For an Exxon, GE, Dow Chemical, or any other huge, international company with multiple divisions, keeping a continuous stream of content on your website and social media pages is probably easy. But what about a small to mid-size manufacturer, or industrial service company? Do you lay awake at night wondering how in the world you’re going to keep the pipeline flowing with industrial content marketing when the biggest news you have to share is the new CNC machine you just purchased? Have you written blog posts about every product, every service, and now you’re stumped? Never fear: the days when companies only communicate when they have that kind of “news” are over.
Here are some ideas for content when you think you’ve said it all:
Create a series of “how to’s”
Anything you can write that helps a customer or prospect solve a problem has value, like “The 10 Steps to Improved Pump Reliability.” Do you have technical papers or articles that are basically “how to’s” that can be broken down into smaller pieces? You might be able to get 10 blog posts from one paper or article! These types of posts are great for helping to establish your company as a leader in its field.
Record your best practices or efficiency tips
If you have tips or processes that show how to be more effective in a specific area, or best practices that you think are important – share them. Everyone, no matter what industry they’re in, is looking for ways to work smarter – not harder. This also helps to position you as an industry expert.
Talk to inside sales or customer service staff
These are your “front line” people, the ones who are dealing with customers day in and day out. Ask them these questions:
- What are the main reasons that customers call in?
- Is there instructional information you can write that will help solve their problems?
- Go a step further and make this a recurring feature on your blog, perhaps called “Questions from Customers.”
Have outside sales staff talk to your customers – about something other than what they’re selling
This will require a sales person who is comfortable with micro-video cameras; however, this can be a unique way to not only provide something unexpected on your website, but make your customer feel important. Have the sales person ask the customer a series of questions and then string them together for a short “customer showcase” video. The questions that can be asked are endless. Find a consistent theme and when that theme seems to have run its course, find another. For instance, “The greatest challenges to our industry today.”
Give people a peek behind the scenes
Pictures are great, but video is even better (You DO know that YouTube is owned by Google, right?) Show different processes that go on within your company that enable you to produce the product you manufacture, or deliver the service you provide. It doesn’t have to be long: in fact, 3 minutes is PLENTY. Just a short, quick “look at how we do this.”
Get every cent out of that next trade show
You can get a lot of mileage out of trade shows. Prior to the show, write a post about what you hope to get from the show; the technology you’re excited to see; papers that will be presented; events you are hosting or plan to attend. During the trade show, write posts about the sessions you attend; or an interesting conversation you had with an industry insider; or discuss a new company or technology that impressed you. Finally, following the show, write posts about interesting people and companies you became acquainted with; what you learned; what you were surprised by; what you most enjoyed.
Make it more personal and let your company “personality” shine
The possibilities are endless: review a book that relates to your business; chat up a favorite trade magazine; write about your favorite (or least favorite) trade show; if you’re brave enough, discuss what’s happening in your industry in the context of the greater arena of our country and the world (I know, politics …. Scary!) I’m assuming you are a small to mid-size industrial company that isn’t restrained by the conventional political correctness imposed on the Fortune 500′s. Of course, don’t be offensive; but reflect the opinions and values of the majority of your shareholders. This is interesting stuff, people – much more interesting than a recycled sales flyer.
And after all: isn’t that one of our goals in creating content? To make our companies seem more human, more likeable, more worthy of someone’s precious time in our “give it to me now!” world? Start thinking of content as “bait.” Your website is the boat, you’re the fisherman, and your content is the lure. Happy fishing, everyone!