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The Content Marketing Field Manual for Defense Contractors

Has your defense firm hesitated with content marketing because you didn't know exactly what to do? You now have a field manual. 

Defense Contractor Content Marketing

When I was a field artillery lieutenant, my first assignment was as a Fire Direction Officer (FDO) in a howitzer battery. The FDO supervised the communication with forward observers and the calculation of firing data (e.g. elevation, deflection, fuze type and setting, amounts of propellant, etc.) that was sent to the howitzer crews.

Being a fire direction offered a glimpse into the central nervous system of field artillery. I had a wide-ranging vantage point of field artillery's role: from the situation with the maneuver unit all the way back to a gun chief pulling the howitzer’s lanyard, and back to the projectile’s impact on the target.

The FDO’s “bible” was Field Manual 6-40 “Field Artillery Cannon Gunnery.” The FM 6-40 had the answer to just about any question that came up about the proper calculation of field artillery cannon gunnery data.  It was always nearby and tattered from field use.

So what does this have to do with marketing a defense firm? Stay with me.

As modern marketing continues to evolve, defense contractors are becoming aware that the core restraints of marketing have shifted from space to attention.

For ages, marketing was constrained by space limitations (i.e. ad size, commercial length, trade show booth size, etc.). This space was normally rented from a gatekeeper who could control access and exposure. Or in the case of media relations, an editor had to be pitched (or begged) to gain exposure.

Because of the Internet, space is now almost limitless. Web pages can be added with minimal incremental cost. Video and podcast lengths can be as long as necessary. Companies can communicate directly with their audiences.

With unconstrained space, companies now must fight for attention. To get attention, companies need remarkable content to move their prospects through the traditional steps of awareness, interest, desire and action.

Rebecca Lieb from Altimeter Group sums up the relationship of content to modern marketing as: "Content is the atomic particle of all digital marketing."

And that’s why content is becoming the central nervous system of successful marketing. Just like gunnery is at the core of field artillery.

Content marketing’s relationship with traditional marketing is reminiscent of the relationship between the automobile and the horse and buggy a century ago. It’s new, mysterious and perhaps a little intimidating. Many marketing professionals, business managers and CEOs who spent most of their careers around traditional, space-limited marketing are new to content marketing and not sure how to get started with it.

Fortunately, there’s now a field manual for content marketing that is as complete and authoritative as the FM 6-40 is for field artillery gunnery.

Advanced Content Marketing Guide

“The Advanced Content Marketing Guide” by Neil Patel and Kathryn Aragon, at 259 pages, is the most complete guide to everything a defense contractor needs to launch a content marketing effort to help achieve business objectives like:

  • Creating awareness of, interest in and preference for your company and its products
  • Generating contract opportunities for follow-up by business development teams
  • Helping to shorten the sales cycle
  • Building (or repairing) public opinion of your company
  • Building community around your company with employees, fans and stakeholders
  • Strengthening customer support
  • Building thought leadership to develop name recognition and respect within the defense industry

Sure, the guide provides the theory behind the benefits of content marketing. But like a good Army field manual, it provides very granular specifics on how to do everything. Like format the Excel spreadsheets needed for managing content marketing. Or how to name your document files. It’s the kind of minute detail that only a defense contractor could love. And it's FREE!

Here’s what's inside:

Chapter 1 - Build A Strong Foundation

This helps to define why you create content and what you’re trying to achieve with it. The decisions you make in this chapter will give you a strong foundation for a powerful content marketing strategy that can help you grow your business.

Chapter 2 - How To Generate Thousands Of Clickable Ideas For Your Content

To be effective, your content has to be interesting for your specific audiences(s). Otherwise, they will tune it out. That requires ideas. An unending stream of interesting, unique, and valuable content ideas. This has seven practical tactics for creating an idea-generation system, so you can easily come up with all the ideas you need.

Chapter 3 - How To Plan Your Content For Maximum Productivity

You need a plan. Otherwise, as Yogi Berra said “If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there.” This is where you’ll learn how to develop a working Editorial Planner in which you can plan and track your content, and after it’s published, record results.

Chapter 4 - Learn To Write Content Like A Pro

Now you start creating content. Here, the authors cover the six steps of the creative process, in depth and with specific examples showing you how to turn your idea into a finished piece of content.

Chapter 5 - 12 Content Writing Secrets Of Professional Writers

One of the biggest struggles with content marketing is producing enough content and simultaneously keeping the quality high. This has the tips and tricks that help professional writers consistently produce a steady stream of high-quality content.

Chapter 6 - Templates For Quick And Easy Content Creation

Includes 12 tried-and-true templates that content writers have used successfully for years. These templates are invaluable for finding the right structure for the type of content you’re creating. Important, because when it comes to communicating your ideas, the way you organize and present them is as important as your ability to put them into words.

 Chapter 7 - Overcoming Common Content Marketing Roadblocks

Because content marketing involves more than publishing a few blog posts, and because content creation demands a huge commitment of time and resources, there are a lot of roadblocks that can slow your progress. If you proactively put these strategies to work before you get stuck, you can reach your goals faster than you think.

Chapter 8 - The Other Side Of Content Creation: Optimize For Search

There are a few things you need to do make sure the right people can find your content. Includes the tactics you need to use to make sure your content is well received by search engines and readers.

Chapter 9 - Promoting Your Content To Increase Traffic, Engagement, And Sales

The secret to content marketing boils down to three things: creating great content, making sure it gets found in search engines, and promoting it to your followers. “Build it and they will come” does not work in content marketing. This shows you the most effective ways to promote your content.

Chapter 10 - Driving Business Objectives With Content

This is the one chapter defense contractors can probably skip, as it’s primarily about monetizing your content (e.g. membership sites, selling content, affiliate products, sponsorships, etc).

If your defense firm has held off getting started with a content marketing effort because you weren’t sure exactly how to get started and what to do next, “The Advanced Content Marketing Guide” is your ready-made field manual. And if you’ve already been doing content marketing, the guide will supercharge your current program.

The Principal and Founder of Artillery, Douglas Burdett is a former artillery officer and Madison Avenue ad man. He also hosts The Marketing Book Podcast, where he interviews authors every week about the latest in modern marketing and sales.

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