Ask Me Anything! Content Marketing for Niche Industries

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Resident Expert | Platinum Partner

Hello!

 

My name is Josh Curcio and I'm COO/Partner at protocol 80, Inc. We're a Platinum HubSpot Solutions Partner that specialized in strategy and implementation for complex industries, specifically manufacturing and healthcare tech.

 

The strategies we build and support for our clients are developed to help them grow better through online lead generation and modern sales strategies. While there are many components to these strategies, content is a major factor in whether they succeed or fail.


I'm hosting an AMA about content marketing for all of you in a complex industry! The AMA will run from 10/12-10/16. 

 

Stuck for ideas? Here are a few example questions:

- If the vertical is niche, how do you use content to help increase traffic?

- In complex industries usually, there are multiple people in a buying decision. How do you write content for all of them?
- How do you calculate the performance of content with long sales cycles?
- My industry is super boring. How do you come up with engaging content ideas?

 

Let's see those questions!

 

Josh




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Josh Curcio

HubSpot support and inbound marketing for OEMs, contract manufacturers, and industrial suppliers.
HubSpot Platinum Partner & HubSpot Certified Trainer

16 Replies 16
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Top Advisor | Partner

Hi @Josh,

 

Would love to hear your take on promoting content for niche industries – with a niche usually also comes a smaller audience which is harder to target (on LinkedIn for example) and saturated much faster. With paid sometimes not being an option, this leaves us with SEO which might take a while to kick in. How do you identify quick wins (promotion) to make the customer happy?

 

Thanks for starting this AMA!

Karsten Köhler
Freelance Digital Marketing Advisor

Beratungstermin mit Karsten vereinbaren


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Resident Expert | Platinum Partner

Hey @karstenkoehler,

 

Great question!

 

Yes, it can certainly take some time for content to start gaining traction in search engines. Not only can paid be limited in niche industries, sometimes paid placement is quickly ignored.

 

That being said, here are some things we look at for quick wins:

  • Email - is there already an existing database that would find value from the new content? If so, how can we distribute, accordingly?
  • Social - is there a social audience that will find value from the content? Again, how can we successfully distribute to keep it relevant and hopefully spark some discussion?
  • Social Groups -  Are there active groups that are already talking about content topics? If so, how can we participate naturally and bring the content to light without coming across as spammy?
  • 3rd Party Publishers - We often find that niche industries have other niche content platforms that are always eager to get new content. We won't necessarily have them post the same exact content, but something specific to them that relates to the topic at hand. In some other cases, they will simply post a brief description of the content and direct their readers back.
  • Paid - While limited, there are sometimes options that can work well to start getting traffic. We're big advocates of building organic traffic, so we don't like to put too much leverage on paid, but if there is an audience and a potential opportunity, we will incorporate it as an option.

It can be difficult to find traction in some of these niche and complex verticals. It's important to find those quick wins as you mentioned, but we also advocate that inbound should be a marathon, not a sprint. 

 

Thanks for the question, @karstenkoehler !

 

Josh

 




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Josh Curcio

HubSpot support and inbound marketing for OEMs, contract manufacturers, and industrial suppliers.
HubSpot Platinum Partner & HubSpot Certified Trainer

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Community Manager

Thank you for hosting this AMA @Josh! 🙂

 

Hey @Alex_ @AdamLPW @andrus @Jord2000 @KatePidgeon @EmmaWashington @simant_verma @Joe-Kelp @AngelaMatsuoka I want to bring to your attention this AMA, I think you would be interested to ask any question related to content marketing for Niche Industries!

 

Thank you

Sharon


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Advisor

Hi @Josh,

 

Thanks for hosting this AMA - sorry to see the thread being hijacked by irrelevance (I guess maybe we need to call future sessions Ask Me Anything (Relevant!)...

 

I've spent the last couple of years trying to adopt an inbound methodology in a very small and already quite saturated SAAS niche.  We're respected first-movers in this niche, but there are newer, younger, simpler alternatives available.  

 

One of my biggest problems is in creating buyer personas and applying "cgp tci ba", or any other framework, to our customer/prospect demographic.  I struggle to articulate what challenges our customers face... our software allows them possibly to illustrate the value of their own service better to their clients, or maybe to provide more in-depth analysis than our competitors.  BUT, these aren't really challenges, are they? 

I guess, in some ways, we're doing something similar to Rolex, Rolls Royce, etc., but in a SAAS space.  We're trying to market a premium product which does the same thing as the newbies.  But better.  Your Casio watch still tells the time, but we are the Swiss, fireproof, bombproof, waterproof mechanism that they don't know they need!  

