While content marketing is critical for virtually any business in any industry, it is especially important for technology and IT companies with their information-hungry customers.
People looking for technology solutions aren’t especially keen on advertisements or hard-selling sales pitches, and in today’s social media age, most of them would prefer to learn about your solution (and your competitors’) at their own pace.
On the other hand, content marketing can benefit any technology company in many different ways: building awareness, lead generation, educating prospects about your solution’s benefits, convincing them to convert, and so on. However, at its core, content marketing is critical for building your company’s authority, allowing you to attract customers and nurture relationships with stakeholders.
In this guide to content marketing strategy for technology companies, you’ll learn all you need to know to develop and execute a winning content marketing campaign for your IT company.
This guide will cover:
- What is content marketing?
- How does content marketing work?
- The importance and benefits of content marketing in the technology niche?
- Different types of content and their example
- A step-by-step guide to developing a content marketing strategy
- Actionable tips for making your content marketing more effective
Without further ado, let’s get started with this guide.
What is content marketing?
As the name suggests, content marketing is the initiative to develop and publish content in various forms (text-based blog posts, infographics, podcasts, videos, etc.) to help achieve your marketing objectives.
It is a strategic marketing approach focused on providing relevant, valuable, and consistent content instead of pitching or advertising your product/service to help your target audience’s solve their problems.
The anatomy of content marketing
How does content marketing work?
Content marketing works based on the inbound marketing principle, a marketing concept that has been really popular in the past decade.
Inbound marketing—as opposed to traditional or outbound marketing—aims to pull the target audience inwards instead of pushing our marketing messages outward to as many people as possible.
In inbound marketing, content marketing plays a critical role by drawing people that are looking for information (i.e., via Google search) to your brand and moving them through the sales funnel.
Although there are variations, the basic sales funnel (or marketing funnel or buyer’s journey) has three main stages, and content marketing is very effective in all three:
- Awareness. The stage where the target audience starts becoming aware that they are having a problem and are looking for more information about this problem. Also called TOFU (Top of Funnel), content at this stage should be focused on building awareness that your product/service is a potential solution for their problem
- Consideration. At this stage, the target audience is considering different potential solutions for their problem (i.e., reading online reviews, comparing testimonials, etc.) Also called Middle of Funnel (MOFU), the content of this stage should further showcase your solution’s unique benefits, like case studies, how-to guides, and even comparison charts/guides between your product and your competitor’s.
- Conversion. Also called Bottom of Funnel (BOFU), people in this stage already decided that your solution is the best option for them but are not ready to make the purchase for one reason or another. Content at this stage should focus on giving that little, final nudge so they are finally ready to convert. Content like product reviews, success stories, and testimonials are especially effective for this stage.
To develop and publish these various types of content to answer to your target audience’s needs, we can generally divide content marketing into two different aspects:
As we can see, the core of content marketing is to publish high-quality, relevant content so your target audience can find this content when they are looking for information online. To achieve this, your content must be visible.
If your target audience can’t easily find your content when they are looking for information, then no matter how good and relevant your content is, it won’t bring any value to your business (and your target audience.)
This is where the second aspect of content marketing comes in: content promotion.
How you promote your content is just as, if not even more important, than the content creation process.
Yet, many marketers underestimated the importance of content promotion and the time/resources needed to effectively promote your content, often resulting in the failure of the whole content marketing campaign.
Later on in this guide, we will touch on various marketing techniques and approaches you can use to promote your content, but above anything else, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) deserves a special mention.
SEO optimizes your content—and your website—to ensure this content ranks higher on Google and other search engines. This way, those who are considering your brand/product/service and are making a Google search related to your brand can find your content, starting the whole content marketing campaign.
The benefits of content marketing for technology companies
As we’ve discussed above, content marketing and its different types of content can serve a critical and effective purpose in helping move your target audience closer to conversions by attending each and every stage of the marketing/sales funnel.
This is even more prevalent in the technology niche: tech customers are tech-savvy, and most of them prefer convenience over cost. They don’t like to be disrupted by traditional advertising or lengthy sales pitches, and they are proactively looking for information on their own.
Considering this, here are some benefits of content marketing for technology companies and IT startups:
- Building authority. By consistently publishing high-quality content, you can establish your company’s position as the thought leader in your niche. User-generated content (UGC) like success stories, positive reviews, and testimonials can also help prove that your brand, product/service, and the content you are publishing Are credible.
- Creating a sense of familiarity. When you share information about specific problems or share reviews/UGCs of your product, you are connecting to those who have experienced similar problems, and it’s likely they’ll feel more familiar and intimate with your brand. People are more likely to purchase from brands they feel are aligned with their values.
