Hey, CEO, are you doing everything you can to support your tech marketers?
Are you aware of how much support they need from your R&D team, for example? Sure, HR may explain to new R&D team members that they’re responsible for liaising with marketing to help create content—but are they really taking it seriously?
Beyond just scaling up and creating more content, the type of content you’re creating also has to change. But your teams, including marketing and R&D are all busy folks. They’re going to resist that change—and that’s where you come in, along with the mindset shift you need to make to ramp up to strategic content creation.
Leadership comes from the top, period. If you set the tone, your organization will follow. So if you want your organization to succeed at content creation, the biggest push needs to come from you and your management team.
A few years back, I consulted a large tech startup that was offering a bonus of $500 to any member of its R&D team willing to write a blog for its site. WDYT? Did it work?
How can you accomplish this mindset shift? In this post, we’ll explore the importance of deep technical content for reaching your most important audience, then share tips from our experts to kick your content production into high gear.
Why Do You Need Deep Tech Content?
Most enterprises already know they need to reach a range of audiences. But there’s one increasingly crucial audience that many enterprises, even some of the biggest and most established, are failing to reach effectively: tech practitioners.
These folks go by a range of titles: developers, DevOps engineers, cloud security architects, cybersecurity administrators, and more. They’re in the trenches every single day, and they’re the ones who will ultimately decide if you make the sale, whether it’s a SaaS security platform or cloud migration professional services, for example.
Why is it so important to regularly create and share technical content with this audience?
- Bottom-up adoption: In today’s market, product-led growth dominates over older models of selling software and services. What that means is that purchasing decisions rarely come from on high. Instead, practitioners embrace products they’re passionate about.
- Authenticity: Thought leadership, in the form of original, interesting, timely ideas—even if they’re a little controversial—will resonate deeply with an audience clamoring for greater authenticity.
- Evangelism: Tech practitioners who love your product and see you as a leader will become your biggest fans and your strongest advocates.
With so many tech products and services competing in crowded markets, you need to publish regularly to remain front of mind. And creating deep content at this pace can be the biggest challenge tech brands face today; for those who manage to excel at this, it can be a key differentiator that accelerates their brand awareness and business.
Whether it’s advanced how-to blog posts, one-pagers, or explainer videos, you must share original concepts and ideas as well as practical and accurate content with this practitioner audience. These are busy people who can spot fluff from miles away; they’re already well aware of the basics and resent being told what they already know. (Too many enterprises make this mistake, like this cautionary example from IBM sharing outdated, irrelevant content.)
If your content is shallow—or, worse, inaccurate—they’ll not only click away; they may never take your organization seriously again. You only have one shot.
How Can You Succeed In Meeting These Demands?
So if tech practitioners are both your most important and your most challenging audience, who’s going to be responsible for creating the content you need?
Think twice before you answer; it’s not as simple as you might think.
Your marketing department?
In most cases, they understand only the broad strokes of your product, solution, or platform, but not the specifics—at least not at a level that would satisfy this kind of user. And requests to R&D other technical departments end up in frustration as they discover that their requests take a back seat to operational responsibilities.
If marketing doesn’t have the muscle to get the information they need, and lacks the executive support to back them up, they could fail—and might even end up harming the brand with subpar content. Worse, they could end up bearing the brunt of the CTO’s fury when he sees the poor-quality content organization has published.
R&D and other technical teams?
On the surface, these might seem like the ideal people to create your content. They know the product inside and out, and love explaining all its baked-in features. But while their technical knowledge is strong, these folks aren’t your target audience. For example, they might be so in love with all those advanced features they’ve fought for that they lose sight of the fact that the target audience may only need introductory, 101-level content, like a basic how-to to get started with the product.
It’s also important to remember that not every developer or tech team member is a gifted communicator. Many people choose technical fields like coding specifically because they don’t require human contact.
Finally, even the most well-meaning tech team member can’t drop everything to help with what they see as a marketing task, especially when they’re under pressure from all sides to finalize a release or fix a mission-critical bug.
I’ve often seen startup CEOs letting their development team off the hook when it comes to work related to marketing in the face of claims that they’re too busy. But at the end of the day, marketing is a vital part of any business. Creating this kind of high-quality, consistent, tech-rich content demands a shift in mindset—and that starts at the top.
It’s up to you as the CEO to set the tone and make it clear that content creation is a strategic priority for your entire organization. And you need to be the one who brings your best minds together to achieve smoother, more effective content production processes.
From our experience over the years helping tech brands—from the largest enterprises like Microsoft, to smaller startups like Iguazio and Armo—navigate this transformation (click the links to check out those success stories), we’ve picked up a few lessons along the way:
- Bust silos: Deep, rich tech content demands that marketing work hand-in-hand with R&D, development, sales, and other areas through well-defined KPIs and processes. Bridging tech and marketing can only come from the executive level.
- Empower marketing leadership: R&D and other teams won’t get on board without directives from the top that make content creation a priority. The organization must guarantee a balance between great product and great marketing and sales, since neither one can exist without the other.
- Push the marketing envelope: Expand your definitions of what marketing includes by opening up new roles in your marketing team like tech evangelist and developer advocate, individuals with a deeper understanding of tech who can improve your exposure and authentically engage crucial tech audiences.
- Publish from the top: In a recent study, 61% of decision-makers said that an organization’s thought leadership was moderately or significantly more effective at showing the potential value of its products/services than traditional product-oriented marketing—even under tough market conditions. By creating and publishing your own blogs and social posts, you establish thought leadership, build influence in the market, and share your organization’s personality and values.
For more tips on producing content for tech marketing at scale, download our new ebook.
But even with a shift in mindset, the rubber must meet the road somewhere. You still need somebody to actually create the content—at a pace and volume that many organizations find overwhelming. That’s what we’ll look at in the next section.
What Does It Take Beyond a Mindset Shift? IOD!
You need authentic, deep tech content. And you need a lot of it so you don’t get left behind. Essentially, there’s only one way to achieve this: Become a publisher. Traditionally, organizations recognizing this have taken one of two approaches:
- Bring in content talent: Create a publishing unit in house that is responsible for content creation at scale and on a fixed timetable, including writing, editing, graphics and video production.
- Outsource to freelance talent: It may seem tempting instead to hire freelance tech writers. But if you think about the scale you need, you’re essentially going to need to ramp up and bring an army of freelancers on board. That’s neither fast nor efficient.
In addition, both of these options take a long time—and time is of the essence when it comes to getting to market with timely, relevant tech content.
If you can’t afford to wait (and who can these days?), there is another option. Partnering with IOD can ensure a steady supply of accurate, expert-generated content in line with all of your messaging and targeted directly at your toughest audience: tech practitioners.
IOD only works with technology companies, so we know the industry inside and out. We’re all cloud fanatics, DevOps evangelists, open-source aficionados.
Best of all, we give you complete talent teams composed of vetted tech experts and professional editors, led by your own account manager, so content production goes from being your biggest hassle to a seamless plug-and-play experience.
For more insight into making content creation simpler, download the new ebook we’ve created just for tech leaders like you. Or get in touch today to find out how to get IOD’s well-oiled content machine working for your brand.