Servers, Storage, Virtualization and You: It’s Complicated
February 27, 2015
Guest Blog - Restore vs Recovery – Is there a difference?
May 28, 2014
Roll with the Changes: See Clearly into Your Virtual Environment
March 20, 2015
Techvangelism in Action
5 Reasons You Don’t Have Enough Content
June 17, 2014
I have yet to meet a VP of Marketing or CMO yet that has told me “we have enough content.” Based on the fact that you’re reading this article, you’ve already admitted your company lacks the proper content. And content marketing is the lifeblood of most organizations. Long gone are the days of simply saying “bread for sale”; today’s marketer needs to have blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, videos, and more, all telling prospective buyers why they need bread, what kinds of bread are best, etc. - all working towards establishing the company as the bread expert in order to generate bread sales.
You have tons of people walking around that know what you do, what you sell, how it helps, etc. So why is it such a struggle to generate the content and assets needed?
Here are several reasons you lack the content necessary:
You don’t have a strategy – many companies are simply so busy trying to tell the world they have something for sale, focusing on advertising and lead gen campaigns, that they haven’t developed a strategy around creating content that aligns with the customer journey. Without the content plan, there is no content execution.
Your marketing team doesn’t know their audience – Some of you have a single target demographic for a prospect – the IT guy, for example. Others may have several targets – IT guy, CIO, CEO – where it’s a bit more complex. If you don’t know who you’re targeting, it’s very difficult to create content that speaks to those targets is a meaningful way. So, your team simply falls back to the content they have.
You don't know where the content should go - This aligns with having a strategy and knowing your buyer. The kind of content you need differs when considering are you tweeting about yoru product, posting a thought leadership article, or educating buyers about the problem with a video on YouTube. Every medium has a different use and, therefore, will require different content. And, since you don't know where your content will be going, it's tough to know what content to build.
Your marketing team doesn’t understand the problem – This is a big one for tech companies; most marketers aren’t technical, so getting them to understand the pains the customer is going through is tough. Often, the translation of the pain into marketing becomes an academic exercise, prone to error in execution. I remember a prime example from many years ago where one of my team was trying to build an ad for managing Active Directory permissions. The ad he built was one of a guy holding a keyboard lying on the floor in exhaustion. The problem? Managing AD permissions isn’t exhausting. It’s merely time consuming. See? Academic. You’re probably not giving your marketing team technical training, so they’re never learning about the problem. Even the best writer needs to know what they’re writing about.
You don’t have writing talent – This is a really tough one, given the previous reasons. In all my previous companies, all the product marketing and creative content writing was done by me and one other person. It was simply too difficult to find someone that a) understood technology, b) understood the pain and c) could write about it. You probably have one or two team members that are really good writers, but they likely lack some understanding about the audience and the problem, making it still a challenge to generate the content necessary. So you simply stick with the ads and the lead gen instead.
The good news is there are simple steps you can take to rectify your content problem. None of them are hard, but they all need to be done in conjunction with one another to ensure you end up with the content you need.
Develop a strategy – First off, it’s important to mention that the era of the seller is over – today is the era of the buyer. That’s why it’s time to move from a simple lead generation strategy of “I have it, download it now!” to the more mature customer journey strategy. Understand what the customer journey looks like – from initial touch to final sale or noted disinterest – and build content that aligns with that journey. Without a strategy, any content you create will make you look like your out of sync with the customer.
Define personas – The persona is used to inform your marketing team about their target audience. Age, interests, what drives them, what’s corporately important to them, etc. These personas will set the tone and direction of your content, ensuring your talking business benefits to the CEO and technical benefits to the IT Guy.
Define content mediums - This is more than just a list of places on the web; this is both where you will place content, as well as what specific kinds of content and the goal for that content (awareness, lead generation, branding, etc.)
Train Marketing – at each of the companies I worked at as VP of Marketing, we had some form of a “Sharpen Your Skills” sales training where an SE would come in and teach sales some technical aspect of one of the products, something about the customer, even just go into detail around what steps a customer has to go through to accomplish a task that our product made easier. Marketing needs to be in these same trainings. The more they understand the products you sell more intimately than a list of bullets from the Go-To-Market doc, the easier it will be for them to find new angles to address customer problems and to write about it.
Reuse content - You already have some content, right? A few whitepapers, a webinar you did last month, a couple of blog posts. You should reuse those assets in several other forms. Take that whitepaper and build it into 3-4 blog posts that each point to the whitepaper. Take that webinar and make a whitepaper out of it. There’s tons you can do when it comes to reusing your content.
Outsource – Your reality may simply be that you lack the time and resources to do any of the previous steps. If so, choosing a company to outsource to is critical. They need to not just be able to write, but in essence, already have overcome the five reasons in this article. That is, they can formulate a strategy for you, they understand your audience, they understand the problem your product is solving, and they can write.
Content is becoming a problem that is increasingly more difficult to address. Without the right people, training and strategy in place, you’ll never overcome. But with a strategy and the right team, you can produce the content necessary to positively impact your business.