The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything, including how we work, shop, and how much Netflix we watch. Its impact on the marketing world is no different.
As the marketing world has become more experimental, it has shifted its focus to personalization by building relationships with customers. One way to do this is by providing our audience with valuable, relatable, and consistent content.
Below, we provide an overview of why content marketing is more important than ever. We also dive into the manufacturing content marketing benchmarks and statistics for the last few years, giving insight into the key trends and challenges among manufacturing marketers.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to create an effective manufacturing content marketing strategy in 2023!
Importance of Content Marketing
It’s not surprising we saw record highs for internet sales and at-home deliveries during the Covid-19 lockdown. With working from home and limited trips to the store, internet sales within the U.S. skyrocketed to 15.7% in 2020. While this percentage decreased slightly to 14.8% in 2022, there’s no denying the total number of online retail sales is still impressive at $1.07 trillion.
Looking at these numbers, it’s clear why marketers quickly became aware of the importance of having a strong and effective digital content marketing strategy. According to this CMO Survey, 62.3% of companies in June 2020 saw and understood the importance of content marketing. In 2022, that number hit 78% for companies in the manufacturing industry.
Content Marketing Benchmarks and Statistics For Manufacturers
Content Marketing Creation
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s “Manufacturing Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends - Insights for 2022” report, the most used content by manufacturing marketers in 2021 were videos, short articles and posts, and virtual events/webinars/online courses.
Let’s break these down further.
- Videos were produced by 86% of content marketers in 2021.
- 52% of manufacturing marketers agree videos provided the best results in the last 12 months.
- Among the various video formats used, 53% of surveyed marketers said how-to videos, such as product explainers and instructional videos, produced the best content marketing results.
- 94% of marketers agree that video content has increased their audience's understanding of their products, making them more inclined to make a purchase.
Want to get a complete insight into the best types of video marketing for manufacturers? Click here!
Short articles and posts
- 83% of surveyed marketers agree that short articles and posts (fewer than 3,000 words) ranked as the best content in 2021.
- 43% of manufacturing marketers reported short articles and posts were the most result-producing content.
- In another Content Marketing Report for 2022, 30% of surveyed bloggers, marketers, and business owners concluded that producing quality blog content is essential for establishing credibility with potential customers.
Pro-tip: Always remember to break up your content and include plenty of “white space” in your blog posts. This makes the post easier to reach, improves audience attention, and makes the CTA stand out!
Virtual events, webinars, and online courses
- In 2021, 70% of manufacturing marketers hosted virtual events, webinars, or online courses.
- 48% of respondents said these online events produced the best results.
- 35% of surveyed marketers agreed these online events were the best video format to publish.
Content Marketing Distribution
You wouldn’t go on a road trip without a map and a plan and expect to get to the desired end destination. The same is for content marketing distribution. The only way to ensure your content reaches a target audience and end goal is to have a content distribution strategy. Without one, you’re left lost with an inconsistent voice and an inability to measure success.
The 2022 Manufacturing Content Marketing Report breaks down the statistics for three key content distribution outlets — owned media, earned media, and social media. Looking at these numbers can help us understand what worked in 2021 and how you can use each outlet to get the best results from your content distribution strategy in 2023.
Owned media platforms
Owned media platforms are properties your manufacturing company owns, such as your website, blog, social media posts, and email newsletters. Owned platforms are managed by an internal marketing team, giving complete control over what is published.
The most used owned media platforms in 2021 were:
- Organization’s website (92%): On your website, you can promote your content, products and services, and virtual events.
- Email newsletters (74%): Email newsletters are a great way to distribute your content to subscribed users and provide them with valuable knowledge and tools.
- Emails other than newsletters (63%): Messages such as promotional and retention emails can distribute your content, reward engaged subscribers with special offers, or showcase new products and services.
Earned media and public relations
Earned media and public relations is when third parties, such as customers, journalists, and bloggers, spread awareness about your manufacturing company. While it takes extensive time and effort up front, a major advantage of earned media is it expands reach and increases credibility.
New articles, blog posts, social media shares, product reviews, and online communities like Reddit or Quora are all examples of earned media.
The top three earned media channels for manufacturing companies in 2021 were:
- Media/public relations (61%): Builds brand awareness and amplifies your brand.
- Speaking/presenting at events (51%): Getting a shout-out during a presentation circulates your content to a direct audience.
- Collaborative social spaces (27%): These shared spaces promote collaboration and learning and make transferring knowledge more accessible. Your content can be shared by word-of-mouth in these spaces.
Guest posts and articles in third-party publications came in a close fourth with 26%, followed by influencer partnerships with 24% (CMI).
Social media (paid vs. organic)
Paid social posts are advertisements your company pays to appear on a social media platform that targets your specific audience. On the other hand, organic posts, which can also be considered earned media, show up on the feed of users already following your account — the more your post is shared and interacted with, the greater the reach.
The most-used social media platforms for manufacturers in 2021 were:
- Paid Social Media Platforms (CMI):
- Facebook (76%)
- LinkedIn (62%)
- Instagram (32%)
- Organic (nonpaid) Social Media Platforms (CMI):
- LinkedIn (93%)
- Facebook (86%)
- Youtube (80%)
While the most-used social media platforms differ for paid and organic posts, LinkedIn is by far the most effective social media platform to distribute content, with 79% of manufacturing marketers agreeing for organic posts and 74% agreeing for paid posts (CMI). This may be because of LinkedIn's unique ability to target a niche audience by profession, job title, industry, or past and present employer.
