Technical content marketing – maybe it’s a bit of a mouthful and that’s why it’s a term I don’t come across often.
But it’s a suitable label for a marketing concept that I think should be in a category of its own. B2B engineering and tech businesses can benefit greatly from it.
This blog post will explain what technical content marketing is and how it drives brand awareness, loyalty, and trust. I will also cover the challenges of employing it.
Technical Marketing + Content Marketing (it’s a match!)
I’m sure you figured it out already. Technical content marketing is a mix of technical marketing and content marketing. In case you’re not familiar with either of these, let’s go over them…
Content marketing has been around since the dawn of the industrialised world. John Deer’s magazine, The Furrow, is an early example of content marketing. Yet, the term ‘content marketing’ has only been common in the last 10 years or so.
The aim of content marketing is to engage target audiences with content. This content can take shape in blogs, videos or other formats. And by having it cover topics that relate to business offerings – but not directly sell them – education or entertainment is made. Through this, a business can build a following to convert into customers.
Technical marketing is a term that might be more confusing. It can refer to marketing that conveys product technicalities. For example, a HVAC fan supplier could make brochures that outline the airflow performances of their product range. This ensures customers understand what’s on offer and if it’s suitable for them.
But the term technical marketing can also refer to the use of technology in marketing. In my explanation of technical content marketing, we’re interested in the former definition.
What do we get from this Marketing Combination?
What do we get when we combine technical marketing and content marketing? We get a marketing match made in heaven!
Why? Technical knowledge provides fertile ground for the creation of content that customers value. In fact, the more technical a product or service, the greater the potential for a technical content marketing campaign.
For example, a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) supplier could make regular video content on topics including:
- Programming languages
- How to optimise controller performance in different industrial applications
- Basics of control theory
- Basics of electronics
These content topics, and maybe dozens of others, would be useful for their customer base.
So, that’s what technical content marketing is. It’s the use of relevant technical knowledge for the creation of content. From this, a loyal audience can be built and made into paying customers.
Thus, technical content marketing is a powerful concept for B2B engineering and tech businesses.
But how is technical content marketing different from traditional technical marketing? While regular technical marketing is mostly sales-centric, technical content marketing is customer-centric.
In other words, traditional technical marketing is typically concerned with the product. Whereas, technical content marketing goes beyond the product, to give customers broader value. This is where its power lies.
What are the Benefits of Technical Content Marketing?
Technical content marketing benefits companies in three ways. They are:
Improved Brand Awareness:
Improved brand awareness comes from engaging a larger proportion of a target audience. This is possible because the aim of technical content marketing is to satisfy the interests of the customer first and foremost.
Naturally, people will take notice of content that they actually appreciate over self-absorbed sales jargon. They are also more likely to share it with others who may be interested.
Further, content is ‘front and centre’ with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Therefore, a technical content marketing campaign that produces regular and high-quality content will increase web traffic.
As an example of this, the IT division at Schneider Electric produced 3x more downloads with a content marketing approach for data center solutions.
Improved brand awareness can then have direct flow-on effects for lead generation. A marketing funnel can push receptive audience members from customer-centric content to more sales-centric content. And by initially engaging an audience with customer-centric material, a company will appear less brash. It allows customers to warm up to an idea, when they otherwise may have just ignored it.
Additionally, the most interested of your audience can be found through their interaction with customer-centric content. This allows your sales team to go after the low-hanging fruit, so to speak. As a result, sales will come with less effort, and with fewer hassles.
Improved Brand Loyalty:
Technical content marketing builds brand loyalty by giving extra value to customers beyond the product or service itself.
Having loyal customers means they prefer your product or services over alternatives. They will go out of their way to buy from you, even if it means they have to pay more. But this is unlikely to happen unless you offer some added value others don’t.
Enter technical content marketing. Technical products offer rich potential for the creation of educational content – the added value. If you can inform your audience with useful knowledge, you are adding value to your brand. In return, your audience will more likely give you their business.
It’s like another level of exchange with customers: you provide useful content and customers provide their business. You then provide your services and customers provide their money!
For those who’ve read Robert B. Cialdini’s book Influence, this is where the principle of reciprocation comes into play. For those who haven’t, reciprocation is one of the six principles of influence. It is based on the idea that people feel obliged to return favors, even when the favor was not wanted.
With technical content marketing, the info you share is the favor. If you are generous with them, customers will want to pay you back.
Improved Brand Trust:
Technical content marketing builds brand trust as it reinforces your perceived expertise.
With perceived expertise, comes perceived quality in what you offer. Quality is of great importance to all consumers. No one is happy with crappy products that don’t work, no matter what it is or how much it costs.
Further, technical content marketing allows your customers to better understand your offerings. If your customers are properly aware of your product’s worth, they are more likely to buy.
This is where another of Cialdini’s principles of influence is relevant: authority. Cialdini showed that people are inclined to follow directions from authoritative figures, often mindlessly.
Therefore, if you show authority in your area of expertise by sharing knowledge, customers will buy from you with little thought.
The Challenges of Technical Content Marketing
Unfortunately, the power of technical content marketing does not come easily.
Technical content marketing is a mix of content marketing and technical marketing. So, it makes sense that it comes with the challenges of both – double trouble!
Content marketing requires a solid strategy. This includes everything from defining business goals, to measuring the effectiveness of content. It also requires discipline, as content publication needs to be regular and consistent. For more information on marketing strategy, read our blog post here.
Technical marketing requires both technical knowledge and teaching skills. Ticking both boxes, though, can be a challenge. Often, the holders of technical knowledge (engineers, for example), aren’t strong communicators. The opposite can be true too. Marketing experts can often struggle to understand the technical info customers seek.
For the above reasons, the role of the technical marketer can be tough to fill. Couple this with content marketing and it only gets harder.
But this does not mean your technical content marketing goals need to fall off a cliff. Organisational teamwork can overcome these challenges.
For example, a joint plan for content production may involve a sales team writing a list of frequently asked questions from customers. An engineering department with the relevant knowledge could then answer these questions. From there, the marketing team can produce content based on the answers.
This collaboration puts extra tasks on employee to-do lists. Therefore, upper management will probably need to approve and facilitate the teamwork.
In the case that you are not the boss, you may need to do some convincing to get a campaign going. To do so, start small with something like a simple blog and prove the concept from there. Showing potential through a trimmed-down campaign could sell the idea of a more elaborate one.
Finding a content niche
Finding a content niche that your customers are interested in is another challenge of technical content marketing.
To get noticed in the noisy world of today, you must have a content niche. This is an original subject matter that draws upon your area of expertise and the interests of your target audience.
As the saying goes, “If you try to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to anyone.”
For content marketing in general, finding an original niche can be hard. But in the case of technical content marketing, you at least have a good starting point – your technical area of expertise.
If you are lucky, there may be little competition for content in your specific technical domain. In that case, you have free rein! But, if there’s already a lot of competition, you may need to narrow your niche down or add a unique twist for differentiation.
Technical content marketing can be challenging. But for suitable businesses, the benefits will far outweigh the costs. In fact, I think of it as a win-win scenario. Not only does the business benefit, but its customers do too through the useful knowledge they gain.
How Techsight can Help with your Technical Content Marketing
Technical content marketing is at the core of Techsight. Our aim is to help engineering and tech businesses engage their audiences and drive sales.
If your company needs help with marketing, contact us here.