- Educate and convince. No other marketing tactics and channels are more effective than content marketing in educating your prospective customers about what your product does or how your service can help them. Remember that people don’t actually buy products or services, but rather they buy the benefit they get from them. If they can’t understand these benefits, they won’t buy from you, period. Content marketing allows you to educate your prospects in a friendly, non-disruptive way.
- Cost-effective. Content marketing is one of, if not the most cost-effective marketing channels available today. In fact, if you have the time and capability to develop and promote your content on your own, it can be totally free. Combine this affordability with how effective content marketing can generate a sustainable source of leads and customers, and you get a very cost-effective marketing channel.
- Builds lasting relationships. Consistently publishing high-quality and valuable content can help your brand stay top-of-mind. Customers will remember your brand, which may result in a long-term relationship that lasts even after you’ve stopped investing in your content.
Different types of content for technology companies
When discussing content marketing, there are many different types of content that you can incorporate into your content marketing strategy. Yet, not all of them will be effective for technology and SaaS companies.
Below, we will discuss some of the most popular types of content that would be effective in the technology niche:
- Blog posts
A blog post, by definition, is any article, guide, or news piece that is published in the blog section of a website. This can be your own website or other people/businesses’ blogs (i.e., in the form of guest posts. )
Regularly publishing blog posts on your website should be a core of your content marketing strategy since this practice will be especially valuable for your website’s SEO: regular publication of high-quality blog posts will send a strong signal to the search engine that your website is constantly updated with high-quality content.
2. Email marketing
Don’t underestimate the importance and effectiveness of email content.
Even with all the newer channels and technologies, email marketing still offers very high ROI and is very effective, especially in nurturing prospects until they are ready to convert.
However, email marketing is very versatile and can be effective at each stage of your marketing funnel. No matter what your tech business’s goals are, most likely, there’ll be an effective email marketing strategy to achieve them.
3. Social media posts
With virtually everyone and every business now active on social media, it would only make sense to also incorporate social media content in your content marketing strategy.
Social media content marketing is also very versatile, and there are various methods and approaches you can try to cater to your unique target audience.
Social media is also a great place to promote other types of content you’ve published (i.e., your blog posts or your videos) and is also a great place to repurpose content you’ve already created.
Podcasts have gained huge traction throughout the global pandemic in 2020 and 2021, and it’s now a popular medium no longer exclusive to talk shows and true crime shows. Podcasts can be a versatile medium for any business—including tech businesses—to connect directly to your target audience.
A key highlight of podcasts as a medium is the fact that listeners can consume it virtually anywhere and anytime: on their commute, on the treadmill, and so on. Meaning you’ll have more chances to gain their attention, attract them, and build awareness.
The key to building a successful podcast is to make sure you are providing useful and relevant information in an attractive, engaging way. It can be easier said than done, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it will be totally worth it.
5. eBooks, white papers, case studies, etc.
These various forms of in-depth textual content can be especially useful for capturing leads. You offer this in-depth, valuable content for free in exchange for their contact information.
High-quality, well-researched content is especially attractive to tech consumers. In-house research is especially valuable (i.e., case studies for your product,) but it’s also okay to write in-depth content based on others’ research.
This type of content can be challenging and time-consuming to develop, but it’s very effective. In fact, 48% of surveyed marketers have admitted that research reports have produced their best results in 2021 compared to their other content marketing efforts.
6. Video content
Videos are simply everywhere, and there’s no doubt that, at the moment, it is the most engaging form of content out of other mediums. The average internet user now consumes more than 19 hours of video content per week. That’s massive, and with platforms like TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Stories/Reels, short-form videos are now getting more popular.
Technology companies can leverage this short-form video in various ways: showcasing a highlight of your solution’s features, user testimonies, short demos, behind-the-scene stories, attractive ads, and so on.
Video is arguably the most versatile medium we have at the moment, and it can help you connect with your audience in ways not possible with other types of content. It is also the most expensive/difficult to produce, but with the short-form video trend, we can now produce more videos in less time.
Developing your content marketing strategy
Setting up the foundations: 7 essential elements to a successful content strategy
Content marketing, as we can see, is very versatile. There are various types of content you can use, various ways to distribute your content, and virtually unlimited options to promote your content.
While this flexibility of options is certainly a good thing, you may end up trying too many things at once if you don’t have a clear roadmap—leading to a waste of resources.
With that being said, the seven key elements of a successful content marketing strategy we’ll discuss below will provide you with good foundations for a clear roadmap. If you want to create a successful content marketing campaign, make sure to get these seven elements right first:
No matter how well-developed your content is, it won’t be effective if you don’t know your target audience.
