Content marketing is arguably one of the most important aspects of your overall approach to winning new business. It’s also one of the most difficult techniques to get right, each time, over a period of time.
Before we get started on the details, let’s examine what content marketing is. Content marketing for technology firms is a strategy based on producing and distributing material that is valuable and interesting to your target audience. That content can come in many different formats. Common examples include blogs, white papers, podcasts, videos, webinars, and even books.
No matter the format, content must be educational, not promotional. It should address the issues and priorities of your target audience, not overtly sell your services. There is a place for promotional content like news about your new product or office or latest hire, but these types of content aren’t great for bringing in new business the way educational content can be.
Tools and advice to help you find clients for your web development, IT, or computer systems design business.
How does content marketing for technology services work?
Educational content can be instrumental in building your technology company’s brand. And by giving prospective customers a taste of how you can help and what working with you might be like, content marketing can be hugely helpful in winning new business.
Aside from demonstrating your expertise, the tone of your content can convey you as innovative and forward-thinking or authoritative and grounded in experience. The tone you convey is up to you and your team,but the important thing to remember is that useful and engaging content is more likely to catch the attention of potential customers and keep you top of mind when they have a relevant need.
So how does content marketing achieve all of this for a technology services company?
- Good content helps you rise above the noise. In today’s crowded market, customers looking for solutions are having to wade through more fluff than substance. Supplying them with informative, actionable, and relevant content keeps you out of the sea of sameness and elevates their perception of you as a potential solution to their issues.
- Search engines love content. The entire reason for search engines is to help people find what they are looking for. So when you build your content around well-researched keyword phrases, Google will prioritize getting people to your digital front door. In short, the right people will find you for the right reasons.
- High quality, relevant content helps qualify and nurture leads that make their way to you. Once a potential customer has found you, your stream of content will help educate the prospect as they gain an understanding of your brand and company. Additionally, as they learn about you they will either appreciate your value or determine that you are not a good fit. Either way, this is something they will do on their own. You don’t need to convince them. They will educate themselves, saving you considerable time and expense.
- Content marketing works around the clock and across the globe. It’s an excellent companion to more traditional techniques like event marketing, where you can personally showcase the deep expertise your content conveys. The bottom line is that efficiencies gained through a marketing technique that knows no boundaries can quickly reduce your overall costs per new customer.
Examples of content marketing for technology services
The most effective approach to content marketing for technology services is to provide a wealth of freely available material — no commitment, no registration, no cost. Most of this material will be short-format pieces, such as blog posts and articles.
For most companies, blogging is the easiest and most productive way to get started. But blogs only scratch the surface. Here are some other important content marketing vehicles to consider:
- Podcasts and/or Webinars. By themselves, webinars offer a good way to demonstrate your company’s expertise, educate your audience and cultivate interested leads. If you record them, they can be added to your library of content so that web visitors can view them at any time.
- White papers. Perhaps the most familiar form of educational thought leadership, these medium-length pieces are still valuable. Unfortunately, they have a reputation for being dry. So do your best to make them an easy read.
- Social media. Social media can be an important channel to interact with your audience and promote your educational material.
- E-newsletters. Many people prefer to receive educational content by email inbox. In return, you get their email address and the ability to expose them to more of your expert material.
- Ebooks. For the ultimate credibility boost, publish an in-depth study of a topic. Usually, you will want to put something this valuable behind a short registration form.
- Tool-kits and guides. These medium-length pieces make terrific offers on your website, in pay-per-click ads and in email marketing campaigns. Put them behind a registration form so that you can collect leads.
Determining your content topics
One of the biggest mistakes companies can make in their content marketing journey is to start — and then stop. Think about the message this unreliable pattern in content production conveys to your prospective buyer. You run the risk of sending the subliminal message that working with you might not be an altogether reliable experience.
Establishing a regular rhythm though is tough, and arguably one of the most challenging parts of a content marketing strategy. Avoid building your content calendar around your professional passions or pet projects.
Instead, fill it with a list of top questions you get from current and prospective customers. Assign regular dates for publishing content that answers those questions. Writing is a lot easier if you have a pool of ideas to draw from. And you don’t have to tackle big, philosophical questions. A practical answer to a common question can be pure gold.
Patience is a virtue in content marketing
Content marketing is not meant to drive new customers and revenue overnight. It takes time to build a following and grow your reach. A common mistake many companies make is to conclude that their content is not directly reaching their target audience (ideal customer), so they give up on producing content altogether. This usually happens after just a few months of launching a B2B content marketing strategy.
What’s the point of dedicating so much time to creating and promoting great content if it’s not generating any return? Sure, traffic to the website is up and your email list has grown, but where is the revenue? Be patient. Give your content time to perform and get you placed on page one in a Google search.
Most companies will not be able to rank on the first page of search engine results right away. Search engines reward valuable, regularly produced fresh content. In the end, what’s good for your customers is also good for Google — and ultimately — your company.