Pro-tip: Want to write engaging LinkedIn posts? Always include a hook “above the fold,” the content visible without clicking on “more.” Make the hook intriguing enough that the viewer wants to keep reading. Asking a question or providing a surprising fact or statistic are great hook examples!
Content Marketing Metrics and Performance
According to the 2022 Manufacturing Content Marketing Report, 75% of manufacturing marketers surveyed said their organization measures content performance. The report lists website traffic (73%), website engagement (69%), and email engagement (67%) as the top three ways to measure content marketing distribution and performance.
Monitoring the number of users who visit your website provides insight into what content resonates with your visitors and where you can improve. A website analytics program, such as Google Analytics or Hubspot, can record the number of pages viewed, visitors, and search engine traffic. These programs can also reveal how users landed on your website, where they live, and what keywords appeared in their search query.
Tracking website engagement is just as critical as website traffic. Average time spent on a page, bounce rates, and average session durations are among the most insightful engagement metrics you can track. These metrics provide insight into how long your visitors spend on your website, how many visitors opened your page and immediately returned to their search engine, and how many people returned to your website. Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Hubspot are among the most popular tools for tracking website engagement.
Measuring your email open, click, and bounce rates are all powerful metrics to determine if your emails resonate with your audience. While measuring your email open rate is a great way to see if your email subject lines are enticing, measuring your click-through and conversion rate is the only way you can determine if you need to improve your email copy and call-to-actions (CTAs). Monitoring your soft and hard bounce rates is equally important, as this will help you keep a clean email list, preventing a negative sending score and IP reputation.
Learn everything you need to know about email marketing metrics and how to measure your email engagement here!
Did you know you can compare your company’s overall marketing performance against 400+ businesses (for free) in a B2B HubSpot Marketing Benchmark Group? Join today to receive invite-only access to our new HubSpot Marketing for Manufacturing Companies Benchmark Group!
Content Marketing Future Trends For 2023
More Human-Focused Content
Media and technology surround us. We check our emails in the morning, spend our days on Zoom calls and scrolling through social media, and end our nights binging our favorite Netflix series.
Because content and media saturate our lives, customers are experiencing a state of “digital fatigue,” and the pandemic has only increased the time we spend on our devices. This has led to the marketing shift towards more empathetic, human-focused content and away from sales-oriented content (CMI).
Content That Builds Brand Awareness and Trust
In 2021, the top goal for 88% of surveyed manufacturing marketers was to create brand awareness, followed by gaining credibility and trust with customers (67%) and educating their audience (63%). You want your followers to know your brand and its values, appear trustworthy to your audience and provide helpful content for them. When trust is built with your subscribers, they are more likely to engage with your content and complete a CTA.
Pro-tip: Your content marketing strategy should aim to attract and maintain an audience in a way that eventually leads to customer action. You can do this by giving your customers what they want by focusing on delivering valuable, relatable, and consistent content. Once you establish this relationship and your audience trusts you, you can ask them to take action and attempt to sell.
There’s no denying the future in content marketing is video. Online video consumption has almost doubled in the past four years, going from 1.5 hours per day in 2018 to over 2.5 hours per day in 2022. It’s no surprise 85% of manufacturing companies said they were going to invest in video in 2022 (Wyzowl).
From ads to explainer videos, product tests to testimonials, demonstrations to presentations, tutorials to reviews, video has become a staple of online marketing used to engage viewers and increase sales.
Video will be especially important for manufacturers because of its ability to visually showcase products and services in action, allowing potential customers to understand the benefits that may be less easily represented through a still photo or written product description.
Read our Manufacturing Video Marketing blog for a complete overview of video marketing statistics this year!
Content Marketing and SEO
You can’t talk about content marketing without mentioning the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) and search algorithms. Changes to (SEO)/search algorithms (62%) and data management/analytics (62%) have been key focuses for manufacturing marketers. This is for a good reason, as Google’s search algorithms are constantly changing.
These algorithm changes impact how your website appears on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) and how many customers are viewing your website, which can affect your traffic and sales.
While there are no clear-cut answers on how to best respond to these changes, Google gives one main piece of advice: Ensure you’re offering quality and valuable content.
Below are some key tips on how you can publish content that will land at the top of a SERP.
- Keep your content up to date by regularly refreshing your posts with updated information on your products, services, and industry news.
- Do your SEO keyword research and optimize your on-page and off-page SEO.
- Always track your SEO performance using tools like Google Search Console. Make adjustments based on what’s working and what’s not working.
- Research search intent (the purpose or reason someone conducts an online search) to ensure you’re creating valuable content that answers questions.
- Focus on link building and content clusters, which can help boost your expertise and page authority. Providing guest posts, videos, or articles on a related third-party’s website with good performance and an interactive platform is also a great way to build your page authority.
Learn more about SEO and how you can optimize your content and boost your search rankings here!
The marketing world is shifting. As marketers, we must adjust to these changes. Focusing on creating quality content with a personalized and more empathetic approach when reaching our audience is vital.
Creating the right type of content and executing its delivery is crucial in the manufacturing marketing world. Hopefully, you now have the knowledge and confidence to do so. Whether it’s a video, short article, or online event, start planning your upcoming manufacturing content strategy today!
If you’re looking for more data-driven, strategic guidance for your 2023 content marketing strategy, we are happy to help. Contact our expert marketing team today or learn more about our services here!