Content Marketing Topic Curation & Content Creation: Keys to a Compelling Blog
When it comes to marketing to the tech world, maintaining a compelling blog is key. You need to attract techies to your blog and keep them engaged – and to do that, you need to be good at two things: topic curation and content creation.
Many people assume that these go hand-in-hand, but that’s not necessarily the case. Having great content doesn’t mean that you’ve hit on great topics, and vice versa. Although topic curation and content creation are related, they are not synonymous, nor are they interdependent. Ideally, they should inform and inspire one another in a continuous cycle of creation. As in the proverbial chicken-and-egg dilemma, it should be difficult to determine which came first.
By leveraging this creative cycle through a well-planned content strategy, you can amplify your Share of Voice and increase your Share of Conversation in the extremely competitive tech marketplace. You can also improve your developer relations in the process.
The Importance of Topic Curation
According to HubSpot, businesses that blog have an average of 55% more visitors and 434% more indexed pages, among other promising statistics. In other words, if you’re a tech vendor, you need a tech blog. You’ll also need to give techies (and their employers) a good reason to visit. Actually, given the seemingly endless number of voices constantly vying for their attention, you’ll need several good reasons. Those good reasons include good topics – and those topics need to be well curated.
Topic curation involves not only the selection of topics, but also the presentation of those topics to your target audience. Curating topics for a blog is actually a lot like curating art for an exhibition. For example, imagine that you’re vacationing in Italy and you decide to visit an art museum. You wouldn’t expect to walk into one giant room with a pile of random paintings. Instead, you’ll probably see a map of different rooms with different themes. Inside each room, a curator will have carefully selected artwork and arranged it so that it tells a particular story. Each piece has a purpose, and you might even find that key pieces are on loan from other museums. Next to each item, the curator will have placed a placard that provides the context you need to understand why the piece is important and how it fits into the bigger picture. From that, you might decide to examine the art up close, or you might move to the next piece.
Similarly, you not only need to choose great topics for your tech blog, you also have to curate them thoughtfully. That includes organizing and displaying them so visitors can see what you have to offer at a glance. It also involves (subtly) linking them to your organization’s mission to show visitors how you contribute to cutting-edge technology.
The Role of Content Creation
Of course, you can have the most masterfully-curated topics, but that won’t matter if your content doesn’t fulfill their promise. If you attract tons of visitors only to disappoint them with poor-quality content, you’ll actually do more harm than good. That’s especially true if you’re trying to market to the tech industry. DevOps engineers are looking for accurate, high-quality technical content that provides practical value. Even developer relations liaisons and advocates (DevRel) want to see use cases rather than sales pitches. So, get to know your audience, and create the kind of content they need.
For the tech market, quality content means detailed tutorials, expert insights, and advanced explanations. It’s the kind of content that can really only be created by practitioners – preferably practitioners who are influential. If you don’t happen to know several skilled developers who also have the ability and desire to write, you can partner with a practitioner content marketing agency like Fixate IO.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, content creation involves more than just writing blog posts – or at least it should. The process might begin with a good topic, but you need to make sure that your posts serve a purpose. For example, a cybersecurity platform vendor might commission content that explains zero-day exploits and teaches how to mitigate them. Once you’ve defined the premise and proper audience for the post, you might want to create an outline. Then, it’s on to the main event – the writing. After that’s finished, you’ll want to get feedback from experts. Finally, you’ll need to ensure that it’s well written. At Fixate, our content creation process includes the initial conception and writing as well as two peer review stages. Then, a tech editor reviews the piece and passes it to a copy editor, who polishes it for publication after the author has incorporated the reviewers’ suggestions.
Where Do Good Topics Come From?
Again, you can have the most amazing content, but if it’s not written about equally exciting topics, you won’t get the maximum value out of it. So how do you know what to write about?
