Your potential customers may be, at this very minute, looking up your services online, reading your blog, or navigating your site without yet having made a decision to purchase from you. Your prospects are trying to grasp how well-acquainted you are with their problem and if you know exactly how to help them. So, how can you direct them to the Contact us button?
That’s where content marketing methods come into play. This article will equip you with advice on content marketing for technology companies and provide examples of actionable content marketing formats. You’ll find ways with which you can expand content marketing for IT companies beyond blogging.
Major benefits of content marketing techniques
If you want to appear on Google’s radar and, most importantly, be found by customers, then you have a blog on your corporate site. Besides blogging, though, you may want to consider other content marketing methods. The most effective content marketing tactics, plus a little bit of consistency, will deliver tangible benefits. The content you create can:
- Signal that you’re an expert in your field
- Grow awareness around your brand
- Attract customers’ attention while increasing your audience
- Build thought leadership
- Delight your audience while building a trusting relationship with your prospects
- Build loyalty with your existing customers
- Build a subscriber database
- Generate and nurture leads
- Provide additional means of driving sales besides traditional marketing techniques
When marketing software services, you should apply different types of content marketing formats to make sure you meet your clients’ search intent and appear knowledgeable in the field.
Why do you need to apply diversified methods of content marketing?
Besides the benefits of content marketing tactics, you need to think of those who are going to consume your content. Your content is the primary tangible way for them to assess your service.
Since we’re discussing B2B content marketing types, your buyer persona is an organization or business that is making a purchasing decision based on logic and financial investment. It’s not an impulse buy or a short cycle purchase like one in the B2C sector. This is a purchasing decision that can make or break the buyer’s bottom line, which is why businesses want to make an informed decision.
Customers interact with different media and types of content at every stage of the buying journey. With big round numbers and companies’ reputations on the line, the B2B buying cycle is stretched into months or even years, according to research provided by Deloitte.
A typical buyer’s journey takes place through three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision.
At the awareness stage, a prospect begins to realize that they might have a problem or feel that there is an opportunity. They try to research and educate themselves to identify the problem and possible solutions.
At the consideration stage, a prospect has a clear understanding of the problem and is sifting through the available options to consider how to best solve the problem or address the opportunity.
When it comes to the decision stage, a prospect is now looking for vendors who can offer a solution. As soon as the list narrows down to a handful of vendors, a prospect is ready to make a purchasing decision.
This very linear approach to the buyer’s journey is now transitioning to a loop where every stage can be revisited.
This shift is happening because more than just one person is involved in the purchasing decision. There are business analysts, executives at varying levels, and stakeholders who can impact purchasing decisions while analyzing the data at hand.
“90% of technology buyers state it’s important for vendors to provide relevant content at each stage of the buying process” – Forrester
You, therefore, should alter your content marketing techniques to produce evergreen, relevant content that shows your in-depth knowledge, core values, and deliverables. While you can rely on your corporate blog to get leads and to drive sales, chances are that clients will still be looking for content on social media or third-party websites. That said, your content alternatives have to make sense for your prospects.
Top considerations before applying any content marketing techniques
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 77% of marketers report that their organization has a content marketing strategy. And 68% of all the respondents prioritize the audience’s informational needs over the organization’s sales or promotional value. In other words, most effective content marketing tactics derive from understanding your customers’ needs.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and find answers to the following questions before you determine the best types of content marketing for your software services:
- Who is going to read this piece of content?
- Who needs to know the information I am about to lay out in this piece?
- Where are my readers? At what stage of the buyer’s journey are they right now?
- What will the reader get out of the piece of content I am offering?
- Why might the reader pay attention to the information? Why do they need this piece?
Having answered these questions, you’ll be able to come up with types of content in digital marketing that will best illustrate your brand to prospects.
Types of content marketing formats that can advocate for you
B2B buyers started a self-serve culture that was highly encouraged by online information. Ads no longer make a lasting impression (though they bring value through other means). On the other hand, the value of a digital product or service presented well through B2B content marketing tactics can significantly impact the deals you want to close.
