Product marketing involves creating an identity or a brand image for your services that separates what you do from what's available from the competition. One of the best ways for doing this, as I described in the first part of this blog, is to offer information that is not available from rivals. Companies are hungry for information that could help separate them from the pack, and if this is available through your company, this distinction becomes part of your brand identity and a competitive weapon. (See: Creating Tech Brand Credibility, Part 1.)
As promised, in this concluding part of the series, I discuss strategies for executing the best content marketing program, and suggest steps information technology companies can use to reach potential customers better.
- Strategy first, then tactics: Create a communications objective so there's agreement about what you want to be known for versus your key competitors, and develop clear direction for whatever range of tactics may be employed.
- Start small: Creating a tactical calendar on your internal site or offline will help drive a what-by-when plan. Also, research topics and typical customer problems that you can address. If you want to engage with customers at trade events, develop a speaking opportunities calendar and book relevant engagements locally, nationally, or internationally. Also learn where contributed articles that reach your market are accepted.
Discovering and developing a team of subject matter experts is key. Having several program participants allows you to more rapidly complete tactics and more quickly become a recognized information resource in your specific technology sector. Content development can run parallel to straightforward, demand-generating product publicity. The difference is to have a more strategic objective of creating an overall brand reputation that can help the organization stand out versus the competition.
Here are some strategies for creating and successfully distributing content:
- Repurpose content. Turn successful written content like whitepapers or technical papers into speeches, contributed articles, or shorten them into blog posts.
- Share your viewpoint on a pressing industry issue.
- Share written or video customer testimonials.
- Express your viewpoint and inject fresh thinking into the debate. Don't be afraid of being somewhat controversial.
- Explain the pain point that customers experience, and discuss the range of possible solutions, including what your product can do, without being overly promotional.
- Discuss tips, tricks, and insights for using your product that customers have shared about your products.
- Publish case studies demonstrating your customers' successes. Share information about how you've helped customers achieve their goals.
- Collaborate on content development with another brand in your space to attract more attention and further boost brand credibility. Examples: article co-authorship or joint Webinars.
- Use video content by: interviewing your employees who are the most passionate about your projects; shooting "behind the scenes" about what goes into making your product or service; educating people so they can use your product/service more effectively, or show how to help them with a particular problem.
Remember you're in the media business now. "Publish or perish" is even truer for tech marketers than for college professors. Being at least as innovative in content development as your company is in creating great products will help you earn customer attention, loyalty, and help drive sales successes.