Content Marketing Strategy for Engineering & Tech in 5 Easy Steps

Marketing, when done properly, can make a world of difference to the success of a business. After all, that’s its purpose—to get more people interested in a product or service and create sales. 

However, marketing can be deceitful. It can make you feel busy and productive while achieving little. For example, it may seem like regular social media posting is getting the job done. You may be getting a few likes and views. But unless it’s helping you achieve strategic business goals, it is probably pointless.

In fact, aimless marketing can be a big drain on a business. It can consume large amounts of time and resources with little positive return.

Enter content marketing strategy. To explain what it is, let’s consider a football team that wants to win. To give it the best chance of doing so, it needs a game plan: the opposition team is studied, players are selected, and tactics are devised and adjusted throughout the match.

Just like the football team, an effective content marketing campaign requires a plan to kick business goals!

So, here is a 5 step guide to developing a content marketing strategy for engineering companies and tech startups.

 

1. What Are Your Business Goals?

Firstly, it is important to outline the goals your business wants to achieve. This forms the base for all the next steps of the content marketing game plan. After all, if you don’t know exactly what you want to achieve, how can you expect your marketing content to achieve it?!

Presumably, the basic content marketing goal of most businesses would be to build a following and convert them to paying customers to make more money! But how could this be broken down further? Possibly by:

  • Engage existing customers to increase customer retention rates.

  • Engage more of your current audience to increase market share of a particular product. 

  • Engage a new target market for a new service.

Once you have broken down your goals, the question “how?” can be asked and applied to the following steps of your content marketing strategy.

 

2. Who Is Your Target Audience And What Are Their Triggers?

Once you have your list of marketing goals, you can pinpoint the relevant audiences. This step is vital, but often overlooked.

Marketing content must be customer-centric. Your customers pay attention to you to satisfy their needs, not because of how exceptional you are. And much like your marketing goals, if you don’t know who your audience is, how can you expect to make content that engages them?!

Creating marketing personas is one way you can get a solid grasp on who your audience is. These are composite profiles that define and embody your would-be customers. They help you ensure the content you make is inviting to your target audiences by forcing you to look at the world from their perspective.

Many approaches to making personas call for listing general traits and details. For example, you may specify a persona’s name, age, hobbies and family members. You may even specify their favourite colour, if you think it’s relevant. But that is the question, what is relevant to your content?

Because it’s hard to draw the line with what is applicable, personas can grow to be mostly idle detail. This can confuse and distract you from the core points that help make fruitful content.

Thus, I find it best to focus on two areas of the persona: their ambitions and pain points. These areas that broadly relate to your business are key to a receptive audience.

Why? As Seth Godin states in his book, This Is Marketing, marketers are in essence agents of change. The basic goal of any marketing activity is to change an audience in a way that benefits the entity driving it. And your audience’s ambitions and pain points form the base for powerful change. These are their triggers.

We all have goals. Some are grand, while others are smaller, everyday targets. Tapping into those of your persona is how you can get real-life people to like your content. If you can offer change in some way that relates to their goals, then they will probably be receptive.

For example, let’s say you make apps that improve business workflows. Then one of your personas would likely be a team manager who has the goal of making certain workplace tasks more efficient so that they can save time and money. This goal would bring a feeling of satisfaction if achieved, and it is your job to help them realise it.

Similarly, your audience will have pain points. Some of which keep them up at night, while others are just minor annoyances. Hitting these nerves and offering reprieve through change is a powerful way you can engage with your audience.

It is important to work out what the triggers of your target audiences are. It may take some content trial-and-error to find out what they really are. But when you do, they will go along way.

 

3. Brainstorming Content Ideas For Your Audience

The next step is to brainstorm content ideas specifically for your target audience. What messages or knowledge can you publish to build trust and loyalty with them? And how can you achieve your marketing goals through your content?

Here, defining your content niche briefly can help with developing content ideas. Your content niche is your area of expertise mixed with the persona triggers. It’s a summary of the value your content provides.

For example, the content niche of a robotics supplier might be: How to automate manufacturing processes to increase production, reduce overhead, and create safer working environments.

Having your content niche in mind while brainstorming content ideas will allow them to remain relevant to your business offerings, but able to go beyond. This allows you to provide broader value and put the interests of customers first. Some content ideas should be about your products or services, as this is needed when going for the sale. But the ideas that will engage your audience best will often be about topics beyond your products.

For example, the robotics supplier could make content on core engineering concepts that help their customers make more efficient production lines. Not only will customer-oriented content like this be more click-through friendly, but it helps the content maker gain trust as a technical authority. This, along with having wiser and grateful customers because of the shared insight, creates selling power.

Further, consider the marketing funnel when brainstorming content ideas. This helps ensure that your content will not only be engaging, but helps with your endgame.

A simple way to do so is to group your ideas into two main types: discovery content, and converting content. Discovery content includes your ideas that are very customer-oriented and make viewers take notice of you. It is the content that helps new customers find you.

Converting content is more sales-oriented, like a case study for example. It aims to use the rapport created with the discovery content to convert viewers into paying customers. After all, this is the aim of content marketing. Losing sight of this can make content marketing nothing more than an expensive waste of time.

