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Content marketing for manufacturers

Content marketing for manufacturers: Strategy, ideas, & tips!

Key Takeaways
  • 41% of manufacturing marketers found aligning content with the buyer's journey challenging.
  • Your content gains engagement when it talks about the pain points and wants of the target audience.
  • Marketers must create various content types, such as product demos, case studies, and whitepapers, addressing different stages of the funnel.
  • As per the CMI report, manufacturing content assets with the best results in 2021 were videos, short articles, posts, webinars, and online courses.

As per a CMI report, 71% of manufacturing marketers stated that content marketing has become more integral to their business in the past year alone. 

However, manufacturers face unique challenges when developing content that appeals to different funnel stages audiences.

62% of manufacturing marketers say creating content for different stages of the buyer’s journey is the greatest challenge.  

Plus, 41% of manufacturing marketers found aligning content with the buyer’s journey challenging.  

Most industrial marketers fail with their content success because they… 

  • Lack the understanding of their potential target audience and persona 
  • Don’t know how to leverage content to overcome technical jargon 
  • Fail to express their manufactured product values through their content

Focusing on these challenges, we’ve devised tailored steps to move your content marketing efforts from technical jargon to engaging content and much more.  

But, before getting into the steps, let me answer why content marketing is valuable for manufacturers. 

Proven manufacturing content marketing statistics for business growth

65 percent of marketing possessional of industrial companies believe content marketing is valuable and significantly contributes to their success.  

Let’s find more statistics proving the same. 

  • 83% of surveyed manufacturing marketers agree that short articles and posts (less than 3,000 words) ranked as the best content in 2021. 
  • 43% of manufacturing marketers stated short articles and posts were the most result-driving content resources. 
  • 94% of manufacturing marketers agree that video content has increased their audience’s understanding of their products, persuading their purchasing decision in favor. 
  • About 70% of manufacturing marketers hosted webinars, virtual events, and online courses in 2021. 

Moreover, 41% of manufacturers reported receiving 21% better results with a defined content marketing strategy than the previous year.

Content Marketing for Manufacturers: 6 Steps strategy to success

Content marketing strategy for manufacturers

1. Identify your target buyer and understand their persona  

We create content for our target audience, and lacking a true understanding of them would end up wasting all the other efforts. 

So, you need to identify your ideal target market and define their persona to attract and engage the right people with relevant content.

Target buyers can be the people who are searching for it. And by knowing who your target buyer is, you can better understand their pain points, challenges, and wants. 

Then, you can present the absolute solutions and relatable content that get engagement and more business to your table. 

The below ways can help you identify your target buyer easily: 

  • Scouring your past sales data to understand the persona of your existing customers, identifying why and what they brought. 
  • Conducting surveys and asking for feedback from your existing customers to discover. 
  • Using website analytics tools to gain insights into visitor behavior, demographics, and traffic sources.  
  • Engaging with your sales and customer service teams to get deeper insights from their direct interaction with the prospects. 
  • Leveraging social media channels to learn more about your prospect’s preferences and challenges. 

Segment your prospective customers and target them with tailored solutions to make the most out of it.

For instance, let’s consider a manufacturer of industrial automation equipment. They can segment their target buyers based on company size, industry verticals, and specific automation needs. 

The manufacturer can create tailored solutions for each segment.  

For instance, they can develop customized automation solutions for large-scale manufacturing plants that require high-speed and high-capacity equipment.  

Simultaneously, they can offer more compact and cost-effective automation solutions for small and medium-sized manufacturers looking to streamline their operations. 

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Market research becomes essential to understand new marketing dynamics, technologies, and, most importantly, customer preferences.

This will help you align your content with your prospect’s pain points and desires.  

The competitor’s analysis is a key to discovering their strengths, weakness, and USPs to set a competitive edge.  

Follow the below tactics for better industry research and competitor analysis: 

  • Stay updated on key industry reports and research studies to get insights into market trends, customer demands, and technological advancements.  
  • Participate in industry-specific trade shows, conferences, and events to showcase your latest innovations and technologies.  
  • Leverage online resources such as industry forums, blogs, and social media platforms to gain deeper insights into market trends and competitor activities.  

The growing demand for eco-friendly components is a recent trend in the manufacturing industry.  

So, capitalize on this trend by creating content showcasing how your products are committed to sustainability, such as blogs on recycling initiatives or case studies on renewable energy-efficient production methods. 

Read related: 11 Emerging manufacturing marketing trends to follow in 2024!

