5 Steps to Creating Content for a Technical Audience
As a B2B marketer, you’re familiar with the basics of content marketing. You might be thinking that these tactics will also be effective with a technical audience—and you wouldn’t be wrong for making that assumption. But when it comes to developers, it’s important to understand the subtle, yet crucial, nuances of brainstorming and creating content.
For most B2B audiences, there are five stages to creating a piece of content, regardless of whether you’re writing a blog post, whitepaper, product tutorial, or eBook.
1. SEO Research
Based on your persona research, you’ll likely have some ideas for topics that your target audience wants to read about. Using these “buyer” personas, content marketers rely on tools like Google Keyword Planner and Moz Keyword Explorer to research keywords related to those topics. This is a good way to see if you should (or shouldn’t) invest the time to create a piece of content about a topic.
2. Brainstorming & Ideation
At this stage, you use your keyword research to create unique ideas related to those search terms. HubSpot did extensive research that highlighted the merits of creating topic clusters. For example, you might use “Android development” as your pillar, then create shorter pieces related to that pillar, such as debugging common Android bugs and increasing downloads in the Google Play store.
Every writer has his or her own process for crafting the first draft of a piece of content. But when it comes to content marketing, there are a few things to always keep in mind, including writing for just one buyer persona, staying true to your brand’s voice, and being as clear as possible.
This is also a subjective process. But at this stage, editors tend to refine drafts by removing any examples of the passive voice and longer-than-necessary sentences. Additionally, some editors add whitespace to make drafts more readable.
This step is much more than clicking a “Publish” button. The publishing phase functions almost like a deadline at a print newspaper. If you commit to publishing new whitepapers once per month, the audience will eventually expect to receive that content each month.
So, how does this process differ when you’re creating content for a developer and technical audience? Let’s walk through each stage again.
1. Keyword Research and Ideation
Notice that we’re not using the phrase “SEO Research” here. Additionally, we’ve combined the first two stages that we reviewed earlier. When you advertise to developers with banner ads or create content for them, you need to ask yourself the same questions. Where do they go for information? Which topics are most interesting to the developers that you want to reach? What are their pain points? Thanks to the conversations that they’re having on sites like Stack Overflow and GitHub, advertisers can easily discover content topics and ideas.
In our 2018 State of Developer Engagement report, we found that over half of our respondents “agree” or “strongly agree” that they enjoy seeing updates from companies that they like. Additionally, those respondents say that advertising can be valuable when it is relevant.
For this stage, think critically about how you can solve a real-world problem for a technical audience. What types of issues are they having using your company’s products? What are their most common questions? Rather than offering high-level tips, create pieces such as product tutorials, well-researched whitepapers, and blog posts that address the most frequently asked technical questions about your product.
In addition to some of the stylistic choices that we discussed previously, respondents to our State of Developer Engagement survey gave us a few more things to keep in mind while editing content. Programmers enjoy marketing content that seems trustworthy, is honest about its goals, and avoids fluffy language. If a blog post or whitepaper doesn’t solve a tangible problem that developers face at work, it will likely fall on deaf ears.
To determine an appropriate publishing schedule, continue monitoring the conversations that developers are having about your product. If one issue continues to arise, create a piece of content that resolves (or at least addresses) that problem. If a talking point has a large number of responses on Stack Overflow or GitHub, get involved in the conversation by creating a piece of content that adds something of value to that discussion.
For more best practices on content marketing for the developer and the technical community, download our eBook, “Content Marketing Strategies for a Technical Audience”.