While converting content is more about making sales, it is important to not lose focus on the customer: they are always the hero of the story (credit goes to Donald Miller and Building a StoryBrand for that perfect analogy).

An effective marketing funnel needs strong calls to action and links between content pieces. If a would-be customer comes across some of your discovery content, and likes it, the next step should be made super clear for them. Make tie-ins to converting content big and bold. No need to be shy.

 

4. Content Delivery: Format, Production & Publication

Now that you have content ideas, the next step is to figure out how you are going to get them to your target audiences: What formats will they take shape in? How will they be produced? And where will they be published?

Content Formats

We will start with content formats. At Techsight we are big fans of technical explainer videos because of how well they can convey tricky concepts. If your company is a tech startup or revolves around engineering, then it will be hard to beat explainer videos for engaging your audience.

The mix of animated visuals and voice-over in videos explain technical things clearly. They can also be fun to watch. For more on this, check out our blog post on how explainer videos enhance your online presence. And also this one about how they make your client presentations more interesting.

Infographics are also a good option for tech and engineering. While they cannot convey as much info as video, they can help you stand out from the crowd and share insight efficiently.

Videos and infographics are our favourite content types but are by no means the only formats you should consider using. A blog (like this) is probably the easiest to get going and can form a solid base for your content marketing. Other written types can include e-books and whitepapers.

While these are some of the most common content types, they are far from the only. Your imagination is really the only limit when it comes to contentyou can use any means you want to get your messages out. Some more novel content types include quizzes, games, and podcasts, for example.

Content Production

Planning your content production is vital. Not doing so may be one of the major causes of content marketing failure.

Why? Content marketing requires quality, regularity, and consistency in publishing. If any of these are overlooked, then the wheels will fall off.

When we say quality, we mean content needs to have a coherent message and it needs to be customer-oriented to make it useful. We don’t mean production quality, which in terms of something like an explainer video, can blow out costs. For more on this read our previous blog.

Ensuring your content indeed turns out to be valuable may require planning with whom is involved in production. For example, maybe teamwork is required between salespeople, engineers, and marketers to make high-quality content. But unless there are procedures in place for the teamwork, then it will probably get pushed to the side.

With regularity and consistency, we mean that if you do not publish often enough, or if you only do it in short bursts, then you will not build a following. Therefore, you need a plan to ensure content will be made regularly. Content calendars are handy for this, as they help you meet deadlines for creating content.

Content Publication

In terms of where to publish, start with your websitemake it the home of all your content. Ultimately, the aim of content marketing is to get people to click “buy now” or contact you to create a lead. Your website, in most cases, is where this is most likely going to happen, so it makes sense to drive traffic here over social media platforms.

Further, when publishing on your website, no one can pull the rug out from under you by changing terms and conditions or algorithms. This happens often with social media platforms, and a page’s reach can be significantly reduced overnight. Social media platforms are businesses too, and one way they have been looking to increase revenue is by limiting organic growth and forcing companies to pay for sponsored content.

We’re not against using social media. In fact, it should play a large part in your publishing strategy because of its ability to drive brand discovery. But it should only be seen as a way to promote the platform that you own and controlyour website.

When you do post content on social media, focus on the platforms that your audience hang out on. If you are a heavy machinery supplier, it won’t be much use posting on Pinterest. For B2B tech startups and engineering companies like the ones we typically deal with, LinkedIn is probably where you will best reach your would-be customers.

 

5. Measuring The Effectiveness Of Your Campaign 

Lastly, we come to measuring the success of your content. A football team will assess their performance during a game and will adapt their tactics to win. Likewise, your content should be appraised and adapted similarly to achieve your business goals. 

It’s unlikely that your strategy will be perfect from the start. Content marketing is a bit of a trial-and-error game. You may think you understand your customer’s thought processes, but until you really know, you don’t really know.

It’s also easy to get caught up in metrics that don’t matter a great deal. Post ‘views’, and ‘likes’ are not bad things to have and are worth paying attention to. However, they are not a good sign of how well you are travelling with achieving your business goals.

In the age of data analytics that we live in today, there are many tools out there for keeping track of content performance in relation to your business goals. These allow you to follow customer behaviour, click-throughs, and ultimately what is bringing you sales.

However, sometimes it’s hard to use these tools to their full potential. For example, maybe your sales channel is complex and involves getting specified on a project and going to tender before getting an order. In that case, it’s hard to draw a direct line between a piece of content and a sale.

If this sounds like your situation, then focus on however far your analytics will take you. Additionally, see if you can see an increase in lead and sales generation that aligns with content publication. This is a crude metric, as there are obviously many factors behind the scenes that contribute to business success. But, if your content is working, then you should at least see some correlation to sales over time.

Over time is key to that statement. Content marketing is not an overnight endeavour: it takes time and persistence to gain a loyal following.

So don’t get too disheartened too early if you don’t see results.

 

How Techsight can help

At Techsight, we understand how tricky content strategy can be.

If you need help with your strategy from the start, or think your current one could be improved, contact us here.

We love dissecting marketing challenges and devising solutions.

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