Those dipping their toes into content marketing for the first time can easily fall into a trap and assume an updated website and interesting blog content will directly translate to visitors. In the old days this may have been the case, but now content by itself only goes so far. Paying close attention to what is behind the scenes of your manufacturing or industrial website and blog is equally as important. Spend a little time on the details below and you'll start your journey to build one the best maufacturing websites around.
Content Promotion to Go the Extra Mile
Writing a great piece of content about your manufacturing process, or high tech polymer is just the first step in creating a strong lead generating website. All too often marketers stop at the content creation and publishing steps. To grow your website's usefulness, you'll need to spend additional time promoting your content.
Behind the scenes content promotion is often overlooked. There are 3 common ways that most companies successfully promote their content:
- Social Channels
- Paid Advertising
Promoting Via Your Social Channels: Have a Clear Strategy
Social media channels should have a very specific purpose and intent in your marketing and sales process. Using your social media channels to be an amplification vessel for content that is posted on your website is a strategy many brands are currently taking. As you know by now, getting the most followers or likes generally doesn't translate directly to a sales goal. However, getting followers to like your company because of its thought leadership or refreshing content is another story.
As you start to explore different opportunities for social media, have a clear strategy about how you'll use each of the channels your brand is active on. By doing this, you will help nurture leads through the sales funnel.
Some channels may be great for brand awareness. Other channels may be better suited to share information related to solving specific problems your clients are facing.
In either case you're likely focusing on a few key goals:
- Generating more awareness
- Attracting visitors to get leads
- Qualifying leads
- Nurturing existing leads through the sales funnel
Develop your social media strategies with these goals in mind. The more clarity you have the more successful you'll be.
Paid Advertising should be an important part of your content promotion plan. Pay-Per-Click campaigns targeted at industry specific keywords will help you to reach your potential customers. If you have a manufacturing process or a specialized product, there is a good chance that your clients will use a very specific vocabulary when searching for these types of products and services. By targeting these keywords, and paying for advertising when someone searches by these phrases, you'll be getting quality prospects to your website.
Let your paid campaigns serve two functions.
First, use your paid campaigns to attract traffic to your best content. The content you promote must serve a sales purpose. As with the case on social media, make sure your advertising has a specific goal. Are you creating awareness? Maybe you are trying to collect email addresses for later marketing efforts. Whatever you do, have an end goal in mind. Think about what action you want the consumer to take.
A second use for paid advertising is to effectively A/B test your content. For the price of a few clicks you can test blog titles, product names, or service offerings to see which performs best.
This can simply be done by setting up 2 or 3 ads with links to the same landing page. By altering only a few lines of the copy you can almost get instant feedback on what words resonate best with your target audience. By targeting the correct keywords you're guaranteed to get feedback from people that have a genuine interest in your solutions or products.
Setup two competing ads and be sure to get a few days worth of data. With enough impressions, there should be a clear winner when you compare the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) for the ads. Whichever ad has the highest CTR will be your winner.
If you're looking for a good reference for how to effectively get the most out of a paid campaign, check out the Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords by Perry Marshall and Mike Rhodes.
Off-page search engine marketing can be a painful process. To do it properly it typically takes work, dedication, and someone willing to reach out to "strangers" to build relationships. These reasons are why many brands neglect off-page SEO.
Strong backlinks are almost just as important as the content itself. One well placed backlink can generate a flood of traffic that will come from two different sources. Keep in mind, the link itself should be high quality backlink to another reputable website.
A good backlink will also influence Google's search algorithm. This can, in turn, move you closer to the number one spot on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).
If you're going to commit to doing a solid job on backlink building, remember it takes time and effort.
Some common approaches you can consider for backlink building:
- Guest Posting
- Asking for a backlink
- Industry Conference and Association websites
Writing a guest post for another blog can be a way to quickly get a strong backlink. Often times websites that accept guest posts will offer to create an author profile page. Use the opportunity to include a link to your company's website in your profile.
Check with industry associations to see if they offer guest post opportunities for their blogs or newsletters.
Try searching for a keyword or phrase relevant to your blog topic with the term "guest post" or "guest author", I'll give a little visual example below.
After you've got your search results you'll have to do some sleuthing around. Review the websites that come up and check if they have guest posting opportunities. Be prepared to pitch several sites before you get someone interested.
If you are reaching out to ask if you can guest post, have a topic or sample post available. If you can provide evidence of some quality writing, you'll have a better chance of having an opportunity to get your content posted.
Asking for Backlinks
Just ask. Believe it or not, a good approach for getting backlinks is just to ask for it.
Spend some time to find a good target for your link. Consider the blog post or article you'd like to promote. Then think about other types of articles that would be related to your topic.
Search for keywords and article topics that might be a good fit for a link to your article. When you find a good target or reputable target then see if you can find a way to contact the blog author or editor with a simple email.
I suggest requests that are short and to the point. Include the following in your email.
- A mention of something in the article or post that proves you've read it.
- A request for a backlink related to your post, and why you think its relevant to the author's audience.
- A statement that even if the owner doesn't want to include a link, that's okay too.
These emails don't need to be long. Mine are usually just a couple of sentences.
Be ready to score about 5% of the time or less. Yeah, the odds are terrible, but the reward can be worth the effort.
Don't Forget Industry Websites for Backlinks
One example I'd like to share here is from the Material Handling Institute (MHI, http://www.mhi.org/). Many business associations like MHI offer members a free listing as part of the membership dues. This is an an opportunity for you to build a company profile that includes contact information and backlinks. Check out this example profile on the MHI website for Wintron Integrated Logistics Corporation.
Wintron was smart to include some key information. They've got a backlink to their website with contact information. They've also made their page look professional by adding other assets including videos and whitepapers. All of this content in theory should make that backlink even more valuable.
If your company is involved in trade shows, conferences, or is a member of other industry associations, don't miss a great and easy opportunity to build a backlink.
The Wrap Up on Optimizing Your Website
Remember, generating good traffic goes beyond building a great website. You and your team will have to put in the time and effort to promote your content and build a promotion plan that works for you. A nice mix of PPC ads, social media amplification and quality backlinks should help you maximize your content and get your company noticed on the web.
Until next time, keep on marketing!