“Nine out of ten B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions” – Worldwide Business Research
What are the content marketing methods on which your business should focus? To bring value to your prospects and, ultimately, your business, consider the rundown of content marketing techniques applicable to technology companies at scale.
A case study is a text copy depicting exactly how your service made a difference and solved a business problem.
Case studies are one of the most powerful types of content in digital marketing for IT companies. According to the Content Marketing Institute, case studies account for 39% of all successful content marketing campaigns. If crafted well, this piece of content can become a lead generation tool. A case study should show your expertise and your process for addressing your clients’ needs with software solutions. Use case studies whenever you need social or technological proof of how your service or product helped someone: they can resonate with potential clients who need to address a similar problem.
Pro tip: Make your case studies problem-focused. Highlight your solution’s relevance on a global scale, and then get into the nuts and bolts about how your solution improved your client’s business performance and how much value it has brought to them. In this way, case studies are much like actionable reviews your customers can consider when deciding whether or not to buy from you.
Why is Yalantis’ case study a good fit?
Not only does the case study provide good visuals, but it breaks down the development process into meticulous steps to show the challenges the client faced and the solution the company developed. The case study is presented in the form of a story and gives a clear conversion path.
Where are case studies most useful?
There are numerous ways to use case studies in content marketing for technology companies. Let’s go over a few that have the most impact.
On your website. Craft a dedicated page with your case studies on your website for the visitors who want to see them all in one place. This overarching page can help visitors get an idea of your technical capabilities at a glance. Beyond that, though, if you have expertise across several industries which are featured on your site in the form of separate pages, consider adding the relevant case studies to those pages as well. Thus, after reading about your approach and expertise in a particular industry, you can give visitors more reasons to stay on the page to consume related content.
In your sales proposals. When addressing potential clients with a sales proposal, add your case studies to back your claims with hands-on experience.
On service review websites. You can add case studies to directories or service review websites to boost credibility and provide evidence of the solutions you build.
Repackaging case studies. Repackage your case studies in videos and blog posts. You could also create a success story, if your client consents to the case study. A success story is a longer piece with a distinctive narrative, rather than the more templated structure typically used in a case study.
Infographics are vivid structured representations of complex data through accompanying images. 27% of marketers use infographics as one of their B2B content marketing tactics.
Whenever your brand wants to deliver diverse or complex ideas that may also include statistics, use infographics. Well-designed infographics allow you to present content appealingly through images and charts. Adding elegant visual aids allows your readers to better understand complex concepts. Readers can skim through infographics faster than reading plain text filled with data.
Pro tip: Every infographic should be story-based. Before putting any data together for an infographic, make sure it conveys a cohesive message while providing readers with the next logical step in the narrative.
Why is HP’s infographic a good fit?
The infographic shows a creative way to categorize programming languages. Instead of reading plain text about each programming language, the author of the infographic reimagined the presentation of the languages and put all of them into a mind map. The graphic resembles the periodic table of elements and helps you easily classify programming languages.
Where are infographics most useful?
You can use infographics both on your site and off your site. Use infographics whenever you need to attract your prospects’ attention and give them food for thought. If you run social media activity, share them there. LinkedIn is an excellent place to start.
Directories like SlideShare, Pinterest, or Infographic Journal let you share your visuals and get more exposure. Not only can you grow your audience, but you can get friendly backlinks to their website.
An eBook is a long-form content type that breaks down a complex subject into connected subchapters to give an explanation in the form of text that can be read on a computer or e-reader. Sometimes, you can repurpose several blog posts, exploring a particular business problem or technology, into an eBook.
When it comes to eBooks, think of a long read. The primary goal of an eBook is to educate, not sell. An eBook is an in-depth take on a subject that goes beyond a single blog post. Apart from offering more insight, most successful eBooks include rich graphics and images to support the data featured in them.
According to research done by the Content Marketing Institute, 47% of marketers across the globe report that eBooks are among the most effective methods of content marketing. You can even generate leads if you gate your eBook behind a quick form to further connect with your eBook readers, collecting information like names, emails, and the industry in which the reader works. Popular eBook formats include EBUP, AZM, and PDF.
