Content marketing is all about educating your target audience by using non-selling techniques often referred to as ‘non-interruption marketing’. It’s all about delivering content which is of value to your prospects at each stage of the buying process and thus resulting in them doing business with you. One of the main issues building product manufacturers seem to have with content marketing is knowing what to write about and knowing what type of content is required to drive traffic to their websites, build organic links and increase conversions. More and more Architects, Engineers and Specifiers start off their research online using search engines. Without publishing relevant content it’s harder for these prospects to find your content, product information and website. Once they are on your website it is your websites’ job to convert that visitor into a lead or capture some sort of data which expresses interest in that particular product you are promoting.
Publishing quality content is a vital part of inbound marketing but producing it on a regular basis can be tough. For example, having a corporate blog in the form of a technical product discussion portal can increase your online visibility and provides a resource hub where you can prove your expertise to your prospects. However, having a ‘dead’ blog with random posts every few months (and all it does is talk about you) could do more harm than good. Either have one and commit to publishing posts regularly or don’t have one at all. The illustration below outlines the relationship between the quality of the content you produce and the value it has to your business. The more effort you put in, the more you will get out.
If you are struggling to come up with topics yourself why not divide the workload between a few people on your team. Everyone has a different writing style, different knowledge and varying opinions. Use this to your advantage. Your sales reps and your technical staff both have experiences or advice that they could share with your readers. Develop an editorial calendar with topic suggestions and deadlines so that you can manage what you publish and when.
To help you get started, here is a list of 10 things product manufacturers could write about:
1. Technical information: if your construction products are extremely technical then writing about how best to use them, install them and maintain them is a great way to produce new and useful content. Including short videos with product demonstrations or showing how it has been used in recent projects is also a suggestion. Videos rank higher in search engines too so it’s a great way to increase more traffic to your website.
2. Answer common client questions: this type of content can help leads and prospects find quick answers to common questions. It is likely that they would have similar questions so it is a good opportunity to show your expertise through your answers and advice. You could ask your sales reps for feedback on what questions they regularly get asked or even question your existing clients for some feedback about your product/service and share the insights gathered. This is a brave move but could show prospects how dedicated you are to constantly innovating and improving your product and/or service. Back up this type of content with case studies.
3. Keyword research: reviewing your Google Analytics can reveal some interesting insights and highlight the keywords that your audience is using to find you. You will be surprised at some of the questions users type into search engines. Turn some of these search phrases into blog posts and articles; they usually contain questions or topics that you might not have thought of before.
4. Conduct End User Research: survey and study results are often shared because people are interested in what is happening in their industry. Create a quick online survey, using a free tool such as surveymonkey, about a topic that would interest your audience and publish the results on your website and also promote it in your newsletter. You could also present the results in different formats, such as our recently published visualisation (infographic) of the results of our UK architect survey.
5. Review Events you Have Attended: if you have attended any recent industry events why not write a review about it. What were the highlights, what could have been improved, what did you learn that you could share with your readers? Some people might not have the time to attend these events but are interested in finding out who was there and what they spoke about. This is an opportunity to inform those that didn’t make it and share pictures.
6. Checklist of ‘how to’ & tips: checklists and how to’s seem to be popular online because they are quick and easy to read and also have larger search volumes. If you want something explained quickly or need an outline for how to do something then this is the best way for your content to be found online. You can create these lists for anything from “how to install product X” to “how product X captures more water than standard products on the market.” Think about what your audience would find useful and produce content accordingly.
7. Share Presentations: next time you do a CPD presentation, make it available for download on your website or on slideshare (platform for sharing presentations). This is a good way to repurpose your content and make it visible on different social platforms where others may be inclined to share it with their networks. Write a blog post about the presentation, what were the main points discussed and did you get asked any questions that you could elaborate on further?
8. Your Opinions on new/updated regulations: there will always be new or updated design standards or regulations that could affect the industry or your sector. Writing about it on your website is a great way of informing Architects and Specifiers of how your product can help solve problems, thereby reinforcing your position as ‘technical experts’ in your field with answers. It gives you a chance to voice your opinion on what is going on, do you agree or disagree with the changes and how will it affect the industry and the market for those who use your products. For example, Celotex wrote an article about understanding the new Part L Building Regulations on their site which helps their customers and audience understand the changes and at the same time promote their products.
9. Repurpose Case Studies: Case studies are often written at the time when a particular project has been completed, therefore revisting case studies a year after a completion makes great content, combine this with video testimonials to make the case study much more powerful. Think about how your technical team went about solving the Architect’s or Engineer’s problem with the right products and at the same time (if at all) saving money on the overall project.
10. Collaboration with Key Suppliers: interview merchants and other key members of your supply chain for their opinions and experiences to do with your products, sector or industry. It provides you with fresh content for your newsletter that is written from a different perspective with a variety of opinions and reinforces your strength from a supply chain point of view.
This is not a comprehensive list and I’m sure there are plenty of other topics to write about but it is a start. When producing content also think about what actions you would like your readers to take. Do you want people to share your posts and articles on social networking sites, comment or subscribe to your blog/newsletter to increase data capture? Make it very clear with strong calls to action. Be careful not to demand too much upfront especially as you are still gaining their trust. Having an editorial list/calendar will make this content production run more smoothly and all team members involved can add their topic suggestions. Leave some flexible room for spontaneous posts about events or news that you obviously cannot predict.
What other suggestions have you got that could add to this list? How do you find the inspiration to write valuable content on a consistent basis?