Have you ever wondered what kind of content you need to be producing as a building materials manufacturer to help you grow your business online?
Chances are, you have heard this buzzword called "content marketing." The idea of content marketing is that you are going to produce online content that people are going to see as they will want to buy from your business. Unfortunately, the problem is that most manufacturers are actually taking the wrong approach when creating online content.
I'm here today to shed light on what content marketing is and to debunk the myths surrounding it, and talk about the right strategy that your building materials company needs to take to reach out to your audience.
Where Most Content Marketing Goes Wrong
Let's first start by talking about what manufacturers are doing wrong with their content.
If You are already producing some form of content online, or you're thinking about getting into the space of content marketing then you may be thinking:
"Let me start a blog somewhere online where I can produce articles, videos, infographics, white papers and other content so I can show everyone how great my product is."
"I will write articles about the trade show I went to recently that featured my product.”
"I can talk about the award our company has won concerning our product."
"Let's discuss the exciting features that we have with our new product line."
The problem with the following lines of thinking is that you are focusing all this content about you, your company and your product. Take a step back from this idea and consider this one fact.
Do you know who cares about your product? You do.
What does your audience care about? Their problems.
Your audience want solutions to their daily problems so they can have productive operations. You are already putting yourself at a disadvantage with connecting to your audience because you are talking about things that they are not presently interested in. They won't understand what your product has to do with their problems.
Understand Your Audience's Issues
Before you even start thinking about posting content, you have to understand what issues and problems your audience is facing.
Yes, your content will bring in more leads and sales, but only if you write about something your audience cares about. Pushing your product will not boost sales. All of the content you create needs to be focused on helping your audience solve their problems, even if that doesn't immediately lead to a sale.
Their problems may consist of:
- finding inspiration
- project design
- increasing profitability
- targeting efficiency in their operations
- dealing with staffing problems
- and other issues...
These are the problems that a contractor, designer, architect, builder, or whomever your audience is has to deal with on a daily basis. Your content has to feature the solutions that they are looking for to resolve these problems - not the products that you are trying to push on them.
They want someone who is going to help them be quicker on the job or be more profitable. They desire the information and the steps on how to do exactly that.
If your product is a part of this solution, then that is great. You can feature something in the content where you mention your product as a solution to their needs. Yet you can't create the content where it only features your product. It should never overshadow or be the center focal point of your online content marketing.
Change Your Writing Focus
Let me give you an example. Let's say you are a roofing manufacturer and you have an excellent roofing line. You automatically have your products on your mind when sitting down at the computer.
You are thinking to yourself, "OK, let me write an article about all the great features around my product and how it's going to help me be more profitable. Then I will present this online content to my audience."
That's the wrong approach. What you need to be saying is, "OK, roofers might have to deal with profitability, or they don't know how to deal with cash flow or staffing. I will feature five tips in my content on how roofers can be more profitable, or three ideas on how they can deal with staff for their next roofing project."
Then somewhere while writing the content, you notice where you can make the suggestion on how your product can solve one of their problems. You plug a few short sentences in about the product. Yet you don't want to overdo it. Then the next blog you write might not even mention your product.
See how you focused entirely on offering valuable information in your online content marketing. You placed the audience and their needs as the central focal point of the content. Now, you have captured their attention as they will want to read more of your content.
Become a Content Marketing Champion for Your Audience
While you are ready to create the content marketing your online audience desires, you still have to get buy-in from everyone else in the company to take this course of action. The next time you are in a meeting, someone might say, "Hey, how is our content marketing doing?" They may also ask, "Should we jump on the content marketing bandwagon?"
Right at that moment, you are going to have to be the person who is championing for your audience. You will need to convince everyone at this meeting that the content is not all about the product, but about the problem your content will solve for your audience. By taking this approach, you can then gain a larger audience who will be interested in the products you sell.
Focus the conversation in completing the following tasks:
- Discuss your audience's painpoints and how you can help them solve them.
- Create the steps that will be used to plot out all of audience's issues - including information resources, content writing resources and publishing resources.
- Stress how important these actions will be in positioning your company in the audience's mind.
You want your audience to see you as a helpful resource who understands their daily problems and is willing to help them get past these issues. They will, in turn, want to buy products from you when the time is right that they actually need your items.
What Are the Next Steps of Content Marketing?
You have been given the right strategies about what content marketing is, how you should be producing it, and the direction and approach you should be taking to make the content engaging for your audience.
Now you are ready to move on with the next steps: where you need to be publishing your content, how you plan to promote it, what successful content marketing even looks like, and how do you measure your reach and audience engagement.
Be on the look out for more resources from us that will help you accomplish just that. In the meantime, here are a couple articles about how to improve your building materials blog and how to get started with Content Strategy.