Pro tip: Include unique information in your eBook that can’t be found anywhere else. If you offer a new take on the problem at hand, your readers will appreciate that, and their trust will go through the roof.
Why is Vonage’s eBook a good fit?
The eBook explores how you can reimagine the financial services experience through digital communications APIs. The eBook goes on to educate readers about building personalized customer experiences that influence customer loyalty in the long run. Vonage did an excellent job at making their eBook visually appealing and crafting persuasive copy that wraps up with their contact information and a call to action.
Where are eBooks most useful?
A successful eBook will help you at the awareness stage and will educate your prospects on the problem they face. eBooks should act like an eye-opener that you can promote through a landing page on your website — or you can simply turn them into PDF files that readers can download and read at their convenience.
How-to guides offer readers a breakdown of how to implement or do something. When creating how-to guides, you can share the knowledge you’ve acquired and position your expertise in a specific IT-related field.
If you are showing instructions, consider repackaging your content and making a series of videos. In the last 12 months, 66% of marketers for the B2B sector chose videos as one of their content marketing tactics, and 33% of marketers report that how-to videos are one of the best types of content marketing to produce favorable results.
Pro tip: Try to focus on value instead of length when creating a guide. You can make your guide a gated content piece (i.e., to get access to the guide, users need to insert their contact information). You can use the emails you collect from this to further connect with leads.
Why is Crayon’s guide a good fit?
The guide explains how to create and maintain Intelligence Culture and stay competitive while acting upon market shifts. The guide is easy to skim, thanks to the formatting, and contains a lot of white space. It also has hyperlinks you can follow. At the end of the guide, Crayon directs the reader to the software they create to make their Competitive Intelligence solution available for business teams.
Where are how-to guides most useful?
How-to guides can serve as a transition from the consideration stage to the decision-making stage of the buyer’s journey. They can also help you nurture existing customers who are using your digital product.
If you center your services around a limited number of products like CRM, an app builder, or a specific software solution, you could offer how-to guides to educate users and help them use your product. You could even create a whole information repository like a wiki to store this knowledge base there.
If you have experience developing a variety of applications for the same industry, you could consider creating a guide for that. For example, “A Complete Guide on Building Fitness Apps,” or “How to Develop and Monetize a Chat App.”
One of the popular types of content marketing is guest blogging. With guest blogging, you write a blog post for other websites that will then title you as their “contributor” or “guest author” (and vice versa — your website can publish guest authors as well).
54% of successful marketers in the B2B sector report having used guest blogging efforts in the last 12 months. Guest posting is valuable in many ways, with benefits including:
- Building thought leadership around a topic
- Reaching new audiences that are already accumulated in one place
- Acquiring backlinks to your site or landing pages
- Building referral traffic
- Adding to your brand’s recognition
Since B2B buyers tend to check out the content on third-party websites besides your site, guest blogging is one of the content marketing techniques that can give you the most exposure and interest in your brand. 43% of B2B marketers used third-party platforms to promote their content, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
While some sites will charge you a certain sum of money for speedy publication and link insertion, you can opt for free guest blogging, which usually involves a longer timeframe. If you opt for a free option, your content may get published in a month or so.
Try low-promoting your brand. This promotion should organically blend in with the useful content you pitch for publication. Aim to publish your guest posts on sites with domain authority of 20-70. You can use Ahrefs domain authority checker to see whether a given site applies.
Pro tip: Guest blogging is not just pitching articles to third-party websites, it’s about building relationships. Before you pitch anything, try to find articles that inspire you, and compliment the platform on having good content. If there’s a chance to comment on a piece, do that, highlighting what really impressed you. Get on the platform’s radar and then pitch your piece, having established a relationship.
Why is Exadel’s guest post a good fit?
