When people are looking for a technology-driven solution or answer to a question, they go online most of the time to find what they’re looking for. If you’re in the tech industry, it’s important that you position yourself as a potential solution when people do go online, and the best way to do that is through your content marketing.
When buyers are in the research phase of their journey, they’re just looking for information. They’ll probably look past the marketing and advertising materials and focus instead on your educational resources. Eighty percent of decision-makers say they prefer information from articles instead of marketing materials.
This highlights the relevance of content marketing. Below is a complete guide to content marketing, specifically geared toward businesses and organizations in the tech industry.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic approach to the creation and distribution of content that’s valuable, consistent, and relevant. The end goal is driving profitability in customer actions, but that’s only one part of it.
As traditional marketing becomes less effective, content marketing then becomes more and more important. You aren’t pitching yourself with your content marketing. You are providing content that’s valuable and useful to help people solve their issues, even if they aren’t your customer.
Content is actually part of all types of marketing in some way or another, including social media, SEO, PR, inbound marketing, and PPC. All need to be driven by quality content.
When you create valuable and relevant content, you hope to attract new customers, acquire them, and engage their interest. People are receiving more marketing messages than ever in history—thousands a day on average.
That means you need to be able to cut through the noise, position yourself as a thought leader, and build a sense of brand preference through information and education.
What Are the Components of Content Marketing?
There are a lot of different forms of content marketing, and you’ll typically use a mix of at least several types in your larger overall strategy.
- Blog Posts: A cornerstone of content marketing, blog posts can improve traffic to your website, and they’re useful for SEO purposes. Around 68% of online experiences start with a search engine, and the more quality blog posts you create, the more likely you are to show up in searches and rank well.
- Whitepapers: Reports and whitepapers are a way to nurture leads, and they’re excellent sources of content marketing for B2B organizations. With whitepapers and reports, you can go in-depth on a topic, and they tend to have a professional, expert tone that instills a sense of trust.
You can make arguments and share insights and data. Along with whitepapers, consider backing up what you’re saying with visuals like infographics, charts, and tables. More than 60% of B2B buyers say they share whitepapers with their colleagues.
- Videos: Don’t overlook the value of videos as part of your content marketing strategy. Videos can help you to gain the audience that’s on YouTube, plus they’re a good way to create a human connection and also to explain more complex subjects in an engaging way.
Video content might include product views, tutorials, how-to guides, and product unboxing videos. You can also use video content for customer testimonials and behind-the-scenes videos to solidify your brand.
- Infographics: Like videos, infographics are a good way to visually represent more complicated subjects and break them down into something that’s digestible and sharable.
If you’re a tech company, you can use infographics to take your data and turn it into something a lot more engaging. You let your images tell the story rather than text.
Other elements of content marketing can include:
- eBooks which include strong visual design. You can use an eBook as a giveaway and lead magnet.
- Cheat sheets, which are easy to read and scan.
- Slide decks that you can use to break down something into steps or “bite-sized” chunks.
- Case studies with a number of stories to help people see results and value rather than focusing only on your brand.
In the tech industry, thought leadership content is especially relevant. Thought leadership content allows you to position your company as having a team of experts, building credibility. Within that thought leadership content, you can think about topical content and evergreen content.
Topical content can build on current events that are relevant to your business and will grab attention.
Topical content, while compelling, does quickly age. Evergreen content can stay fresh for long periods of time, and to make these pieces of content, you might answer common industry questions or create in-depth guides.
Why Is Content Marketing Important?
Some of the many reasons content marketing is important include:
- You’re showing your audience rather than telling them with content marketing. You’re putting your sense of knowledge and authority into action when you’re creating content instead of just advertising to them.
- Aggressive and traditional approaches to advertising tend not to work anymore. For example, constantly having messaging telling customers to buy now can be a turn-off to a modern, discerning consumer.
Instead, you want to create content so that your targeted customer finds you. You then develop a relationship Based on trust and knowledge, rather than just trying to sell, sell, sell. You aren’t asking anything of people. You’re only giving them something—the value of the knowledge they get from your content.
- Content marketing is at the heart of all digital marketing. There’s no way around it. Your content marketing is what’s going to tie together and support your digital marketing strategy.
- Consistent content can often deliver an appealing ROI. Your content marketing will pull in site visitors and leads, and often it can compound.
For example, if you create an excellent piece of evergreen content, then people are going to visit your site because of it, but then it’s also something other sites can link to, and it’s just going to keep growing long after you create it.
- When you create great content, it’s going to help your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. You’ll generate more website traffic.
- Overall, content marketing can be very cost-effective. It costs significantly less than traditional marketing but often generates far more leads. The downside here is that it’s time-intensive, and it does take time to see results from content marketing, but stay consistent, and it’ll happen.
- You can nurture prospects with content. Your marketing funnel is the way you’re qualifying your sales lead. You understand them at each stage of their buying process, and you’re putting in place strategies to move them closer to the sale.
At the top of the funnel, you’re creating content to inform and educate. In the middle of the funnel, your content is nurturing leads. Then, at the bottom of the funnel, you’re creating content that’s going to help close the sale.
Content Marketing Tips For Tech Companies
With all the above in mind, the following are specific tips for your content marketing strategy, especially as a tech company.
- Set SMART goals. Your content marketing goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, maybe with your content strategy, your goal is to drive 20% more traffic to your product pages.
You can then report on the performance of your content and look at how long it’s taking you to achieve whatever goal you set.
- One of the most important things you can do for your content marketing strategy is to have buyer personas. These are profiles that will define your ideal audience. In creating these persona profilesthink about their questions, challenges, and needs.
What is the content they’re most likely to want to consume? What are their buying stages, and how can you speak to their needs with each part of your content strategy?
- You’ll need to think about your particular buyer’s journey as well. Map out their decision-making process to help you figure out what types of content are going to appeal to which buyers and at what stage of their journey.
- Set a specific content marketing plan. You’ll think about your budget and other relevant resources and what’s going to go into creating pieces of content. You want to have an editorial calendar where you’re tracking and coordinating the content.
- What are your distribution channels? Owned channels include things like your social media channels. Organic distribution channels might be when you’re sharing content on your website, primarily for purposes of SEO.
Paid channels include advertising like sponsored content, search engine marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and display ads. You want to match the demographics likely to be on a distribution channel with your brand personas so you can figure out how and where to invest.
There’s also a term—earned social media marketing. This is the toughest but the most valuable. Earned social media marketing is when your audience shares your content with their own network by choice.
try to tell a story when you create content. Everyone is emotional, and we make decisions based on these emotions more so than facts. Even in tech, which has a reputation as being dry and face-based, you can tell a story so that your buyers form an emotional connection with you.
This might be as simple as offering content that shows how your product or service could solve a particular problem they have.