Content marketing paired with a customer-focused culture can transform your manufacturing marketing strategy from an expense into a revenue stream.
By: Meaghan Ziemba, Marketing Communications, MakingChips
This year’s Industrial Inbound Summit was held at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, WI -- the perfect venue for a marketing and sales conference that focused on the importance of brand storytelling and a culture of customer first.
The summit was hosted by Top Line Results and Creative Stream, and featured an impressive lineup of speakers and on-site advisors. Each speaker provided tips and tools on how to position your manufacturing business for success in a hyper-competitive, digital world.
Jim Carr, Jason Zenger, and Nick Goellner from MakingChips discuss how they took their passion and expertise in metalworking to launch a podcast that equipped and inspired the metalworking leaders using a 6-step process that focused on their audience:
- What is Your Marketing Wheelhouse
- Do it Differently
- Focus on Your Content Foundation
- Nurture Your Nation
- Leverage Loyalty
- Scale Strategically
Step 1: What is Your Marketing Wheelhouse
You content marketing wheelhouse is where your expertise and passion intersect in an area that is relevant to your target market. Once you determine your wheelhouse, you want to make sure you define your editorial mission statement to match the content for your marketing program.
Tip: Try not to create content centered around yourself or your products and services. The content should be valuable, relevant, and useful to your audience.
Step 2: Do it Differently
When it comes to industrial manufacturing, there is a high chance you aren’t the only one covering the topic in your wheelhouse.
You can still cover the topic in a uniquely interesting or entertaining way.
- Can you be the most approachable?
- Can you differentiate with humor?
- Can you tell the best stories?
- Can you package your content with a unique format?
Tip: If you don’t think you can be the leading information provider in your wheelhouse by telling a differentiated story, you must keep researching for a way to make your content stand out.
Step 3: Focus on Your Content Foundation
Find the right content type for the story you want to tell; for example, if you want to create DIY content for industrial machinery maintenance, video may be a better option over podcasting. You want to tell you story consistently over a long period of time as you build your foundation.
- What is the best type of content for your story?
- What platform will you post that content on?
- YouTube/Social Media
- How will you schedule your content?
- Every Thursday
- First Day of Each Month
Tip: Building an audience takes time. Make a full commitment to your content marketing program and give it 12-18 months at minimum before you consider pulling the plug.
Step 4: Nurture Your Nation
As you gather more subscribers ask for constant feedback. Use that feedback to direct your content strategy because it will help expand your loyal following.
Always encourage your audience to participate in your story, and bring their peers into your content so you can consistently grow your ‘tribe’.
Tip: The most important metric for content marketers is subscriber growth, but now all subscriptions are created equal.
Step 5: Leverage Loyalty
As you connect with more industry leaders and influencers, amplify the impact of your most loyal fans. Let them contribute to the mission of your content marketing strategy and platform.
Think about other brands that share your target audience and explore ways to drive value through strategic partnerships.
Consider the following:
- Brands that may want access to your audience through sponsorships
- The PR value that your company gains from building an audience
- Ways in which you can leverage your audience to lower marketing/R&D expenses
- Ways in which being the informational leader influence for your company’s recruiting strategy
- Ways in which being the information leader on a topic influence your sales/retention strategy
Tip: Content marketing can generate multiple lines of value for your business, both direct and indirect.
Step 6: Scale Strategically
Once you have transformed your marketing program from a cost center into a profit center, you should have an intimate understanding of your audience through the connection you made.
Consider the way you can scale and continue to generate returns on your investment (ROI). Ask yourself:
- What new types of content can you create that will add new sponsorship opportunities?
- What paid services could you offer to your audience?
- Is there an opportunity to launch an online course or in-person event for a fee?
- What new merger/acquisition opportunities might be available because of the success of your platform?
Tip: Pursue sponsorships in moderation. Too much sponsored content or advertising can leave a bad taste in the mouths of your audience.