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How to be a Tech Company with a Killer Content Marketing Strategy

You’re a B2B tech company. You have a great product, service or software. And, you’ve got a pretty okay website (or maybe you don’t) that explains who you are and the value your company can provide.

While those are all good things, 60% of B2B decision-makers say that content provided by companies helps them make smarter buying decisions (Marketo, 2015). So, if you’re not leveraging content marketing, you could be missing out on dozens or even hundreds of potential customers.

“But why does my B2B tech company need a content marketing strategy?”

Content is still king

Icons-ContentIsKingWithout content, what would we have? There would be no internet cat videos, no memes, no viral anything—except the flu! Content helps your prospective buyers find your website, engage with your company, make purchase decisions and be entertained by…er, be kept informed by your business. Content is the main reason your prospective buyers move from one stage of their buyer’s journey to the next.

In a nutshell, content marketing helps to build trust, authority and brand awareness—all the things you need to build a long-term strategy for your business. And, it’s as logical as planning, creating and distributing your content.

Plan your content

Icons-PlanYourContentYour content marketing strategy should be focused on getting your audience to find, digest, and engage with your content at every stage in their buyer’s journey—a challenge in today’s digital ecosystem where we all fight for attention (not space). So, you need a plan to develop content that will keep your focus on your buyer and their journey and really help you stand out from your competition.

As the foundation of your content marketing strategy, you want your content to be consumed, shared and used to help make purchase decisions. So, think about what information will help your buyer most.

  • Do they need more education?
  • Do they need a great deal?
  • Do they need to earn your trust?
  • Do they even know you exist?

Use the steps below to plan content that will resonate with your buyers at every stage of their buyer's journey.

Step 1: Define the purpose of your content

First, use the inbound methodology to determine what you want your content to do:

  • Attract visitors to your website
  • Convert visitors to leads
  • Close deals
  • Delight customers or prospective customers

We'll use this in a scenario. Let's say that 30% of your website visitors are bouncing (leaving your website) once they land on the Pricing page. Maybe they think your product is too expensive?

In this case, the purpose of your content could be to educate your visitors about the value of investing in a higher quality product versus cutting budgetary corners.

Pro tip: Content that is valuable to your buyers will help you rank higher in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) AND build brand awareness and credibility. Use action-oriented CTAs within your content to give eager buyers an opportunity to convert.

Step 2: Determine the format for your content

With your audience top-of-mind, and taking into account the time and tools at your disposal, determine what type of content you can create that will resonate best with your buyer persona and effectively tell your story.

Are your buyers visual learners? Do they like to read? Are they short on time with higher priorities? There are many types of content you can consider:

  • Whitepapers
  • Case Studies
  • eBooks
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Quizzes
  • Checklists
  • Presentations
  • Emails

Keep in mind that different types of content perform better in different stages.

ContentMatrix

For example: you might have a decision-stage buyer looking for quick stats as they compare your product/services to your competitors. Your content should be easy-to-skim as a features checklist or infographic.

On the other hand, prospective buyers in the awareness stage may just be looking for general industry information. So, eBooks or blog articles may be of value as they start their research.

Download our tech buyer’s journey content cheat sheet for more guidelines that will help you determine type of content could be most appropriate for your buyer.

Pro tip: If you have content that is particularly valuable, or content that has taken a lot of blood, sweat or tears to create, you may consider gating it behind a form—or not just giving it away for “free.” If your prospects (or even your competition!) are insanely interested in it, they’ll give you something valuable in return: their contact information. And now you’ll be able to further nurture them with emails!

Step 3: Determine the topic of your content.

Once you know who you’re talking to, what you want them to do and how to communicate your message, determine what topics would be of interest or most useful to your buyer as they move toward making their purchase decision.

Great content should be informational, educational and can even be entertaining! Remember: your ultimate goal is to solve your buyer’s problem or fulfill their need—not promote your business. Below are some suggestions for where you can find out more about your buyer’s interests and what their networks are talking about.

