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Feb 13, 2024 Donna Spencer

Can Employee-Generated Content Help Solve Manufacturing Content Marketing Challenges?

63% of manufacturers use content to educate their audience about their business or industry (Source).  

B2B manufacturers have generally lagged behind the digital curve, understandably when you consider the complex physical products that can be hard to translate digitally. However, the CMI’s latest Content Marketing Manufacturing survey shows a positive upturn with 67% citing more investment in social media, compared to just 40% in 2022. 

Like many other industries, there is a strong need for change, with buyers coming to expect (and demand) to be able to connect via digital channels.  

The manufacturing industry faces challenges regarding content creation which employee-generated content can help solve. Let’s explore the what and the how in this blog, along with five easy ways to get your experts involved with content creation.  


First: What Is Employee-Generated Content? 

Employee Generated Content (ECG) is content that is created by your employees instead of by your marketing department. It can take any form - from blogs and social media posts to videos, images or even podcasts. 

It has several benefits, such as increasing trustworthiness, and authenticity – given that 92% of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source (PostBeyond).  


Three Manufacturing Content Marketing Challenges Employee-Generated Content Helps Solve 

1. Once onboard, it’s often easier for subject matter experts to contribute  

Some subject matter experts feel that they don’t have the time for marketing-based activities. Initially, employees can feel overwhelmed by the prospect of creating their own content, however, it can start with small steps such as commenting on someone’s posts, as explained in our guest interview with Chris Kim from Airtable.  


Once you get subject matter experts onboard with employee-generated content, then they often find it easier to create something themselves. It benefits them because: 

  • Buyers don’t expect a polished piece of content - in fact, they often prefer a raw version 
  • They’re more in control of the finished product 
  • They can lean on marketing as and when needed - instead of marketing eating into their time  
  • They can choose the medium that suits them best (not everyone enjoys writing and videos are often much quicker to create!) 


2. It provides original content in a sea of AI content, differentiating your company 

Generative AI is here to stay, and whilst there are many benefits, it’s important to treat it as an assistant not a replacement for human-created content, as explained by our Chief of Growth:

“AI doesn’t have your expertise. Your expertise and your experience working in a specific field…Working with your clients, understanding their problems and challenges, and then figuring out what works and what doesn’t. AI can’t - at least for now - do that.” – Justyna Brownbridge


3. It’s easier for them to explain complex subject matters 

There’s a good reason technical copywriters can charge such high fees - manufacturing is full of complex technical concepts and buyers demand more than superficial information, making it much more difficult for non-technical people to write on the matter.

Which is why you’ll often find that technical experts find it difficult to explain complex subject matters to marketing. They’ll often have to sit down with marketing to explain a topic and their views on it, review the draft and then go back and forwards with edits. All of which may make them feel like they may as well have done it themselves.

Your technical experts are fully versed in communicating complex problems to their customers and buyers. They understand what’s seen as jargon and what level of finer detail is needed. 

5 Easy Types Of Employee-Generated Content Your Manufacturing Experts Can Help With   

Demo and explainer videos

93% of Manufacturers use videos on their websites, an 80% uplift as highlighted by the 2022 Manufacturing Survey. Manufacturing products are physical in nature and videos are one of the easiest ways to explain how things work. Your experts are probably already doing so, it’s just a case of asking them to record their demos or whiteboard explainers that they use in their day-to-day job.

Factory tours & workers in action

B2B buyers are increasingly looking for a good culture fit when selecting vendors. Factory tour videos or clips or photos of field engineers on the job not only give great insight into your company’s culture, they also showcase technologies in action - and, in our experience, the latter is something that manufacturing buyers (particularly design engineers) are passionate about!

Industry insights

Sharing thoughts on industry insights - such as new trends or emerging technologies -  is one of the quickest ways that your experts can start with employee-generated content. Blogs don’t need to be long (just ask Seth Godin!) and they don’t even need to be in the written format!

A curation of their most-used resources

Curated lists always perform well in marketing but getting access to the forums and online discussions that manufacturers frequent without proving you’ve got a relevant qualification can be hard. Why not ask them to share their favourite online places for information sharing and why they use them?

Industry-specific pricing and product information

Again, the chances are that your experts are already creating customer or industry-specific pricing and product information. By taking the time to turn this information into content ready for online publication, it forces them to carefully review whether that information is the best version - removing time-consuming second-guessing for future enquiries.  

Looking back at the data it’s clear that manufacturing businesses are investing more time and resources into digital marketing strategies than ever before.  It’s something we are helping our clients with too.  

The power of authentic storytelling lies in employee-generated content. If you still need some convincing check out these examples we rounded up here

If you would like to learn more about the power of unlocking employee voices please, explore our employee advocacy solution here.  

Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in 2021 and has been completely refreshed and updated to be relevant for 2024.

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About Tribal Impact

Tribal Impact is a B2B Social Selling and Employee Branding Agency.

We're a team of social media strategists, trainers, coaches, content creators and data analysts who are passionate about helping our B2B customers develop and scale their social selling and employee advocacy programs.

Learn more about us here.

Published by Donna Spencer February 13, 2024
Donna Spencer