In a recent global survey conducted by Trew Marketing and IEEE GlobalSpec, 92% of engineers said they are more likely to do business with companies that regularly produce new and current content.
This probably comes as no surprise since content marketing has been the buzzword du jour for many jours now.
Given the effectiveness of content marketing in courting potential buyers over a long sales cycle, it seems like it would be a no-brainer for B2B technical companies. So then why don’t more technical businesses engage in content marketing?
Basically, it takes too long. At least, that’s the general consensus.
In order to produce high-quality content that potential buyers will find useful, you have to engage with the subject matter experts in your organization — people who are already very busy being scientists and engineers.
But you’ve probably guessed that I’m about to challenge this notion, so I’ll get right to the point: technical companies already do 80% of the work required for content marketing without even realizing it.
The only pieces missing are some intentionality (actively watching for good content within the organization), and the marketing expertise to make it ready for prime time.
So where does this magical 80% of content development occur? It could come from a lot of different places, but here are some common scenarios:
- The big customer pitch
- The technical conference
- The new facility
- The trip to the bank
The big customer pitch
Remember that time when that big potential customer wanted to meet with half of your management team and discuss everything from product specs to manufacturing capacity to the financial stability of your company?
I’d be willing to bet you all suddenly found lots of time to pull together comprehensive company overviews, value propositions, and some very thorough answers to their tough questions.
Because you are not about to show up for this big opportunity unprepared.
Here’s the cool part: the process of preparing for that big customer meeting actually yielded a big chunk of raw material that could serve as the basis for at least one piece of great content.
Keep in mind we’re not talking about standard marketing collateral here (although you could probably use this material to optimize your collateral), rather we are talking about the custom, specialized presentations and reports that are being prepared for this one meeting.
Of course, this raw material still needs to be parsed, sanitized (sensitive information removed), reworked, etc., but that is a job for your marketing expert.
As long as the marketing expert already has a basic understanding of your business, they should be able to work briefly with your subject matter experts to pull together a finished product — one or more blog posts, a white paper, etc.
The technical conference
This one may be fairly obvious, but a lot of great content gets used one time for a presentation at a technical conference, only to collect dust on a hard drive somewhere for the rest of eternity.
Granted, you may not be able to use the content in its original form if the conference takes the publishing rights, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be reused in some other form. You should absolutely be thinking about how you can repurpose this content to make explainer videos, blog posts, etc.
The new facility
Think beyond the ribbon cutting and the press release. When you build or open a new facility (manufacturing, R&D, distribution, etc.), you likely have more knowledge and capability than you had before, which means you have something new to talk about.
Maybe a new manufacturing facility enables you to hit tolerances you couldn’t hit before. This is a great opportunity to talk about the importance of such tolerances and how they affect performance of the final product. Remember, it’s not necessarily about you, it’s about being generous with your expertise and helping your market make better decisions.
The trip to the bank
Banks and other investors like to work with stable, responsible businesses. When you approach them for financing, they may want to know about your management practices, organizational development, business continuity plans, etc.
Even if you can’t reuse this type of content publicly, there’s still a good chance that a report or white paper on these topics would be very useful when pitching to other large customers.
And if you’re leading the way in your industry with environmental programs, diversity initiatives, etc., content that focuses on these areas is appropriate for almost any audience.
Conclusion: All content is reusable
So how can you start making the most of your content development?
- Look for patterns across your audiences. What are the most common questions? What are the persistent misconceptions? These are all things that can be turned into individual articles or collected in a white paper or ebook.
- Work with your marketing pros on EVERYTHING. Keep content marketing in mind when pulling together content for sales, conferences, and other presentations. Give your marketing pros a heads-up when new content is produced internally.
- Remember that all content is reusable. It may a simple cut-and-paste operation, or (more likely) it will require some finessing. But it beats starting from scratch, and is much more likely to actually get done.
2017 Smart Marketing for Engineers® Research Report — Trew Marketing / IEEE GlobalSpec
5 Steps to Set SMEs up for Content Creation Success — Trew Marketing