I'm a capable copy-writer, but really struggling to produce relevant content that will appeal to prospective customers.  Add to this the fact that our inbound leads have reduced significantly due to COVID restrictions in our country (UK) - I'm aware we need to be doing more and better.

So, I guess, it's a three-pronged question:

 

  1. How do you provide relevant content for a saturated, boring, niche market 
  2. How do you market a premium product in the above market, when cheaper alternatives are available
  3. How do you approach creating buyer personas when your software (due to 2) doesn't necessarily address a problem or challenge to the buyer?

Sorry for the rambling post - I look forward to your response!


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"The rest of my advice my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this experience... now!"
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Resident Expert | Platinum Partner

Hi @AdamLPW 

 

Great questions! Thank you for bringing them up.

 

How do you provide relevant content for a saturated, boring, niche market?

While it may be boring to most, there will still a small set of people that find it interesting (or at the very least need information about it). When planning your content strategy, think about all of the potential questions that your users may be asking as it relates to your service. Start by answering those questions. If those topics are already very saturated as you mentioned, think about the relatable topics/questions that your users might be looking for, even if not directly related to your solution. It shouldn't be too far off-topic, but if you can provide valuable information just outside of the box, try that.

 

Also on the saturation issue, that can be more difficult. Our general approach is to first find the gaps; where is the space missing content. 

 

The other approach to battle saturation is to do it better or differently. If your competitors are writing text blogs, make videos. If they're writing OK content, write great content. I know...easier said than done. 🙂

 

How do you market a premium product in the above market, when cheaper alternatives are available?

 

For top-of-funnel marketing, you probably wouldn't want to market much differently than the cheaper alternatives. The purpose of awareness content will be to attract a broad audience and then you can start to weed out those that are a good fit for you. 

 

Your middle-of-funnel content should speak more to the premium aspect. Why would someone buy a Rolex vs. a Casio? Think like your customers (or potential customers) and elaborate on those factors. The BEST thing you can do here is to talk to actual buyers. Interview them to find out what matters to them when choosing the premium and find the trends amongst your interviewees.

 

How do you approach creating buyer personas when your software (due to 2) doesn't necessarily address a problem or challenge to the buyer?

 

I would create my buyer personas in the same manner. When creating a persona you want to uncover what really matters for those buyers. You mentioned you are selling a premium product...what is it that makes it premium? In your persona building process, you need to uncover whether or not what you think makes it premium actually matters to the buyers. In the case of the Rolex vs. Casio: both watches still time, the Casio needs probably needs less maintenance and care, the Casio is cheaper, etc. Yet, there are still people that buy the Rolex and they have their reasons. Your goal is to understand those reasons inside and out!

 

I hope this helps!

 

Josh

 




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Josh Curcio

HubSpot support and inbound marketing for OEMs, contract manufacturers, and industrial suppliers.
HubSpot Platinum Partner & HubSpot Certified Trainer

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New Contributor

Hi Josh!

 

I have a really small company and we are a 5 people team.  Sometimes it's really hard to focus on so many tasks at the same time and we'd like to improve our engaging content. 

 

What would you recommend to keep in mind? What strategies would you advise considering we have a small budget for promoting content? 

 

Thanks for your time

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Resident Expert | Platinum Partner

Hi @walterw,

 

Thanks for the question! It can certainly be difficult to do as much as you'd like with limited time and budget. Here are a couple of thoughts:

  • Brainstorm several content topics that would be engaging for your audience, but then limit it to a volume you can handle. From there, plan in advance when you'll write that topic. Having a content calendar makes things much easier.
  • Try using video first. Using something like Vidyard or Soapbox will allow you to get video out easily, quickly, and without much expense. You can then repurpose that content in the future into text.
  •  For promoting content, I'm not sure of your audience, but Facebook can be very cost-effective.
  • Set goals and stick to them. You and your team members can hold each other accountable, but without the accountability, it's easy to push to the side and forget about your plans.

Best of luck!

 

Josh




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Josh Curcio

HubSpot support and inbound marketing for OEMs, contract manufacturers, and industrial suppliers.
HubSpot Platinum Partner & HubSpot Certified Trainer

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Regular Visitor

Hi Josh,

 

I've been referring to the solutions you provided in the community, and wanted to ask a question in this AMA opportunity with you:)

 

My question is- what was the biggiest change you saw in the content marketing after covid pandemic? We often talk about what we had to adopt during this crazy time and I'm curious to hear your experience/knowledge on this.

 

Thank you!

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Occasional Contributor

Hi Josh!

 

When I read your post I could definitely find myself in the last question: "My industry is super boring. How do you come up with engaging content ideas?"

I'm a marketer working in the construction idustry and I find it hard to come up with engaging content ideas.

