How often did you have to overcome the feeling that your writing isn’t good enough to persuade or make a sale? You’re giving your best shot. Still, you sometimes get the sense that you’re shooting blanks. We’re here to tell you that you’re not alone; we know that feeling.
If you’re writing for tech companies, the hardships are even greater. We know because we’re speaking from our experience.
Who Are We?
We’re a tech-geared content marketing agency, collaborating with tech start-ups for almost 5 years now. We’re pretty familiar with the challenge of writing and promoting content for tech brands, including for some with specific needs or from a small niche. Naturally, we’ve evolved and learned from our mistakes and plan to grow stronger and fine-tune our strategy.
Here’s where we failed with tech content writing, what we learned, and what we’re changing for the better this year.
We’re sort of passing some of our wisdom on to you and hope that you’ll find helpful pointers that’ll make you avoid the mistakes we made.
What Exactly is Technical Content Writing?
There’s probably no standard definition for technical content writing, but here’s how we see it: technical content writing is all about perfectly minding the gap between tech and marketing. You have to describe various aspects of the tech industry on a deeper level while achieving marketing and sales goals. Along with the research and the writing process, you need to take the complex information, simplify it, and add a fun twist to it whenever possible.
In a nutshell, tech content writing means sharing tech knowledge in a friendly way, enticing the audience more to become a customer rather than a user.
Sounds well and relatively uncomplicated on paper. Reality shows there are several tough challenges you need to face. Here’s how we’ve learned to overcome them.
The Pitfalls We Faced when Writing for Tech Companies
We don’t mean to brag, but at Digital Tailors Agency, we simply roll up our sleeves and get down to business on any typical workday. Although we get to the gist of it all to create useful, practical, and high-value content, we’ve come across a few barriers that complicated our lives a bit.
Here’s a round-up of the kind of issues we’ve been stumbling.
From the client’s side
Unrealistic content marketing expectations
Some clients have this idea in mind that content creation and inbound marketing are very simple: you just pour in the right words at the right time, send them to the appropriate marketing channel, and boom! You’ll instantly get hundreds of clients, and heavy money will come. If only that were true!
There’s this common misconception that content marketing agencies can deliver high-quality, top-notch articles in a very short time period. Clients miss out on the fact that dedicated marketing writers spend hours on researching and filtering information to make sure they won’t overlook any important details.
Then, they’ll put all the information together along with coming up with design ideas and a perfect plan to promote an article or any content piece. It’s an extended time effort, especially when it comes to the technical industry that’s ever changing.
What we learned: We need to have more communication sessions with our clients and explain to them early on that it takes at least a few months before you can pick the fruit of content marketing. Quality is always more important than quantity; creating valuable content for a niche tech audience can take a little more than most clients expect.
The belief that content marketing is a 100% independent work
Some clients believe that a partnership with a content marketing agency doesn’t require any effort on their side. Our arguments against this idea are:
- Content marketers need support and review regarding the technical details
Unless they’ve completed a tech-related college degree, a content marketer will never have the same knowledge and know-how as a person who works in the tech industry. That’s something that tech companies find difficult to understand sometimes.
It’s true that as a content writer collaborating and working for a tech company, it’s vital that you have a good grasp of the technology industry. But that doesn’t mean it’s your responsibility and ability to write product descriptions and specifications perfectly, even if you research an entire week or more! That’s the job of a technical writer, which is an entirely different thing.
2. Content marketing success requires a constant communication
A fruitful collaboration and partnership between a marketing agency and a client is the idea of constant collaboration between the two parties. Unless the client isn’t open to regular review and feedback sessions, the content marketing agency would be doing its work without having a clear direction. Content marketers would write driven more by a gut feeling instead of clear logic and rationale. Promising results can rarely come around in this scenario.
What we learned: A tech content marketer can switch and jump to technical writing, and we’re up for the challenge! Still, we’d never be able to fulfill this role by ourselves 100% (that is, if we don’t want to face the imposter syndrome every now and then).
We’d always need our clients to provide us with the basic technical information. We can polish it up, pack it up nicely, and give it the final form of a content piece with marketing elements included.
We decided we need to clarify these details from the client onboarding stage, so we can set clear goals and expectations.
