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 curation. Now, we can talk about how you use the curation strategy to drive your production workflow.
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 to them.
Developing your production workflow
You began 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.
You defined your content curation strategy by identifying a conversation, which fed into topics. This cascaded into your topic strategy. Now you have a production workflow to lay out that has been defined by your curation strategy. This is actually somewhat involved, so at this point we will stay focused on the basic aspects.
1. Find the practitioner
You have a curation strategy. You have a topic strategy. You have beautiful, conceptual topics, not titles or keywords. Use the curation data to help you recruit your practitioner. The topics themselves define a specific expertise. Start there. Perhaps some of the sources of your SoC calculation point to a practitioner persona. Create that persona, and start looking where they dwell. Often, a job title or description will be enough to search social media, including LinkedIn and Twitter. You see someone with a background you like? Ask them to write for you. With the right research, you should also know what will feel like a reward to them besides money.
2. Onboard your practitioners
Creating content is more than finding someone with the interest and expertise to write. It means having a process that begins with communicating assignments and ends with producing quality content. This means everyone needs to operate within a known workflow. We have spent a lot of time figuring out practitioner onboarding to manage our practitioner network.
At a high level, it means defining steps and tools for the following:
- Content assignment
- Content peer review
- Content editing
- Content delivery
3. Enforce your process
We’ll go into more detail next week, but at the end of the day, adoption is more important than any theoretical workflow. This requires committing to the process. This means incentivizing commitment for everyone who touches the content.
The first step to content production is practitioner recruiting. With the right topics selected, you are halfway there. Once you have practitioners, your process is everything, as long as you have adoption. Onboarding is critical. Enforcement is key. But this is half the story. Once you have identified your practitioners, you will want to engage and manage them effectively. When you download the Practitioner Marketing Playbook, you can read about this process in more detail and complete some exercises to get started.