Keyword research is the most crucial step of your content marketing strategy. It tells you about the potential topics your target audience is searching for.  

Find the keywords and enlist all the possible content ideas to target your ideal prospects. 

Classify these topics into clusters based on ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu. A cluster lists topics to create around focused keywords with a high search volume.

The cluster allows you to plan content creation around core and related subtopics that link back and forth. You can create related content to increase traffic and rank your website.

Here’s an example of a KW cluster where the focused keyword is injection molding: 

ToFu MoFu BoFu 
Injection molding process overview Types of injection molding machines Injection molding service pricing 
Best practices for injection molding Injection molding automation and robotics Injection molding service comparison 

4. Create valuable and engaging content for each funnel stage

You have keywords in your hand; now it’s time to discover what content you must create to attack and engage customers throughout the buying process.

Awareness, consideration, and decision are the funnel stages of the customer’s purchasing process.

Awareness: When the prospect has a need or issue to resolve.

Consideration: When the prospect is researching possible solutions to the problem.

Decision: When the prospect is looking to finalize the best solution.

As a content marketer for a manufacturing firm, you must understand the content type for each funnel stage, keeping the buying journey in mind.

Here are the types of content you should be considering for each marketing funnel stage:

Content marketing Ideas for each funnel

5. Choose the right marketing channel to distribute and promote your content

Digitalization is booming, so you must leverage all the potential digital channels for content distribution and promotion.

Moreover, these content marketing channels will help you reach your target audience faster than ever.

Here are some key channels that work best for your manufacturing company:

Media channels Examples 
Owned media channels Website, blog, social media accounts, email list 
Paid media channels Search ads, social ads, influencer marketing, retargeting 
Earned media channels Social shares, third-party reviews, backlinks to your website, mentions in the media 

Even if you have steady website traffic, you need to continuously promote your content to reach and attract the right audience. 

Some of the best ways to promote your content include: 

  • Sharing direct links on social media posts and profiles to drive traffic to your respective landing page. 
  • Investing a good amount of time in building your brand on social media. LinkedIn has become one of the potential social media platforms for B2B. 
  • Starting an email newsletter on topics that will continuously contribute to brand promotion and engagement. 

These basic methods are fairly turnkey and very straightforward, allowing you to start organically growing your audience right off the bat.  

6. Define your KPIs and analyze performance to optimize 

For content marketing purposes, you should establish both leading and lagging indicators. Leading KPIs help you determine where you’re headed, and lagging KPIs show your achievements.  

Both should be measurable monthly using data from your CRM, site analytics, ad campaigns, social media accounts, and similar sources. 

Here are a few examples of content marketing KPIs for each stage of the funnel: 

  • Awareness: To build brand awareness, you might track KPIs like website page views, social media engagement, and PR features. 
  • Engagement: To increase engagement, you might track returning visitors, newsletter signups, email newsletter opens, Live Chat interaction, etc. 
  • Action: To generate more leads and sales, you might track white paper downloads, rankings for your landing pages, and conversion rates. 
  • Retention: To optimize your customer retention, you can track their engagement with your blog content and newsletters, the lifetime customer value, and the churn rate. 

Choosing the right KPIs is essential to track where your efforts are going and how to optimize for success.

Also, note that not all metrics are suitable as KPIs. For instance, don’t make the mistake of choosing time on page, bounce rate, or scroll depth as KPIs.  

While these are important indicators of the success of your content marketing efforts, these metrics alone don’t hold enough information to become overarching indicators of performance. 

Top 14 content marketing ideas for manufacturers

Top content types for manufacturing firms

We’ve listed the perfect content ideas for each marketing funnel stage, so let’s dive deep in.

Top of the funnel 

As per the manufacturing marketers, 50% of all the content is top-of-the-funnel. And, as we move down the funnel, far less content is created.

In this stage, you must create content that aligns with a prospect’s needs and get the prospect to be aware of your product/company.

The following content types suit best for the top of the funnel.

1. Blog posts 

Blog posts are the most commonly used forms of content. At the top of the funnel, blogs educate and inform customers about a particular topic.

Blogs aim to inform your readers about a topic without intending to sell your products.

You can also write dedicated blog posts about frequently asked questions in your manufacturing industry and questions asked by people in community forums.

2. eBooks 

eBooks provide in-depth content about a topic. You can place them on your website as a free downloadable resource.

It is a great option for collecting visitor information. Just ask visitors to download the e-book in exchange for their email. 