Here at Exadel, we believe that good content is worth readers’ attention and we’re positive and brave enough to pitch it to trusted platforms like Hackernoon or Forbes. The guest post our Content Marketing Specialist, Alesia Traichuk, wrote is a story that equips content creators in IT with all the tools they need. You can easily understand how to market IT services and what types of content marketing you need. The piece is an allegory to traveling experiences: just as you prepare for traveling in faraway countries, so do you need to prepare for content marketing for technology companies.
Where is guest blogging most useful?
Guest blogging is one of the methods of content marketing that lets you earn trust and build on that trust. When prospects search for solutions to their problems, it builds trust and brand value if they stumble upon your content elsewhere, especially if it’s a trustworthy third-party platform.
A whitepaper in its purest form is a lengthy report that highlights a problem and offers an actionable solution to the problem stated. 47% of B2B marketers report that they see results from creating whitepapers.
Whitepapers are persuasive, highly specific, and authoritative. They do not pitch your offering throughout the whole report, but rather make readers problem-aware and then solution-aware. A whitepaper goes into great detail and can take months to research and complete.
Pro tip: When choosing whitepapers as one of your content marketing tactics, accompany them with images and charts. By providing well-structured data and research, you will show your prospects that you understand their industry. Most importantly, highlight the benefits your technology can bring and how it can make the lives of your prospects easier.
Why is SAS’s whitepaper a good fit?
SAS offers readers a whitepaper where they can learn the importance of data management and simplify the process of making data-driven decisions with the software SAS provides. SAS lays out the main principles of its methodology and provides real success stories of the company’s clients in a brief format with clickable hyperlinks. The whitepaper is written from the second-person point of view, so readers can relate to it easily. SAS’s whitepaper also uses images and good formatting to break down the text. Some information is placed in tables for easier reading.
Where are whitepapers most useful?
As soon as B2B technology buyers become problem-aware, they need to choose a vendor, and that’s where a whitepaper can make the most impact. If you put your due diligence into crafting well-researched copy and prove your ability to reinvent how businesses operate, the content can promote you effectively.
Podcasts are spoken pieces of content that you can download in the form of an audio file or listen to right on a website at your own convenience. Podcasts account for 23% of success in B2B content marketing types.
Generally, podcasts revolve around a single theme and offer a unique spin on a topic provided by an expert in the field. Podcasts are the modern evolution of the radio and can be issued by a solo speaker or delivered as an interview where several people are involved. They can be of any length and should be published at regularly scheduled intervals, but you can determine what those intervals should be. You can enrich your podcasts with sound effects to make them more attractive, or any number of creative options. Podcasts can be streamed through Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, and more.
Pro tip: If you opt for creating podcasts, choose a theme that can be broken down into a series of podcasts. You may also want to create a unique page on your site with a more pronounced conversion path and the ability for listeners to share your podcasts.
Why is Epam’s podcast a good fit?
The podcast gives a snippet to describe what you’re going to hear but leaves a cliffhanger to motivate you to listen to the podcast. It’s also done in the form of an interview that lasts for a bit over half an hour. Speakers discuss how data should be treated in a business context. It feels like you are listening to a radio broadcast.
Where are podcasts most useful?
Podcasts generate interest and give more insight into your aspirations and development point of view. They can be a good tool to attract prospects and to nurture leads as they decide to buy services from you. It’s a fast way to deliver information instead of making your prospects or customers read it.
Powering IT companies with robust content marketing techniques
Since B2B technology buyers search for vendors online, selling software services has become more intricate. Prospects engage with companies long before they call or email them. It’s your ultimate goal then to leverage top B2B content marketing types to welcome your prospects at every stage of their journey, even if they need to revisit your content. If you’re able to craft tangible value in your content marketing tactics, buyers are more likely to consider you and do business with you.
Here at Exadel, we wish you the best in creating copy that will bring in prospects and nurture clients. Support your words with solid deliverables. If you need help, we’re right here!
Guest article written by: Angela Beklemysheva is a Content Marketing Specialist at Exadel. She investigates what topics are worth discussing in her posts and educates readers through her copy. Just as IT fascinates her, so does playing the guitar, painting, and reading.