Diversify Your Manufacturing Content to Reach Wider Audiences and Boost Engagement

Manufacturing content often carries the unfortunate stereotype of being overly technical and dry. While this may hold true in some cases, it’s important to remember that engaging content creation is possible in any industry, including manufacturing. In fact, many manufacturers and B2B companies have successfully adopted a thought leadership approach, positioning themselves as content powerhouses.

But what are the secrets to their success? Two key strategies stand out: content diversification and strategic content enhancement. By utilizing various content formats (blogs, videos, social media posts, etc.), companies can reach a wider audience and maximize the impact of their efforts.

Before diving into content creation, thorough audience research is crucial. Understanding your target audience is essential for developing content that resonates. For further guidance on audience research and ideation, you can refer to my blog post titled “Forging Connections: How Manufacturers Can Create Content that Resonates.”

Now that you have a solid list of potential topics, let’s explore the different content formats available and the associated effort involved in creating each. This will help you make informed decisions when crafting your content strategy.

Beyond the Technical Manual: Expanding Content Types 

Blog Posts: Your Content Chameleon

Effort: Medium

Distribution channels: SEO, email, social media posts

Ever ask yourself, “are blogs dead?” Since I’m sitting here writing one, I really hope not. Luckily I would answer that question with a resounding “no” anyway. Blogs are definitely still kicking, especially when you put some thought into the what and the where. 

Here’s the deal: blogs are like the chameleon of content. They can adapt to different formats, like infographics, social media posts, and even eBooks (like this series I’m working on – spoiler alert!). They serve as an excellent “master document” for any other content formats that you may end up developing. 

Effort level? Medium. It’s like baking a cake – a little prep work, but the payoff is delicious (and informative!). Plus, you can repurpose bits and pieces for other channels, like squeezing the leftover frosting to decorate cupcakes (because who doesn’t love bonus content?).

Distribution? Think SEO, email blasts, and social media shares. It’s all about getting your creation out there so people can discover it.

Bonus tip: When brainstorming blog topics, think about what resonates with your audience. You know, like asking a friend their opinion before you bake that cake. The more people who like the flavor, the more likely they are to share a slice (or two) with their friends!

Videos: From Quick Chats to Big Productions

Effort: Low-High

Distribution channels: Youtube, social media

Let’s talk videos – they’ve exploded as a content format, and for good reason! Did you know YouTube is the second largest search engine out there?

Now, the effort level for videos can be all over the place, depending on what you’re cooking up. Hiring a fancy videographer to film a “how it’s made” tour? That’ll take some time and investment. But there’s no shame in using your phone or webcam to whip up a quick clip for social media. It’s totally expected these days, and way less effort on your end.

Here’s a quick rundown of some high- vs. low-effort video ideas:

High Effort:

  • Plant tours: Show off your workspace!
  • Installation videos: Help people use your product like a pro.
  • Product demos: Showcase your product’s features in action.
  • About us videos: Introduce your amazing team and company culture.

These are all valuable assets, but they do require some editing magic and a sprinkle of branding to really shine.

Medium Effort:

  • Recorded workshops/webinars: Share your expertise with the world!
  • Video podcasts: Take your podcast to the next level with video.
  • Customer interviews & testimonials: Let your customers sing your praises.

These options are relatively easy to pull off using your own computer, but still require some planning and editing to make them pop.

Low Effort:

  • “Talking head” videos: Grab your phone or laptop and chat!
  • Short topics: Answer FAQs or host a Q&A session in “bite-sized” format.

These quick and easy videos are perfect for social media, like posts and reels. Remember, the key is to provide value and keep it engaging, even if it’s low-effort.

So, whether you’re going all out with a big production or keeping it casual on your phone, videos can be a powerful tool to connect with your audience. Just choose the format that best fits your resources and goals!

Infographics: Making Data Dance

Effort: Medium

Distribution channels: Social media, email, presentations, sales team

Ever tried explaining something complex to someone with zero technical knowledge? That’s where infographics come in! 

Well-designed data visualizations make complex information quickly understandable.  Not everyone in your ideal customer’s buying committee will have the same level of technical expertise as an engineer or product developer. While dense, technical articles may work for some, infographics help to translate that information for the less-technical decision makers, 

allowing them to grasp complex information at a glance and participate more effectively in the buying process

Here’s why infographics are your secret weapon:

  • Effort: Medium. They might take some time to create, but the payoff is big.
  • Distribution: They’re like social media butterflies, flitting around wherever they can be shared – emails, presentations, sales materials, you name it!
  • Versatility: They can be used to spice up blog posts, add oomph to social media, and even capture attention in presentations.

So, next time you need to explain something complex, ditch the technical jargon and let the data dance in an infographic!

Podcasts: The Audio Adventure 

Effort: High

Distribution channels: Podcast streaming apps, social media, email 

Seems like everyone has a podcast these days, huh? We’re certainly no exception (check out The Marketing Schematic, wink wink) That said, it is easily the highest effort form of content discussed in this blog, that is if you’re planning to really stick to it.

Podcasts are like audio adventures, perfect for people who like to learn on the go. They’re also a great way to repurpose content from other formats, like video recordings. Win-win!

However, before you jump into the podcasting pool, there are some waves to consider:

The Upside:

  • Content buffet: If you record both video and audio content, you have an endless pool of content you can slice and dice into other formats.
  • New distribution channels: You also have the benefit of adding a new distribution channels into your content mix for the segment of your audience that may prefer to listen to while their on the road to work versus watching a webinar or reading a blog.