Automated Industrial Motion (AIM) has a great eBook on springs, making it an excellent gated resource for generating high-quality leads. 

Ebook on Spring Manufacturing

Related read: 13 Lead generation strategies that help capture quality leads!

3. Social media posts 

A solid social media presence would help you build your brand identity and drive website traffic.

You can convert your long form of content into short and crisp social media posts to engage your potential audience. Moreover, drive traffic to your website by just dropping a link to the full resource.

Build a social media strategy to target and engage your audience with entertaining and insightful content like storytelling, industry insights, education content videos, or more.

4. Podcasts 

In the US alone, 104 million people listen to podcasts regularly. Nowadays, like video marketing, podcasts are one of those mediums that is gaining traction quickly. 

Manufacturers should leverage podcasts as it will make it easier for audiences to consume information easily. Talking about something new or insightful is the way to go. 

This form of content is mostly used for the top of the funnel, as in-depth technical podcasts will confuse non-technical listeners and annoy them.  

5. Educational videos  

It becomes easier to explain things in 2 min. video compared to a long form of content. This is why videos have taken a considerable space in the content marketing world.

Manufacturers are creating videos to demonstrate their product values visually appealingly. Moreover, this also helo helping them to let their prospects understand their product’s complexity.

Sherwin-Williams, a paint and coating materials producer, has beautifully placed explainer videos on the site to persuade their web visitors to become their customers.

Ask Sherwin-Williams - How-To Videos

6. Webinars 

Manufacturing marketers can utilize webinars to provide in-depth explanations of new and trending topics in the industry. It is a great way to capture information from attendees.  

They can be classified as warm prospects or qualified buyers as they have already shown interest in the webinar and have high chances for conversion.  

For instance, Andrew Johnson, the CEO of Shelfware LLC, gives insights on accomplishing innovation correctly in Industry 4.0. This is an insightful webinar for manufacturing businesses implementing digital transformation. 

Middle of the funnel 

In this stage, the customer researches the potential solution to overcome their problems. The following content types are most suitable for the consideration stage or MoFu. 

7. Customer testimonials and reviews  

These can be any story of a customer’s experience with the product or a review stated by one. It helps you establish your product and brand as reliable.

Consider leveraging social proofs like reviews and awards to showcase quality and induce trust.

8. Product demos 

Product demos are a powerful tool for manufacturers to showcase the features and benefits of a working product.

It can be anything from live demonstrations to pre-recorded videos on websites or YouTube. It makes your customers more likely to consider your product in the consideration stage.

The demo effectively highlights the product in a real-world setting, helping potential customers understand its value and making them more likely to consider this product.

Moreover, by using an AI art generator in your demo, you can highlight your product’s cutting-edge capabilities, making it more attractive to tech-savvy customers.

Those who are signing up for your demo are highly interested in becoming your customer. Ensure your demo provides enough value to persuade them to move down to the sales funnel.

9. Case studies 

Case studies help provide real-world examples of how a product has helped customers solve specific problems or accomplish goals.

Moreover, you can use your case studies as a gated resource to generate high-quality leads for business.

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10. Comparison charts 

With comparison charts, manufacturers can differentiate their products from competitors and help potential customers make informed purchase decisions. 

11. Certifications 

Include certificates that assure customers about your high-quality services and establish credibility. It could be either in terms of the manufacturing of a product or the product itself. You can include quality test certifications as well.

Certifications help a customer evaluate your product’s worth and get them one step closer to decision-making.

12. Factory tour videos 

Factory tour videos help showcase the processes and help with an added layer of trust with potential customers. This is quite a potential content type leveraged by marketers of manufacturing companies.

Bottom of the funnel 

This type of content is helpful to persuade prospective buyers by showing how your product is the best on the market and a must-buy.

13. Technical specifications and brochures 

Tech specs and brochures will help your customer better understand your company and its products.

You can mention all the key details in your brochure and place it as a downloadable resource on your website to generate leads with each download.

14. Product catalogs 

A product catalog includes various products and their features, properties, and use cases. 

For example, Master Bond Inc. has listed its product catalogs for various industry spaces. This helps their prospective buyers in choosing the right product for their business.  

MasterBond Catalogs

Best content marketing tips for manufacturers: Get more out of it 

Here are the best tips to follow based on the current marketing needs in the manufacturing industry. 

  • Focus on providing value rather than selling 

Content marketing doesn’t focus on sales directly; rather, it is a strategy for producing educational content that helps.

It is an inbound marketing approach that aims to build relationships with your audience initially and then gradually begin promoting your product in the lower stages of the funnel.