A good content is one that caters to its audience’s preferences and needs, so in content marketing, it’s critical to first identify the ideal audience you’d like to target.
There are many different approaches you can try, but you can start by surveying and analyzing your existing customer base. Or, if you are a brand-new business without an existing customer base, you can research your competitors’ audience or industry trends.
One of the biggest mistakes any business can make is to do content marketing just for the sake of having one, and doesn’t have any objective.
It’s very important to set a clear and measurable goal for your content marketing campaign, so you know how to track and measure the campaign’s success. The most common content marketing goals are to raise awareness, build authority, and lead generation, but you can certainly pursue other objectives as you see fit.
3. Brand positioning
Brand positioning refers to how a brand would like to be perceived in its target audience’s minds.
A well-developed brand positioning will give you a clearer picture of what kind of messages you should present to your target audience and what kinds of topics to address in your content.
To establish a strong and well-defined brand positioning, consider:
- Your target audience’s goals. The closer your positioning is aligned with these goals, the more effective it will be.
- What problems does your product solve
- How your closest competitors position themselves.
- Your brand’s unique value proposition (UVP), unique benefits only you can offer, and what makes your product/service a better choice than your competitors’
4. Business case
A business case is, in a nutshell, a document that outlines why a business task (in this case, the content marketing campaign) must be executed and proof of how the benefits outweigh the costs of performing the task.
The basic approach to developing a good business case is to first define your business’s overall objectives and then figure out how your content marketing efforts will bring you closer to achieving these objectives.
Your business case should also outline what resources you’d like to invest in your content marketing efforts (and their justification). This will also help you in estimating a content marketing budget.
5. The right choice of diversified content
As discussed above, there are various types of content you can choose to incorporate into your content marketing strategy.
Each type of content may produce different levels of effectiveness based on where on the buyer’s journey the customer is at the moment, and obviously, different types of personas will prefer different forms of content.
The key here is to make sure your content marketing campaign includes a diverse range of content that is effective for your specific target audience.
6. Content promotion strategy
Again, content marketing shouldn’t stop at content development, but how you distribute and promote your content is equally important.
Make sure to develop a clear content promotion strategy and allocate enough time and resources to execute it.
There are various distribution channels and promotional tactics you can leverage: social media, SEO, influencer marketing, and so on. Make sure to carefully explore these options so you can establish a working strategy for distributing and promoting your content.
7. An editorial calendar
Having a formal and well-documented editorial calendar will provide your content marketing campaign with a clear action plan for success.
If possible, develop a year’s worth of editorial calendar that covers:
- Content topic and target keywords
- Target publication date
- Working title and headlines
- Target audience
A step-by-step guide to developing an effective content marketing strategy
A good content marketing strategy should cover the seven elements we’ve discussed above while also managing available resources and anticipating challenges.
To achieve this, you can follow these steps to develop and execute your content marketing strategy:
Step 1: Identify and understand your target audience
Again, content is only effective when it caters to its target audience’s needs. If you aim to create content for everyone, you’re not creating it for anyone.
Without a proper understanding of who your target audience is, you simply won’t be able to achieve this, so it’s crucial to start your content marketing planning by determining who your ideal audience is.
If you already have an established buyer persona for your business, then this is a good place to start. However, remember that there can be other types of audiences besides your buyer that you can target in content marketing. For example, other businesses may be an ideal audience for specific types of content (i.e., research report,) and they can still benefit you, for example, when they cite your content on their website.
Again, there are various approaches you can try to identify who your target audience is, but here are some tips:
- If you already have a website with a sizable number of visitors, then you can use Google Analytics or similar tools to collect demographic data (age, gender, education/income level, etc.) of your visitors. You can use this as a foundation for building your buyer persona.
- Survey or interview your existing customers. This can help you understand their needs and preferences. Also, encourage them to voice their concerns for your brand or your content (if any.)
- Perform competitive analysis and assess whom your competitors are targeting with their content. You can either opt to target the same audience (and compete with them with your content) or use this knowledge to find other potential audiences.
- You can also start by identifying whom you don’t want to target and go backward from there. Sometimes this can be the easier approach.
Once you’ve identified who your target audience is, gather as much information as you can about them and start building your buyer persona. The better you understand your target audience, the easier it will be to develop and execute your content strategy.
Step 2: Define your content marketing goals
Now that you’ve got a clear idea about who your target audience is, it’s time to establish your content marketing goals.
Start by reviewing your company’s overall business goals and current high-level marketing goals. If you haven’t established them, it’s also a great time to do so.
