These days marketing is all about delivering “good content.” This ranges from short ads to sales emails to blog posts and everything in between. This is the age of information marketing, and if your shop puts out the best content, you win. It’s no longer about who shouts the loudest, or who has the deepest pockets.
Before diving into our ten favorite low-cost content creation tools, it’s worth quickly addressing a couple of misconceptions about content marketing.
- Misconception 1 - “Our industry’s consumers aren’t interested in manufacturing content, so nobody will want to read about it.”
There’s an audience for everything, and if you’re building things that people will buy, it doesn’t matter; there is scope for content marketing.
Somebody is making purchasing decisions at your customers’ companies, and whether or not they’re well acquainted with the industry, they’re are on the lookout for good content. According to the 2016 B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing Trends, 65% of manufacturing marketers said producing engaging content is their biggest challenge.
- Misconception 2 - Good content marketing is all about making things “go viral.”
This misses the point of good content marketing. Big-name brands like Coca-Cola or
McDonald’s might want their content to go viral, but this is far less important in the industrial sector.
Your shop is looking to engage a smaller, more focused audience. For instance, a company manufacturing hydraulic cylinders is going to target people in the automotive and mechanical or civil engineering industries. So they should produce content that is useful to those people -- like blog posts on large excavating machinery or the latest developments in automobile design. Get your audience engaged and you’ll be the go-to company when purchasing managers need information about what you offer.
But acknowledging the importance of good content is only half the battle -- creating it is the hard part. Let’s have a look at the best low-cost content creation tools for producing focused, highly engaging content.
If you need content ideas, then Buzzsumo is the best place to start. Type in some keywords from your industry and you’ll find a long list of the most popular blog posts and articles on the web. Results include the number of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platform shares.
For example, if you manufacture bearings for shop machinery, search for ‘mechanical bearings,’ ‘large ball bearings,’ etc. From there you’ll be able to see what content is performing well and how you can emulate it on your site.
Atlas is a free, extremely useful tool for turning up charts and graphs on any subject you can think of. Searching for “Manufacturing,” for instance, turns up dozens of charts, including this one on Robots in various manufacturing production processes. Statistics and visuals are key to engaging content -- especially in the manufacturing field. Atlas will help you find everything you could ever need.
Half the battle when producing content is researching the kinds of questions your prospects are asking. Searching for questions about “centrifugal casting”’ will reveal questions like “What are the advantages of centrifugal casting over sand casting?” If your shop uses this process, this could be an excellent idea for an engaging blog post. Quora is great for B2B content creation because it showcases real questions from your target market, and rarely goes into the level of detail its users desire. As a bonus, you can answer these questions on Quora to further develop your status as an expert.
This modest online plugin allows you to take a snapshot of your screen and add arrows, shapes, text boxes, and images. What makes this tool “awesome” is that you can take something that may be relatively dry such as prototype designs and spice them up with images and insightful comments. The customers your prototypes are designed for probably aren’t interested in these annotations, but those reading an eBook on what working with you looks like would probably love some visual aids.
On the subject of creating better visuals, infographics are a popular way to present boring data in eye-catching and informative ways. Infogr.am transforms data into beautiful infographics and charts that condense lots of information into more palatable formats. It’s free to use, but accessing the more powerful features requires a small monthly subscription.
The manufacturing industry relies on extremely complex datasets, and supply chain analyses, production yields, and costings could all do with some tidying up. The best way to share this data internally or externally in B2B content marketing is to create engaging visualizations.
LinkedIn is one of the best ways to connect with other businesses. Although it may seem more like a networking platform, LinkedIn is an excellent place to do your content marketing. By building up your connections, you increase the visibility of your blog or website. So, for instance, if you are in the food manufacturing business, you can link up with distributors, supermarket chains, etc., and then post status updates that tell them about your latest blog on the changing preferences of food consumers.
Technically it’s not a content creation tool, but Slideshare certainly helps with raising awareness of your brand and products. Slideshare allows anyone to upload PDFs, videos, webinars, and several other types of content for increased visibility. With 70+ million visitors a month, there’s a good chance that whatever you post will receive comments and shares, much like Facebook. And because Slideshare is owned by LinkedIn, it can get your name out to valuable prospects.
Whiteboard-style animated presentation videos are a very effective way of presenting ideas that are “shareworthy.” VideoScribe lets you create professional educational videos swiftly and effectively. VideoScribe is especially well suited for manufacturers that want to present complex products or ideas in a simplified way. For example, a company that produces industrial robotics for warehousing firms could describe their products and assembly line to purchasing representatives that have less technical knowledge.
When creating digital content, it’s vital to include relevant keywords and phrases to optimize for search engine visibility. If you want to rank highly in Google (and let’s face it who doesn’t?), then this free Google Keyword Tool is a must. Users can research statistics on various keywords, such as search density, so you know which ones to include in your headlines and body content.
Let’s say you manufacture printed circuit boards, type ‘PCB’ into the search box, and it comes up with over 700 possible keywords/phrases, such as PCB layout, custom PCB, PCB components, etc.
Grammar can be a bit of a stumbling block if you’re creating your own content. All those rules you learned (or didn’t learn!) in school are dim and distant memories. What’s a preposition again? Is it okay to split an infinitive? Grammarly can clarify these things for you without the textbooks and mid-terms.
As a free online version or app that will work directly in your browser, Grammarly provides suggestions on how to improve your syntax and readability. The paid version even integrates directly into MS Word and has other useful functions like a plagiarism checker, to make sure that you’re not inadvertently creating content that is too unoriginal.
So there you go, ten terrific tools for tackling your manufacturing-focused content creation. Of course there’s one resource that we always have to mention...our very own marketing and website production teams.