As a manufacturer, you have a special need for content marketing.
In many or even most cases, you’re operating in super competitive spaces, where your rivals control giant budgets.
So there’s usually enough money for these companies to splurge in an effort to get ahead of the competition — with money for nationwide brand campaigns, high-budget influencer marketing campaigns, search engine optimization, PPC, large-scale outdoor advertising campaigns, and other marketing tactics.
This is where content marketing for manufacturers comes in real handy.
It doesn’t completely take away the need for big-budget campaigns, but it definitely provides a more cost-effective and consistent approach to marketing a manufacturing business.
No wonder manufacturing companies of all sizes — from small startups to large multinational corporations — are finding ways to use content marketing to engage their audience, establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry, and drive sales.
This article will explore some examples of successful content marketing for manufacturers, and provide best practices for manufacturers looking to get started with content marketing or improve their current content marketing efforts.
Examples of Successful Content Marketing for Manufacturers
Here are a few great examples of manufacturers that are using content marketing to achieve great success, and how they’re using it:
1. John Deere’s Six Manufacturing Publications
John Deere is a well-known manufacturer of agricultural, construction, and forestry equipment.
They’ve been using content marketing to educate their prospects and customers for years, in the form of six different digital magazines:
- John Deere News
- The Furrow
- The Dirt
- The Landing
- Worksite Journal
- Power Connect
These publications cover a range of topics — all related to what the company is selling, from farming and fieldwork tips to construction progress reports.
This is a smart marketing strategy for several reasons, but this one stands out:
John Deere is a large manufacturing company with several product lines. And the six publications they’ve created are all aimed at the different audience segments for those product lines.
With these magazines, they’re able to reach very specific target audiences with content tailored for them. So, while the guy selling construction materials would be reading The Furrow, the one selling forestry equipment would be reading The Landing.
By covering a variety of topics related to their products and industry, John Deere is able to attract a wide range of readers and target customers, tailoring their content to specific audiences.
Takeaway lessons from John Deere’s content marketing
- If you have multiple audience segments, think about creating content tailored to each one. It’s a great way to differentiate your content, and make sure you’re reaching each segment with relevant and useful information.
- Also, consider creating digital publications to engage your audience on an ongoing basis. Digital magazines are a great way to provide content that’s ongoing and easy to consume.
2. Bosch’s Homepage-Featured Stories
Bosch is a multi-sector industrial company that operates in four major sectors: Home Appliances, Industrial Technology, Mobility Solutions, and Energy/Building Technologies.
You may expect a company of this size to have a complex website showcasing the products and services they’re selling in all these sectors, but that’s not the case.
Instead, after a brief carousel of their product categories on their homepage, you’re almost immediately presented with, wait for it, stories.
That’s right — stories about the four major industries they operate in and stories about their products and their customers, written in an easy-to-digest format.
Here’s one, for instance, about how Bosch products have empowered an Italian architect to accomplish his dream of living sustainably in a miniature house.
Bosch uses their homepage to feature stories like this on topics that are relevant to its audience, like the Internet of Things (IoT), automated driving, electrification, and artificial intelligence. These stories are not only engaging for their audience but also help drive thousands of organic visitors to their website each month.
This is a great content marketing strategy that works; online marketing software Semrush estimates the Bosch website gets about 1.6 million visitors per month.
The same data also shows the average time those visitors spend on the site is almost 10 minutes — which is a lot in the internet world, where people are almost always in a rush.
Could it only be the stories they’re featuring on the homepage that’s keeping them engaged for that long? Maybe; maybe not. But we know people love stories. So, it’s possible that featuring stories is a huge reason for this engagement.
Takeaway lessons from Bosch’s content marketing
- Don’t be afraid to feature stories on your website; for many websites, the homepage is one of the most visited pages, and featuring stories or other engaging content there can help keep visitors on the page longer. And the longer they stay, the more likely it is that they’ll find something to convert them into customers.
- Invest in high-quality content creation; if Bosch’s content wasn’t high-grade, they likely won’t be getting such great engagement. And their team will probably not even feel confident to put it on a homepage that attracts millions of visitors per month.
- Be ready to spend; most times, “high-quality” content means “expensive” content. But it also means “content that drives results.” Ever heard “you get what you pay for?” That’s right — so be prepared to pay for the content that will help you reach your business goals.