Your content marketing goal should align with these high-level goals. For example, if one of your marketing goals is to generate 10,000 more leads in 6 months, then your content marketing goals should also focus on lead generation.
Consider what type of content and what kinds of content marketing strategy can contribute to these bigger goals, and identify content marketing metrics that matter to these high-level goals. For example, if the high-level goal is lead generation, then organic traffic and the number of leads generated by each piece of content can be good success metrics to track. You can track multiple metrics for each goal, and in such cases, you may want to divide them into primary and secondary metrics.
When defining your content marketing goals, you can use the CLEAR (Collaborative, Limited in volume and duration, Emotional, Appreciable, and Refinable) framework:
- Collaborative: your goal must encourage teamwork rather than forcing team members to do siloed work.
- Limited: you can assign a clear timeline for achieving the goal, and you should be able to define clear scopes.
- Emotional: goals should motivate and inspire team members rather than stressing them out.
- Appreciable: you should be able to break down the goal into smaller milestones or micro-objectives. This is to ensure goals are attainable and realistic, not to hurt your team’s morale.
- Refinable: goals shouldn’t be rigid, and you should be able to update and redefine the goal as needed.
An example of CLEAR content marketing goal is:
We will publish content to generate 1,000 more organic traffic within 6 months. To achieve this, we’ll publish 10 articles every month, and each of them should generate 100 in organic traffic. Every week, we will come together to review the progress and refine the content marketing plan as needed so we can achieve this milestone.
Step 3: Content audit
Once you’ve defined your content marketing objectives, the next step is to perform a content audit to assess your historical content performance (if any) against the defined goals.
If you are a brand-new business and/or you are just starting a brand-new website, then you can skip this step.
If you do have existing pages, however, the content audit is critical so you can organize and optimize this existing content to align better with your current goals (updating the content if necessary.)
You can perform a content audit by following these steps:
- Define your metrics. Depending on your goals, content marketing metrics can generally be divided into four main categories:
- SEO-related: organic traffic, backlink profile, keyword rankings, etc.
- User behavior: dwell time, bounce rate, pageviews, average session duration, etc.
- Sales/conversion: number of leads generated, ROI, conversion rates, etc.
- Engagement: social shares, likes, comments, mentions, etc.
- Catalog your existing content. Identify and list your existing content. If you don’t have too many pieces of content, you should be able to do it manually, or else you may need to use content audit tools (i.e., SEMRush or Ahrefs.) Then, segment your content, so it’s easier to analyze them. Common categories you can segment your content into are:
- Type and format (text-only, with images/videos, etc.)
- Buyer’s journey stage (awareness, consideration, decision)
- Date of publication
- Author (if you have multiple content creators)
- Length (number of words)
- Collect data. Collect data for the metrics you’ve defined above. In most cases, you can rely on data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console, but if necessary you can collect data from other resources and add it to your spreadsheet. There are content audit tools that you can use to collect data automatically according to your defined metrics, but most likely, they are paid tools. Data collection can be a lengthy and challenging process, so take your time.
- Create an action plan. Analyze the collected data and metrics, and decide whether to keep the content as-is, update or discard it. Examples of possible actions for each piece of content include:
- Reuse: combine different pieces of content or publish it in a different format
- Recycle: rewrite underperforming content with updated information, new actionable tips, etc.
- Refresh: in many cases, you may not need to completely rewrite your content, and you can simply add small details or information.
- Expand: make the content longer and add more information.
- Add images/videos: you can add images and videos to make your content more attractive
- Optimize link profile: optimize internal linking by adding links pointing to new pages in your site with related topics, add/update links to more external websites, etc.
- Optimize metadata: rewrite and optimize your titles/headings, optimize meta descriptions, etc. Include keywords naturally while keeping them comprehensive and attractive for readers.
Step 4: Develop an editorial calendar
Based on the action plan you’ve established in the previous step, you can now start developing a high-level editorial calendar. If you’ve skipped step 3 since you are building a brand new website, you can start building the editorial plan from scratch with the same steps we’ll discuss below.
Design your content funnel
Start your content planning by mapping out your content marketing funnel. You can start with the basic three-stage buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision) and decide what types of content you’ll create for each stage, or you can also add two additional steps (retention and advocacy) depending on your business model and/or the product/service you are selling.
- Awareness: content at this stage (Top of Funnel/TOFU) should aim to build awareness and establish your thought leadership as a brand. From time to time, you can also communicate your brand positioning and educate potential customers about the benefit of your solution.