 

Do you have any advice?

 

Thanks!

Amanda

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Resident Expert | Platinum Partner

Hi @amanda_p,

 

A few thoughts:

  • While it may still be boring, think about the questions your team most commonly hears. Be helpful and answer those questions.
  • Think outside the box and if there are ways you can make it less boring...for example, videos or graphics.
  • Highlight your customers using stories or videos. 

Unfortunately, some industries will be inherently more boring than others, but that doesn't mean people aren't looking for information. If you know you're providing useful information, it may feel a bit less boring even if it's not going to be on your list of must-reads for the weekend.

 

Josh




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Josh Curcio

HubSpot support and inbound marketing for OEMs, contract manufacturers, and industrial suppliers.
HubSpot Platinum Partner & HubSpot Certified Trainer

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Resident Expert | Platinum Partner

Hi @VanessaR,

 

This year has presented everyone with so many challenges!

 

One of the challenges we've seen is the amount of noise that's being created online. There were so many businesses that realized they were seriously behind in the world of online marketing once they were limited by their other lead sources. This created a shift in focus causing so many more brands to focus on digital, specifically content. Some of the content has been great, while others haven't faired so well. The additional noise it's created has forced everyone to step it up a notch in order to stand out.

 

Let's all hope for a more stable and predictable 2021. 🙂

 

Josh




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Josh Curcio

HubSpot support and inbound marketing for OEMs, contract manufacturers, and industrial suppliers.
HubSpot Platinum Partner & HubSpot Certified Trainer

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Regular Visitor

Can't agree more...! Thank you for answering:)

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Regular Contributor

Hey @Josh,

 

Thanks for this event! One project I'm working on is for a non profit in the education sector. The client is pretty old school and doesn't understand the value of investing in content in general, but I am of the mindset that especially during COVID investing in content is something we can control and invest in that will help their business. I guess those are two questions 1) thoughts on how to help an old school business model in a niche industry (with limited successful examples to show them) get started with content marketing and 2) what would your suggestions be for getting started in content marketing for a nonprofit in education?

 

Thank you in advance!

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Resident Expert | Platinum Partner

Hi @pinnacle1234,

 

Awesome questions. I feel your pain on the "old school" comment...most of our work is in the manufacturing space. 🙂

 

  • If you can't support it with your own data, try and find more general data to show success. That will speak volumes to old-school ears. 
  • Along with data, show real-life examples. If they can see how a similar business is using content, it's much easier for them to understand. If it's a competitor, even better!
  • Try and find a time in which the client has used content to help inform their own decisions. 

Getting started:

  • Start with a plan and a strategy. Identify the topics the audience cares about and start to limit your focus. 
  • Use tools (SEMRush, Answer the Public, etc.) to find out which topics will be most impactful, but also not over-saturated.
  • If you still need to convince someone, start with a proof of concept, but set appropriate expectations. Content marketing won't be an overnight success, but even small wins can help increase excitement.
  • Use a content calendar of some sort. However, be cautious of planning out too far in advance. You may find that if you plan too far out, the topics won't be as relevant or there will be better, more pressing topics to write about at that time. We typically don't identify topics beyond 3 months.

Those are a few things that come to mind. Good luck!

 

Josh




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Josh Curcio

HubSpot support and inbound marketing for OEMs, contract manufacturers, and industrial suppliers.
HubSpot Platinum Partner & HubSpot Certified Trainer

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Esteemed Contributor

Thank you for this @Josh!

 

My question is how you determine what content and supporting visuals (especially visuals) will catch the eye and mind of prospective contacts in a niche market. How do you do the research in to "what's hot" and attention grabbing for a niche audience?

 

We spend hours about this time every year choosing our main visual concept for the following year. We do look at our competitors and industry vendors to see what they are doing. Aside from this, we mostly go with what our company leaders say that they "like." What actionable items can I bring to the table to help us shift our thinking and go after the concepts that our audience wants or needs to see?

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Resident Expert | Platinum Partner

Hi @Crystal_Hopper,

 

Great question!

 

My answer is simple: ask your audience.  It's likely that you have some happy customers and it's also likely that those happy customers are more similar to your target audience than your company leaders are. Interview some of your happy customers and get the answers from the source. With visual components it's even a bit easier. You can pull up an example A and B, ask them which they prefer, and then talk through the why.

 

Your baseline can start with the assumptions of the company leaders...but they are still only assumptions. Go straight to the source to validate the assumptions.

 

Josh




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Josh Curcio

HubSpot support and inbound marketing for OEMs, contract manufacturers, and industrial suppliers.
HubSpot Platinum Partner & HubSpot Certified Trainer