh information to report on and share.
So, if your hypothetical, living-under-a-rock customer may never actually go to one of these sites, they must be getting their information from trade publications.
By sharing your content and using industry hashtags and keywords, you can potentially capture the interest of the trade publications and get coverage from them.
Share and Share and Share and Share
Now, back in the real world, let’s be honest — Your customers, despite the fact that they represent a business, are still people.
They may not all be active on social media, but I can guarantee a majority have at least one network they log into daily.
So, just stop with the “Social media is useless to my business” talk because you can put very little effort in and start getting your content in front of your ideal audience.
Knowing exactly where your audience hangs out is a discussion for another post, but we can safely assume LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are well visited by customers and trade publication staff.
When you write a new piece of content and publish it on your site, the inclination is to share it across a couple of social media sites, check that to-do off your list, and then move on with life.
But what about the people who didn’t happen to be online when you shared your new post or whitepaper? What about the people who just scroll right by that new case study without clicking?
Unless you have a cult-like following, chances are no one is waiting with bated breath for that new press release to come out.
The Trick to a Good Industrial Marketing Strategy Is to Share Your Content Over and Over
When you write a new piece of content, rather than publish it once, hop on Buffer or Hootsuite or a similar scheduling service and set your post up to publish multiple times over the next several weeks.
You’ll want to be smart about this and consider any time-sensitive content, but evergreen content can be scheduled to publish many times over a few months, or even a year.
To make these shares feel more natural and provide a pattern disrupt in your feed, create an alternate headline for your content that will post with each share.
A smart marketer will create a structure of various headlines and use unique tracking URLs to determine which types of headings get the most click-throughs.
You may even be able to work with your website developer to build this functionality right into the backend of your website.
The frequency of your shares depends on the network you are posting to (Twitter will require a more aggressive schedule, as compared to Facebook, where you won’t want to post as often)
It also depends on the other content you have to post and how often you are sharing and taking time to build relationships on these networks.
Overall, aim for a ratio of 80% conversation and sharing others’ content and 20% sharing your own content.
I already mentioned that writers and editors are always looking for content ideas — It’s no secret that the news and media industry ain’t doing so great these days.
The trade magazines are almost all ads, with very little content, and most trade publication websites have thin content squeezed between columns and bars of flashing ads.
There just isn’t enough payroll to go around, and the content these publications can post suffers because of it.
If writing about your industry/market and providing insight, education, and advice is part of your content mix, consider a syndication deal as part of your industrial marketing strategy.
I see B2B marketers, especially in industrial markets, struggle to wrap their arms around an email marketing plan.
Your website content plan may be a welcomed answer to the question “What the heck do we send?”
First, your email list should be well segmented so that you can easily create segments of people who will have an interest in your different types of content.
As you create content, think about these various audiences; what do they care about, what do they need to be successful, what do they worry about?
Write your content with the intention of solving their problems or answering their questions.
Then, throw out the idea that you need to send a formal newsletter every month with several articles and updates linked from a single email. Instead, send your content throughout the month to smaller groups of people.
Targeting content to the people who need and want to read it will yield better results and will provide people with something they actually want to read.
Your sales team can also use the content you write in their prospect follow-ups.
Work closely with the sales team to determine what questions and objections they are consistently working through with prospects and write content to address those issues.
In addition to content written to target specific questions and objections, your sales team will be happy to have content to send as a soft nudge to prospects that is helpful and educational.
Sending this type of content helps them stay active in the prospect’s mind without the prospect feeling pressured to make a purchasing decision right away.
Your content may also get some of that good Internet ju-ju and start ranking for keywords your prospects search for.
Intentionally writing your content to be more likely to rank (show up high in the search results for a given keyword) is part of a process called Search Engine Optimization, something that should be one of the foundations of your industrial marketing strategy.
If you’re familiar with the fundamentals of SEO, you should implement good practices in every piece of content you create.
Not familiar with how this works? There’s more that goes into SEO than we can fit in this article — Read our post on basic SEO content writing to learn more about SEO and how you can write content that gets ranked.
The Content Your Industrial Marketing Strategy Needs to Be Effective
So, what do we actually mean when we talk about content? There are many types of content you could include on your site and in your marketing strategy, so let’s take a look at some popular types and how you can use them.
Blog Posts and Articles
Before you roll your eyes, just hear me out.
Blog posts aren’t all about “mom life” and cooking — There is a place for blogging and article writing in your industrial marketing strategy.
Think of your blog or articles as a place on your website to continue offering industry insight, education, and a taste of what it is like to work with your organization or to use your products.
You have an opportunity to use this part of your website to continually connect with your customers and potential customers, don’t overlook it simply because blogging doesn’t sound like a traditional B2B marketing activity.
When big things happen in your organization (changes in infrastructure, big wins, new technology developments, industry awards and accolades, and so on), take advantage of the opportunity to generate a press release.
Press releases are ideal for sharing news about your organization with relevant media outlets and bringing more attention to your brand.
You may also choose to post your press releases on your own website in addition to submitting them to relevant media sources.
Whitepapers and Case Studies
Whitepapers and case studies are long-standing, traditional content resources that have been cornerstones of a successful industrial marketing strategy for decades.
Most B2B marketers understand the importance of these reports, yet many organizations do not regularly produce new content.
Whitepapers can be intimidating to create — Generally, a marketing employee is tasked with creating these documents, but they may not have the technical knowledge to create a truly useful report.
Case studies are equally intimidating because many organizations are afraid to ask their customers for permission to use their name and story in a case study.
Get your technical folks, your sales team, and your marketing gurus together to create a plan for consistently generating new case studies and whitepapers. You’ll need buy-in and cooperation from all involved, but the payoff is well worth the effort.
Data sheets aren’t traditionally a sexy or exciting piece of marketing content, but more of a requirement.
Not including data sheets as part of your overall industrial marketing strategy is a huge missed opportunity.
When people research products and services, they need more than just your website pages to really champion your business internally.
Providing well-designed, content-rich data sheets that they can easily print and “run up the chain” can help put your company in front of a decision maker faster.
The Content You Write Needs to Be Part of Your Industrial Marketing Strategy
And the best way to form a strategy is to analyze your current marketing.
We recently analyzed the marketing of a local IT firm, formulated a marketing strategy customized to their business, and showed them how to implement it intelligently.
We also designed the content infrastructure they needed to make this happen — we designed a number of customized content templates that they can use to create whitepapers, ebooks, and more.
Click the button below to see more of the work we did for this IT firm.
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