New digital content and blog posts have become the marketing lifeblood of most businesses today, but for manufacturers and industrial companies they are especially vital. Specifiers and buyers tend to do more research before purchases, and the sales cycle can run into months before decisions are made. That's a lot of time to keep prospects engaged and keep you in their consideration set.
Enter blog articles. For most B2B companies this is simply a section of your website used to regularly publish helpful articles that are relevant to your customers and prospects. The goal is to build trust and rapport by sharing your industry expertise on educational topics that keep technical buyers coming back for more. Furthermore, search engines love new content and blogging has proven to be a very effective search engine optimization (SEO) tool.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 85% of B2B marketers think their content marketing improved in 2017 primarily because of better content creation. Good news, but how do you keep content fresh with new topics? We've got a few ideas and share them with you here.
Create Interactive Material: Video has been a hot tool for a few years so it makes sense that more interactive material would be the next step. Engaging prospects with quizzes, surveys, webinars, and other interactive formats will help you learn more about their needs while being able to share company information at the same time. It's a win-win for everybody.
Leverage Guest Experts: By inviting industry experts, product managers, and service engineers to chime in on your corporate blog on a regular basis, you not only position your company as a thought leader, but you also get a new world of ideas from these outside experts and sources.
Re-Purpose Existing Content: You probably have a lot of content that's been made available in fixed formats for customer access. You can extend the life of these materials and beef up your blog content simply by reshaping what you've already created. Have a great white paper on a hot topic? Break it down into a blog series. Interesting customer testimonials? Craft blog articles from them leading with customer benefits and valued selling points. And don't forget about your core corporate materials. Revive your mission and core brand principles into a great blog series that will remind customers why they'll always remain loyal to you.
Tap Into Customer-Facing Resources: The people in your sales and customer support groups have a direct line to the people you want to reach. They can tell you right now what's making customers happy and what isn't. Learn to use what they know and build ongoing blog posts based on addressing customer pain points, common questions, and trending interests. Customers will appreciate that they've been heard and your internal teams will be grateful that critical customer issues get some visibility and resolution where necessary.
Create a Customer Showcase: You may already have customer case studies in your arsenal of content so why not modify to create blog content? It's usually just a minimal editing job for you while customers are pleased to get the exposure. It will also show prospects and new customers how much you value these relationships as well as showing the confidence these showcase companies have in your people, products, and services.
Try Content Research Tools: There are a number of great content research tools available now that help marketers fill in blog content calendars when product and corporate news runs dry. Tools like Google Trends, BuzzSumo, Feedly, Quora, Slideshare, YouTube and others including your competitors and industry websites will show you trending topics.
If you're feeling tapped out when it comes to new blog topics, you're not alone. Generating a steady diet of content can lead to burnout unless you change focus and vary the tools you're using. Don't be afraid to innovate and always be sure that whatever content you create, it's in line with your brand, it's authentic, it's original, and it's something that your customers will find interesting and relevant.