The problem with content marketing efforts for B2B products is that domain experts rarely have the pace and skill of a writer, and writers rarely know your audience or business. The truth is that your more technical team may not have the time to sit down and produce regular content pieces for your community. And on the other, hiring a random marketer is likely to yield high quantities of low quality or irrelevant posts.
In one case I’ve seen an outsider marketer produce a culture post with high traffic, shares, and likes with no real connection to the product or a call-to-action. Unless you’re hiring, this type of post does very little for the business or for SEO and user acquisition. So what do some of the top B2B and software companies do to ensure they’ve got a steady cadence of high-quality content? Here are a couple clever hacks to learn from.
Leveraging Unique Data
Technical communities regularly anonymize and aggregate their user data in order to produce content. For example, every year GitHub produces its State of the Octoverse report. The report covers product usage over the past 12 months, but given the sheer size of the community, the presented are incredibly useful to developers. If this type of design-heavy project is too daunting, data applications company Keen IO regularly surveys its community for product feedback and customer development and publishes the same data to their blog. This may be a good way to manage a regular cadence of data-related posts without having to build a microsite or spend a ton of time on custom graphics. If you’re stuck on determining the unique data you have to offer, Priceonomics might also be able to help you. The company helps clients uncover their unique data stories and rather than just charging for content production, they’re paid bonuses when they hit distribution targets and media syndication.
Training Your Team
At search API company Algolia, Brand Director Liam Boogar is tasked with managing content and visibility. With just under 100 employees supporting 30 API clients and integrations, there’s no shortage of product work to be done. But rather than pinning developer outreach on a few ordained spokespeople, Boogar and his team were given the thumbs up from executives to build an internal training program aimed at getting more than half of the company publishing and speaking within the year. Through smart professional development modules and some standard guidelines, Algolia is not only raising the profile of its individual team members, but it’s baking content production directly into its product and release roadmap.
Tools as Content
A number of companies build lightweight tools to capture user data in order to produce new and personalized content. As long as these tools are well-maintained, companies are able to capture new leads while still adding value using the same content effort again and again. In consumer adtech, a couple examples come to mind including Pardot’s ROI Calculator, HubSpot’s A/B Testing Calculator and Quicksprout’s URL analyzer. In more technical communities, Runscope’s Hurl.it, Snyk’s Repo Tester and New Relic’s Apdex are all great examples of how companies leverage this technique. This obviously can’t be your only content marketing strategy, but it’s a great way to supplement your efforts.
User-Generated Content & Success Stories
In addition to producing excellent sales material, customer success stories are a tried and true way to source new content. Companies like Twilio produce video success stories in order to show both the value of the product as well as cool new case studies. Meanwhile, DigitalOcean pays community contributors to contribute to their body of knowledge by offering up to $200 dollars for long format in-depth tutorials about Linux and FreeBSD cloud hosting. In addition to highlighting great case-studies and educating other customers, this content is often well-shared because featured companies and writers leverage their own networks to further share the work.
Rather than simply covering product releases and industry-wide trends, the best companies use content marketing to add value to their communities during non-news cycles. At Heavybit, our own efforts are often produced in tandem with events, where we invite industry influencers like Bessemer Ventures’ Ethan Kurzweil, Mattermark (and Twilio’s) Danielle Morrill, and Stripe’s Amber Feng to offer practical advice on sales, marketing and product to our community. For more on how B2B and developer teams can produce high-ROI content, the company is producing its next DevGuild Conference on Content Strategy.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.