5 reasons most manufacturers’ content stinks (and what to do about it)

wet dog

I know. That was a “click bait” headline (where I say something dramatic and you can’t resist looking inside to confirm whether or not I just insulted you).


Seriously. Your content stinks.

At least for 97% of you reading this, that statement is almost certainly true.

And that’s because a majority of B2B manufacturers publish nothing but self-serving fluff about how great they are and all the things they can sell you.

Then they wonder why their websites don’t show up in Google searches and why they can’t generate a good lead more than once or twice a month.

If you’re among the majority out there whose wet-dog content isn’t gaining any meaningful traction, here are five reasons why that might be the case.

1. You’re using the wrong pronouns

I. Me. My. We. Us. Our.

Everything is about you. What you sell. How great your people are. How great your service is.

But here’s the truth:

No one cares about who you are or what you do until they believe you understand their problems, have seen them before and know how to address them.

So how about less product and service pages and more problem-solving, question-answering content that gets to the core of the issues your prospects, leads and customers are trying to address every day?

Shift the pronoun usage from first to second person.

2. You sound like a robot

How come we’re perfectly capable of conducting normal human-to-human conversations in person or over the phone, but when we put pen to paper, our voices magically transform into that of some futuristic robot from a bad movie?

People want to do business with real people. So simply write like you talk.

3. You’re scared

“We don’t want to publish too many insights because our competitors will see it and steal business from us.”

News flash:

Your competitors are already publishing this kind of content while you’re sitting around worrying. And who do you think your prospects are finding first in the search engines?

Meanwhile, through a collection of product and service pages that look and sound pretty much the same as everyone else’s, you’re reinforcing your position as an undifferentiated vendor.

Be courageous. Demonstrate your expertise in the public space. Believe me – much more good than bad will come from it.

4. You’re encouraging inaction

Earlier this year, I wrote an article titled “Rest in Peace, My Dear Contact Us Button”. The main point was this:

Most of your website visitors aren’t sales ready. They’re seeking answers to their questions, investigating their problems, and maybe starting to compare solutions.

Yet the only call-to-action on a majority of manufacturer websites is a tiny little “Contact Us” or “Request a Quote” button somewhere in the top right corner.

Your content should encourage a natural next step, and do so contextually.

Guide your visitors through their respective journeys at their own pace.

Share a related white paper, tool, or a buyer’s guide if they’re not ready for a sales call. Invite them to a lunch and learn or a webinar. Help them apply the expertise you’ve just shared.

Whatever you do, don’t leave them wondering how to move forward.

5. You’re talking to everyone at once

(And as a result, you’re really talking to no one).

Most of the manufacturing organizations I consult aren’t in the business of selling commodities. Instead, their products and services are complex. Their sales processes are consultative. Their customers’ buying cycles are long. And as a result, their buyer is typically not a buyer (singular), but instead a committee of buyers (plural).

Among that buying committee are Engineers gathering technical specifications, Procurement Managers compiling pricing information and C-Suite executives seeking an understanding of ROI and long-term cost of ownership.

Your content simply can’t address the needs of all these people simultaneously.

So for each piece of content you plan to create, ask yourself this one simple question:

Who am I writing to?

Making the investment in content

Of course one thing I didn’t mention in this article is that creating non-wet-dog content isn’t always easy.

But that can’t be an excuse either.

If you’re new to the subject and could use some guidance, I recommend reading our article – How to extract expert knowledge from your team and turn it into incredible content.

Or if you simply don’t have the internal resources or skills to produce the content yourself, then I encourage you to consider hiring an agency or freelance writer to do it for you.