Jeff Cross on Creating Industrial Media & Manufacturing Journalism

Ed Marsh | May 7, 2024


B2B Industrials Aren't Naturally Media Companies, But They Can Be

Jeff-Cross-Issa-Media-Director-on-manufacturing-journalism-and-industrial-media-publishingJeff Cross started his career as a journalist. Family and financial obligations prompted a detour as he founded and ran a commercial cleaning business for many years.

The successful business provided income and appreciated in enterprise value, but Jeff still had an itch to scratch. He loved writing.

So, in parallel, he started contributing a regular column. He founded a firm that helped other cleaners understand how to use content to get found, get clients, and grow. Eventually, his column became his own magazine, and he sold his cleaning company.

Through a series of transactions, his original magazine, CleanFax ended up as part of the media operation at ISSA, the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association. Today Jeff leads a large team of content creators that produce three regular print magazines, three podcasts, a YouTube channel with over 1,000 videos, and various digital content.

Jeff combines his personal industry knowledge with a continuous search for technology to boost his efficiency, editorial planning and management of a remote team of inside and contract content creators, and an animating philosophy that makes it all work.

Jeff insists that his team will consistently work to deliver content that answers the questions his audience is asking. That's the essence of Manufacturing Journalism™ and the purpose of industrial media.

Listen in on Jeff's story of his journey, his media and content wisdom, and the details of his relentless commitment to constantly produce content across channels and media that help his audience - and special bonuses like tips for trade shows and how to manage AI in your content creation.

Additional Resources:

Manufacturing Journalism Concept

Should You Build or Buy Your Media Operation (video)

Other conversations I've had with Jeff on industrial marketing and sales (video)


Connect with Jeff to learn from his years of media publishing wisdom.

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A Journalist May Be Your Most Important Hire - Jeff Cross on Industrial Growth Insitute Episode 8


Show Transcript

Episode Recap


Ed Marsh is joined by Jeff Cross, the media director of ISSA, the Industrial Cleaning Trade Association for Episode 8 of the Industrial Growth Institute.

Jeff shares his career journey and how he transitioned from journalist to owning a cleaning and restoration firm to later becoming a content creation machine.

Jeff discusses the importance of industrial content marketing and the editorial ethos of ISSA's media brands. The conversation includes a discussion of:

  • misconceptions about industrial cleaning and the value of cleanliness in the industrial manufacturing space.
  • insights on starting and maintaining a content creation effort
  • the role of #LinkedIn groups in promoting content
  • importance of incremental wins in Content Marketing
  • practical insights on finding valuable information
  • optimizing engagement with Trade Associations
  • making Trade Shows more effective
  • hiring journalists for industrial digital marketing
  • workflow, and time management
  • remote work and team collaboration
  • AI in Content Creation
  • adding a publishing function to a B2B company.


  • Content marketing is an effective way to promote a brand and provide solutions to industry pain points.
  • Creating a publishing brand requires focusing on a specialty and providing valuable content to the target audience.
  • Publishing content outside of core expertise is possible by soliciting outside expertise, conducting interviews, and facilitating the exchange of information.
  • LinkedIn groups can still have value, but moderation is necessary to filter out promotional content.
  • Incremental wins in content marketing, such as reaching a targeted audience, are more important than aiming for viral success. Stay informed by listening to #podcasts, reading blogs, and watching videos related to your industry.
  • Engage with trade associations to network and learn from others in your industry.
  • Make trade shows more effective by being engaging, personable, and interested in others.
  • Consider hiring journalists for content marketing to bring a journalistic approach and storytelling skills to your company's content.
  • Manage your time effectively and create a workflow that allows for consistent content creation.
  • Embrace remote work and leverage technology to collaborate with your team.
  • Be cautious and intentional when using AI in content creation, ensuring authenticity and transparency.


00:00 Introduction and Background
02:28 Jeff's Career Journey
06:19 Transition to Content Creation
08:36 Editorial Ethos
12:15 About ISSA
13:32 Misunderstandings about Industrial Cleaning
15:12 Importance of Cleanliness in Industrial Manufacturing
19:43 Starting and Maintaining a Content Creation Effort
25:07 Creating Content Outside of Core Expertise
28:09 Publishing vs. Content Marketing
31:25 Value of LinkedIn Groups
32:41 Importance of Incremental Wins
33:01 Finding Valuable Information
35:08 The Value of Listening to Podcasts
36:19 Optimizing Engagement with Trade Associations
39:28 Making Trade Shows More Effective
40:52 Hiring Journalists for Content Marketing
44:27 Workflow and Time Management
46:31 Remote Work and Team Collaboration
48:46 The Role of AI in Content Creation
52:59 The Concerns and Excitement around AI
57:53 Connecting with Jeff Cross
01:00:18 Adding a Publishing Function to a B2B Company 

Wondering how content based industrial marketing could fit into an integrated revenue growth framework for your company?

Check out the Overall Revenue Effectiveness™ Approach for more.