“I’m proud Alberta is the world’s most progressive Oil and Gas producer”- Alberta’s Energy Minister while addressing to the progress that the Oil and Gas industry has experienced in the recent years. This industry is indeed quite different compared to others, and is thriving hard to sustain in the economy. A common disbelief in the minds of the masses is that industries like oil and gas do not require an extra push of marketing or promotion. This is because people consider oil and gas to be completely government entities that have a backing. This is not true. Oil and gas companies require marketing to not only make the common people aware of their business but also attract B2B offers such as offers from chemical industries, manufacturing industries and plastic industries, that use oil and gas as raw materials.
Benefits of Content Marketing for Oil and Gas Companies
While not many oil and gas businesses may consider it but content marketing for oil and gas companies is a good form of digital marketing for both B2B and B2C marketing. However, B2B marketing is the major focus of oil and gas companies.
1. Aids in Filling the Recruitment Gap
The oil and gas industry has a very specific requirement when it comes to the qualification of its employees and management. This is a reason why a lot of people who join an oil and gas company tend to hold on to their jobs in a company for a longer duration as their niche skills are valued in the company and replacing such positions is a difficult task. With the higher level employees staying in the same company for years and eventually retiring from the position, replacing them with equally capable resources is a difficult task. The one thing that can benefit here is content marketing. While the older generation has their apprehensions about using digital media for reference, the younger generation is much more dependent on digital media and fresher ideas. In fact, they will go through your website, blogs, social media content and other digital content to decide how well your company is fairing and whether it is the best place for them to work in.
2. Provides a Promotional Channel
Oil and gas industry do not frequently advertise or market their business like retail businesses. They have a different approach about doing business, and their major clients are businesses and not general consumers. They often rely on having a detailed website which has service brochures to inform their target audience about their work and services. However, these may not always be sufficient. Even after you mention everything you do on your brochure, the chances of the target audience looking for more is common. This is where content marketing steps in. If you do not have a blog that talks more about your services and what you can do for your target audience, the chances of your audience moving on to a better option is higher. Often people do not even open your service pages as they assume they know everything you do. So instead,having blogs about your detailed oil and gas products and services that revolve around the common problems of your target audience holds a better chance at grabbing the attention of the right target audience.
3. Helps to Survive Competition
The general public assumes that the oil and gas industry barely has competition. A wrong assumption, indeed. To burst the bubble, a visit to an oil and gas trade show is sufficient to show how many private and public sector companies are present in Alberta alone. The difficult part is that all these companies provide the exact same products and compositions of chemicals, leaving room for huge competition when pitching to other industrial businesses. So what will set you apart? Content marketing! No amount of competition can beat the fact that people continue to opt for a brand only if they trust it. With the help of content marketing, you can build trust by creating authoritative content that vouches for your expertise. Also, by leaving room for conversation such as comments below your blog and reverting to social media posts, you add to the trust factor.
4. Builds a Brand
Getting your very first customer in your company is a good thing but what will make the customers keep coming back to you? Your brand name. That’s right! In order for your audience to choose you, your audience should be able to recognise you not just for your products but also as a brand. Content marketing will help you build that brand name. Content leverages your unique selling proposition and sets you apart from your competitors.
Strategising Content Marketing for Oil and Gas Companies
With the benefits of content marketing for oil and gas companies covered, it’s now time to put it to use. Content marketing is an easy to manage process of constantly creating good content to keep your target audience engaged. When you plan to do content marketing, you need to build an effective strategy keeping in mind the nature of your business and the audience you are appealing to. Here are the four important elements to keep in mind before you begin your content marketing for oil and gas companies:
- Brand Positioning
Before you start building a strategy, figure out who you are as a brand. Defining your brand and how you will position your products and services will act as a good base to a strategic content marketing plan. For this, you need to identify your audience, your competitors, your USP, the benefits of your products, and your brand’s personality.
- Value Proposition
The value proposition here does not apply to your product or service but to your owned media on which you can consistently post your content. Having owned media to publish content makes you a credible source of information and reliable business to collaborate with. Now when you want to consider the value proposition, you need to figure out how can your content be different from others and what unique value you can provide to the target audience with the information that you share.
- Goal Identification
No marketing strategy is going to work unless you know why you are doing it. Not just a marketing strategy but any plan that you initiate needs a direction for you to move forward to. So for the content marketing of oil and gas companies, you need to have a goal in mind to work towards. Your goal can be getting more leads, spreading awareness about new products, or simply using knowledge sharing to gain brand visibility. Having these goals ready in the onset gives you a better planning scope as you can then easily decide how to achieve them, what you will need to achieve them and what you need to invest in achieving them.
- Strategic Idea
Finally, you need an idea that is able to execute the processes to achieve the goals you set for your content marketing strategy. This idea is not just a thought. It will be a comprehensive plan that will focus on ways and methods within content marketing to achieve the goals and make content marketing for oil and gas companies a success.
