Really? Just four steps?
I don’t blame you if you’re cynical. But this is true — I’m in the middle of the story and am willing to share what I’ve learned. Prop your feet up and I’ll tell you what’s happening.
Once upon a time, there was a well-known, second tier IaaS vendor. They made a name for themselves over the years – you’d recognize them right away.
Their tech is awesome.
Their marketing…maybe a different story.
Now and again, someone in their offices would write a blog post, or create an infographic, or even come up with a white paper.
But they didn’t work toward a goal.
And they didn’t push their people to write.
And so they weren’t getting as much attention as they might.
Their content marketing was just okay.
One day, a couple of people saw the light and decided to change. A senior VP and senior director put their heads together and came up with an idea.
They would push their technical staff toward writing useful draft content.
Then they’d work with a content marketing agency to make their content marketing faster, smarter — and just simply better.
That’s where I came in. They hired me and my staff to make a difference, to serve as writers and editors for their draft content.
Here’s what we’ve done.
I created a process to accelerate their content development. You’re welcome to steal it, please, feel free — I can promise it works.
Step 1: The senior director (with some guidance from me) nags people to write draft content.
Step 2: People send him content. It’s loaded on a Dropbox so I can review it.
Step 3: The draft content I receive isn’t in a usable form. To make it useful, I:
· Review and edit it
· Conduct research to add additional detail
· Lead discussions about it
· Interview the writer to get more information
· Merge two documents into one
· Flip elements around, change tenses, modify the style
· Push back, asking for expansion or clarification or additional ideas
· Have it proofread and edited again by someone on my staff.
· Send it over for review
· Repeat if necessary.
Step 4: Every week, I get on the phone with my senior director, and we talk about progress. We close out content that’s finished, talk about content in progress, confirm approvals, review issues, and plan for upcoming content.
Four steps. None of them are difficult, none require additional marketing tools, and none take an immense amount of time. It’s a pretty simple process.
But who cares if it’s simple? What are the results? What happened?
In the first six weeks, we created twelve pieces of content, versus two in the same period before.
That’s a 600% increase!
I know what you’re thinking. Sure, it’s not a bad start, but they were only producing a couple of pieces a month, so any gain is a good gain.
You’re right. But today, we’re working on another fifteen pieces. And we’ll keep doing that, again and again, for several months.
After all, consistency is the key.
My goal, by the way, is to deliver one hundred pieces of content by the end of July.
Just think about it. What could you do with one hundred pieces of content? How many campaigns could you run? How many prospects could learn about your products? How many sales could you make?
And before you think they’re taking a spray and pray approach, they’re not. They’re covering all parts of the sales cycle:
- writing for various personas
- addressing several use cases
- looking into verticals
- creating case studies, white papers, articles, blog posts, infographics and many other formats.
In other words, they’re covering all the bases.
And you can do this too. There’s something to be said for finding the right internal resource to handle this process. But many organizations can’t or won’t. So, if you need an agency to manage this process, that’s great too. Either approach could work.
But there’s a secret key to success.
Want to know what it is?
Subject matter expertise.
I’ve worked in technology sales and marketing since 2002. It’s easy for me to augment, extend, and enhance this content.
I know the market.
I know the technologies.
I know the audience.
I know the pains and benefits.
And I know how to articulate all of these, simply, clearly, effectively.
After all, I spend an hour a day staying up to date about technology developments. I attend a few tradeshows a year. Every single week, I talk to marketers and technologists from some of the leading organizations in the world.
For me, improving all this draft content is simple.
For a generalist copywriter or marketer or agency, it’s really tough.
After all, you know — finding people who understand cloud or SaaS or IoT or storage isn’t easy. How can you expect someone to create content who doesn’t understand the market or the technology?
So the key to success here is making sure your writer/editor has subject matter expertise, or is willing to go get that expertise.
It’s the difference between success and failure.
To to wrap up, I’m going to keep writing about this one as we go. I think we’ll have some important experiences that you can leverage for your own content creation. Please, do me a favor — stay tuned for more details as we continue moving forward!
Brian E Whitaker is the founder of Zettabyte Content, LLC, which delivers content marketing for complex technologies. He’s a Dad, a whisky connoisseur, and likes to write on a sixth grade level. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These images are CC0 Public Domain and can be found at www.pixabay.com