In my last rant, I explained that a technical blog’s primary motive should not be leads, visits, or clicks. While these are a natural side effect of a good blog, they shouldn’t be the goal. Many people maintain their blog simply as a new type of ad, expecting clicks on their nearest call-to-action to be the measure of its success. But per my latest post, your blog should be a destination. This means, in addition, that the blog content should not be constructed like an ad.
A healthy technical blog will have varying types of content. Here is the most successful mix of blog content that we observe for technical vendors’ blogs:
- 70% external practitioner content
- 10% internal practitioner content
- 10% business-level insights
- 7% product announcements
- 3% company announcements
All of this content should be genuine and honest. It should also always lead to the same realization, which is that the vendor product discussed is a good fit for the solution space being addressed.
The practitioner content you produce should do the following:
- Talk about categories of functionality unique to your product
- Talk about categories of functionality that your product excels at
- Talk about integrations and technologies that complement and favor yours
- Highlight the content written by practitioners that share your views of the process and use case
- Describe and solve problems that are familiar to the target persona.
When producing business-level content, remember these guidelines:
- Don’t speak over the heads of the technical persona.
- Don’t be speculative or rely on trending terms.
- Do talk about how industry insights relate to the bottom line.
- Do talk about how industry insights relate to the target persona’s career.
- Do talk about how industry insights relate to the growth of your company and product.
Closer to home: product and company announcements
Product and company announcements are still important in technical blogs, even if the target audience will almost always say they don’t like it. However, it holds more interest for those who are regular visitors or customers and are already familiar with you. They love hearing about product updates, and sometimes even company news. So while this content is promotional, there are things you can do to keep it inline with the principles of a healthy technical blog.
- Always tie company announcements to business-level insights, or better yet, technical use cases. A great example in the Silicon Valley is fundraising announcements. Fundraising that is not tied to what you are going to do to improve your product, or how you interact with your customers, provides little value.
- Create detailed and technical product announcements. Explain why you did it, what problem it solves for the customer, and how you launched it. Techies like the details, and the backstory makes them feel like a part of the inner circle.
- Tie product announcements to use cases.
- Often, vendors will have events they are either attending or holding. The blog is a place to showcase these events, but talk about the value of the event, and ideally give blog readers something unique like a special discount, or tchotchke.
A healthy technical blog will be a destination, not an ad with a high bounce rate and no personality. The right mix of content is important to achieve destination status. The beauty of this strategy is that with the body of that content, you can lead the witness without sacrificing the content’s integrity or value to your audience.