Talk Technical to Me
Brand awareness is typically measured using a variety of metrics. Surveys tend to be useful, with logo recognition and brand recognition helping build out that data. Other metrics that can flesh out the picture of brand awareness include share of voice and net promoter score. For companies marketing to developers, technical content influences brand awareness, perception, and trust.
Metrics That Matter
Share of voice is historically defined in terms of advertising and PR, but it is now applied to marketing. From a PR standpoint, it is a measure defined as the number of conversations being had about your brand, divided by the total number of conversations about your topic, industry, or niche. It can be used in the digital advertising market as a revenue model. There, it refers to the percent of ad exposure your brand receives in that ad stock. For our purposes, the PR definition also applies to content marketing.
The share of voice (SOV) that your brand has is a reflection of your marketing efforts, including content marketing campaigns and the ad or promotion campaigns that you launch to bring your audience to that content. It also indicates audience engagement with your brand and your content. Within share of voice, sentiment — the attitude toward your brand and content — is very useful. And, finally, the net promoter score, which is a measure of your brand health and can reflect sentiment, is also dependent on the awareness of your brand.
Move the Needle with Technical Content Marketing
Paid advertising for your brand is certainly necessary. But for your brand to influence the conversation in a meaningful way with your technical audience, it has to be present in some deeply technical conversations. There are several voices that need to advocate for your brand, and they need to show up in distinct types of content assets.
Look Who’s Talking Now
Guess what? Developers are a pretty skeptical bunch. So, they definitely look at who is delivering the message. And, if it’s the right who and the right what, they’ll start talking about it on developer-to-developer (D2D) communities. You’ll find it on D2D community forums, on Hacker News, on Reddit.
A deeply technical piece about your product by your technical product development team member has huge value to help someone interested enough to learn about your product. However, to really engage in these D2D conversations, your content has to be included in conversations that are several steps before product comparison and decision. Curious about conversation types you can influence? Here are a few.
Raise the issue. Thought leadership campaigns that elevate the Slack conversations about challenges faced at the developer, devops, or IT professional level into a public conversation written by practitioners (peers who are experts, like your audience) give your brand authenticity. Here’s the catch: you can brand the conversation by starting it on your blog or with your white paper, but it is a lot more persuasive if the practitioner sits outside your organization. Your brand looks brilliant because of the technical depth and authenticity of the writer.
Characterize the solution. Here is your chance to stack the deck, but gently, via an education content marketing campaign. This content should include a mix of in-house (read, evangelist) and external (practitioner) authors who can reveal your brand’s position and approach on solving the problem. It is important that your brand takes a position. It should be well-reasoned, but it should be clear that your brand advocates for a particular approach as being “best.” This sets up your audience to be receptive to…
Drive to decision. A judicious mix of practitioner-written product comparisons, public documentation, tutorials with your own company’s product information, and insight into how to best use the product helps the audience follow you all the way to the conclusion you desire: your brand’s solution is the best one.
How Will I Know?
What you measure, you will focus on. By focusing on metrics that reflect brand awareness, perception, and health, you will be more able to influence those metrics. It will take time, however. The 6 month rule still applies.
For The Road
Brand awareness requires a sustained effort of promotion and content to contribute to the conversation your audience cares about. By using a mixture of technical content written by practitioners outside your organization, your brand gets pulled into conversations that your technical audience wants to have. It allows your brand to take technical positions that are supported by developers outside your organization, which builds a chorus of conversations featuring your content (and brand).