Once you have these four elements identified, you need to start working on steps to create a content marketing strategy for your oil and gas company. Here’s how you should go about it:
Start with Your Audience
What is an audience? An audience is a set of people whom you appeal to with your information, and they listen to you. Now there is a huge difference between an audience, your target audience, and your customers. An audience is a larger chunk of people that are looking for a set of information online, but not all of them are looking for oil and gas products. Your target audience is a comparatively a smaller chunk of people within the audience who have specific requirements for information about oil and gas products. This is the target audience you will be creating your content for as these are the people who are interested in your business and hold a higher chance of converting into your customers. Coming to your customers, they are the smaller chunk within your target audience that got convinced by your content and actually took the initiative to contact you for more details and your products.
To start content marketing for oil and gas companies, focus on the smaller groups of target audience who will be interested in your products and services. Take a closer look at this audience and know them. Find out their demographics, what income bracket they fall in, what age group they will be, which industry they belong to. Understand that your content marketing will be a B2B process so you will also need to identify the industries and businesses you are pitching to. A good way to start this research is by taking a look at your existing customers and keeping them as the basic prototype of your target audience.
Identify Your KPIs
Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the stepping stones for your content strategy. They are goals to achieve what we previously talked about. However, unlike simple goal statements, your KPIs are more structured and definite metrics that you set for your content strategy in order to measure how well your strategy is performing. Some of the common KPIs you need to consider for your content marketing strategy include:
1. Web Traffic
For companies that are in the initial stages of their business, your goals, to begin with, can be to get more attention from the target audience on your website. This is because you are new in the field of oil and gas industry and need to make a mark. When you set a goal to increase your business visibility by getting the attention of the target audience to your website, your KPI should be the volume of web traffic. This is the number of people that visit your website either through the SERPs or other platforms such as social media. Your major focus here should be on the traffic that you receive on your blog pages. Google Analytics is a tool that you can utilise to measure this KPI.
2. SEO Ranking
Search engine optimisation and content marketing are two branches of digital marketing that are interconnected. With the help of SEO-friendly content, you automatically increase your chances of ranking well on the SERPs and getting good organic website traffic. So another major KPI in terms of increasing brand visibility can be getting a higher SEO ranking. This KPI can again be measured with apps such as SEMrush to help you stay on track.
Conversions do not just take place when an online user becomes a customer. In the online context, a conversion can be any action that a user performs on the website. For example, if you set email subscriptions for your blog newsletter as your conversions, then anytime a user subscribed, it will be considered as a conversion. This KPI can be tracked using a more advanced feature of Google Analytics known as conversion tracking.
4. Brand Awareness
To increase your customers is a long term goal that can only be achieved if you can achieve short term goals first. For instance, if you are in the market for a few years now, but still people do not recognise you, your first goal will be to create brand awareness for your company. Blogging gives you a chance to display your authority in your field of work and eventually build a brand name. These blogs can be shared on social media platforms for more visibility. With the help of apps such as Mention, you can measure this KPI.
Leads are the interested target audience that wants to find more about your products and company before they decide to convert and spend money on your products. These leads will often take action in order to contact you. A common type of call-to-action you can leave in your content for such leads is ‘get a quote’ or ‘leave an inquiry’. When a user clicks on these CTAs and leaves their contact details, you get leads. These leads can be managed and measured through the number of emails you receive.
Audit Existing Content
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Sometimes content marketing strategy is needed not to start a new content plan but to hone an existing one. Often people start blogging for business, considering it to be a simple act of sharing content online. While doing so, they miss out on the important elements such as content optimisation, keyword planning, target audience analysis, and so on. Such content needs to be reworked or removed to reverse the ill impact it may have on your content marketing strategy.
When you perform a content audit, you not just find out your flaws but also your strengths. For instance, you may have created blogs describing your products and blogs that describe how your oils and chemicals are useful in different industries. Chances are people preferred the blogs on “how your oils and chemicals are useful”.. Therefore, a content audit will help you find something that you are already doing right. Performing a content audit after choosing your target audience and KPIs is an even better idea. It will then help you to check if your existing content aligns with your KPIs and whether the content is apt for your target audience.
Create New Content
How can we talk about content marketing for oil and gas companies if we do not talk anything about creating new content? Once you have gone through your existing content, you now need to plan and create new content. For this, spend some time to research on the problem areas of your target audience and also find the keywords that work best for both your audience and the SERPs. After conducting this research, you can safely create content based on the topic ideas and keywords that you generated. When creating content, do not limit yourself to only one type. Here are some types of content you can create.
Blogs are the most commonly used forms of content marketing as they provide you the flexibility of providing information in multiple ways. You can have listicles, reference-based blogs, or simple ‘how to’ blogs to give complete information to your target audience. Blogs are also an amazing medium to share the happenings of not just your own oil and gas company but the whole industry. You could talk about regulation changes, cost updates, new improvements in production processes, and so on. Also, blogs are light content that can easily be published weekly, unlike larger content types.
