You may have missed our workshop at Evans Data Corporation’s 14th Annual Developer Relations Conference in Palo Alto, CA. Whether you missed it or made it, we thought we’d break down our Practitioner Content Marketing Playbook for you here. Feel free at any point to request your full copy of the playbook which includes helpful exercises that you can use to launch your practitioner marketing strategy.
Last time, we covered practitioner marketing metrics. Now, we can talk about how you use the conversations you uncovered with your share of voice/share of conversation calculation so you can develop your practitioner marketing curation strategy.
What is practitioner content marketing?
Practitioner content marketing is an approach to building thought leadership by publishing content about important technical issues or problems in your market space, and the content is written by practitioners from outside your company. This content can be hosted on your company blog, an asset delivered via a developer-to-developer community, or even posted on Quora or Medium. The key elements of practitioner content are that it is:
- Written by an expert (hint: if your customers are developers, it may include code)
- Attributed (the value of the practitioner is that they aren’t from your company)
- Not a product pitch (thought leadership speaks to the customer about their world, not your company)
Why use practitioner content marketing?
With skeptical technical audiences, practitioner content is more persuasive than the material produced by your company. Unless you are speaking to existing customers about the specific details of your product, your company has zero credibility about the issues your prospective customers face. But practitioners are JUST LIKE your customers. So when they speak, people listen. And if your company is smart enough to host their content, those skeptical prospects just might start to believe that you have something to offer them.
Developing your curation strategy
Remember, you begin with metrics! We recommend using share of conversation (SoC), which is a subset of share of voice (SoV). The percentage of conversations your company appears in or your company’s content appears in is your share of conversation. This reveals your position, your competitors, and cascades into your curation strategy.
Content curation begins with identifying a conversation, which feeds into choosing topics. This cascades into your topic strategy by analyzing what the current conversation is, then deciding the next logical contribution your company should make to further and lead the conversation. It’s not a product pitch—It’s about identifying the topics that reflect or speak to the problems and challenges that your customers face.
Hint #1. Topics are concepts, not keywords.
Yep, it’s tempting to just make this an SEO exercise. Resist. This is actually a time to read the content that is out there and make thoughtful decisions about concepts your company wants to promote. Don’t worry about the search term at this point. That comes later. Worry about the ideas you want to be associated with, the leadership position you want to take, the influence you want to exert. This is about shaping the conversation by engaging in it, not throwing out keyword salad.
Hint #2. Don’t attack, explore.
Building on our last example from our “Topic Facets” blog series, let’s talk about log analytics. Our SoC/SoV calculation revealed that for February 2018, Logz.io was a surprise conversation-stealer due to the launch of their open source project. Normally, they don’t hold such a large share of this conversation. If you wanted to respond to this, and you have a product to sell, now is the time to start exploring topics that relate to the strengths and weaknesses of open source software for log analytics. A direct attack won’t get you anywhere. However, a blog written by a practitioner about pros and cons will get read and shared, provided every assertion is supported by examples.
Hint #3. Find your topic, find your practitioner
When you have a solid topic strategy, however high-level, you now know more than what. You can zero in on who. Who are the experts who can write with authority about these topics? This will lead you to your first step in content production.