Everyone cares about content. Whether you are a marketer tasked with churning out written material for demand and lead generation, a C-Level executive demonstrating thought leadership, or a techie connecting with both your peers andperspective buyers, there are certain caveats you should know when you are creating (or sourcing) high-tech content for the entire world to see.
Here are 5 best practices to consider in your content creation:
Know Your Call-to-Action
Know what your call-to-action is before you plan what needs to be written. Are you looking for thought leadership, to be seen as an expert in your area of high-tech? Do you want your readers to download your latest technical whitepaper to learn in-depth what your company provides? Do you want to create buzz and get a conversation going to drive awareness on some challenge of high-tech that your company solves? Are you educating readers on a subject that is new and generally unknown? Once you know what your call-to-action is, the focus of the piece becomes clear.
Define Your Audience
Define your audience in advance. “Well, duh, my audience is high-tech!” you may say. But further defining your audience based on your call-to-action can greatly increase the effectiveness of your piece. For example, if you are writing to educate your audience on something new, then you want the piece to be more of a high-level general overview, explaining the problem, why it’s a problem, and how your product or service can solve that problem. Even though your audience is high-tech, your writing should be more generalized to suit an audience of varying technical levels.
If, on the other hand, the audience of your whitepaper consists of experts in cybersecurity, you will want to dive deeper into details, or provide a snapshot of these technical details in a blog post that points to your technical whitepaper for an even more in-depth look at your subject.
Provide useful, interesting, and original content. In the interests of time and deadlines, you may be tempted to skimp on this one. In fact, many companies do, as evidenced by a lot of the “me too” content that is out there. I once worked for a company where we coined a certain phrase and analogy to tie into our messaging of our core product. Within a week, one of our competitors literally lifted the exact phrase, terminology, and messaging from our website and put it on theirs – unashamedly! All I could picture was some harried marketing person tasked with updating their messaging and content. I envisioned them scanning their competitor’s websites, thinking ours said it best, and used it pretty much verbatim. Don’t do this! Be original. You might think this is hard to do, but it’s really not if you think about it. Technical details of a product or technology may be static, but how it is used, how it affects real people, and how it can be connected and tied together to other things is, well, limitless.
Mind Your Sources
Mind your sources. In high-tech, writers love to cite analyst firms like Gartner to back up what they are saying, and this can be a good strategy if the statistics you are using are relevant. But Gartner does research based on publicly provided information (from public companies) and briefings with vendors themselves (who are often clients) which can skew research results. If you really want to spice up your content with hard core technical facts, get quotes from companies like NSS Labs, who perform hands-on testing of the products that they evaluate. Another great source is Horses for Sources, an analyst firm that doesn’t horde information (and charge thousands for it), but rather makes a great amount of its research public through their technical blog. Other sources to check out include G2-Crowd, Trust Radius, and IT Central Station, all firms that source product and vendor evaluations through actual customer feedback.
Use analogies that have nothing to do with Information Technology. High-tech content can be dry, let’s face it. Not all of us get jazzed about bits and bytes, networking protocols, and software-defined enterprises (guilty admission – I do!) So use well-thought out analogies to weave the dry stuff into images that readers already know about. If you’re talking about how Big Data transverses the Internet and its implications, mention wearable devices and mobile phones alongside the Cisco router or Next Generation Firewall in your piece. Relate the technology to the human on the other end.
Bring Readers Back for More
These five best practices will help you to create high-quality content and secure your call-to-action. Whether you want your prospects to download your whitepaper for lead generation or invite your prospects to reach out to your company directly, well-written content is key to achieving your targeted outcome. Even if your call-to-action is an informative thought-leadership piece for branding purposes, the reader will remember your original and interesting piece, and hopefully come back for more!
5-Star Writer Patricia B is veteran of the high-tech industry, with deep and vast knowledge in network monitoring and network management, cyber security, and healthcare IT.