There was a time not too long ago when manufacturers and industrial companies were blamed for being slow adopters of content marketing. Have we progressed from that to too much content in just a few short years?
Take a look at these stats from the 2015 B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs. 65% of manufacturers are creating more content this year compared to one year ago and that is down slightly from the previous year’s 70%.
The next chart from the same study is even more telling. Only 26% say they are effective with content marketing. So almost three-quarters of the manufacturers are either ineffective or are “neutral” even though they are producing more content.
What is the problem with content marketing for industrial companies?
In my experience working with industrial companies, there is way too much focus on quantity. Just pumping out more content for the sake of creating content is not content marketing. You will only add to the content noise if all you do is publish more content without any thought to quality, strategy and/or purpose to your content marketing for industrial companies. Inevitably the end result will be wasted time and money without a corresponding increase in the number of leads and sales.
My opinion is shared by others. Here is a quote from Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs – “I don’t think how much is the right question, it’s more about how effective your content is. Focus on whether it’s meeting your objectives: Is it igniting conversations? Is it enabling relationships? Is it sparking business?”
Interestingly, I found an article published in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) that talks about the same problem way back in 2009. Information overload costs the U.S. economy $900 billion a year was one of the findings from a survey cited in the article. Read Death by Information Overload by Paul Hemp.
Google, and you will find plenty of articles about information overload. Some have even suggested that there isn’t too much content, but the problem is not enough quality content that is relevant to the target audience.
My point is that quality trumps quantity once you’ve reached a critical mass of content. You have to strike a balance between tweaking forever to create the perfect blog post and publishing on a regular basis.
This focus on relevance is very important when you target time-challenged engineers and technical professionals.
In a recent editorial by Paul Studebaker, Editor in Chief of Control, he wrote, “Engineers have access to all the knowledge they might need to achieve their professional goals. So much, in fact they might need guidance on which information is needed to attain their particular set of objectives.”
However, this audience is not satisfied with the information they find on suppliers’ sites. According to Acquity Group’s annual State of B2B Procurement study, “Although supplier websites are the most popular channels for conducting research online (according to 83 percent of respondents), buyers are not satisfied with the level of information offered—only 37 percent of B2B buyers who conduct research through a supplier’s website said it was the most helpful channel for this purpose.” (See my post, Most Industrial Websites Miss the Mark).
If you are manufacturer or an industrial company that has been doing content marketing for a while, you know the key to success lies in developing a good content marketing strategy, executing it methodically, tracking, measuring and refining it diligently.