Undoubtedly, your marketing team will be able to come up with some great ideas. They can do some research to find out what’s trending and choose the topics that are relevant to your organization. They can also use SEO techniques to find topics and ensure that your target audience gets directed to your site. Depending on your setup, they might be able to tap developer relations experts for their thoughts. You can be sure they’ll find great things to write about.
However, your marketing team has its limits (as does any developer relations team). As we’ve explained in another post, relying too heavily on SEO research can actually hurt your blog. In addition, your marketing team is probably made up of marketing specialists as opposed to DevOps engineers – and rightfully so. Marketers can help you keep up with cutting-edge trends, which is no small feat in the fast-paced tech industry. But if you want content and topics that actually blaze the trail, you need the help of influential practitioners.
Strategic Topic Curation and Planned Content Creation Can Make Your Reputation
To measure your success, you need to look beyond traditional performance indicators like the infamous clickthrough metric. Sure, clicks do indicate interest, and unique visitors can turn into paying customers. But just because someone clicked on your content doesn’t mean they actually read it. Likewise, unique visitors don’t necessarily hang around.
Instead, you should focus on tracking and increasing something we call your “Share of Conversation.” Share of Conversation (SoQSO) is a metric that includes keywords, SEO factors, earned media, and your Share of Voice. Your SoQSO gives you insights into what people are saying about you and how relevant you are to particular conversations. It helps you gauge your reputation and influence in the industry.
With the input of influential practitioners, you can plan a topic strategy specifically to increase your Share of Conversation. You can also apply a similar strategy to the rest of the topic curation process. For example, you can use strategic keywords in a post’s meta description, URL slug, and when contextualizing your topics. Of course, you can also come up with an SoQSO strategy for the content creation process. When our practitioners write with a strategy in mind, they often suggest related topics and find opportunities for complementary content. And so the cycle continues.
Feed Your Developer Relations
If you’re attracting developers with well-curated topics and keeping them engaged with quality content, you’re automatically improving your developer relations. After all, DevRel focuses on educating external developers about your products and the solutions you provide in order to recruit new users, provide customer support, and extend your influence. A tech blog is a great way to give back to the developer community and help practitioners fix important issues.
When your blog helps practitioners solve their problems, you’ll also reap the benefits. They’ll probably share your helpful content with their peers on social media and/or by word of mouth. They’ll also be more likely to recommend your products and discuss your organization in a positive light. Your blog may even inspire new ideas and new ways to use your products. As with content that’s written by external practitioners, these conversations will serve as third-party validation that makes for powerful marketing.
In other words, if you’ve got a tech blog, you’re doing DevRel – even if you don’t have a DevRel department. If you do have a DevRel team, your blog will help them foster mutually beneficial relationships with external developers.
According to a recent survey, the number one reason why people read blogs is to learn something new. They’re also looking to keep up with industry trends and be entertained. That’s exactly what your tech blog should do.
To stand out in a very noisy crowd, you need more than a good SEO strategy. You need superior content written on trailblazing topics. Depending on your niche, that might mean insightful explanations of new technologies, advanced discussions of emerging threats, or helpful (and dare we say fun) tutorials. Then, you need to curate that material carefully so your audience instantly knows what you have to offer.
Here at Fixate, our network of skilled practitioners create high-level technical content on a range of industry-leading topics. Our clients often request content on a specific topic to fill a particular need. In essence, it’s like commissioning the work of an artist to fill a gap in an exhibit. In turn, our practitioners often suggest topics that come to mind as they are creating that content. Or, they might come across an important topic and think it’s a good fit for a particular vendor. Meanwhile, they provide context for topic curation in their written content as well as in DevRel conversations. This forms a creative cycle that organizations can leverage to increase their Share of Conversation, improve their developer relations, and propel themselves to the forefront of the tech industry.
If you’d like to partner with the first practitioner-run content marketing agency, you can begin a conversation with Fixate here. You can also go straight to planning your content (and your strategy) using our content planning worksheet.