Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2011 and was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on February 07, 2018.
Content marketing is all about educating your target audience by delivering relevant, valuable content that your prospects will benefit from at each stage of the buying process. Offering this support will encourage more targeted leads by positioning your construction business as trustworthy, knowledgeable thought-leaders.
Crucially, without publishing relevant content, it’s harder for prospects such as architects, contractors or specifiers to find product information from your website. Once they are on your website, it is then your websites’ job to convert that visitor into a lead or capture some sort of data which expresses their interest in that particular product.
Moreover, with existing customers being 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more, a portion of your content should also be allocated to lead nurturing, in order to increase customer loyalty with those relationships you’ve taken the time to build. Check out our post here for more information.
Regular Content Creation
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 where you can prove your expertise to your prospects can increase your online visibility significantly. However, having a ‘dead’ blog with random posts every few months 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. Don’t forget that having posts come from different voices within the business can also help to enhance brand personality, and your audience will soon become familiar with which topics to expect from different team members.
Remember – your sales reps and your technical staff both have experience 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 who you need in order to create that content.
Our Content Marketing Slideshare demonstrates how to effectively manage your content, and even includes a basic editorial calendar example for you to expand to suit your requirements.
Top 10 suggestions for creating content for construction audiences
As we know, 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.
To help you fill out this editorial calendar with relevant content, here’s 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 and may be an easier way for your audience to digest the information. And with 87% of online marketers now using video content as an essential tactic, it really is a no-brainer for increasing brand awareness and building more traffic to your website.
Check out Glazing Vision’s video below demonstrating how to install their Pitchglaze window product:
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.
Remember – while this may take up a small section of time for your sales reps, it’ll free them up in the long run as your prospects or customers will be able to visit your blog section instead to find the answers to their most commonly asked questions. Shorter, FAQ-style posts are also crucial to organic ranking; over time they will increase the chances of your construction business appearing in the ‘Google Snippets’ box, displayed at the top of Google search…
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 – Use ‘How’, ‘Why’, and ‘What’ in your searches and 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 or promote it in your newsletter. You could also present the results in different formats, such as a slideshare or infographic.
As well as providing you with an array of fresh content to write about from your findings, this will also help to steer your entire digital marketing strategy, as it enables you to delve into just how well you understand your persona’s needs and everyday challenges.
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.
Check out our summary post from Ecobuild 2017 – these videos were then shared across social media and included within email campaigns to update our blog subscribers on the latest industry news…you can view the post here.
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 a slideshare.
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?
Below is an example of a presentation given at our latest DECONSTRUCT event, available to watch or to download as a slideshare.
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, Glazing Vision wrote an article about understanding the implementations of Part Q on the security testing of Windows and Doors on their site, which helps their customers and audience understand the changes and at the same time promote their products.
9. Repurpose Blog Content & Case Studies: Case studies are often written at the time when a particular project has been completed; therefore revisiting case studies a year after 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.
Also consider repurposing the case study to attract different audience types: which area of the project would a contractor be most interested in, compared to an architect or specifier?
As well as case studies, also ensure that the great abundance of blog posts you’re creating is being put to good use; once you start covering similar topics, why not collaborate these into a useful downloadable guide for your customers or prospects?
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.
And one last thing…
When producing content, 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 on your blog or subscribe to your 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.
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?
We’d love to hear from you – and if you havn’t already, check out our Essential Guide to Construction Marketing here.