Why Hire an Outsider to Cure Your Content Conundrum?

You are experts in your own technology space. You know your customers. You are deeply involved in how your solutions are designed and delivered.

Why bring in an outsider like me to help you with marketing content?

You have a Content Conundrum.

Even if you have resources who constantly deliver marketing assets, somehow the complete set of content is never where you need it to be. Prospective customers are not using it to find your firm, nor inform themselves during the consideration process as much as you expect. Your closest competitors are not imitating your stuff, and why should they?

It’s not that your people aren’t trying. Or that they lack the discipline to produce everything that is needed. You can clear up your schedules to woodshed on a new piece or concept, yet it seems there are always one-too-many things going on to create a way out of this problem.

I’ve diagnosed Content Conundrum (CC) in spades at so many companies. Even the ones with good marketing and communication agencies on board can accumulate CC over time. Fresh, targeted content is never easy to come by.
Some CC symptoms you might experience include:

  1. Familiarity content disjunction. There is no shortage of expertise and tribal knowledge within your organization, just take a walk down the halls and listen in on team meetings and sales demo calls. Experts are spouting great content into the air every day, but it is not being recognized, leveraged and reused where audiences are looking for it.
  2. Customer perspective-itis. Even if your overall customer experience is excellent, you may have a very difficult time translating customer experiences into stories that can play without a reference call. Representatives of your company may be responsible for customer support as well as official business such as renewals and deal expansion, which can also create some conflict of interest when it comes to getting a good story.
  3. I’ll-know-what-I-don’t-like-when-I-see-it syndrome. It is hard to unpack all your company’s existing messages and hone in on a topic differently when everyone has become so intimately invested in it. In this situation, nobody’s a writer but everyone’s a critic. It may seem safer to stand pat with minor edits to existing content, rather than suffer the slings and arrows of disapproval by creating something.
  4. Acute industry niche. You have a high concentration of customers and practice expertise in a specific set of industries or business functions, i.e. your “wheelhouse.” How does that experience translate into content that supports the next industry or process you want to grow into? You need to be speaking to a new set of problems and goals. Staying generic or simply changing some terminology within your existing content in a Mad-Libs® kind of way is not going to attract that next customer profile to take a closer look.
  5. Meta-Frequency Misalignment. The main digital marketing reasons for publishing quality content at a higher frequency are to capture more qualified traffic and increase user engagement on your site (thus leading to more conversions/sales). You know that there is no shortcut to posting valuable content worth sharing anymore -- just spamming a bunch of keywords or overloading existing content with more linked target terms is not going to move the needle. Content needs to be produced with the queries it answers for specific audiences in mind.
Those are a few reasons why you might want to talk to me -- or someone like me -- who can be dedicated to curing your content conundrum when it flares up, then getting out of the way when it subsides.

Realize, I can’t claim to be miraculously immune to CC myself. I meant to write this particular blog when I re-started my blueFug Technology Marketing consultancy a year ago! Much easier to dive into client work than promote my own.

I’ve certainly experienced the fatigue of CC when I was managing marketing inside complex enterprise software companies, as well as seat-of-your-pants startups. When you own a role, you have so many competing responsibilities besides keeping the content fire fed. Going back to the drawing board to craft a new story or a compelling visual will not guarantee instantaneous results or revenue, so it often gets deferred behind more clearly achievable tasks until it becomes a bigger problem. That’s only natural.

At times I augmented my defense by leveraging my own extended network of influencers and outside creative resources in the same way to combat CC. Even if it gave me an additional option to not take, or use as a fringe piece of content later, at least I had the option. I prescribe you try the same with resources you can trust for a fresh perspective on content.

Want your content marketing engine to drive interest for customers and influencers, the same way your innovation engine excites your own geeks? Expand your carburetor by 480 CCs and contact blueFug Technology Marketing in the morning.

Go Frack Yourself for Content

I may have a right to call myself a storyteller in business terms. I've written a mountain of blogs, white papers, brochures and ads, as well as producing them in some online, interactive, video or print form. That seldom means a one-man effort.

I've encountered a lot of peers in my time who are brilliant developers, wickedly effective field engineers, or very creative designers, but for some reason they don't seem to think they are able to write or create useful content. Maybe they don't think they are good writers -- or maybe they don't think they have the time -- but get them in front of customers or a team of peers and they sound quite passionate and articulate.

Realize that every time we talk to a customer to offer a solution, or talk to a peer to solve a problem, we're all actually generating great content that could be "fracked" and captured.

If you know me, you know I'm not a huge fan of actual fracking, or the environmental impacts resulting from pumping chemicals into the earth (seen the Gasland documentaries anyone?). But I do think the metaphor applies quite nicely for getting story angles from subject matter experts who are reluctant to make material we can publish and use for content marketing purposes.

Finding time to go into your cave, perhaps sniff a brandy and write a well-worded piece, while managing customers/projects/budgets at the same time seems impossible. To resolve this, an expert might try passing on the task to a writer, but that won't solve the ongoing content crisis if the writer is left to their own devices to figure out what your real conversations are like.

I'm constantly trying to get experts to self-contribute something to the process. More often than not, I have to corner them and "frack" that wisdom out of them. Don't worry, it's not as painful as it sounds. In fact, we're just having the same real-world conversation you would have in a client visit or project meeting. If a writer like me is forced to do this on his own, it may take a while before the content meets your need if there's no spirit of collaboration going on.

Content fracking is not a big-bang one-time event. Like software development, it is far more agile and likely to be effective if you do it on an iterative, ongoing basis. The temptation to say everything perfectly, and cover a 360-degree view of your business is the primary reason why companies fail to publish interesting messages on a regular basis. It's far more plausible and interesting if your messages tell a smaller piece of a bitter story that evolves over time.

So even if you're not a content-oriented professional accustomed to writing, let me encourage you to at least capture your thoughts and conversations. For instance, try keeping a running log of any conversation topics of the day, and categorize them later. Or carry a voice recorder around and articulate what you are working on, or post-mortem the task you just finished. Even if the stories you frack out of yourself aren't ready for prime time and require plenty of wordsmithing down the road, they're a perfect start.