- Consideration: content at this consideration stage should help convince your prospects that your product/service is the best solution for the problem they are facing. Informative blog posts that establish authority, social media posts, email newsletters, how-to content, and demo videos are particularly effective at this stage.
- Decision: at this stage, the lead/prospect is already convinced that your product/service is their ideal choice, and they’ll only need a little more push to finally make the purchase. Content like case studies, testimonials, and similar ones are effective in providing this final nudge.
- Retention: to maximize retention, regularly publish content that will help them get the most out of your product/service. Communicate new features (via release notes) and publish valuable in-depth content that will help your loyal customers solve their problems and grow.
- Advocacy: the key to driving advocacy is to build emotional relationships. Engaging social media content is particularly effective at this stage, as well as content that communicates customers’/clients’ success stories like case studies and testimonials.
Another key foundation you can use for building your content is to find out what your competitors are doing. Since it’s likely that you both are targeting the same target audience, knowing your competitor’s approach to content marketing can also help you shape yours.
Try to gather information surrounding:
- Your competitors’ brand positioning
- The brand story (and its tone) that they are projecting to the public
- Their target audience (can be a great way to identify new target audience opportunities)
- Their top-performing content
- Source of backlinks
- The content format they most often use
- Content categories they cover
- Primary keywords they target (also great for finding keyword gaps)
Once you’ve understood your competitor’s content strategy, their strengths, and weaknesses, you basically have two different options:
- Beat them at their own game: develop better, longer content while targeting the same keywords and the same target audience.
- Do something unique and try to beat their content by covering a different angle
Both approaches are feasible, and depending on your available budget, timeline, and other factors, one can be better than the other in different scenarios.
Planning content production
By now, you should have a clearer idea of what types of content you’re going to produce, how frequently, when to publish them, and so on.
By now, you should plan the logistics of developing your content. Thoroughly planning the content production upfront can help you focus more on the content creation process later rather than scrambling to fix the issues here and there.
Here are some actionable tips you can use for planning your content production:
- Assess your available resources. Especially your budget, available content creators (writer, videographer, editor, etc.), equipment, etc.
- Estimate your timeline. How many pieces of content are you planning to publish monthly, and how long will each piece need? Estimate your budget accordingly.
- Determine your requirements. Will you need images/videos in your content? Identify your needs before starting content production, or else it will impact your timeline.
- Plan manpower. Decide whether you’ll keep the content production in-house (and the possibility of hiring more people) or will you outsource the content production (to freelancers or an agency)
- Plan content production workflow. The actual process may vary, but here is a basic example you can use:
- Keyword research
- Gather required information (research, consult subject matter experts, etc.)
- Develop title and outline
- Start writing a content draft
- The first round of edits
- The second round of edits
- Final approval
- Add visuals, videos, and infographics as needed
- Publish content
As you plan the content production logistics, always be on the lookout for potential bottlenecks, and address them as soon as you can.
Step 5: Content development and publication
This is (finally) where you start developing your content.
If you’ve properly executed the previous steps, then this step should be a breeze.
Some additional tips:
- Always focus on making sure your content is readable and valuable for human readers. You can optimize it for SEO by including your target keywords, but make sure to do it naturally.
- Keep an optimal structure and layout. Use headlines and bullet points to maintain engagement
- Be original and stay true to your brand’s identity. Your target audience is looking for something special.
- Do not hard sell; focus on providing value. People can smell content that is created solely to sell from miles away.
- Keep SEO best practices in mind: metadata optimization (headlines, meta description),
Explore and leverage available organic, paid, and earned channels to distribute and promote your content:
- Social media (organic, paid, influencer marketing)
- Email newsletter
- Organic search (SEO)
- Sponsorships (guest in podcasts, featured in events, etc.)
- Paid advertising, PPC advertising
- Press release, media outreach
- Guest posts
- Sponsored content (Native advertising)
- Content syndication
When promoting your content in various channels, also aim to get backlinks from high-quality sources whenever possible.
Step 6: Monitor and evaluate
Content marketing is a long game, so it’s critical to continuously analyze and monitor your content performance. Check whether the execution of your content marketing campaign is aligned with the goals you’ve established before, and don’t be afraid to make adjustments when needed.
Leverage Google Analytics and other analytics tools to keep track of your KPIs so you can get a clear benchmark for success.
Content marketing has become an essential tool for technology companies to reach their target audiences and build relationships with them. With the help of content marketing, tech companies can create engaging content that will attract potential customers, increase brand awareness, and boost sales.
By following the step-by-step guide we’ve shared above, you are now ready to plan and execute your own content marketing campaign. By leveraging the power of content marketing, tech companies can stay ahead of the curve and stay competitive in their industry.