If you wander around the internet long enough, you’ll hear these two things:
- Content marketing is great and you need to start doing it now if you want to bring inbound leads to your business.
- Content marketing is a huge waste of money and no one should bother with it.
As with any marketing technique, success depends on how well and how consistently a system is implemented. Content marketing has been evolving.
The days of starting a blog or video series and the customers just pouring in are over. There are so many blogs out there (2 million blog posts are published a day). 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
That’s a lot of content. (And it’s not even counting all of the other types of content out there. Podcasts. Infographics. Slide presentations. Special reports.) People are understandably overwhelmed. So if you want to succeed in content marketing in 2017, you need to stand out.
And 3D printing can help you do that.
First, What Content Marketing Is
This is how the Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
How 3D Printing Fits
As you saw above, content is a pretty broad term. All the way back in 2014, marketing expert Neil Patel published this blog post about different forms of content.
You’ll notice several of these forms are easy to consume (short and/or visual). Others, such as how-to videos and case studies, are extremely helpful to the readers – who are all potential customers – in that they show your expertise.
What makes 3D printing have to do with these types of content and how is it valuable to people who might be interested in hiring you?
Let’s say you provide land surveying and mapping services. You’ve found that providing a 3D map, which 3D printing lets you get far more easily, really impresses your customers and makes your job so much easier.
You want to use content marketing to build your email list. Right now you have the oh-so-typical “Sign up for our newsletter!” form. But you’ve learned that adding a “lead magnet” or “opt-in bait” (some type of incentive) increases the number of people who sign up.
And you have something very enticing: a 3D map of a previous project (get your client’s permission first!). Your customer can see a true sample of your work, even print it out themselves if they wanted to, while you stand out because it’s something no one else is offering.
Apply It to Other Industries
Let’s see some other ways you could use 3D files to attract new customers.
Architects/Engineers/Designers. Provide a file of one of your concept models. Choose one of a signature product that shows how you’re different from your competitors. If all of your projects are covered by NDAs, make up a project.
Hospitals/Medical Complexes. Do you use 3D printing as part of diagnostics and training? Tempt in new staff by showcasing the technology they’ll have access to by sending them files based on MRI scans. Just be sure you avoid HIPAA violations – even if you have to scan your own knee to have something to share.
Trade Show Exhibitors. Make your presentations 3D. If you have graphics and data that you can turn into 3D files, print them out and make them a part of your booth set-up. Offer to send potential customers the 3D files if they want to examine them further after the show.
It might be hard to convince your management to implement 3D into your content marketing. Even though the technology has been around since the 1980s, most people just don’t think of it as a business asset yet.
But when you consider recent trends in content marketing, you know blog posts alone aren’t going to do it. Don’t you want to be the first one with the Shiny New Object?