3. Siemens’ Blogs and Podcast Network of 22 Shows
Siemens is a global manufacturer of products and services for the energy, healthcare, transportation sectors, and many others. It’s a multinational company with 86.85 billion EUR in annual revenue (as of 2019), so their success is undeniable.
They’re doing a lot with their content. They have blogs scattered literally all over siemens.com, covering all the sectors they have business in.
But one of their crown jewels is the Siemens Podcasts Network with twenty-two shows, which cover all the topics from the energy sector to mobility solutions and healthcare, and many others.
Why’s this an effective content marketing strategy? For one, there’s the obvious: podcasts are still popular and growing in popularity each year. One podcast show alone — with its episodes distributed on all the podcasting platforms — can effectively put a brand on the map.
But 22 podcast shows with maybe five to ten episodes each, distributed on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcasting platforms? That’s huge. It’s enough to get the attention of almost any key decision-maker in any sector — as long as the content is good, of course.
Takeaway lessons from Siemens’ content marketing
- Have a comprehensive content plan; it’s not enough to just have a few blog posts and podcasts scattered around your website and other platforms. You need to have an overarching content plan that covers all the topics and platforms you want to be known as a thought leader for.
- Go where your target customers are; Siemens’ podcast network isn’t just on their website. As I’ve shared earlier, they have it distributed on all the major podcasting platforms. This means each episode is spreading on its own and reaching potential customers directly, which is a great way to gain trust and show your subject matter expertise.
4. Ford’s International News Content Strategy
They may have other products, but if you know Ford, you probably know them because their cars and other automobiles are, literally, everywhere.
Here’s what they’re currently doing with content marketing:
Ford has created news sites in multiple countries, including India, France, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US, and Ireland. And these news sites cover stories about the company and its products and are available in multiple languages (aka multilingual content) to ensure that they are accessible to a wide range of readers even if they don’t speak the same language.
But why are they covering almost only news stories about the brand, you ask? Good question.
Ford is one of the most popular manufacturing companies in the world in the automobile space, so naturally, their international target audience is almost always searching for news related to the company and its products.
And Ford knows this, so they’ve created these news sites that can be easily accessed in any language to provide value and keep people in the loop with what’s going on in their world.
For example, their France website gets over one million visits a month; and the website is entirely in French. All the traffic they get from search engines too is from people searching for news about the company, products, etc. in French.
For instance, their news story on their “ford puma e85” attracts over 6000 searches in France — and drives over 16,000 visitors from those searches.
Takeaway lessons from Ford’s content marketing
- Think global, act local; Ford’s strategy is to create and publish content that speaks to each of their target audience in the language they understand best. This way, they’re able to establish a connection with each prospect in the different countries they operate in.
- Leverage news to drive traffic and engagement; Ford knows that potential customers are always on the lookout for news about the company and its products, so they use this to their advantage by creating content that is newsworthy and engaging.
5. Caterpillar’s Beyond The Iron Podcast
Caterpillar is a renowned global manufacturer of construction and mining equipment. But they’ve been using content marketing to go beyond just selling construction and mining equipment.
They have taken the initiative to create a podcast called “Beyond The Iron” which focuses on inspiring stories of those in the construction industry and how they are using their skills to build a better world.
In this podcast, they feature interviews mostly with people inside Caterpillar like their group presidents, VPs, and even interns.
By doing this, Caterpillar is able to showcase the human side of the company while also sharing their different points of view (POVs) and ideas on relevant industry topics — in a way that’s helpful, interesting, and inspiring for their target audience.
Takeaway lessons from Caterpillar’s content marketing
- Use content to showcase the people behind your brand; Caterpillar’s podcast is a great way to show the human side of their company — it allows them to showcase the people behind their success and the values they stand for.
- Leverage content to share different POVs; Caterpillar is using their podcast platform to share different points of view and ideas on relevant industry topics. This way, they’re able to not only share helpful content but also stand out in the sea of “sameness” in the construction industry.
Content marketing best practices for manufacturers
In this section, we’ll explore some best practices for manufacturers looking to get the most out of their content marketing efforts.
1. Start with a Documented Content Marketing Strategy
There are usually a lot of different pieces involved in any content marketing process.
On one hand, you’re setting up a team to develop and manage your content, and on the other hand, you’re looking for ways to get the most out of it. Then there are all the other things like promoting your content, measuring results, and constant optimization that you need to take care of.
