As the tech landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace and the market matures, tech brands are working hard to keep up and to support their marketing channels at scale. Today’s tech audience is more sophisticated than ever. And with tech practitioners now the de facto decision-makers, there’s no room for fluff.
Reaching the practitioner audience has therefore become a key marketing strategy for every tech vendor. As a result, these tech enterprises are making developer marketing initiatives and building their DevRel force a top priority.
Forward-thinking organizations recognize the importance of deep tech content as part of their marketing activities and are shifting messaging—and budgets—accordingly. Organizations that are slow to adopt this new marketing mindset will quickly find themselves outrun.
Your marketing team needs to produce expert-based tech content fast and at a regular cadence. And while your devs and engineers know your product best, with the growing pressure for faster release cycles, they simply don’t have the time to dedicate to content.
Siloed marketing and IT teams pose yet another obstacle to marketing departments looking to create quality tech content. In addition to these challenges, marketing needs to be able to pivot fast in order to keep up with the ever-evolving tech ecosystem and your company’s dynamic and changing needs.
In this blog post, we take a look at how today’s tech enterprises approach content production, the challenges they face, who’s doing it right, and who could be doing better.
Tech Content Production Done 3 Ways: Where Does Your Enterprise Fall?
Through our years of experience producing deep tech content for hundreds of leading industry players and our active involvement in the ecosystem, we’ve identified three main enterprise types. Each has a different approach to tech content marketing, some more successful than others.
1. The Veteran IT Vendor: Legacy Content Production
Let’s take a look at this cloud blog post released by IBM in 2022. This is a clear example of outdated content created by a legacy corporate marketing team. The article covers the different layers of cloud computing—IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and so on—but is simply detached from the modern cloud landscape and way too basic for the target audience. It may have been relevant if it were published somewhere back in the early 2010s, but that is certainly not the case in 2023.
A veteran IT giant, IBM was established well before the rise of grid computing (AKA cloud). For tech enterprise brands like IBM, their primary marketing strengths include:
- Positive reputation; perception of stability and quality
- Large footprint in the enterprise market—with an established network, digital presence, and sales
- Corporate marketing adept at managing multiple teams across the organization
These established industry players clearly have the potential to become agile content machines. But as this cloud blog post shows, they are failing to distinguish themselves from the competition and are struggling to remain relevant in the modern developer-focused era.
This stems from a number of issues. First, they are often slow to adapt to the evolving market. Moreover, they traditionally market to the C-level, making them vulnerable in a time of bottom-up adoption and product-led growth.
Further complicating matters is the fact that the traditional corporate marketer and writer generally lack the deep understanding tech practitioners possess, while their tech experts are too busy—and, frankly, lack any real incentive or the blogging skills required—to support their marketing team’s efforts.
Last, siloed content marketing channels can lead to an inconsistent brand voice and publication of redundant content.
Failure to overcome these challenges will make it difficult for these companies to compete with the highly scalable business and marketing models of born-in-cloud vendors as well as SaaS giants like AWS and GCP (the next enterprise categories discussed). As part of their rebranding efforts, it is essential that they pivot their content marketing strategy in order to change how their audience—the tech practitioner in particular—perceives their brand, and before it is too late.
*Disclaimer: IBM is not an IOD client, and the views expressed herein are based solely on their public presence.
2. The Born-in-Cloud Vendor: The Aspiring Content Machine
Most of the tech enterprise companies in this category were born-in-cloud startups that eventually reached unicorn, decacorn, or hectocorn status. Among them are relatively young market players such as JFrog, Datadog, and Snowflake.
We might look at the veteran technology enterprises as the “dinosaurs,” and these new enterprises as the agile “mammals.” The impressive growth of these born-in-cloud companies has largely been due to their success in building scalable multi-tenant SaaS products, all while pushing their offering through a strong digital presence and focus on content from the get-go.
Up against both fast-running startups as well as legacy enterprise market players, these enterprises find themselves fighting tooth and nail to maintain a competitive edge and hold on to their niche. In a saturated market, their agile development, fast TTM, and perception of innovation have been their greatest advantages.
At IOD, we have served hundreds of born-in-cloud brands, in many cases, helping them build their content from the ground up and accompanying them on their journey from early-stage startups with small marketing teams to multi-million dollar enterprises running multiple marketing departments. We have seen that where they struggle most is in shifting from the speed-and-survival startup mindset to the enterprise culture of stability.
A marketing team used to handling relatively low content demand is suddenly expected to deliver content at enterprise scale, and fast. Moreover, as their marketing operations expand and new departments crop up to support the company’s rapid growth, they face serious growing pains—with siloed teams and the original marketing unit often reluctant to relinquish its centralized control over the company’s digital operations. This creates bottlenecks and hampers content production.
