One of the struggles many manufacturers face when they implement inbound marketing strategies is producing the amount of content that is needed in order to see the success they expect. Typically the scenario goes as follows: management has signed off on a new initiative and now employees are required to add another component to their already jam-packed workloads. Objections range anywhere from “I’m not a writer” to “I simply don’t have the time for marketing.”
When it comes down to it, there are simple steps organizations can take to alleviate added stress on employees and, as a result, produce successful content. Ensure a successful inbound marketing strategy by utilizing the following four tips.
1. Identify Your Budget and Resources
Half of the challenges marketers face with content marketing stem from a lack of internal infrastructure to support the initiative. Before plunging into content generation, marketers need to step back and answer the following question: “If you could only successfully execute one thing what would that be?” This could be a simple goal, such as posting eight blogs a month, or something a bit meatier, say acquiring 25 new blog subscribers this month. From there, you need to determine the amount of money you are willing to spend to achieve this one thing as well as who on the team needs to and has the bandwidth to participate.
It’s okay to start small! Your employees will need sometime to adjust to their new roles. Try assigning employees one task, such as writing a blog, and letting them become proficient before expanding their responsibilities. Sometimes manufacturers find that it’s easier to start on the outside (with the help of a marketing agency) to show people how it’s done.
2. Communication is Key
Once you’ve determined who in your organization will be participating in your content strategy (remember - not everyone will be a good fit), it is important to clearly communicate their new roles. This means explaining your content strategy and how they fit into it. Some important topics to discuss and document include:
- Who is creating content
- When content is due
- What content topics are approved
- Where these content pieces will be published
- Why they are required to participate
- How to actually create the content
The ‘how’ section of your discussion is vital. It’s hard to give anyone a blank sheet of paper and tell them to create successful content. Create an outline that depicts your version of the perfect blog post or whitepaper and offer additional training if needed to help hone those writing skills.
3. Create Long-Term Employee Buy-In
One of the largest struggles manufacturers face when implementing inbound marketing is sustaining it for the long haul. When the initial excitement fades, manufacturing marketers find that the content stops coming for a myriad of reasons - “I don’t have time” or “This isn’t worth my time,” most notably. In order to combat this, you must create sufficient buy-in on all levels. Some companies have success with incentive programs, such as giving gift cards for the best performing blog.
However, the best way to ensure your employees are engaged and producing excellent content is by incorporating content responsibilities into performance evaluations. Chances are your employees don’t want to lose their jobs, so they’ll be more likely to go above and beyond to meet their performance goals. While the methods vary, the bottom line is the same - if you do not have company buy-in then the life of your inbound marketing campaign is limited.
4. Repurpose Content
Generating the required amount of content to successfully support an inbound marketing initiative can feel like pulling teeth. Internal writers get burnt out and content is hastily thrown together just so something gets published on the blog - resulting in lackluster performance. Many B2B professionals feel as they have to reinvent the wheel with every new content piece, but that’s not the case. Chances are you already have content in your possession that is performing well with your target audience, so start there.
You can repurpose content in a variety of ways that can help streamline the content generation process. Take a technical whitepaper and create a blog post or two from it or take an existing blog and create a follow-up from a comment it received. Another way to create content is by creating variations of the same content based on the different stages in the buyer’s journey. This way, you continue to promote the same key messages again and again to grow your brand voice, even if these messages are addressing different nuances.
Once your content strategy is underway, don’t forget to perform regular content audits. These audits will help you ensure that the content being produced aligns with what your target audience desires at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Digital marketing agencies are great resources to have when implementing inbound marketing strategies, especially for manufacturers with small marketing departments. Coupled with your industry knowledge, these firms can help you successfully launch your campaign through their employees’ expertise in the digital space. With some agencies, this can include anything from persona identification and funnel strategy to content writing and social promotions. Shop around for an agency who will work with your team to not only establish your target audience, but also work hand in hand with you to get content generated and initiatives moving.
Do you have any other tips for implementing successful B2B inbound marketing strategies? Tell us about it in the comments!