There are various elements in your products and services that need detailed explanation. Whitepapers can be very useful for providing detailed information. They are large content files and guides that talk explicitly about a topic in intricate details and cover every nuance about it. For an industrial sector like yours, which caters to huge businesses and other industries, publishing whitepapers is a good idea as the professionals from these businesses tend to trust whitepapers and guides. Whitepapers also enhance your brand value by portraying you as a thought leadership in your field.
3. Case Studies
Petrol, oil, gas and other chemicals are not something the general public will want to buy directly from you. These are raw materials that huge industries and corporations use in their own processes. Since your business is a supplier of raw material, people will want to know more about how your raw material performs when used in different processes. Of course, you can add about your oil and gas usage in different industries in your service pages, but nothing is more convincing than a real life example. Case studies are those real life examples. Create detailed case studies about the use of your products for different clients and post it on your website. This will help build the trust factor and increase the chances of getting more leads.
Optimise Your Content
Earlier, we spoke about how you should set KPIs and goals for the content marketing of oil and gas companies. We will now take a look at those KPIs as they will help you mould your content.
Having a goal does not stop at the beginning of a strategy, you need to keep creating new goals along the way. Also, with every goal, you need to ensure to align and optimise your content to achieve that goal. Here are examples of how you can optimise your content to match the KPIs we discussed.
1. Web Traffic
If your goal is to increase website traffic, you need to plan your content strategy. For such a goal, doing a thorough keyword research is essential. When you find the best keywords and use them in your content, your SEO rank automatically increases, and so does the chances of receiving more organic website traffic. You should also consider sharing your content on third-party blog sites and social media to increase the visibility.
2. SEO Ranking
To improve your SEO rank, we already discussed how adding appropriate keywords will help. Apart from that, SEO is a vast process and includes various techniques. One of the ways to build your SEO ranking further is linking your content to websites of authority that publish popular content that are similar to your industry.
3. Conversions and Leads
For goals around getting a direct conversion, you do not have to think much. With your content, you can simply use tactics to direct the reader towards conversions. One way to do that is by adding links to your product or service page within your content. Also, adding a CTA asking the readers to reach you for further assistance is a good approach to convert your readers.
4. Brand Awareness
Brand awareness takes place when your audience views your company name again and again. To make this possible, you need to ensure that your content is not only visible on your website but also other platforms such as social media and third-party blogs. Also, linking the blogs you have submitted on other websites to your own blog website is a good idea to let the readers know about your authority in the field of oil and gas.
Decide Distribution Channels
Content marketing becomes a complete process only when you get adequate chances to share your content and spread it as much as possible. One method of sharing the content you create for your company is through your own company blog. This is known as your owned media. We now need to leverage earned media and paid media in order to increase your content visibility. Earned media is content credit and recognition that is earned by your company without any monetary payment. It is organic recognition such as the shares, likes, and comments you get for your blog on social media. Organic recognition also takes place when your blogs get published on a third party blog post or your blog gets mentioned on other websites by people within your field of business. Paid media, on the other hand, refers to paid ads, display ads, and sponsored social media posts that you pay to get your content showcased to your target audience.
To leverage earned and paid media, plan how you will distribute your content. In the case of earned media, figure out the most appropriate channels to use. For your oil and gas industry, blogs and whitepapers, social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are good mediums to share the links as you will get good exposure for your content on these mediums. LinkedIn specifically will get your content industry specific exposure. For paid media, you can plan on writing blog content that can be used as impactful landing pages for your paid ads. Also, creating sponsored posts on social media is a good idea. Sponsored posts push your content to enhance its visibility among interested target audience.
Set Up an Editorial Plan
Content marketing for oil and gas industry is not something you start out of a need for awareness and then stop abruptly. It is a continuous process that you need to continue for as long as you want to keep more business coming your way. For this, you need to set up an editorial plan. An editorial plan is a comprehensive spreadsheet that makes it easy for you to keep churning good content. It encompasses elements that will help you to keep creating good content in the long run. To begin with your editorial plan, jot down all the smaller goals you want to achieve through content marketing. Then you should have relevant topics and keywords to align with the goal. You could also have sections to mention the resources who will be working on the content along with a timeline for creating , editing, and publishing the content. Having this plan ready will enable you to create good content well in advance to keep your publishing process regular. To keep your editorial topics fresh and trending, you should consider creating topics on a monthly basis.
The consumers today are advanced and believe in looking for the answers to their questions themselves. This is applicable to your B2B consumers as well. With content marketing in your arsenal, you hold an upper hand at not only educating such consumers but also providing them with a medium to believe in you before they choose you. So make the choice of reaching the right target audience effortlessly with the help of content marketing for oil and gas companies.