Content marketing is all the rage, but implementing it can be intimidating for developers, or indeed anyone whose job title does not include the word “marketing.” So when we ran into a content marketing expert at the recent GEN News Summit in Paris, I took the opportunity to ask for his top tips on using content.
Shafqat Islam, himself a former software engineer, is the CEO of NewsCred, a startup that licences content from publications like Forbes and Popular Science to brands who need it. (Disclosure: VentureBeat is a NewsCred partner: The company redistributes some of our content to its customers, and in return pays us a licensing fee.)
“We are a tech company using content marketing to sell our products,” Islam says. Here are Islam’s top tips for techies on how to do content marketing well.
1) Be useful: Don’t make your content all about the product. Provide content which is generally useful. For example, if your product targets developers, Islam contends that “A good test is, would that piece get voted up on Hacker News? If you are worried that people will think it is marketing, it probably is marketing.”
2) Check your velocity: Provide content, either licensed or original, at a certain velocity. On social media channels this means 5-10 pieces of interesting content a day. “We use the rule of thirds: One third should be your original content, which could be deeper in the purchase funnel and be about your product, one third is generally useful content not about your product, and then the other third is opinion, some controversial stuff which will raise eyebrows.”
3) Share on Slideshare: “One of our best distribution channels is Slideshare, which you would never guess.” NewsCred recently posted a set of slides on 50 Content Marketing stats, which racked up 50,000 views in less than a week. “We used our network to amplify it using LinkedIn. Then certain people in our industry started sharing it on their sites.”
4) Lean on LinkedIn: Islam is a big fan of LinkedIn, especially for B2B businesses. “Don’t waste time with Facebook unless it’s a very consumer-facing app. LinkedIn has become a content site.You can push out whole posts to your company’s followers, you can put content in paid distribution through LinkedIn. Pretty soon they will launch a way to do sponsored posts targeting people who don’t follow your company. The company page is the hub, we also post in groups, we do content-based ad units, and soon we will do sponsored posts.”
5) Embrace Email: Email is still the biggest social network in the world. “People overlook email. It’s the best distribution channel in the world, but you are interrupting someone’s day so you should only forward something really funny or really useful or really interesting. Ask yourself ‘Is this something I would forward to my friend?’ You have to earn the right to send an email.”
VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools.
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