  • Create content around industry-related terms that audiences use 

Creating content around industry-related terms that your potential customers talk about is a great way to stay relevant and engaging to your audience.

Browse through forums and communities related to your industry and find out what people are talking about. Implementing the latest questions and answers in your blogs and articles is a great idea.

Quora, Pinterest, and Reddit have many groups and communities you can browse to find ideas for your content.

Quora content around industry-related
  • Optimizing content for search engines 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an art in and of itself.

Even conducting a simple website audit will get you light years ahead of where you were previously, and it can get your site ranking a bit better. 

There’s no shortage of SEO guides, but some things you can look into right away include: 

  • Implementing on-page SEO best practices to generate leads
  • Coming up with a keyword-centric content plan 
  • Using optimization tools like Surfer when writing and publishing 
  • Monitoring your site’s performance and adjusting your SEO plans accordingly 

If you don’t have an in-house SEO expert who can devote their full time to optimizing your content, you can outsource talent for SEO activities.

Of course, if you don’t have the budget to outsource your SEO needs, you can have one of your marketers or other employees take a crash course and understand the basics.  

  • Combine organic + paid efforts 

SEO-optimized organic content alone won’t work. You must consider running PPC ads through Google ads. And you can boost your social media content through Facebook ads. 

The first result in Google’s organic search results gets an average CTR of 27.6%. It is 10x more likely to get a click, gradually decreasing for the lower ranking results.  

With paid search, sponsored listings enjoy approximately 73% of the CTR share. So, if you have a budget, consider promoting your content.  

  • Readability and context 

Making content readable for the audience is essential to keep them engaged.

Try to avoid industry jargon or technical terms in your content that might confuse your readers. Or rather, if you’re using them, then explain them simultaneously to ease their understanding.

Use clear and simple language and keep the tone conversational. Use tools like Grammarly and Hemmingway Editor to check your content readability and clarity.

  • Compare competitor’s content and optimize accordingly 

Analyze what works for your competitors, identify content gaps, and use that opportunity to create content around that.

  • Local listings and partner outreach 

Partner with other businesses and list your business on local directories. By collaborating with them, you can leverage their audiences to increase visibility. 

  • Repurpose content 

Reusing or repurposing content for different channels is a smart way to reinforce your content in multiple ways.  

Conclusion

Content marketing for manufacturers is a powerful strategy to establish a brand, generate leads and build relationships.

However, creating effective content that resonates with the target audience can be challenging for manufacturing marketers with complex sales cycles, product complexity, and limited resources.

It would be best if marketing and sales team collaboratively participated in building an effective content marketing strategy.

You must leverage varied content types at each funnel stage to motivate your buyers throughout the buying process.

Moreover, prioritize high-quality content that balances technical details with clear and concise language and stays updated with industry trends.

By doing so, manufacturers can establish themselves as thought leaders in the industry and build stronger relationships with their target audience.

Frequently asked questions 

Why is content marketing for manufacturers different?

The manufacturing industry tends to have longer sales cycles, more complex products and services, and a highly technical audience. The struggle of creating content that demonstrates the true value of their complex product, simplifying technicality, and meeting prospects’ expectations throughout their buyer’s journey makes content marketing different for manufacturing firms.

What are the top content marketing trends for manufacturers? 
  • Creating high-engaging content like videos and webinars.
  • Personalized content tailored to specific buyer personas.
  • Leveraging emerging technologies such as AI and virtual reality to boost customer experiences. 
What is the difference between content marketing and product marketing? 

Content marketing focuses on crafting and distributing high-value content to attract and engage the potential target audience. In contrast, product marketing specifically promotes and positions a company’s products or services in the market.

How can content marketing benefit industrial manufacturers?

Content marketing benefits manufacturing companies by establishing thought leadership, building brand credibility, educating prospects, generating leads, nurturing customer relationships, and ultimately driving sales and revenue growth. It helps manufacturers showcase their expertise and differentiate themselves in a competitive market.

Can a manufacturer directly sell to customers? 

While manufacturers primarily sell to distributors and retailers, some manufacturers can also sell directly to customers through direct-to-consumer (D2C) channels, particularly in cases of niche or specialty products. 

Sonali Negi

Sonali is a writer born out of her utmost passion for writing. She is working with a passionate team of content creators at Salesmate. She enjoys learning about new ideas in marketing and sales. She is an optimistic girl and endeavors to bring the best out of every situation. In her free time, she loves to introspect and observe people.

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