Forging Connections: How Manufacturers Can Create Content that Resonates

Content | Strategy

Today’s buyers spend significant time researching options before making purchasing decisions. They often begin with a general need or problem and may not yet have a specific solution in mind. This is where content marketing becomes crucial. It allows manufacturers to serve as “problem solvers” and guide buyers toward solutions.

Many manufacturers create valuable content like product comparisons, spec sheets, or blog posts announcing new innovations. However, sometimes this content doesn’t generate the desired results (traffic, comments, click-through rate). Creating impactful content requires aligning three critical pieces:

  • Comprehensive audience research: Understanding your target audience is essential for creating content that resonates.
  • Diversified content formats: Cater to different learning styles and preferences by offering various content formats (e.g., blog posts, infographics, videos).
  • Activated engagement channels: Utilize appropriate channels to reach your audience and encourage interaction (e.g., social media, email marketing).

This blog delves into the first piece – audience research.

The Importance of Knowing Your Audience

It may seem obvious, but knowing your audience is often overlooked. How are you going to create a great piece of content, if you don’t first and foremost know your audience? 

Marketers, myself included, can sometimes get too focused on showcasing their strengths and forget to meet their audience where they are. Here are some key ways to uncover your audience, starting with internal resources.

Getting Feedback from the Factory Floor 

One of the best ways to start ideating content is to have a constant feedback loop between marketing and team members of your manufacturing company. Here are just a few questions you might ask various departments:


  • What are the most common pain points you hear from customers?
  • What questions are customers or prospects most frequently asking?
  • What features or benefits seem to resonate most with customers/prospects?
  • What are the biggest objections to closing a deal?

Customer Service

  • What are the top reasons customers contact the support team?
  • What feedback have we received as far as quality/performance/usability/delivery?
  • What have been the most effective ways of resolving customer issues?


  • In what ways does our product/service align with our customer needs? What gaps does it fill?
  • What opportunities exist for innovation and improved customer satisfaction?
  • How does our product/service compare to others in the industry? 


  • What are the key technical features or specifications that customers value most?
  • What opportunities exist for new product development based on customer feedback?
  • What new technologies could be incorporated to improve product functionality or appeal?

Research & Development

  • What are the emerging trends and needs within the customer base?
  • What technologies are competitors utilizing to attract customers?
  • Are there any feasibility studies or customer research available to guide R&D efforts?
  • What long-term trends are likely to impact customer needs and preferences?

Asking these questions not only provides insights for content creation but also helps you understand market trends, potential new markets, and innovation opportunities.

infographic of factory floor feedback questions

Gather Industry Insights 

The next place to start mining for audience insights is through industry data. Are there associations, clubs, or other networks you can join? What about publications your audience might keep up with or follow? Does your target market put out any industry reports?

Once you’ve started gathering information internally, it’s time to look outward. Staying engaged with your network, both virtually and in person, can help you uncover and learn from audiences relevant to your business. 

Associations & Publications

Join associations, follow relevant publications, and explore reports or organizations catering to your target audience.

As an example, Top Floor works closely with the WCMP (Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity) to gather manufacturing industry diagnostics. Each year, the WCMP puts out a Wisconsin Manufacturing Report that helps us to stay privy to what is most top-of-mind for many for our customers right now, and create content that relates to some of the biggest issues in the manufacturing industry. 

Consider partnering or even sponsoring these types of reports/associations. This opens up the opportunity to influence some of these reports with your own questions and help gather market data at scale. 

Social Media 

Actively engage on social media, especially LinkedIn. Create a company page with regular content and dedicate time to individual engagement and research. 

For example, join groups where your market may be.  Ask questions in posts and polls, and respond to comments to initiate discussions. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Ask questions in your post, for example, “Are you testing new automation technology this year? Let me know in the comments!”
  • Use polls in your social media to gauge how your network feels about certain topics, or ask them to rate the level of importance of something. 
  • Respond to comments, whether it be on your own post or someone else’s, to ask follow-up questions and initiate a discussion. 

Source –


Events & Trade Shows

We’re in the digital age, and the potential impact of networking and events can sometimes be lost on us. But I’m here to say (as a millennial!) a lot can be gained from in-person networking and events. One of my tricks for feeling more comfortable in these situations is to come into them with curiosity. Be curious about your prospective audience, and raise questions rather than pitch your solutions. Go into these events not with the intention of finding “your next hot lead”, but to better understand them and connect with them. 

One great place to do this is tradeshows. Don’t make your presence there just be about making the next sale. Use this as an opportunity to ask questions about how they are currently solving the problem you answer to, what has been a challenge, and what might a “perfect solution” look like to them. Be curious and authentic. As you have these conversations, you should start to notice themes. 

Run Digital Diagnostics

I would be remiss if I didn’t share ideas for how you can use your own (digital) marketing data to help you identify what types of content to lean into. It’s likely you already have many tools at your disposal, including Google Analytics, Google Ads data, and social media data & tools.

Google Analytics

One of the best places to gather audience insights is through Google Analytics. GA4 offers many unique insights to get a better understanding of how your audience moves through your website, what pages they spend the most time on, and where they drop off. If you have site search, you can also use this as a tool to see what users are searching that you either don’t have or is not readily available. 

To take this a step further, you can invest in tools like Inspectlet or Hotjar which deliver heatmaps to show you how people are reaching important content on your website and what content they spend the most time reviewing. 


Google Ads

Google Ads offers a plethora of hidden gems when it comes to keyword research (what your audience is searching for). If you are running search campaigns, you can view ad performance by “search keywords”, meaning what your users actually input into Google that made your ad show up. Not only is this good to make sure you are capturing relevant traffic, but it can also give you some fresh ideas of what content or information users are looking for, and evaluating if those are content gaps that you might want to close in on. 

Social Media

Finally, social media (especially LinkedIn for B2B marketers) is your best friend. As mentioned earlier, it’s a great way to follow industry trends and hear from your target market what their challenges and pain points are. You can also use social listening tools, which are built-in with many social media scheduling software (for example, Hootsuite and Sprout Social), to stay alerted when certain topics are discussed and keep an eye on emerging trends. 

On top of this, your very own data can also help you gather audience information. Reviewing your best-performing posts (those with the most click-throughs, likes, and comments) can help indicate what types of content are most relevant to your audience. 

Use AI for Direction 

While AI shouldn’t be used exclusively for anything, whether it’s content writing or market research, it can be a really effective starting point. Some ways you can use it to develop personas and audience research, are to ask specific questions about your exact target audience and identify their pain points, preferred digital channels, and what types of content they are reading. 

Below is an example prompt and response from ChatGPT:

Prompt: Give me a persona for my B2B precision part manufacturing company to target as a potential new customer.

Wrapping Things Up

Remember, you have many free tools at your disposal, and one of the best ones is simply getting people talking. Combine that with powerful digital marketing tools to understand what your audience needs and wants.

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