One of the best ways to attract buyers in technical fields to your website is to publish technical content on topics relevant to them. Useful and well written content will rank high in search engine results, so your prospective customers will click through to your website. From there, you can begin introducing these technical buyers to your brand, while providing them with the information they were searching for. This process is part of inbound marketing.
You need technical expertise to write high quality technical content. But your technical experts are not writers or marketers-- and vice versa. At Rare Karma, we solve this problem by using a structured interviewing and editing process to connect writers and marketers with technical experts, producing high quality content that ranks well on Google without requiring too much time from your own technical experts.
Pick the Topics You Will Write About
You may imagine that creating content on every technical topic you can think of related to your field will help you grab the majority of your technical buyer audience. However, it’s best to find a small number of topics, write about them well, and try to rank highly for them, for several reasons:
- It’s more efficient. Once you have a well of information and content to draw from, it’s easier to keep writing on the same topics.
- Search engines will then recognize your website as an authority on the topics you choose, and all your content related to those topics will rank higher.
- It helps you build an audience. The technical buyers you want to attract will start to recognize you as an authority on a topic and become regular readers by subscribing to your blog.
Pick topics with the goal of building an audience of people who might also be interested in buying your company’s products or services. Senior executives or product managers at your company can suggest topics that are of interest to your buyers.
For example, Rare Karma’s client, Megalytic, sells a reporting and data visualization tool to marketers. Their buyers are often doing web analytics work with Google Analytics, so they are frequently searching the web for information on how to perform various Google Analytics tasks. As a result, Megalytic creates a significant amount of “how to” content related to Google Analytics.
Brainstorm Some Titles
After you’ve decided what topics you want to cover, the next step is to brainstorm some titles that match the searches that your technical buyers are making. At first, you can just make some educated guesses about what your prospects are searching for online. Use the buyer personas you’ve created with your marketing team to pick good keywords.
If you want further precision, you can use keyword research to help brainstorm. You can research popular keywords on your own, or use a popular SEO tool (such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush or BuzzSumo) to find keywords with potential to generate traffic for your site. For example, here is how you could use SEMrush to find a good topic:
- Log in to SEMrush and pick the Keyword Magic Tool.
- Search your chosen topic to see a long list of related keywords and the associated traffic.
- Pick a keyword that a) relates to your product, b) gets a reasonable amount of traffic, c) isn’t already crowded with content.Write a good piece of content related to that keyword.
For example, Megalytic searched SEMrush for “google analytics” and picked the keyword “google analytics direct traffic,” which shows an estimated 480 searches per month.
SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool displaying results for “google analytics” keywords
Megalytic then published “Understanding Direct Traffic in Google Analytics” on their website in 2015. This blog post has consistently ranked in the top 3 for the chosen keyword and generated 4-5 thousand visits per month for several years.
Megalytic’s Google Analytics blog post on this keyword drove significant traffic
As you can see, SEMrush’s search traffic estimates can dramatically underestimate the real traffic that’s out there-- though they’re a good relative indicator and a great way to identify keywords that are worth investing your time in.
From your research and brainstorming, assemble a list of about 12 titles. Then, consult experts in your company to pick the top 4.
Consult with Your Company Experts
Find a few experts on the topic that you are going to write about within your company. For example, a product manager will usually know something about the topic and about the interests of prospective buyers. A product support specialist who works directly with clients and customers can also be helpful in determining what answers your buyers are looking for.
It can also be helpful to find technical experts within your company who can tell you which topics are the most technically interesting or useful to your audience. If this person is available, do a quick web search with them to help you determine where you could fill a niche with good technical content. Your chances of ranking high in search results are better if you write about topics that aren’t already well covered. Use this information from company experts to narrow down your topic list to about 4 topics.
The Initial Interview with Your Expert
When you’ve chosen the first topic you want to write about, team up with a technical expert in the company to get good information. While you don’t want to take up too much of your expert’s valuable time, if the content isn’t accurate and authoritative, it won’t drive traffic to your site and could even have a negative impact. You obviously want your content to be as accurate as possible, and in addition, to be written with authority and expertise, further creating trust between you and your audience.
Information gathering can be done over email, but we’ve found that it’s best done in real time, in a meeting or over a call. Follow these steps to be sure that you get the most out of your expert interview:
- Determine the best person to consult with-- someone who’s an expert on the product and who has some time to spend thoroughly discussing the topic with you. This can be a product expert, engineer, industry thought leader, salesperson, or anyone else who is highly knowledgeable.