  • Keyword research
  • Social networks
  • Online groups or forums
  • Industry news
  • Questions your sales team is frequently asked
  • Goals and challenges of your buyer persona

Pro tip: Pull together trends from these sources and you’ll have a pretty good picture of what your buyer persona finds valuable and interesting.

Create content with a purpose

Icons-CreateContentNow that you’ve mastered the steps of planning your content, it’s time to sit down and actually create it! These best practices can help you kick-start your content development process and keep you uber-focused.

Buyer persona + buyer’s journey

Do your homework and know who you are talking to. Always, always, always focus your content on your buyer persona AND where they are in their buyer’s journey.

Less is more

Your buyer persona is probably just as busy as you are. Keep your message short, sweet and to the point—digestible in just a few minutes. Every word, regardless of content length, should bring value to your buyer.

Education over promotion

Until they hit the decision stage, your prospects don’t really care about you…at least not yet. What they care about is finding the best solution to their problem. So, educate them about their options, about the industry and gain their trust as a knowledgeable advisor.

Let content inform design

Prioritize content development over design. Many people struggle with writing content, so it often gets pushed to the bottom of the priority list. This can drive a designer bonkers—here’s why: while “lorem ipsum” content can be used as a placeholder, the actual content—the way the words lay out on a page—will dictate what imagery should be used and how the end product will look.

You may imagine a headline of text to only take up one line, but depending on the design elements chosen, your headline may actually extend to a second line. If that matters to you, you will end up making one of two decisions: either come up with a new headline that fits the design, or come up with a new design that fits the content. Can you see how the dominoes fall when content doesn’t come first?

WWMBW?

The first question you should always ask yourself is, What would my buyer want?” No one wants to be sold to. And, “Buy my stuff!” doesn’t work anymore! So, if you want to position your company as an industry leader, you need to provide value to your buyers on a regular basis.

Distribute your content

Icons-DistributeYourContentYour content only does its job if people see it. So, now that you’ve spent all of this time planning and developing valuable content, it’s time to get it noticed. In the 21st century, you can’t just expect to “build it and they will come.” Now’s the time to do everything you can to make sure your content reaches your audience. If it’s attention you want (hint: it is attention you want!) then make sure to utilize as many channels as you can that make sense for your business and for your buyers. It's important to spend your time, energy and budget in places where your persona will actually see you.

Your website

We might be stating the obvious, but most of your valuable content will live on your website or blog for the sole purposes of attracting, converting, closing or delighting your buyers.

Search Engine Marketing

Utilizing paid media, such as pay-per-click or display ads, is a good way to get actionable, short-form content in front of your buyer’s eyes. These tactics will help attract buyers in the awareness stage to your website with the goal of converting them to qualified leads or customers using dedicated lead form landing pages.

Social Media

Posting relevant content consistently to social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter is a good way to help you push out short-form content. (And paid social advertising allows you to expand your reach to targeted audiences in an effort to attract new followers and site visits, or inspire other engagement activities.) An infographic in a newsfeed can serve as a quick, eye-catching resource for your prospective buyers.

Email

Many businesses use email as a channel to distribute updates to current customers and nurture less-qualified leads. However, email should be used mindfully—no one likes spammers. So, be conscious of how you use prospect’s inbox space. Maintain a subscriber list and send emails only to people who have opted to hear from you.

Timing and context are everything

Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes. If you're at a stage where you wouldn't want to be bombarded by a pushy software salesperson, neither will they. …But, that’s not to say they don't want information that can help them decide which software to buy or whom to buy it from.

The moral of our story is—make sure the content in your blog posts, your emails, even your digital ads is tailored to who you’re trying to reach (your buyer persona) and provides the information that they want to know (depending on where they are in their buyer’s journey). The wrong message at the wrong time can deter a prospect from wanting to work with you; but the right message at the right time can help move them closer to making a purchase decision—hopefully with your company!

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

Colleen Kline

Written by Colleen Kline

Colleen is Kiwi Creative’s project manager, who just happens to have a boatload of marketing experience and a background in web and digital project coordination. When not deep in HubSpot, Colleen spends her time cuddling cats or engrossed in Harry Potter and crime dramas.

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