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In my most recent blog, I presented findings from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) which convey the extent of challenges tech companies face in trying to produce content: The vast majority do not feel their organizations are effective at content marketing, according to CMI’s “2014 B2B Technology Content Marketing Trends — Budgets, Benchmarks, and Trends, North America.” More than two-of-five struggle to generate a variety of content. And less than one-half have developed a documented content strategy.
Of course, I’ll contend that the strategy should depend greatly upon hiring outside the company to bring on an experienced content pro. Our high-tech PR agency, after all, creates all forms of content, with outstanding results. We seek to cover all bases on the “content side” as well as the “marketing” side. With respect to the latter, our team members will elevate the presence of the content via social media platforms and effective SEO practices, adding value through “content amplification.”
With respect to the former, I offered two “must have” qualities of successful, ROI-boosting content in that first blog. As promised, here are three keys to successful content:
The right voice. In attempting to engage target audiences/readers, you walk a fine line with respect to your content’s tone. Research shows that readers primarily seek education as they search for content. They’re looking for solutions which can help them resolve issues. If potential tech customers click on your blog about new tactics in, say, thwarting cyber network threats, they’ll turn you off if you come across as smug and/or arrogant. Yes, readers like the author to sound informed and authoritative. But you can’t get preachy either. The right voice is that of your favorite teacher in high school – the one who conveyed tremendous insights in a clear, thoughtful and even kindly manner, and sometimes expressed views with a healthy dose of humor.
Distinguished value. OK, we understand that every company feels its products and services reign supreme. But most of your target audiences will need convincing. Sorry, but that’s the way the content cookie crumbles. And you won’t make a strong case by depending heavily upon the same tech jargon and buzz phrases readers have seen far, far too many times before. Instead, the content professional and client must work closely together to come up with several (or numerous) key points of distinguished value. What does your product and/or service deliver which none of the others do? How are you uniquely addressing pain points? What metrics can you present which illustrate your tech company’s stand-out contributions to customers’ business performance?
Vivid descriptions and telling details which “lift” from the screen. Yes, this is one of the more “writer-ly” aspects of content. Yet, it can prove to be so darn effective in terms of resonating (and, thus, engaging) with audiences. Sometimes, it’s a “holy cow!” statistic. But the message really hits home if you match the numbers with striking imagery. In describing the growth of big data, for example, IDC recently reported that the digital universe is doubling in size every year and, by 2020, it will contain “nearly as many digital bits as there are stars in the universe.” While the initial finding is revealing, the use of the “star” comparison captivates readers with an appealing sense of astonishment.
Such attention to detail should go beyond numbers, to drill down into the core, essential impact of tech solutions. Another favorite of mine comes from Time magazine, in describing the standard smartphone running on an Apple iOS or Google Android operating system as having “more computing power than Apollo 11 when it landed a man on the moon.” Such a reference makes a more lasting impression than trotting out the usual details about memory and CPUs, doesn’t it?
At W2 Communications, we work closely with our tech clients to develop a wide range of content marketing to position their executives as Thought Leaders, and their brands as respected industry trailblazers. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, then please contact us.
Dennis McCafferty is Director of Content for W2 Communications.