Content Marketing Strategies for the IT Industry
Nothing makes a CIO or system administrator cringe more than an employee setting their password as “123456,” but bad IT marketing content might just be a close second. In order to connect with the IT industry through content marketing, you have to realize you’re writing for a different audience than most other industries.
This audience values expert content that is well researched, helps them solve a problem, and keeps them abreast of the latest industry trends. With the right strategy, you can be a go-to source for CIOs and other IT industry leaders. Here are some actionable tips to make sure your content marketing become a must-read in the IT industry.
Research That Digs Deeper
IT professionals like to see writing that is supported by facts, evidence, and research. That doesn’t mean your writing has to be dry, but no matter what, it needs to have substance.
Unfortunately, many content producers fail to deliver what CIOs are looking for. A report from Octopus Group found that 71 percent of CIOs believe that vendors don’t use enough research and data to support their content. If a CIO is reading your content and feels that it’s thin, they simply won’t waste further time with you.
As a result, you need to produce content that is not only well sourced, but displays a deep technical understanding on a specific topic. In essence, avoid being general and superficial with your content.
For example, if you’re writing on computer security, don’t just write that CIOs need encryption. Instead, address what specific threats encryption will stop, what type of encryption works best and specific examples of what businesses have recently been affected by a lack of encryption. Be sure you back up all of your claims with statistics and hard facts to build trust in your content.
Stay On Top Of Your Industry
If you’re producing content for the IT industry, a huge part of your job is staying on top of the seemingly endless amount of new tech, new trends and enterprise IT strategies.
That’s why you need to learn who the thought leaders are in your industry and keep abreast of what they’re writing.
For IT writers concerned about computer security, blogs like Krebs on Security and Google’s Online Security Blog should be on your daily or weekly reading list. For cloud and Big Data content, sources like Cloud Database Daily and even blog aggregators like Planet Big Data are great sources. Use this kind of external content as a resource to generate topic ideas and tailor your content to your own target audience.
Build A Roster Of Expert Writers
In the IT industry, writing fluff or uninformed content will seriously hurt your brand and turn off your audience. CIOs, developers and network administrators usually already have a certain level of expertise. These are smart and savvy people, and they aren’t going to waste their time with poor content that fails to add value to their IT operations.
That’s why you need a large roster of writers with expertise in different areas. For example, 80 percent of IT spend is now directed towards social, mobile, analytics and the cloud (SMAC) in the push towards more Big Data solutions. At the same time, CIOs spend a third of their time devoted to security issues, underlining how this one particular issue is always in the back of every CIO’s head. Unfortunately, the simple fact is that there aren’t many writers who are experts in all of these areas, which presents a dilemma for many content producers for the IT industry.
If you don’t have the expert writers on hand, you need to think about working with a content resource like Scripted that has vetted expert writers in specialized industries related to IT, whether it’s writing about computer security, the cloud or mobile devices. Leveraging a service like this can allow you to maintain a deep bench of writers who will be available to produce content when needed, rather than having to bring an individual inhouse.
Tailor Content To The Sales Funnel
When writing for IT professionals, it’s essential that you know your audience. CIOs are often strapped for time, and when it comes to reading content, they have different needs based on where they are in the buying process.
Many assume that the IT industry is full of “brains” who want to read deeply technical information that goes on for thousands of words.
Well, the fact is that this is only partly true.
According to a survey of 250 IT leaders, CIOs wanted different types of content at different stages in the buying journey. At the research stage for a business solution, 60 percent of CIOs said they preferred content that was 150 words or fewer. This isn’t much, which means content providers need to provide content that quickly gets to the point and has a strong hook.
At this early stage, consider producing a short blog post, a product description or even a Facebook post or Tweet.
At the final buying stage—when CIOs are ready to start investing some serious time into reading content—CIOs prefer content in the 2,000 word range.
Think about producing e-books or white papers at this stage, which will allow you to explore a topic in detail. At the same time, you still need to break up this longer content with images, bullet points and subheadings to keep a CIO’s interest.
Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to producing content for the IT industry, which means you need to have a variety of content formats for every stage in the buying journey.
Solve Key Problems Through Content
Many IT departments are in the problem-solving business. They might want to introduce BYOD into their company, implement cloud solutions or prevent hacks that can literally put them out of business. Keep the following strategies in mind when you want to solve key problems for IT insiders:
- Keyword research – By examining which keywords are trending in the IT industry, you can give yourself a better idea of both the problems and solutions your audience is looking for. You should use free tools like SEO Chat, which examines what users on Google, Bing and Youtube are searching for. Try to focus on long-tail keywords related to the IT industry, as this will allow you to better target your audience with the specific concerns and interests they have.
- Look at the big picture – Don’t just solve problems directly related to IT, but also think about how CIOs now spend their time. A survey by Gartner found that CIOs spend less than 40 percent of their time actually managing IT. They divide the rest of their time meeting other C-suite executives, managing internal relationships and working with customers. That means your content should also explore how to make CIO’s lives easier outside of immediate technical problems as well, such as managing relations between departments.
- Remember IT departments have their own customers – A major focus for IT departments is how to give their own company’s end-users an amazing customer experience. For example, in 2015, CEB Global found that IT departments were allocating 17 percent of their budgets to improve user interfaces and the overall customer experience, underlining how important this is for many CIOs. That’s why when you’re planning your monthly editorial calendar with software like CoSchedule, you need to ensure some of your content strategy also focuses on the customers of your customers as well.
Ultimately, content producers need to put a certain amount of effort and know-how into their content marketing to attract the IT industry audience they want. However, rewards for stellar content equal increased ROI, more web traffic and a certain level of respect from a tech audience that truly appreciates quality content.
Interested in creating your own engaging IT content? Try using one of Scripted’s many specialist writers in the space.