- Develop a list of questions for your expert on the topic. It’s useful to develop this list of questions based on consumer pain points: the technical questions they need answered that are causing them to search on this topic. Having set questions before you meet with your expert can help make your call efficient (so you don’t waste their time) and ensure you cover all the information you require.
- Ask your expert to explain further if necessary. Make sure you fully understand the information they’re giving you so that you can create the most complete and authoritative content. It can be especially helpful to ask if they think you’ve missed anything important in your questions.
- Take thorough notes. Record the entire call / meeting and transcribe the recording so that you can return to it if your notes are incomplete or if you forget information.
Once you’ve interviewed your expert, you can supplement your notes with research done on your own time to produce a more thorough picture of the topic. Research can also help you find out what other people are writing on your topic and what information isn’t out there or is confusing. When you think you have enough information, you can start creating a first draft.
Create a First Draft
Your first draft is the first pass at your content. You want your content to be easy to read, interesting, informative, and accurate. Come up with a system for creating content that works well for your marketing team. Here is the system we’ve found works best:
- Create an outline of your content in a document that is shared with everyone who will be involved in content creation. Determine the ideal length in word count for this piece of content. Your outline should show the basic progression of your piece and the technical content you want to cover.
- Determine how long it will take to write, edit, and publish the post. Technical content often takes longer to write-- take that into account when developing your editorial calendar!
- Fill in the gaps in your outline. What haven’t you covered, and what information do you still need?
- Write the post! Make it enjoyable to read and full of the information that your audience is searching for.
- Insert links to external and internal content to direct your visitors to further information on a subtopic.
- Determine your Call To Action (CTA) or content offer for the post. This could be a whitepaper, tutorial, or other offer relevant to the technical content you’re covering.
- Include your chosen search keyword in the title and also in subheadings as appropriate.
- Review your post internally with editors and other marketing personnel (see below).
- If you are working with specific stakeholders to create content, send it to them for review. A 72-hour turnaround period is a good timeframe to keep your content calendar moving.
Once you’ve created your first draft, you’ll want to review it with your technical expert. They can help you ensure that the technical content is accurate and delivered with authority.
Final Edits with Your Expert
Your technical expert should look over your draft, checking for errors and ways in which it can be improved. Send a draft to your expert with a deadline of when you need the edits to be completed in order to meet your publication deadline.They should note any technical errors or places where language can be cleared up and made more accurate.
If they approve your draft, you’re good to go! If they make edits, you should work internally to determine if they make sense for the piece or not. (They’re your technical expert-- not your writer. Their edits may not be good marketing content or just not very good writing.) If the edits aren’t approved, discuss with your marketing team the reasons why and work out a version of your content that everyone agrees on. If the edits are approved, incorporate them into a new draft and get a final approval, in writing, to post your content. Getting approval can be an extra annoyance, but it ensures buy-in from your expert and avoids headaches down the road. After you get approval, you can add images for the final touch.
Add Images and Publish
Adding images to your post brings multiple benefits. By making the filenames and alt-text relevant to your content, images can boost your SEO. Images make your post more visually appealing and enjoyable to read, plus, they help break up the text to give your readers’ eyes a break. Posts with images get shared more often on social media and are viewed as more professional-looking than plain-text posts. Additionally, images can go a long way to help explain complex information-- either by using a table or graph to display data, or showing an image of something you’re explaining in text. For technical content, this can be an invaluable addition to your piece.
You’ll need to determine which image will be the ‘featured’ image of your post. This image will show up when your post is shared on social media, and will be the face of your post. Then, add an image every 300 - 400 words. You can create images yourself, pay for stock images, or use a free service like Pexel or Unsplash if you want to avoid royalties. Then, optimize your filenames and alt-text for SEO. For example, if you have an image that shows the user interface (UX) for your payroll software, you might save the image as [CompanyName]_[Product]_Payroll_UX.jpeg and label the alt-text “The payroll user interface for [Product]".
Once you’re done adding your images, you’re ready to publish your technical content!
In technical fields, your audience is often searching online for content that will provide them with technical knowledge they need in their jobs. By creating excellent technical content, you’re more likely to attract an audience of technical buyers to your website. Enlisting the help of technical experts you know can make it possible to create technical content without being an expert yourself. The structured interviewing and editing process detailed above, involving your marketing team and your technical experts, can assist you in producing high quality, high ranking technical content.