Manufacturing PR clients are some of my favorites to work with.
These companies often sit on a treasure trove of stories just waiting to be told. But, they may need a little help to get their news and stories out there.
Meanwhile, data shows that industrial buyers are 70% of the way through their process of making a buying decision before they contact a supplier. This means they’re doing most of their research online. It’s important that a manufacturer’s website provides content buyers are searching for.
Further, public relations is at the top of the list of organic methods used to promote content, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Yet only 61% of survey respondents are using PR techniques to help distribute content. This means many more could benefit.
How can B2B brands in the manufacturing and industrial space leverage public relations and content initiatives to raise visibility, drive traffic and connect with prospective customers?
Here are 10 ideas.
10 Manufacturing PR and Content Ideas to Start on Today
1) Start with industry trade publications:
The best place for manufacturing professionals to start with a PR effort is with industry trade publications. After all, this is where their audiences are often spending time.
Also, many of these publications are manned by small editorial teams who may be stretched thin and on the lookout for news and stories for their readers.
The first thing you’ll need is a list. Maybe you already know which publications your prospects and customers are reading. If you don’t, have your PR consultant conduct some research to develop a list.
Once you have the media list, you can pitch relevant news and stories to those reporters and editors. Over time, you’ll begin to build a relationship with them, so they’ll proactively come to you to seek your input on stories that are a fit.
2) Consider contributed articles and content:
Contributed articles are often overlooked as a way to raise visibility but can be a compelling way to share your knowledge with those you want to reach.
Many industry trade publications accept contributed articles. They publish guidelines as to what they look for and will accept. Keep in mind that these articles can take some time to write (hire a ghostwriter if needed). It’s helpful if you can also submit photos or artwork with the article.
You’ll want to pitch the idea first before you write the piece. Be sure to understand the guidelines, as each publication may have different preferences as far as word count, style and so forth.
Two requirements most publications that accept contributed articles share in common are:
- The articles should be original (meaning previously unpublished – and also not written by an AI tool like ChatGPT, which plagiarizes the content of others – yes, editors check to make sure your content is original)
- The articles shouldn’t be overly promotional. You should be able to include a link somewhere in your byline or perhaps in your short author bio – but don’t come off as too salesy. They should be informational in nature.
3) Got thought leadership?:
If you’re a manufacturing or industrial company that’s been around for years – in some cases, 50, 75 or even 100 years isn’t unusual – it’s likely that you have some executives that have seen some things and might make excellent thought leaders.
Interview them to get their thoughts on industry trends or predictions, then write those up for your blog – which can then be pitched as a thought leadership piece to a publication that accepts contributed articles.
These could be written in first-person or interview style. They can also be ghostwritten, but I suggest the writer spend time talking with the thought leader to capture their original point of view.
For more about how a thought leadership effort can help you gain momentum, read this.
4) Don’t forget about press releases:
Many manufacturers periodically announce new products or solutions. You can announce these by writing a press release.
Share the press release (include a photo) with those on your industry trade media list. Many cover new product news.
If you want, you can also distribute the press release using a wire service (although that’s not always necessary).
Be sure to post the press release on your website in your “press” or “news” area (see more about that in #10 below).
5) Start a story bank:
Often clients in manufacturing own several divisions or have acquired other companies, making it challenging to keep track of ALL the story ideas and contacts that may come up.
Starting a story bank, which can be a simple spreadsheet, can help you organize story ideas and contacts for each so that when you’re ready to move forward with an idea, you can simply refer to the sheet and go from there.
You can also see at a glance which customer examples you may have that you can plug into your next presentation or marketing effort.
6) Stepping out at industry events like trade shows?:
Many manufacturing companies participate in trade shows and other industry events. What can you do PR-wise to make the most of each event? If you’re exhibiting, you should be able to request a copy of the pre-registered press list. This is a list of all the reporters planning to attend the show.
If you get this list three to four weeks before the event, you can select the reporters who might cover your news and email them to schedule a brief meeting with them at the show in your booth.
I’ve done this for clients over the years, and it can be a VERY successful way to not only earn media coverage but also to build relationships with the editors and reporters in your industry. It’s a unique opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, which is still one of the best ways to create a connection.
7) Social media can’t hurt:
I find that some B2B clients don’t take social media seriously. But, it can help you stand out – because it’s sometimes the exception, not the rule, for manufacturers to be active on social media.
What’s interesting is that many manufacturing companies have a lot of great visual content they could share on social media. Also, harkening back to #3, they often have thought leaders who could share posts about what’s happening in their industry.
Another important way to use social media is this: once earned media coverage is secured, you can share it, tagging both the publication and the reporter. They’ll appreciate the boost – and you will, too, because more people will likely see the coverage.
While there are MANY social media outlets, I’d advise not to try to be active on them all. Instead, choose one of two where your prospects spend time and focus on those. LinkedIn is usually at the top of the list for B2B companies like industrial companies.
8) Repurpose your content:
I often work with B2B PR clients to help them repurpose content – videos, blog posts, customer stories – as earned media (aka PR). They appreciate it because it not only helps them get more bang for the buck (some of these are pricey to produce), but it also drives more visibility because our goal is to get a link back to the original piece of content.
If you’ve taken the time to shoot a video, for example, why not turn that into a blog post? Then package it up – the video, blog post, still images, and logos – and send it to an editor at an industry trade publication. Chances are they may be looking for relevant content to share with their audience.
Another idea: If you have a company newsletter you send to customers and prospects, be sure to share your media coverage and/or new product announcements and other company news there.
9) Watch for trends:
Are there industry trends you can take part in? For example, if there’s an automation trend and your company makes equipment that helps automate production, can you play off that by writing a blog post or piece of content that could then be pitched to journalists and publications covering the trend? Or create a post on social media discussing your perspective.
Reporters spend time online and often get ideas for stories from what they see on social media.
10) Have a dedicated press or news area on your site:
When seeking earned media coverage, one of your objectives should be to make it as easy as possible for the journalist to cover your brand.
One way you can do this is to be sure to create an area on your site dedicated to your news and press coverage where you keep your:
- Press releases
- News coverage
- Executive headshots
- Executive bios
- Other relevant photos and visuals
- Background information
- Media contact (this should be someone who monitors their messages and can reply within hours)
Manufacturing and Industrial Companies CAN Get Ahead By Leveraging PR and Content
Trying to do this all at once might be overwhelming, so start slow with one or two initiatives. Then add on as you feel ready.
Need help or advice? No two manufacturing or industrial organizations are alike. Please get in touch with questions.
About the author: Michelle Garrett is a PR consultant, writer, and speaker who helps B2B businesses create content, earn media coverage, and position themselves as thought leaders in their industry. Michelle’s articles have been featured in Entrepreneur, Muck Rack and Ragan’s PR Daily, among others. She’s the founder and host of #FreelanceChat on Twitter, a co-host of #PRLunchHour on Twitter Spaces, and a frequent speaker on public relations. Michelle was named among the top ten most influential PR professionals in 2021 and 2022.