I hope your Holidays were wonderful and that you are off to a good start in 2014.
The views I have expressed in this post are based on my daily dealings with manufacturing and industrial companies that are looking to outsource their content marketing and are not based on any scientific research studies. However, I would like to validate my findings with data from third-party surveys. In this case, it is the 2014 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/ MarketingProfs.
Functions that B2B Marketers Outsource
Those findings parallel what I experience with my industrial clients but there are some differences.
Content Planning & Strategy is probably the first thing I am asked to do. There are two kinds of clients that need this done — the first group needs educating about the what and why of industrial content marketing and in the second group are people who have done their own research and understand the benefits, but need help developing an effective content marketing strategy.
The needs of these two groups of clients are very different. I direct people from the first group to this blog and ask them to download some of my industrial marketing white papers as a free educational service. Whereas my Industrial Marketing Consulting and Coaching service is a much better fit for those from the second group.
My post, “What Does a Content Marketing Strategy Mean for Industrial Companies?” goes into more details about content marketing strategy.
Copywriting is the second biggest need for outsourced content marketing. Effective copywriting for industrial content marketing requires a skill set that is very different from copywriting in general. Skills needed for content marketing are much more than just technical copywriting. Outsourcing industrial copywriting is by far the biggest source of confusion and frustrations for clients.
The biggest difference that I have seen from my experience is the ability to extract the technical knowledge from in-house subject matter experts (SME). I consider it the most important aspect of my job as a consultant for outsourced industrial content marketing. Why is this critical?
Things begin to get very complicated when industrial companies realize that there is much more to content marketing than just creating and publishing content. Here are some of the common hurdles that I have come across in my conversations with manufacturers, distributors and engineering companies:
- Our Founder/President/Owner has a clear vision of his business but it is in his head. He finds it difficult to articulate it into written words and differentiate our company
- Our in-house SMEs know their technical stuff but are not good writers and they don’t have time for marketing
- We are afraid of giving away our trade secrets if we reveal too much in our online content
- We don’t want to give away free information. We want site visitors to call our sales people who will explain everything
- Freelancers don’t understand our customers and they lack the technical background to understand our business
Those are not easy challenges to overcome for a copywriter. A good content marketer must play many roles – he/she must know SEO, be an investigative reporter who asks the right questions for extracting the meat of the matter from SMEs, be a copywriter, an editor, a marketer, be savvy about social media and most importantly, be well versed with Analytics and Marketing Automation in order to prove ROI of content marketing. You’ll find many articles here on each one of those topics. Click on an appropriate category or use the search function to find them.
I direct you to three of my earlier blog posts to learn more about working with SMEs and engineers:
- Industrial Blogging Lessons Learned from Working with Technical SMEs
- How to Coax Content Out of Engineers
- Use Content to Uncover Tacit Know-how Inside the Minds of Engineers
These are my thoughts on why industrial companies outsource their content marketing. Share your experiences if you outsource industrial content creation and other marketing functions.