The Downside:

  • Commitment: It’s hard work. You need to commit to a schedule that is consistent and maintainable, ensure you have enough material to talk about to justify a show, and regular rotation of guests (if relevant). 
  • Promotion: If your aim is to promote the podcast in the hopes of it becoming an additional revenue stream (through sponsorships), then you will need to plan for a LOT of promotion. All of this can turn into a fulltime job.

So, while podcasts offer fantastic benefits, the time investment is significant. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before diving in and remember, there’s no shame in starting small and scaling up as you get comfortable!

Social Media Posts: Bit-Sized Nuggets of Gold 

Effort: Low

Distribution channels: Social media

If you’re creating content through any of the other methods we’ve talked about so far, you need to be actively posting on social media. This is a non-negotiable! Yes, users browsing your website may stumble there, or see your stuff through emails and other channels. But social media is a goldmine for reaching new audiences.

Here’s what I want you to keep in mind: social media isn’t just a distribution channel (sharing links to your videos, blogs, etc.), it’s also a content format itself!

In fact, LinkedIn’s algorithm actually decreases visibility on posts that include a link because they want users to stay on the platform. So, why not repurpose those golden nuggets from your blogs, webinars, videos, or podcasts? Turn them into catchy “did you know” posts with cool images, or cut out bite-sized clips from your workshops to highlight key points. Remember when I talked about “juicing” your content? This is it in action! Repurpose and repeat as you create new content – it’s the gift that keeps on giving (and saves you time!).

The Importance of Storytelling

Okay, so we’ve covered a bunch of different content formats, and guess what? Most of them can be used throughout your marketing funnel, depending on what you’re talking about. But there are a few formats that shine extra bright when your audience is getting close to making a decision or reaching out. These deep funnel content formats are intended to show your audience more about who you are, what it’s like to work with you, and what your customers have to say. 

Case Studies: Show, Don’t Tell

While often overlooked, case studies offer a powerful tool for manufacturers seeking to validate their expertise and build trust with potential customers. By showcasing real-world client challenges and your successful solutions, these succinct narratives provide concrete evidence of your capabilities. This approach not only fosters trust but also positions your company as a valuable partner in overcoming similar manufacturing challenges.

Testimonials

In the manufacturing world, trust is king. Customer testimonials are your secret weapon for building it. These are like ringing endorsements, with real people sharing their positive experiences with your products and services. They add a human touch to your brand, showcase the value you deliver, and convince potential customers that you’re not just another faceless company, but a reliable partner they can count on.

Team Bios

Forget robots and assembly lines – the real heart of manufacturing lies with your team. Team bios are your chance to put the human face behind your brand. They showcase the expertise, dedication, and diverse backgrounds that make your company tick. This not only builds trust with potential clients, but also fosters pride within your team, reminding everyone that they play a vital role in the company’s success story.

Storytelling isn’t just for novels and movies – it’s a powerful tool you can use to connect with your audience, build trust, and ultimately win them over!

Turning Content Ideas into Content Action: Your Implementation Guide

Alright, so now you’ve got a treasure trove of knowledge about different content formats. But how do you actually mix and match them to create a winning strategy? And where do you even begin? Let’s break it down.

Align Your Content with the Buyers’ Journey

Once you have begun to generate ideas for topics that will resonate, align them with what audience segment they will resonate with the most, and where in the funnel it is most appropriate.

Think of your content as a roadmap that guides potential customers towards becoming loyal fans. Different content formats work best at different stages of this journey:

  • Top of the funnel (awareness): Social posts, blogs, infographics – these are like eye-catching billboards that grab attention and introduce people to your brand.
  • Middle of the funnel (consideration): Videos, webinars, podcasts – these offer deeper dives into topics, helping people understand how your solutions can address their needs.
  • Bottom of the funnel (decision): Case studies, testimonials, bios – these act as proof points and trust builders, convincing people that you’re the perfect partner for them.

Remember, this is a general guideline and not set in stone. A compelling social post might be enough to trigger a consultation call, for example.

Recycle & Repeat: The Juice is Worth the Squeeze!

All you need is ONE really strong piece of content to fuel a content waterfall of other formats. Start with a “masterpiece”. I usually begin with an idea for blogs or long-form written content. They offer a deep dive and are relatively low-effort to create compared to other formats.

Once I’ve done that, now I can start thinking about how I will “juice” that content into other, shorter content formats:

  • 30-second social media videos highlighting key takeaways.
  • Infographics to visually represent complex information.
  • A series of social media posts covering different sections of your content.
  • A podcast episode where you discuss the topic in more detail.
  • An eBook by grouping relevant blogs together.

By repurposing effectively, you can maximize the reach and impact of your content while minimizing the effort required to create entirely new pieces.

Remember, content creation is a strategic journey, not a one-time event. By aligning your content with the buyer’s journey and leveraging the power of repurposing, you can turn your ideas into a content creation powerhouse!

Wrapping It All Up

By repurposing that content, you unlock a treasure trove of smaller, bite-sized pieces that can reach an even wider audience.

Think of it like this: instead of constantly scrambling for brand-new ideas, you can transform existing content into fresh formats like infographics, social media snippets, or even podcast episodes. And guess what? You’ve already done the hard work of researching and writing the original piece!

Plus, you haven’t even scratched the surface!  Imagine looking back at past content and giving it a new lease on life. It’s a win-win for everyone, especially you (because less time spent creating new content means more time for other things!).

So, inspired to start repurposing? Awesome! It’s a fantastic way to maximize your content’s impact and streamline your content creation process.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, maybe now’s the time to explore new formats like video or podcasting. The possibilities are endless!

Ready to build your content marketing strategy? Let’s schedule a chat! I’d love to help you take your content from good to gold!

Ready to start building your content marketing strategy? Let’s get something on the calendar