Content marketing is an effective strategy for marketing your technology business — but only if it’s based on the right content. A basic rule of thumb is that thought leadership will get more responses than content promoting products and services.
In content marketing, website visitors complete online forms to download content, such as e-books, white papers, and infographics, which results in leads for you. To motivate people to fill out a form to read content, however, the content has to be valuable enough for them to take the time to type in their contact information.
Think Like Your Audience, Not Like the Owner of a Tech Company
As an integrator, software developer, technician, or other IT provider, you are interested in the latest solution’s “speeds and feeds,” but this probably will not interest your audience enough to download content about it. When you are marketing technology you have to generate content that answers your readers’ questions:
- How can I address a pain point common to my industry?
- What trends are important for me to pay attention to in my industry or market?
- What are new developments, forecasts, or projections I need to be aware of and prepared for?
- If there are technology solutions to address these challenges, what impact will they have on my business?
- What actions can I take to take advantage of this opportunity or to overcome this challenge?
If you can answer these questions with your content, people will perceive value and want to read it.
Think Like a Search Engine
Obviously, you want your technology marketing efforts to result in people finding your content online. For this to happen, your content has to be indexed by search engines. High-quality content relevant to the market or industry you serve will be rewarded with better rankings in search results — even a coveted listing on “page 1.”
If you equate search engine optimization (SEO) with trying to use tricks to help search engines list content that promotes your business, products and services, you are missing the point. You should regularly publish well-written content relevant to your industry. Search engines, as well as website visitors and prospects, place value on that.
Establish Your Expertise
If it sounds like you have to be an expert in the vertical market or industry you serve — even beyond issues related to technology — you’re right. For your clients and prospects to perceive value, the content you create must intelligently speak to your clients and prospects about their businesses.
If you think about it, though, you are already an expert at providing tech solutions to your clients, which are concentrated in a particular industry or market. You have learned about your clients’ industry and the challenges they face. Write about what you have learned, what you have witnesses as you’ve worked in the industry, and share information you have discovered that would be valuable to your clients. This will result in valuable content for your audience, and you will also become known and trusted for your expertise and your desire to help people be more successful in their businesses.
Enjoy the Benefits
Beyond generating a steady stream of leads and establishing yourself as an industry expert, thought leadership can result in even more benefits:
- Branding and Differentiation. Thought leadership allows people to associate your brand and business with industry expertise — not with sales pitches.
- A Mechanism to Guide Prospects through the Sales Funnel. Although prospects completed a form to download content, few are ready to buy at first. Thought leadership topics give you more opportunities to share more information and to engage with prospects again, nurturing leads until you can convert them to sales.
- Company Value and Growth. Business that stands out as industry thought leaders are more attractive investment opportunities than lesser known competitors.
Content marketing focused on thought leadership takes effort and consistency, but the return will be so much greater than posting content that resembles product spec sheets or sales flyers. Visitors to your website are looking for answers to their questions. You can be ready with the answers.