We work with many clients creating technical content strategies for marketing to developers. While every content marketing plan is different, there are some common threads. Today we’re sharing a few of our favorite tips to help kick-start content marketing strategies:

1. Understand your potential customers and current customers’ needs.

You can get a good start on this in only few hours’ time. How? The fastest way is to call a handful of each. Ask them what their biggest challenges are. Ask them what keeps them up at night. And ask them what kind of guidance would help their jobs be easier. Most of all, listen and take good notes. You’ll come away with plenty of content ideas. For example, one of our clients talked to some of his potential customers and learned that the problem he thought his company was solving was actually not why people cared about his product. Instead, potential clients found that it simply offered a shorter path to building a certain kind of software, and the “cloud” benefits were secondary.

2. Make sure you have a well of ideas to draw from.

When you have a list of possible topics, it’s much easier to both plan your content and actually write it. Not every piece of content has to be a manifesto, but each piece should be written with your target market in mind. Writing 30 or 40 possible article ideas also helps you make sure you have enough content ideas to actually fill your content plan.

3. Draft a content plan.

Don’t overcommit to start, but have a regular schedule identified. You will want to write each piece of content with your audience in mind, and each piece of content should provide at least one insight or actionable advice. Of course, even short blog posts can achieve that goal, so write (or record) consistently. For example, one client schedules 10 content releases a month. But for 8 of these, the client simply aims for “retweeted” or “curated” content, passing along something interesting that relates to their core expertise. Only 2 of the 10 pieces are blog posts written by engineers.

4. Package skillfully.

In other words, write headlines and social media blurbs that sell your content effectively. You don’t ever want to be deceptive with this, but you can certainly write headlines that pique interest and drive traffic. Need inspiration? Check out the headlines on your local newsstand or magazine stand. The principles that drive magazine headlines apply in today’s content marketing world. Imply a reader benefit; tease with numbers and promised results.