Content marketing – lifting the veil

Employing a content strategy to express your value proposition is now a trusted and proven methodology for many businesses, and particularly in the technology sector.

Nearly half of enterprise companies (41%) have a documented content marketing strategy, but this rises to almost two thirds (59%) among the top technology performers, according to IDG’s 2020 Technology Content Marketing Report.

Nearly half (46%) of those who have a content marketing strategy report it is mature or sophisticated, but this rises to nearly three quarters (72%) among the top technology performers.

With such widespread use of this strategy, one would be forgiven for thinking that people are exploiting all it has to offer. However, there is one area of content marketing that can be easily overlooked, or at the very least, underutilised.

This area is where a content strategy can deliver content on the internal workings of the company. Many content strategies will have some level of content that covers how the company does business, but often there is little detail about why.

For example, another piece of IDG research, the 2021 Data and Analytics Study, found that the vast majority (86%) of organisations have either deployed, or have on roadmaps, data-driven projects, which is up from 68% in 2016.

Furthermore, more than three quarters (78%) of IT decision-makers agree that the collection and analysis of data has the potential to fundamentally change the way their company does business over the next 1-3 years.

This trend has accelerated due to the macro business environment, with almost two thirds (61%) agreeing that the pandemic accelerated their organisation’s data-driven strategy.

This is, perhaps, not news as such, but it is striking evidence of a fundamental shift in how many organisations do business.

If your organisation has embarked on a data-driven approach to how it does business, that story is worth sharing. Explaining how studies were undertaken, data gathered, analysed and reported upon, new directions and procedures identified, and how that was incorporated into a new plan, will instil confidence with customers, partners and suppliers. It demonstrates an awareness of drivers and trends, as well as a flexibility and a willingness to evolve and adapt. These are all key traits in desirable business partners.

By revealing what you can of these efforts, and ongoing updates of insights gained, developments implemented and reviews undertaken, reflects as indicators of a healthy, forward looking and well organised company.

Obviously, any such exercise must be conducted without giving away competitive advantage, but at the same time, sharing what is relevant, illuminating and insightful will help cement perceptions of your organisation as one that is not only equipped to survive, but agile enough to thrive.

A data-driven approach is not the only such initiative that would be worthy of sharing via a mature and nuanced content marketing strategy. Diversity initiatives, social responsibility, sustainability efforts and innovation are all worthy topics too. All of these topics can combine to reinforce a positive perception of an organisation that is aware of its place in business and society, open to change, responsive to needs and still forward looking to understand the change horizon.

Of course, one can only create content around such wonderful initiatives if they exist in the first place. If your organisation is not diverse, open, transparent or welcoming, then it is hard to portray it as such. A content marketing strategy, like any strategic initiative, can often be a time for reflection on where your organisation is doing well, and where it can improve. Even this, the introspection and improvement cycle can be material from which compelling content can be made.

The main lesson is that products and services and customer support and interaction are not the only sources of the kind of content that can work for your organisation. Why you do what you do, they way you do, is also a fertile source of valuable content. Done well, it too can serve to craft and reinforce a positive perception of your organisation for customers, partners, suppliers, potential employees and others.