Content is king, blah blah blah. I honestly feel that content is half of the equation when it comes to product marketing. How you promote your written pieces play a huge role in getting traffic to your website and reaching your audience. But that’s a story for a different day.
Content is important especially if you have an inbound marketing strategy. Either way, content helps you to establish yourself as a thought leader. And how it’s written helps with SEO since googling is the first thing we intuitively do.
The resource library of WSO2 Identity Access and Management was created for this very purpose and we try our best to offer content our audience is looking for. Of course, you can use the likes of Contently or get help from Animalz but this is for you folk who love manual work like yours truly.
But before we laid out our content strategy for the upcoming year, here are some of the things we did to get started.
- List the major capabilities of our products as “messaging pillars” and listed topics for each of those areas to see what we needed. For example, we would list “Strong and adaptive authentication” as a pillar and list relevant topics we could possibly write about it.
- Then take stock / do an audit/ gap analysis of the existing content. Cross-check with the list we came up with before so we know what’s missing. We have a bunch of interesting content written either on Federated Identity management, IAM design principles or authentication. And we categorize them based on whether they are going to be articles, blogs, white papers and so on.
- Define your audience. This is quite important and it’s difficult to write something unless you know who you’re talking to. In our case we talk to developers, architects and the C-suite.
- See what the industry is talking about. Analyst trend reports (Gartner, Forrester, OWI, KuppingerCole) are a good source as they predict what’s hot and what’s important.
- Your customers. Ask them what they are looking for, based on the problems they solve either at customer meetings or at your internal events. I also ran a survey with our sales teams asking what they felt was missing in our library, what pieces of content used for the most part (so I can update this piece if needed), what else they would like to see and any resources customers specifically mentioned.
- Quick skim through the competition library or resource section on their respective site is helpful too. Of course, this would fit their narrative and what they want to promote but it’s a good way to explore the different types of content they have and topics they write about.
- Run a search on publications you know that your audience reads. For us, we look at Dzone, InfoQ, Ycombinator, Dev.to, Hackernews etc.
- Explore forums like Stack overflow (in our case) to see the most common issues your audience is talking about. These could also be pointers for the topics you want to write about.
So that’s just the research part. Once we did all of this, we had an idea of what we wanted to start with. For example, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was coming up, so we broke it down like this:
We try to take the reader through the journey while educating them on the concept (widely practiced) rather than say “here buy my product to solve XYZ”. Deciding if this is going to be a series of articles, an ebook or making this a basis of a video, is up to you. Having it in all these forms is also an option to consider because each person consumes content differently. A person who hates to read might enjoy the audiobook. So knowing your audience and how they consume content is important.
Once we know the topics, then came this beautiful spreadsheet, where list the topics, audience, how it fits in the buyer journey, the timelines and most importantly priority levels of said content and the owner/author.
We go through this every quarter and mark what’s important, in order to readjust our priority levels. We’d also check metrics like page views, if a piece contributed to page visits and downloads, time spent on a page, bounce rates and if our prospects cited it as a favorite.
Any key steps I’ve missed out on?