Before devoting resources and time, we should seriously consider whether content marketing is really useful for industrial companies.

Content marketing isn’t the Holy Grail

It seems that content marketing is the new Holy Grail, the strategy that will solve all our business problems. Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, we only need to distribute content and customers will come to us. Obviously, this isn’t true, but in the case of industrial companies whose customers are other companies, it may even be counterproductive.

For years, I’ve worked for industrial companies and I’ve observed their websites, their profiles on social media and their newsletters. Seldom have I seen interesting content marketing strategies. This isn’t only due to a lack of content design skills (yes, content is designed). The main problem is that the content they create is totally irrelevant to their direct customers.

Is your content interesting for your customers?

I see every day great articles on generators, LED technology, machinery … I see blogs with interesting news about the launch of new products and catalogs, the participation in trade fairs, anniversaries … That content is relevant for me, as a person working for these kind of companies, but is of no interest to their customers.

The content that their customers need is a good description of the company, its activity and, above all, their products. They need quality pictures and videos to show how their machines work. They need a proper technical description of the product characteristics.

Their customers also need good catalogs. On this, industrial companies still have much to learn. Customers don’t want to know where the factory is exactly located, or the story of the founder, and, of course, they aren’t interested at all on the terrible triad “Mission-Vision-Values” (by the way, who invented it?). They need to see the product.

Show first your products, Content comes later

There is certainly nothing wrong with posting pictures from their 50th anniversary. Neither it’s something bad (actually is recommended) explaining that they’ve received an award as the most innovative company or that they’ll be exhibiting in a certain international trade fair. But this isn’t content for a blog. These are news.

This information shows that the company is active, innovative and reliable. But this is secondary information that the customer only will look for if they like the product. It’s useful because it will help improve their Google rank, but this alone won’t convince their future customers.

Some industrial companies understand the difference between blog and news. However, the content posted on their blog isn’t consumed by their customers. The logic behind these articles is to stand out as experts in their field, but they should ask themselves if their customers can use that information. Is that content going to help their customers be more productive?

Who’s really on the other side of the screen?

Finally, it’s also important to keep in mind the specific characteristics of industrial companies. In particular, we need to know who manages their social profiles and what’s their role in the organization.

First, the percentage of such firms with an active profile on social media is very low. Second, in many cases, the community manager (social media manager is too new for them) is a person doing this work in a complementary way or as an external person engaged part time. The role within the company of this community managers and their activity on social media is absolutely unrelated to the marketing strategy. There is no link with those who actually make the decisions. Once, I heard the CEO of a little industrial company admitting that he didn’t know who was managing their Facebook profile.

By this I mean that, probably, the likes and retweets received by their blog articles don’t reach people who might decide to buy their products. Often, on the other side of the screen there’s just a sad community manager who has no relevance.

There’s still much work to do

Does this mean that content marketing is useless in the case of industrial companies? I don’t think so. I’m sure we can use this tool to really develop a useful marketing strategy. But there’s much work to do.