This is the first in a series of articles on content marketing for software & technology CEOs and marketers. The intent is to layout a clear roadmap for content marketing success.
I’m a content marketer and so are you. “Content marketing” may be one of the newer marketing terms being hyped but really we’ve always been content marketers – especially in the software industry.
Got a website? Content.
Publish a blog? Content.
Use white papers, case studies, product sheets?
Content. Content. Content.
Even the words that come out of the mouths of your sales people are content.
So why are we suddenly yammering on about this huge new trend in software marketing?
The answer is something you already know. Software technology marketing and selling has changed radically – beginning with the Internet and snowballing over the last few years. Buyers, I don’t need to tell you, are now firmly in charge of the process. They no longer turn to your sales people as a major source of initial information. In fact, according to Forrester, buyers are 75% – 80% through the buying process before they’ll talk you.
Now, instead of your sales people, it’s your marketing content that must establish a connection, build trust and interest, educate and remove risk. You can’t do that with a website that’s a rehash of your corporate brochure, by ignoring blogging and social media or by cranking out collateral materials that interest no one but you.
I know it’s frustrating and seems overly complicated and you’re way too busy to have to worry about this. I know that because I talk with software CEOs for a living and I hear this with great regularity.
But your buyers expect you to educate them. Your competitors are meeting their information needs and potentially painting you as an undesirable option. So it would be really risky not to jump on the content bandwagon and take control.
Which is probably why you’re readying this article.
If that’s the case you’ll be happy (I hope) to know I’ve planned a series of articles that will remove the complexity and show you a clear path to planning and implementing a content marketing initiative that will knock your buyers’ socks off. And it won’t take a year of your life to do it.
I’m going to simplify content marketing as much as possible for you, but the reality is that you’ll need to carve out some time to get the program going. I get that you’re busy. You don’t build a successful software company hanging around the gym or getting your hair cut. But if you’ve read this far I think you’ll agree content marketing is too important not to figure out a way to get it done.
I have suggestion that may seem overly simplistic but it worked for me.
Along side your To Do list, make a Do Not Do list. For one week – or even one day – pay close attention to how you spend your time and make a list of the things you could stop doing. Then stop doing them. Seriously, when I put myself through this exercise I found all kinds of time-consuming activities that could be postponed, delegated or ignored forever. And I thought I was fairly productive. It was awesome.
Just to give you a taste of what’s to come, here’s an overview of the steps in the process.
Create buyer profiles – these detailed looks at whom you are trying to influence and what drives their buying decisions are the best secret weapon for any software company.
Build a content grid – maps your content to the needs of your buyers. I’ll give you a template to use.
Audit your current content – no need to reinvent the wheel. Chances are excellent you already have some very useful content. This step let’s you see what you have and what you need.
Make an Editorial Calendar – this will be the heart of your content marketing program; the plan that keeps everything on track.
Identify your initial content team. The best content marketing programs involve multiple people creating content and making sure things get done on schedule.
Create great content – I’ll share some tips and shortcuts to help you create the kind of content your buyers will love.
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