Most technology companies spend a lot of time, money and effort to create informative white papers, articles, case studies and blogs. After these documents are finally finished and carefully laid out, they usually get posted on the company’s website, but unfortunately, hardly anyone actually reads them!
If you are lucky, maybe they get downloaded a bunch of times, but who knows if they actually get read or if the reader decides to follow up with your company regarding technology, products or services? How can you cost-effectively tell the world that these resources are available? How can you leverage this work in order to develop qualified leads that actually turn into customers?
Your online whitepapers, blogs, articles, etc., HAVE TO BE PROMOTED and MARKETED!
You could promote these whitepapers and articles via your company’s newsletter. They might get read, but what is the point of sending out these articles to your existing customer base? If they have opted in for your newsletter, they are probably fully aware of your company and your offerings.
You want these whitepapers to help cultivate NEW business and NEW customers!
It can be very effective to pay another company to market these whitepapers for you. One option is paying them to send these whitepapers or a summary of these whitepapers directly to a mailing list of potential new customers. However, that can quite expensive, and there is no guarantee that it will actually work. Many mailing lists are out of date or are not properly targeted to your potential customers. Plus, there is always the danger of the email recipient simply saying, “Oh another marketing email from XYG company.” DELETE.
Another option is to use SEO and other web marketing and search optimization techniques to drive web searches to your pages. However, that can also be expensive.
But there is one more option: Use the power of the media.
In other words, you can leverage the editorial community to effectively market your whitepapers and articles for you. If your customers see a continuing parade of your whitepapers and articles appearing in the various technology magazines and publications that they read on a regular basis, not only are you getting your name in front of them, you are also building up your credibility — validated and verified by independent, third-party industry experts.
When you get a message in your inbox pushing a company’s whitepaper, you have no idea of the veracity of the information. The companies that promote white apers via email and SEO don’t care if your information is accurate or even factual. They are paid to disperse it. They are happy to get your money.
However, when a respected industry publication decides to publish your whitepaper and promote your words, your ideas and technologies on its home page, on its website, and in its newsletters, it is delivered with the power and the respect of a validating expert third-party.
That can be important – the difference between someone automatically hitting the delete button on their incoming email and actually opening up the article, reading it and maybe even sharing it.
So what is the process? How do you get your words and ideas into a magazine or publication?
The first step is to create valuable content that is of importance to the reader. Many whitepapers, blogs and articles are only interesting to the company’s insiders. Existing customers might be interested. Or maybe not.
You need a topic or subject that that is interesting and engaging for your potential customers and that actually helps solve a real world issue — or is even a bit controversial. And if you can hit all three points, you might have a great whitepaper – an article subject that is of value to the tech community’s leading publications.
The second step is in the writing. Keep it short and to the point. 1,500 words — maybe 2,000 max. You don’t need to cover every detail and tangent that applies to your product or service or solution.
What is the top question asked by potential customers when they sit down in front of your salespeople? Aside from how much does it cost, it's usually something like, “How does your technology solve my company’s problem? How does your technology enable my company to make more money, move more products, expand our margins and market share?”
You need to keep it inviting and easy to read. Remember, the ultimate goal here is to entice new customers and develop leads for your sales team to follow up on. You are not targeting your competitors — You are not creating a technical presentation for a conference. If you cannot explain that in less than 1500 words, you might have a problem.
The third step is pitching your whitepaper or article to the editors and publications. My preferred option is to first post it to your website, with a good landing page that includes the whitepaper, as well as relevant product details and links, as well as links to the related technical documents. To get the editors’ attention, you need to contact them via a personal pitch to them or even a press release that announces the availability of the whitepaper and invites them to share it with their readers.
When the editors receive your pitch or press release, depending on well written is and how appropriate the whitepaper is for their audience, they will do one of six things:
- Ignore it. OK, that happens. You cannot always hit 1,000.
- They may publish the press release with links to your website, landing page and white paper. This is pretty good.
- They may create and publish a summary of your white paper — with links to your website, landing page and white paper. This is a bit better as it implies recognition of your whitepaper’s quality and credence.
- Even better, they may publish the entire whitepaper as is — with links to with links to your website, landing page and whitepaper. Yes, this is great. In addition to directly cultivating leads, you are building your company’s thought leadership within your industry sector!
- They really like your whitepaper concept and ideas, but they want an original version for their site — often tailored a bit to their readers and publishing parameters. This is great! But, it requires more work and maybe more money to pay your writers.
- Here is the home run: Not only does the editor really like your whitepaper’s concepts and ideas, but now they want to do their own column or article about how YOUR technology solves a common industry challenge! Woo wee. This is really what you want — having a respected third-party, independent publication choose to promote your company and its products. That is the ultimate reward that will get a lot of attention from your potential and existing customers.
After your article is published, what then?
Of course, after your article appears in these trade mags, you need to leverage it. Use your social media to boast about it and share the links with all your connections and followers. Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and LinkedIn groups, even Facebook if appropriate. Make sure your website acknowledges and highlights this press success. Provide this info and maybe copies to use as sales collateral to your marketing teams.
Content creation works — if the content is properly conceived, written and most importantly, properly distributed and promoted. There is no point to spending thousands of dollars and days, weeks or even months developing and writing whitepapers, article and blogs that just sit on your website and nobody reads.
Use the power of the media to successfully expand your market and reach out to new customers.