These are a lot of moving parts that can easily throw your process into disarray if they’re not properly outlined. That’s why it’s important to start with a documented content marketing strategy that outlines:
- the goals you want to achieve
- the tactics and channels you’ll use to get there
- who’s responsible for what
- the budget and timeline, etc.
2. Avoid Buying Cheap Content — You Get What You Pay For
In the long run, cheap content usually becomes expensive — because not only will it not work well for your business, but it can also damage your brand’s reputation.
A good example is when brands try to buy cheap content from “content farms” or low-quality agencies that churn out generic articles with little to no thought. They often forget that there are people who will actually consume this content and make purchasing decisions based on the information they find in it.
So it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for when it comes to content; if it’s cheap, then it’s probably not going to work well for your business.
For instance, if you’re considering hiring a content writer who charges $1000 per long-form article vs another who charges $100 for the same work, consider the quality and expertise that come from both writers before discarding the one with a higher price as “too expensive” — especially if you can afford them.
If you review the portfolio and experience of the two writers and find that the $1000 writer is significantly better, then it’s worth investing in them.
3. Share Your Content Where Your Target Audience Is
There’s no need to be everywhere with content marketing. Focus your efforts where your target audience is hanging out.
For example, if you’re in the B2B industrial space and your target audience is engineers, then it’s better to focus on sharing your content in engineering forums online, LinkedIn groups, search engines, and other channels where they’re more likely to find it.
Types of content that work well for manufacturers
There are different types of content that manufacturers can use to engage their audience and achieve their business goals. In this section, we’ll explore some of the most effective types of content for manufacturers.
1. Search-Optimized Blog Content
Blog posts are a key component of most content marketing strategies, and it’s especially effective for manufacturers.
Why, you ask? It’s almost the only type of content that keeps on giving even after it’s published. For instance, an article you publish a year ago can still keep driving organic traffic for months or even years later, as long as it’s properly optimized for search engines.
A good example is this article you’re reading; you probably got here through a search engine. And now you might consider consulting with me for your content marketing project; that’s the power of search-optimized content!
2. On-Demand Videos
On-demand videos, like product demos or explainer videos, are one of the most effective types of content for manufacturers.
You can use them to deliver interviews with customers and employees, to showcase products or services, or to give an inside look at the company — in a way that’s easy to engage with and understand, making it more likely that potential customers will take action.
3. Live Videos
Live videos are another great way for manufacturers to create content that’s engaging and interactive.
What makes them stand out from most other content is that they’re more personal and immediate. You can use them to host Q&As, give virtual tours of your facility, or even collaborate with other brands for an interview or webinar.
There are several other types of content you can use for your content marketing, such as podcasts, infographics, webinars, ebooks, whitepapers, and so on. Each of these has its own unique benefits for manufacturers, so find the type of content that works best for you and your target audience.
FAQs on Content Marketing for Manufacturers
Here are some of the most common questions manufacturers have with content marketing.
Why do manufacturers need content marketing?
Manufacturers need content marketing for several reasons. Firstly, your customers are searching online for information about the products and services that you offer.
By creating valuable content that answers their questions and addresses their pain points, you’ll be able to attract organic traffic and build credibility with your audience.
Secondly, content marketing helps you build brand awareness and drives sales. By creating high-quality, well-researched content that provides value to your audience, you’ll be able to establish yourself as a thought leader, build trust with your customers, and they’ll be more likely to purchase your products when they need them.
How do you market a manufacturing company?
There are several ways to market a manufacturing company, including content marketing, SEO, paid marketing campaigns, and social media marketing. The most effective marketing strategy will depend on your business goals, target audience, and budget.
For example, if your goal is to use a long-term strategy to build brand awareness and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, content marketing and social media marketing is often a good choice. On the other hand, if your goal is to drive quick sales and generate leads, paid marketing or ad campaigns may be a better fit.
Is content marketing good for manufacturers?
Generally, any business whose target customers consume content during their buying journey will benefit from content marketing. And manufacturing companies are one of those businesses.
By creating valuable content that addresses the needs and pain points of your target audience, you’ll be able to attract organic traffic and build credibility with your audience. Additionally, content marketing can help you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and stand out from the competition.
So far, I’ve shared examples, and best practices and answered a few FAQs about content marketing for manufacturers.
And there’s really a lot more to share from my experience and things I’ve seen around in the marketing space, but I’ll stop here for now — as this article is almost 3000 words long already.
If you’d like to talk to me about how I can help your manufacturing company with content marketing, feel free to reach out. I’ll be glad to help!