Content marketing may be king, but it sure doesn’t feel good to be the king, particularly when you are asked to justify the performance of your blog. Any marketing team can struggle with keeping their blog traffic high and the market-qualified leads flowing, but it is an inestimable challenge when that blog is for the modern developer.
Perhaps the most daunting part of creating a relevant, compelling blog that satisfies the modern developer or modern IT audience is that it must be technical. On the surface, this seems easy to solve—after all, you are responsible for marketing a technical product created by a technical team. Time to get them to churn out a few posts, right?
The reality is that the product team’s time is pretty fully taken up with creating product specifications and, well, the product. Most of their communication is geared for an internal, product-knowledgeable audience, not the great unwashed masses. And their time is understandably spoken for. If you rely on them for content, you might find yourself struggling to keep your blog timely and relevant to an audience that includes prospects as well as customers.
The other challenge is building an audience and satisfying it. The cornerstone of audience building is providing content that satisfies either a need or an itch. For developers, the content should be technical, it should be timely, and it should generate discussion—content commonly classified as technical thought leadership.
However, provide that content too infrequently, and your audience will forget about you. How often do you need to publish a blog post to whet your audience’s appetite for more? Twice a week.
You heard me.
And that, my friends, brings us to the third challenge: hitting that frequency that you know will get you the attention your company deserves from the right audience.
Having a regular blog rhythm builds anticipation and expectation for your audience. Miss a week, and they forget about you. If you are marketing to developers, just having product pitches or support articles isn’t enough. Include thought leadership and tactical pieces that speak to the problems your audience has, but don’t mention your product. This lets you speak to an audience that consists of prospects, not just existing customers.
Why twice a week?
Once a week still gets you forgotten. For an audience of prospects, not just customers, you need to get their attention more frequently.
Why not a product pitch?
Serving up content that has a wider appeal than a pure product sell makes your blog something of an industry resource, rather than just another long-form advertisement. It is more likely to get shared and gain traffic because it delivers value.
Who should write these magical blog posts?
Practitioners outside of your company; they are closer to your customer and have more credibility.
What kind of content?
Thought leadership surfaces problems. Education pieces describe what a solution might look like. Both should be deeply technical, written by a subject matter expert for someone who needs to consume real technical expertise. Encourage practitioners to take a technical position. Even an opinion that is controversial is worth airing, if it is supported and gets people involved in a constructive conversation.
What should I measure?
Measure organic growth in traffic, referrals, and share of conversation. All should grow, albeit gradually. Expect to see increases quarterly. If you don’t, consider changing the topics you are featuring or your promotion strategy. Remember, while you want to increase earned traffic, you may have to seed that with paid traffic.
That’s a Wrap
Blog frequency can seem too tactical, but when you commit to something that is so easy to measure, it drives other good behaviors. To hit this frequency, you need a content strategy that includes identifying the target audience, topics, authors, and deadlines. It requires people and process management. It is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART). Make this the year you commit to blog frequency and end up with an audience that is just as committed.