New content is produced every day. Whether in the form of blog articles, video tutorials, or podcasts, the internet is full of tech-related content that seeks to educate its readers and promote a product. However, only a few of those pieces actually meet their goal of reaching a wide audience and turning them into customers.
At Wizard on Demand, we know that our job as a technical content marketing agency isn’t about stringing buzzwords together. In a world of content pollution, we make it our priority to create articles that address real pain points that your customers have — and find a way to offer your product or service as a solution to their problem.
To achieve our goal of producing relevant and long-lived content, our most valuable resource is — you! You are the subject-matter expert and you know best what your customers want and need. Therefore, to help us create excellent content that brings your product to the next level, it is essential that you share your knowledge with us.
The potential of good content
Long gone are the days of heavy encyclopedias and other physical reference guides. Today, many people turn to search engines to look up information. But a site like Wikipedia isn’t necessarily the best resource for learning about niche topics or new technologies. Online encyclopedias aren’t designed for sharing opinions on technology — but it’s such perspectives, coming from people with experience, that readers are yearning for in the world of "content pollution."
That’s why a well-written piece about a subject like the YOLO algorithm for automated object detection can quickly make it to the top of the search results. Recognizing the potential of sharing their expertise with others, many companies have started blogs — with varying success. As we see it, a well-maintained blog has three main functions:
- It teaches existing users how to use your product — for instance, in the form of tutorials or case studies.
- It communicates the value of your product to potential new customers. You could, for example, publish a comprehensive overview of a prominent topic in your field — something that people can use as a reference. This can also serve to set your product apart from your competitors.
- It promotes your perspective and builds your reputation as a domain expert. This can be achieved through insightful and sometimes polarizing think pieces.
So not only does great content, regularly published to your website, help you build a happy user base, it also helps you gain new customers and position yourself as an expert among your peers. That’s a lot of positives!
What makes a good article?
As consumers of technical content ourselves, we appreciate well-written articles that solve a problem we have, expand our knowledge, make us think, or provide clear and easy-to-follow instructions.
If you believe in your product — and we only write about products that we ourselves find truly valuable — then filling your blog with empty buzzwords would be a mistake. Instead, we like to identify your customers’ needs and find a way to address them in the form of engaging and accessible content. As our own experience has shown, this tactic will improve your blog traffic and, most importantly, get you net new customers far better than an article that’s solely constructed around SEO-related keywords.
However, good articles don’t write themselves. Even though an excellent piece of content might give you the impression that it has been written in a single swoop because of how fluently it reads, it is often the result of a lot of work by multiple people.
Our approach to content production
Our first step that we take with a new customer is to learn as much as possible about their product and its positioning. To that end, we ask for product demos, dive into the docs (and at times even the source code), and conduct interviews with both your team and current and potential users. As we get to know you, your team and user base, we also get a better feel for your overall philosophy and vision.
Once we have a clear idea of what we want our content to achieve, we’ll get started on the actual production. Our content creation process consists of iterative cycles of research, outlines, drafts, reviews and editing, some of which include an expert from your team.
Working together to produce high-quality content
Your team members are invaluable subject-matter experts, and the more access we have to them, the better. The in-depth knowledge that your team can bring to the table is priceless. It helps us produce content that is substantive and helpful. When your readers understand that you take the content you put out seriously, then they will do the same. That’s why we’ll ask for your team’s input and expertise at various stages of the content production process.
Our process has resulted in more than a few success stories over the past two years. For example, for one of our customers in the composable NLP space, we wrote an overview about a foundational topic, which routinely lands at the top of the Google search results. Another blog post about data storage paradigms got featured in an influential specialized newsletter, months after our client first published it.
Getting input from your team doesn’t mean that your CEO has to spend hours chatting with us. We understand that in a fast-growing business everyone on the team has limited time. What we do instead is create leverage on your team’s time: we interview you on a particular topic, and then get to work and leave your team to their regular duties, returning with content ready for feedback and any follow-up questions.
As a by-product of our deep-dive approach to content collaboration, we often develop expertise on our clients’ products while also bringing an outside perspective to their work. For one client, we produced so many helpful tutorials about their software that they asked us to review their entire documentation. We were able to point out several opportunities for improvement, which they promptly implemented.
Practical tips for working with us
Here’s something we’ve learned over the past years: when we don’t receive all the resources required to produce the high-level content that we’ve come to expect from ourselves, then the experience may become frustrating for both sides. To avoid that, we’ve put together some tips for working with us.
- Give us access to your resources and team
When trying to understand your product and audience, we always conduct our own in-depth research. But we need your help, too — do you have a live demo, a relevant workshop, a helpful documentation page? Send us the recordings if you have them, or invite us to any upcoming events. Perhaps we can talk to the team member who implemented a given feature? They would have the most detail to contribute. The marketing team or the developer advocate will likely also have useful context, and we’d love to connect with them as well. Or perhaps you’ve come across a relevant blog post, podcast or scientific paper? We want it all!
Understand that we might not be subject experts yet, but that you can help us get there. The more access you give us to tools, documentation, other content that you like, your vision in general, and most importantly, the subject experts on your team — the better we can turn all of that into valuable content.
- Cherish the dialogue
We always ask for a review before we publish something in your name. And nothing is more anticlimactic than scrambling towards a deadline, thinking that a piece of content will change the way people interact with a product — and then not hearing back from a client for weeks. In our fast-paced world, there’s a danger of content going stale. Or you may simply miss the perfect time to publish. You’re busy, we know. But if you take the time to leave thoughtful constructive comments on a new piece, you’ll very quickly become our favorite person to work with.
Conversely, we’ll certainly have feedback for you, too. We often dive so deep into a product that we might surface some bugs or inconsistencies. Most of our clients actually see that as a nice side-effect of hiring us. After all, if we have trouble understanding your documentation or using a feature, then maybe your clients do, too!
- Understand that not every piece will be the same
Some pieces will be instant successes and shared widely; others will take some more time to gain momentum. One article might resonate with a large audience, while another one will be helpful to only a precious few. Not every piece is the same and that’s good — the more diversity your blog shows, the more it will be able to attract different groups of people.
We’ve also observed that our content usually gets more nuanced the longer we write about a product. That’s not to say that we don’t make a difference from day one — we do, the stats don’t lie — but we find that the better we get to know a client, the more we are able to put out content that is written in their voice and speaks to their customers. That’s why we value the relationships with our existing clients so highly.
Let’s start writing
For fun and precise content, our technical content marketing agency is always ready to go the extra mile — whether that consists of jumping on another call to clarify a point, or a few more hours of research to make sure that we truly understand a concept. Our reward? When one of our pieces gets shared and discussed widely, when our clients get praise for their content, and when their business grows in the desired direction — that’s when we feel that our effort has paid off.
Are you ready to bring your product or service to your users through helpful technical content? Schedule a discovery conversation with Wizard on Demand today!