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What Habits Do Tech Marketers Need To Kick?

Posted by Mark Debenham - May 22, 2015

From tangled earphones to people who make loud chewing noises when they eat, we’ve all got our pet peeves. Some are easy to prevent, others are harder to stop.

The IT industry is no exception. In our Tech Heads report, we asked IT directors what frustrates them about tech vendor content marketing. Here are some no-no habits that B2B tech marketers can take note of and a few quick tips to help kick them to the curb.

What frustrates CIOs about vendor content (percentage that agreed):

1. Content is too generic: 41%

What kind of audience do I want to appeal to? Everyone…as many people as possible. The more people I can engage with, the more leads for my sales colleagues.

Do you really want this? Probably not actually.

The problem with trying to appeal to lots of people is that you end up alienating those who are looking for a specialist…somebody that really gets them. They’re the ones that are most likely to buy from you and that means it’s worth spending the time creating some content that addresses a specific need, rather than a generic one.

Here are four quick steps to put some focus on your content topic:

  • Pick a topic. If your company creates online payment technology and your key buyer persona deals with online transactions, you could write about the reliability of online payments.
  • Choose the level of information needed. Is your content for somebody who’s merely interested, close to buying, or somewhere in between.
  • What blog style would best serve the topic and level. Options include: how-to guide, Q&A, opinion piece, and data analysis.
  • Ideas time. Those first few actions should focus your thoughts and help you arrive at a new spin on an existing idea. For example: Online payment reliability is the topic, initial interest is the level of information, and list is the format. An idea for a focussed topic and blog title could be: 4 Reasons Online Payments Are Safer Than Ever For eCommerce Sites.

2. Quantity over Quality: 38%

If you write it, they will come…but sometimes they just don’t.

Content marketing is hard – that can’t be stressed enough. Everyone is doing it. Everyone’s adding to the amount of content out there online. Marketers are under a lot of pressure to just keep pumping out content every day, especially if they want to keep up with their competitors. The result is that quantity often wins out over quality.

It comes as no surprise that the quantity over quality trend annoys CIOs. So how can tech marketers safeguard against this?

It’s one of the harder habits to drop, but a good starting point is to ask yourself the following question before you create any content:

How does this help my buyer persona?

By ‘buyer persona’, I mean identifying who your ideal customers are – semi-fictional profiles of the typical stakeholders you’re trying to market to, which are based on data and anecdotal evidence.

By asking whether or not you’re helping them, it should shine the light on whether or not your work is adding any value to the plethora of information already available to your audience.

Rand Fishkin at Moz has an excellent video on providing unique value in your content. He identifies the modern criteria for content, which includes it being: one-of-a-kind, relevant, helpful, uniquely valuable, and providing a great user experience.  I’ve also included the video below – I highly recommend watching it.

3. Content is too text heavy: 35%

There’s nothing wrong with text, as long as it’s not the only thing you’re offering the reader in your content.

For example, our Tech Heads report showed that, when it comes to making a purchasing decision, CIOs prefer longer content. Their preference was at the 2000-word mark.

So what gives with the stat about being text heavy?

Well, there’s a time and a place for lots of text, depending on an IT directors content needs at the time. For more on this, check out our blog post CIO-Friendly Content: How To Write The Right Amount.

One of the key things to remember from that post is that a reader won’t necessarily want to read all the text in one sitting.

Bullet points, infographics, images and diagrams all help to break up text. They summarise complex points and make it easy for the reader to pick up from where they left off.

Will these habits be no more?

I think most marketers, not just tech ones, all guilty of some of these at some point.

As mentioned before, content marketing is hard and at times it can feel like trial and error. That’s understandable because you don’t know if a piece of content is good until you put it out there, then you wait and see how your audience reacts to it.

While it’s unlikely that any of these habits are likely to disappear overnight, by knowing what the most commons ones are, it makes it easier to kick them.

For more insight on CIO content consumption, download Tech Heads

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