Tech Marketers, Watch Out for These Content Distribution Pitfalls

You’ve created the perfect piece of content. It’s practical. It’s engaging.

Your engineers and even your CTO have signed off on it. Your marketing team has ensured the branding and messaging are on target. It’s been proofed and edited, and all the SEO keywords are there.

In a content world where we’re forever sifting through fluff, this alone is a huge accomplishment. It’d be a shame to let all that hard work go to waste.

While the phrase “content is king” has been echoed across the marketing world ad nauseam, creating great content is only part of the journey.

Quality, expert-based content—the “king”—serves as the foundation for successful tech marketing, and that is our focus at IOD. But don’t neglect the “queen,” as former Buzzfeed VP of Strategy Jonathan Perelman has aptly called distribution, for she “wears the pants.”

So what are tech marketers getting wrong when it comes to content distribution, and how can you avoid these pitfalls?

Mistake #1: Failing to Package Your Content Correctly

You’ve invested all this time and money to produce quality content tailored to your target audience only to introduce it with a fluffy, off-message Tweet tease sure to make the reader want to slam their laptop closed.

Don’t disregard your audience when sharing on social! Your social messaging should be just as focused as your blogs are.

Remember, you’re not writing this for other marketing people, you’re writing this for a tech audience. Perhaps your marketers lack the in-depth knowledge to represent that technical voice, and there’s nothing wrong with that; your marketing people shouldn’t necessarily be writing all of the social media content on their own.

Ask a tech expert—whether the author who created the content, an engineer from within your company, even your CTO—to provide the conversational text to use as the tease quote on social. Marketers will often interview their engineers when building their content strategy or working on a blog post, but frequently neglect to do the same for the social media messaging.

By ensuring the social messaging reflects the content and offers value, you’ll not only gain the respect of your audience but of your tech team as well.

And if it’s Patch Tuesday and things are crazy over in IT or R&D are too busy working on fixing a critical bug, you can always pull a quote from the article itself. You can even ask the author for the quote in advance during the content creation phase.

Mistake #2: Assuming Distribution Is the Responsibility of the Marketing Team Alone

Why would you want to hear about a Cloud Workload Protection Platform or Kubernetes monitoring solution from a content marketing manager who’s likely never used one? 

Your target audience doesn’t want to hear how great your product is from your marketing team. They want to hear it from an authority, from the experts, their fellow engineers, who are familiar with their day-to-day struggles, challenges, and needs.

A tech marketer sharing your post on LinkedIn, for example, will get a totally different audience than an engineer or your CTO sharing it, and they’ll have greater credibility and authority.

Don’t underestimate the marketing power of your tech team when it comes to distribution both online (social media, communities, and forums) and offline (conferences and networking with friends and colleagues). They’re the ones who can relate to your target audience. They are your true brand evangelists (Even though any developer would shudder at the thought of being called that!).

Get your engineers involved from the earliest stages of the content creation process. Ask them or the tech expert writing the article to create the social messaging text. This can be incorporated into the article brief, before the writing even begins, so that you don’t have to scramble to find someone on your tech team to help with that at the last minute.

Photo by Product School on Unsplash

And take advantage of your tech team’s word-of-mouth marketing power: My husband, a cybersecurity architect, was recently on the market for a new DAST/SAST tool. How did he decide which to use? I asked. In addition to online research, he asked his friends and colleagues for recommendations. Indeed, when making buying decisions, 92% consider recommendations from friends to be a trustworthy source. A casual conversation between your engineers and their peers, whether at a conference or out for a beer, might just be the perfect opportunity to introduce them to your product or service and share your content.

Mistake #3: Focusing on the Wrong Distribution Channels

Ready, set, share! [Marketer races to LinkedIn. Engineer snickers and gives an eye roll.]

Content distribution is not only posting to a platform, it’s about sharing it with your audience. While 97% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for content distribution, many overlook other channels through which to reach their audience.

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are often mistakenly seen as the be-all and end-all distribution channels, but they may be the wrong platforms for your audience. 

It doesn’t help your agenda much if your tech marketing connections on LinkedIn like your post and you call it a day. This does not serve the purpose of getting your product or service to the tech professionals who want and need it. This will not generate debate.

Photo by Greg Bulla on Unsplash

When it comes to your distribution strategy, you’ll need to dig deeper in order to target the right audience. Ask the developers you work with where to find your target audience, which platforms are most relevant, where they go for information. You need to be where your audience is.

Are there specific LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google groups/communities that are relevant? Should you (or your tech team) be sharing your content on:

This is precisely why you need your tech team involved in distribution. Your engineers are probably already in these forums anyway, and opportunities may come up for them to share and distribute your content in their conversations with other techies. Perhaps one of your developers is in the AWS forums discussing EKS pods on AWS Fargate, and your company has just published a step-by-step tutorial on how to run serverless Kubernetes pods with Amazon EKS and AWS Fargate

Or maybe Azure is just a subcase, and the Azure forums you had thought of posting to aren’t the most appropriate place to post your content. This is why you should always consult with your tech team before posting.

Mistake #4: Repackaging Instead of Repurposing

The point of repurposing content is to improve it, to make it more useful to your audience. If your revisions fail to achieve this, it will provide no real added value and is a wasted effort.

Changing a few words here and there, making revisions just for the sake of making revisions, or perhaps trying to repackage a blog post as a white paper isn’t blog post optimization. So before proceeding, ask yourself: What will the reader get out of this? A new tip? A helpful link? Will it help you create a presence? If the answer is no, it’s not worth the time investment.

And don’t forget that Google recommends minimizing duplicate content. If your “old-but-new” piece of content is too close to the original, not only can this harm user experience, but Google may even identify this as an attempt to manipulate SEO rankings in your favor and penalize you by removing the page from the search results.

Of course, when the focus is primarily on existing content, this is often reflective of the fact that the content production line is weak, so you resort to reposting old content. Ensure a strong content production line by creating new, useful content and focus on repurposing only when it benefits the reader.

Who Really Wears the Pants?

They say 50% of the effort is in the content you create and 50% is distribution, though IOD CEO Ofir Nachmani would beg to differ: “In the tech marketing world in particular, it’s more like 70% content, 30% distribution. Content carries much more weight and has a significant impact on distribution.”

Today, more than ever, the search engines want authenticity. And if you’re producing expert-based content written by people who know what they’re talking about, the traffic will come naturally. (Just make sure to distribute your content while it’s still relevant, since it can quickly go out of date.)

Create content that generates debate, content your readers will appreciate, and they will be your ambassadors; they will distribute your content. Good distribution starts with good content.

Maximize your reach with expert-based content. Get started today.

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