If Your IT Content Ain't Working, You're Probably Doing It Wrong
- Your content is probably too technical or just missing the mark entirely
- Many poor content strategies talk too much about your company itself
- Put these tips to work to instantly turn your content strategy around and attract more and better clients
Whether you’re an MSP, a VAR, a CSP, or any other collection of letters, IT consultancy businesses trying their hand at content marketing risk making some very common mistakes.
They write content too technically. They write about themselves. They write about their services. The products they use. Their technical features.
Then they get no results and figure this “content marketing” thing is all a bunch of snake oil.
IT Content Marketing Requires Focus
Working week-to-week, writing articles entirely at the mercy of your own whims? That’s a death sentence.
You might write one or two pieces that get some attention if you’re lucky. But that’s not going to help you much. To actually succeed at IT content marketing, you need to have a robust plan.
That starts by considering your audience. And your audience isn’t other IT professionals you’re looking to impress. It’s decision-makers at companies that might be interested in buying your products. Depending on your business, that might mean you’re dealing with other technical professionals — but you might also be talking to accountants, administrators, managers, owners: you name it.
That means you need to understand these people.
Create and Write for Your Personas
In marketing, a persona is a semi-fictional person. It’s a representation of a type of customer that helps you keep in mind what people are actually looking for. A job role is a job role — but a person is a person, and they could have all sorts of idiosyncratic properties you’ll miss speaking to if you don’t think about them.
A business owner’s primary concern, for instance, is profit. They want to know how they can make more money through better IT. Now, if you’re a business owner yourself, you might like to think that your employees’ primary concern is also profit — after all, that’s what it is on paper!
But realistically, that’s not the case. They’ll want the company to be profitable of course, for practical reasons as well as proof that their efforts are well-spent, but there’s a lot else on their plates that comes first.
An in-house IT professional is trying to keep the IT infrastructure running smoothly and safely. Most of all, they want to avoid a situation where their boss is asking why exactly they’re dealing with a massive, public data breach. They might want to know how they can get more done with specialized outside resources.
If you’re selling an IT solution to, say, an Office Manager, they’ll have different concerns. They might be looking to streamline a cumbersome process that runs rampant in their industry, and ultimately save time in their day so they’re personally less stressed managing minutia and have more time to allocate to higher-value tasks.
Whatever it is, spend some time to create personas based on the pains you know your customers experience. If you’re a marketer: do your research, speak to clients your company has helped and listen to their stories — and open an ongoing conversation with the salespeople that speak to potential customers every day.
Creating Your Content Calendar
You don’t need a year-long calendar that rigorously and meticulously outlines every aspect of every article with every day you plan for them to publish. You’ll get way too caught up in the details and won’t be able to be responsive to trending topics you may want to insert.
But you do want to plan your content out for a few months at a time.
If you’re just starting out, try a three month calendar with the goal of writing and publishing one article per week. Based on your persona research, synthesize the pains you know your buyers experience with keyword research to come up with placeholder topics to help guide you (you should definitely spend serious time on the headline after the article’s written — don’t sweat it in the planning stage).
Meet Your Reader Where They Are
And try to spread your content into three categories that match the three major stages in the buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
Put the bulk of your effort into Awareness. These articles are for people who know they have a problem, but they may not have named it, and they probably don’t know the solution. They know something’s annoying them, getting in the way of their progress, and they’re looking for some answers.
Let’s say you sell cybersecurity services. Your reader might be looking for things like:
- How to protect from hackers?
- What are data breaches?
- How do you back up your data?
In this stage, your content should neatly answer these questions while introducing your overall solution: a robust cybersecurity program.
When readers know what their solution is, they’ll move to Consideration, where they’re directly evaluating that solution. They might be wondering how expensive cybersecurity is, what makes a good cybersecurity program, or how to demonstrate the value of it to other decision-makers. This is your chance to speak about the solution and position yourself as a solid option — but hold off on the real selling for now.
Finally, prospects will move to the decision stage. At this point, they know they need cybersecurity, and they’ve learned what they need to look for in a company. They’ll be directly evaluating you against your competitors.
These sorts of articles would feel too pushy for someone just trying to get a few answers, but for those who make it this far, yes, this is your chance to talk about how great you are, so go all-out.
We work with many MSPs and VARs, and we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to make a great marketing plan that actually gets results. If you want to learn more about how we’ve put our playbooks to work for more than 70 B2B organizations, you’ll want to start right here. Go on, click it! We’re just giving away all our secrets!