How to Ensure the Success of Your Technical Content Efforts
Updated: Jan 31
Technical content is becoming increasingly important in the digital age. According to a recent study, 57% of Developer Relations professionals say content marketing is the most effective tactic to engage developers (State of DevRel report 2022).
As businesses strive to stay ahead of the competition and remain relevant in the ever-evolving digital world, the need for effective technical content strategies is becoming increasingly important. But how do you know if the content that you are creating is reaching our target audience?
This was the topic of a recent presentation led by Clayton Kast, Account Director of Draft.dev, at the DevRelX Summit.
In this blog post, we'll discuss key takeaways from this presentation and immediate steps you can take to ensure the success of your technical content efforts. From understanding your audience to creating high-quality content, these steps will help you get the most out of your technical content and ensure you reach the right people with the right message.
Define why technical content should be a part of your marketing strategy
Most companies underestimate the resources and time required for quality content creation. Don't create content for the sake of doing so. Understand what you hope to achieve with technical content marketing. Content creation is much more than simply 'getting lucky.' It requires discipline and follow-through to ensure that you are consistently creating quality content that is tailored to your target audience and meets their needs. It is important to have a well-thought-out content strategy in place that outlines the goals, objectives, and processes needed to ensure that content is created, distributed, and promoted in an effective manner.
Creating technical content goals
Your technical content needs to have a unified goal with the aim of achieving one result. Content marketing is a compounding effort, so if all of your blogs are targeting different goals, you will never see the results you are hoping for. Taking a scatter-gun approach by throwing ideas at the wall until one is successful isn't sustainable. This isn’t to say you can’t produce a lot of content for multiple goals, but for most organizations, this isn't feasible due to budgetary and bandwidth constraints.
There are three common goals that you should consider before launching your technical content strategy:
Building brand awareness of your company, products, or services.
Engaging customers and forging an emotional connection between them and your brand.
Enabling sales and driving revenue.
Goals depend heavily on the stage of your business. If you are in the early stages, you will likely focus on raising awareness of your product and letting people know it exists. On the other hand, if your business is already established, you may focus on competing with other businesses and creating comparison pieces and roundups. It's best to select one of these three goals and then identify the specific objectives under it. Always ensure that the goals of your technical content efforts align with what your leadership is currently interested in.
After you've set your goals, make a plan to measure your progress and define your return on investment. It is necessary to measure the success of your content to continuously improve and refine your content strategy.
Identify Your Success Metrics
Now that you’ve chosen a high-level goal, how are you going to measure that success? What key performance indicators will you be tracking to measure the success of your content? Customer signups, inbound leads, account renewals, Net Promoter Scores? Here are some examples of metrics applied to the high-level goals that we covered:
Building brand awareness: Monthly pageviews on the company blog
Engaging customers: New customer free trial signups
Enabling sales: New sales deals
Your success metrics are the key to showing the return on investment of your technical content efforts and ultimately communicating to leadership that the time you invested was worth it.
Use SMART Goals to Measure Success
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely objectives used to define and guide your progress toward a desired outcome. Applying the SMART goal framework will guide your content strategy to success.
Specific: Clearly stated, unmistakable, and well-defined
Measurable: With precise criteria that track your progress toward achieving the objective
Achievable: Attainable and not insurmountable
Realistic: Within reach, practical, and pertinent to your life's work
Timely: Having a timeline that is precisely specified, containing a start date and an end date.
Tracking and Iterating
Tracking the performance of your content strategy is essential because it allows you to measure the effectiveness of their marketing activities. By tracking performance, you can identify areas where content is not performing as well as expected and make changes to improve effectiveness. With performance tracking, you can ensure that your content is reaching your desired audience, as well as measure the return on investment for each campaign.
Never rely on circumstantial evidence when presenting content performance to your leadership team. 1-to-1 attribution between your content and key performance indicators. 1-to-1 attribution is a method of marketing attribution that assigns a single conversion to a specific touchpoint in the customer journey. Essentially, this means that every conversion is attributed to a single source of content in the customer’s path to conversion. This gives you an in-depth understanding of which content is driving conversions, allowing you to make educated decisions on your marketing strategy and allocate budgets accordingly.
To ensure that you’re properly tracking the data metrics and making the most of your content, you need to utilize the myriad of analytics, content, and conversion applications available. There are plenty of free or inexpensive applications we recommend you start using today.
Google Analytics (Free)
Google Analytics is a web analytics tool used to measure website traffic, user behaviour, and the effectiveness of your content. With it, you can gain valuable insights and optimize your content for better performance.
Google Search Console (Free)
Google Search Console enables you to monitor your website's presence in Google search results. It also provides detailed insights into organic traffic, which can help you to understand the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts.
Sumo is used to capture email addresses from website visitors, enabling you to convert readers of your content into customers.
You can use the Salesforce CRM to store and manage your leads and customers once they engage with your content.
Buffer is an all-in-one social media management tool that helps you save time and gain better results by effectively scheduling, tracking, and analyzing your content across multiple social networks.
Advanced Level Tools
Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO and marketing tool that will help you drive targeted traffic to your content and provide valuable insights to help you optimize your content strategy.
SEM Rush ($120/month)
SEM Rush is an extensive digital marketing tool that will help you identify keywords, analyze competitors, optimize content, build links, and track content performance to increase visibility in search engine results.
Hotjar is a powerful analytics tool that collects data on content performance and user behaviour and provides extensive feedback tools to gain data-driven insights and optimize your content.
Content creation is an ongoing process; therefore, it is important to regularly optimize your content and adjust your strategy to keep up with the latest developments in your space. Monitor your existing content pieces to ensure they remain relevant and up-to-date while removing any irrelevant articles. Consider new topics that apply to your content strategy and are relevant to your target audience. Additionally, you can re-promote past content to reach new audiences, particularly after updating articles with the new subject matter. Repeat this process monthly or quarterly, depending on your content volume. These steps will help keep your content strategy running smoothly and ensure that all current and new articles are engaging and effective.
Build a Promotional Strategy
“It’s smarter to find another 10,000 people to consume what you’ve already created as opposed to creating more.”
- Derek Halpern (@derekhalpern) Unmissable Articles Irregularly
Unfortunately, promoting content often gets lost in the mix because so much effort has gone into creating it. By the time you publish an article, you may be tempted to get it out there as quickly as possible and hope for the best. But you can’t bank on getting lucky or going viral. Having a promotion plan is invaluable to reaching content strategy goals. According to Derek Halpern of Unmissable Articles Irregularly, you should spend 80% of your time and efforts on promotion, while the other 20% should be spent creating it. This might sound excessive, but we have noticed a direct correlation between how much traffic a blog post gets and how well we promote it.
This is the list of marketing channels we recommend to all our clients at Draft.dev to promote their content:
Medium and other 3rd party sites for syndication
Twitter and Linkedin from the company and individual accounts
Internal backlinks: Link to 3-4 of your previous articles to create internal backlinks.
Record video summary
Pitch your content to industry newsletters
Technical content efforts require careful consideration and planning to ensure success. Utilizing the latest marketing strategies, such as leveraging data, creating targeted content, and engaging with your audience, can help you get the most out of your technical content and ensure you reach your goals.
With a combination of the right strategy and a good understanding of your target audience, you can ensure the success of your technical content efforts and maximize the value of your efforts.