Developing content for your company’s blog is critical for generating traffic and nurturing leads. This is especially true for health care products and services, IT and software companies, as prospects have a lot of questions, the time from their consideration to purchase is lengthy and product investment may be quite high. How to interview and develop technical blog content for when you’re not a technical expert? It’s not rocket science (usually.)
As a marketer, however, you may not be the expert in technology and need to lean on the development or technical team to provide insight that your prospects and customers want to read. Your development and tech team have neither the time nor the skills to write or produce content. Your sales team may not have the time or the skills to write or produce content either. Yet these two parts of your company – your technical team and your sales team – are the ones that the customer interacts with the most. Getting their insight from brain to page is key for attracting prospects and engaging customers.
There are four approaches we use with clients to develop technical content: interviews, how-to video snippets, social media intercepts and using industry data. Let’s break down all four.
About once a month, we interview a lead developer and the lead sales team members to develop content in two areas: technical how-to or feature deep dives that help customers understand how to get more out of the products that they are using. These deep dives also helps prospective customers understand the product as well. We also interview the sales team for the top customer questions of the week – either they’ve been asked these on the phone or in a demo. And we also ask them for the objection of the week. We can then craft blog content around topics that are hot for customers.
Because the health care software we’re marketing is not our primary industry, we’re interviewing developers and having to underestand two layers of technical content – both software and the health care industry that we’re working in. We have to work to understand the product and the industry and communicate the value message to the customer. To do this effectively, we have interviewed key customers so that as marketers, we can understand what their challenges are and how their organizations work (we call these Persona Interviews). If you’re working internally in a health care or IT services company, you probably understand your industry and product well, so you’ll concentrate your content on communicating the technical benefits and value to customers.
These interviews are different than persona interviews, that you may have conducted in the past. These are deeper sessions, that we call Process Interviews:
- Tell me how you do X or go from point A to B
- What are the top three objections this week (and how did you overcome them?)
- What are the top customer questions (and what were your answers)
The best part about using interviews is that it takes the pressure off your technical team to create content. If you’ve ever asked a developer to produce content, and received a horrified look or a blank stare after your request, you know what we mean! This is a comfortable way for getting the most out of sales and technical staff. A short weekly call – we often schedule these during our team’s drive time (they’re in the car talking with us, we’re recording it at our office) so they don’t feel that the interview impinges on their worktime. Most are almost always willing to comply.
These can be step by step recordings of proceses in a client’s software or a how-to using the client’s product or service. These videos can be shot on a phone or digital camera or a high res digital camera such as a GoPro. They are generally 30 seconds to two minutes and are a quick way to show a customer how to do something or how to better utilize a product. These involve more of your tech and sales people time, but if you can limit the video collection period to about fifteen minutes and edit from there, you can produce a good informational video to share with prospects and customers.
Social media intercepts:
Our customers are our best creators of content ideas. Every question asked on social media is an opportunity to create unique new content. You may have client interactions in private Facebook groups, on customer forums on LinkedIn and even on your own Facebook or twitter feeds. Every question or discussion is an opportunity to create related content that you can share out with both existing customers and prospects. Every marketer can glean insights from what customers are talking about on social media and produce content that fits this need. Most of the questions asked on social media are general level or high level questions, well within the purview of marketers. Deeper dives may have to involve the interview or video process. Answering customer service questions in a blog presents answers (remember FAQs?) in a proactive and positive way. Your prospects have the same questions as your customers do.
Use industry research:
Secondary research can also be found on the web; search for a topic and find related industry news that you can use to create a top challenges blog or trends in your industry blog post. Sharing the work of others – particularly on social media – is a way to garner retweets and shared posts from those original content authors. By curating content and sharing it in a unique format with your clients, you’ve done them a valuable service – they didn’t have to search for it themselves!
Creating technical content does not need to be a scary task for marketers. It’s not rocket science*. Helpful content at the first stage of the buyer’s journey frequently involves just answering those big questions. You’ll know what questions your prospects are thinking about based on asking your customers are thinking about.
*Yes! That is an ACTUAL equation for an ideal rocket, as prepared by NASA. No, we are not rocket scientists; we googled a slideshow by NASA and then copied down the equation for the graphic, see the paragraph on secondary research above for more details.