3. The SaaS Giant: The Real-Deal “Content Machine”
The next category includes veteran SaaS and cloud giants such as Google, AWS, and Salesforce. These companies are the “new era publishers.”
The content volume and publishing cadence of AWS and Salsforce, for example, are right up there with leading tech news and reporting outlet TechCrunch (Figure 1).
AWS, in particular, has proven to be not only a leading cloud provider but also a powerful content machine. AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr runs a network of technical blogs that published 115 long-form articles of 2000+ words each in December 2022 alone, surpassing TechCrunch in the same month.
Figure 1: Comparison of 2022 article publication volume among tech leaders (Source: Buzzsumo)
As shown in Figure 1, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure generated roughly 7,000 articles in 2022, or about 20 articles per day. While not nearly the same volume as the top tech publishers noted here, their capacity is still high when compared with born-in-cloud vendors like Snowflake and Datadog.
For leading cloud enterprises like AWS, Azure, and Google, their expertise in building a tech content machine at scale for a massive and diverse audience has been a major contributor to their overall success. They have achieved this through various strategic community initiatives, which have led to the establishment of a highly skilled talent network with the tech and marketing know-how required to create quality content.
Through programs like AWS Heroes and Google Developer Experts, these SaaS giants have created incentives to contribute to their channels. In exchange for writing and promoting content featuring the vendor’s products and services, community contributors are provided valuable perks such as full sponsorships to attend their annual events, including AWS re:Invent. Another major benefit for these individuals is the opportunity to gain exposure and establish a presence on the enterprise’s widely popular social and marketing channels.
The Tech Enterprise Challenge: Building Brand Authority Through Content
If you’re looking to engage the tech practitioner audience and to be an authority in your domain, building a community around your enterprise through deep tech content is key. This involves creating content that is relevant to the problems of those in the trenches of technology every single day.
But all too often, we see tech enterprises investing heavily to produce volumes of content that is too basic, uninspiring, lacks originality, or is too sales-oriented for the practitioner audience.
The alleged reasoning behind this? It’s there to support SEO and is a quick and easy way to extend their capacities.
However, if the content being published doesn’t meet the grade or there is low production volume, this often indicates deeper issues such as a disconnect between the marketing and tech departments—which can lead to a misaligned content strategy—or poor editorial processes across the organization—which can create bottlenecks, inconsistency, and repetitive content.
In addition, trying to present yourself as an authority in domains outside your core competencies instead of focusing on becoming thought leaders in your space can result in millions of wasted marketing dollars and can seriously harm brand reputation. The tech practitioner will run the other way and warn their community on social channels to steer clear of your brand.
IOD: Streamlined Content Production at Enterprise Scale
As we continue to develop and expand our relationships with tech enterprise clients industry-wide, we have officially announced IOD for Enterprise, our custom content offering tailored specifically to the technology enterprise.
Having produced content at mass scale and worked closely with the marketing and development teams of every type of enterprise vendor mentioned here, we have a deep understanding of the tech enterprise, how it operates, the challenges it faces, and its dynamic and changing needs.
IOD’s success in helping the enterprise overcome their challenges and meet their tech content needs lies not only in our streamlined content production but also the fact that we know and are ourselves a part of the tech ecosystem: Our teams regularly attend and participate in key industry events to keep on top of emerging tech and marketing trends.
While enterprises may enjoy power and influence, in the fast-evolving tech landscape, it can be hard to pivot quickly and scale up your content when you need to—such as when you have a big release coming up. At IOD, we help you achieve this, doing all the heavy lifting and working as a natural extension to your marketing team—and all without disrupting your developers’ workflow.
Zoho, a global enterprise offering a suite of IT management software for the enterprise, partnered with IOD with the goal of building a large directory of technical content to drive traffic to their website, increase conversions, and expand their user base.
“From their deep technical expertise and account management services to their streamlined content creation process, IOD has become our go-to for all our tech content needs. Working with IOD’s DevOps and cloud experts, we were able to produce quality tech content that resonates with our audience and has helped us achieve our business goals. We look forward to continuing to grow together and already have plans to extend the partnership with IOD to influencer marketing and video creation!”
—Jennis Thomas, Senior Content Manager, Zoho
IOD helps enterprises break down silos by essentially becoming an extension of your content marketing and production team. IOD’s agile team of tech experts, marketers, strategists, editors, and designers orchestrates content production across the company’s marketing departments, bridging gaps and ensuring messaging is consistent and aligned. A custom content strategy tailored to the needs of the enterprise enables delivery of content that speaks to your tech audience, at mass scale.
Become a Tech Content Powerhouse
IOD for Enterprise gives your brand access to a vast network of tech marketing writers, expert bloggers, and influencers—while handling all the heavy lifting for you. Empower your marketing team, let your developers focus on your core product, and become a thought leader in your domain.