I was at a good customer several weeks ago. This particular customer was not happy with their keyword rankings on the search engine return page. On several occasions over the past two years we had urged them to create more content. We explained, increasingly Google wants more product/industry-related content. Like many businesses they were too busy running their business to think about “content marketing” or “inbound marketing”.
I realized during my conversations with this successful, third generation, company they had no idea what I meant when I urged them to “create more content”
Sort of like telling a Nun how good sex is. There is simply no experience to relate to.
So it is with many B2B industrial companies.
I’m not going to get technical, but Google is returning results completely different than they were two years ago, all for the better. Have you heard of Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird? If you want to dig deeper into the technical reasons why Google…go for it. Easy to Google,
The point is…B2B Industrial companies and marketers need to become great content creators or they risk irrelevance on the web.
During my discussion at our customer, the National Sales Manager asked me, “How do we create all this content that you say Google needs? We have never done any of this before.” (I’m thinking….here is a great blog post.)
Starting a blog is the easiest and best way to create the kind of content Google now requires. As content marketing/inbound marketing evangelist Marcus Sheridan says, “They ask, your answer”, ideally with a blog post.
And here lies the great divide. How does a B2B industrial company make that required leap to produce helpful, engaging & entertaining content…to engineers yet? WOW…that is a giant leap.
It can be done. But you must carve out a team in your organization with a passionate leader that understands Google’s need for content. Frankly, at minimum, the leader should have been in the web marketing/SEO industry for at least 2-4 years. Someone with this kind of track record has a clear understanding of where SEO has been and where it is headed. They understand the business reasons to embrace content marketing and they also understand the technical tactics that work. Ideally this leader must eat and sleep content or inbound marketing. If they do not have their own blog featuring industrial internet marketing, I would walk away.
This must be a process, not a project.
Does your content marketing leader need to be an employee or do you outsource this skill?
Ideally you want them to be an employee. The problem is, I have hundreds of industrial B2B customers and I cannot think of one company that has anyone with that skill… or passion. Content and inbound marketing is simply too new in the market place.
My recommendation is to take a “hybrid” approach for the near term. Just get started.
Find an agency or an individual consultant that can help your business start the process of creating great content. You will have to outsource the process until your understand the value and how the process can be in sourced.
Whether you find that special employee or you outsource leadership, your staff will be key to the success of your internet marketing efforts. Why, you ask?
There is good probability that your industrial products and services are well documented (i.e spec sheets, sales brochure, technical papers, etc.) Also your engineers, sales group and customer service employees have a whole lot of content in their head or at their grasp. The leader needs access and cooperation to create a culture of content to be competitive on the web. The leader needs some basic leadership and people skills to communicate the importance of culture change and get the staff to buy-in and perform.
If you are going to take content/inbound marketing seriously, you are going to have “content chaos”, as I call it. If you are creating and deploying great content you need a platform to measure what content works and what does not. I would invest early in a marketing automation platform. At Market Pipeline we use HubSpot, but there are many out there. This is not meant to be a post about marketing automation, but trust me, if you are going be successful at content marketing, embrace marketing automation. It is a lot easier sooner, rather than later.
OK…here is another skill set you need. Are you overwhelmed yet?
Again, for the short term, work with an agency that has experience in content marketing for industrial companies. There is a good probability that your engagement will render positive results and there will be measurable ROI on your investment in content/inbound marketing…generating more leads that generate more sales. There is simply no better way for B2B lead generation. Period.
Once you get your footings and you have created a culture of content, there is a good chance you will find that special employee to take over the leadership of your content machine.
Just get started.
There is a powder keg of opportunity for the industrial marketer that embraces content/inbound marketing. Why? Because none of your competitors are doing it…yet.
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