From our side
Agree to write on any given topic
This is a problem that often derives from the client-side, but we have to admit that sometimes we dug our own graves and fell into this trap: agreeing on a content topic we didn’t know for sure we had enough information to write about and deliver a good piece.
We’re more than happy to write on topics our clients believe it’s important for their audience. Sometimes, though, they come up with fancy or crazy key phrases and say:
‘Hey, how about we write about this concept?’
Our answer: ‘Sure, we’ll do it’.
We then realize we have no context or additional information about that ‘concept,’ and we don’t find helpful information when we do our research either.
What we learned: Only say ‘yes’ to a client’s proposed topic after we do our own research and ensure our content will bring in the expected results. If they prove relevant but don’t find enough information or have enough expertise about a certain topic, we ask our clients to help us with it.
Become the slaves of SEO
SEO is important, and we never deliver any piece of content without optimizing it in this sense. After all, one of the goals is to drive organic traffic. But driven by the heat to reach high numbers in terms of web visitors, we forget that we don’t write for Google; we write for an audience, first and foremost.
Writing simply for the purpose of ranking without converting into leads or customers isn’t really worth anything. Especially when it comes to tech niches, it’s more essential to focus our attention on targeted audience’s pain points- fine details you won’t always find on Google trends or SEO tools.
What we learned: Educate ourselves and our clients to look at the value of content beyond metrics such as bounce rate, click-through rate, and conversions. We need to see the full picture and plan our content strategy starting from what we know for sure clients need and look for.
That’s why we ask our clients to have internal sessions with all their staff, so they can see exactly what kind of problems their customers face. Based on that information, we come up with topic ideas and create pain-point oriented content. It turns out to be more valuable even if sometimes it doesn’t generate high traffic volumes; yet, clients get the right leads and customers.
Write too much generic content
Although we’re trying to avoid this every day, sometimes we forget to step into our audience’s shoes and think before writing. Other times, we struggle with the few available resources we can find on a given topic in a tech niche while we also lack any helpful technical information or clear context from our clients.
We end up writing derivative content and craft another mediocre piece that will struggle to rank well online. We’re not ashamed to admit this sin; we’re human, after all.
What we learned: Some tech start-ups need a content strategy that doesn’t focus on top of the funnel content, but rather middle or bottom of the funnel. That’s something we need to establish with the client based on their user and buyer personas.
Writing too much generic content that’s addressed to an audience with beginner tech literary skills when the clients’ target audience are intermediate to advanced tech users is definitely a mistake. While you can write some generic articles on various technical topics, it’s crucial that you mix things up and never forget what kind of information your readers really need.
Our Strategy for Tech Content in 2022
Even if everybody imagines or dreams about it, content marketing success doesn’t happen in a flash. It’s a typical brick by brick process, the sort of way houses are built. And right after you’ve placed the last tile on your roof, it’s the moment where your business strategy begins; as you’ve guessed or already know, it never ends!
Apart from all the things we learned that will force us not to repeat our mistakes, we’ve come up with a clear plan and strategy. Here’s what we already started doing:
- Focus on three main niches in the tech industry
As much as we’d want to, we realized we couldn’t write for any kind of tech start-up and all the industries in tech. So, we’ll focus on 3 main niches:
- DevOps (and anything related to developers’ tools)
- Cloud technology (this along with DevOps are the ones we’ve developed and written forever since Digital Tailors Agency was founded)
- Blockchain (this is relatively new as we’ve recently partnered with several blockchain start-ups)
2. Develop a network of tech-savvy writers
Despite settling on these tech niches, as we mentioned above, a content marketer and writer has its limitations regarding tech knowledge. To make our clients’ lives as easy as possible, over the last six months, we’ve started to collaborate with programmers and developers to help us out with…well, anything that’s too techy and too complicated to wrap our heads around it.
This tactic solved a few major problems like:
- Our clients’ need to sacrifice some of their time to deliver us the technical details and insider’s perspective, so we can have a complete picture on a content topic.
- Our clients’ difficulty and overwhelming process to scale content marketing. Since we’ve established different and clearer content production duties, we are more time-efficient, but we also deliver high-quality content.
- One thing leading to another, our clients also spend less and less time with the content review process. Our content marketers’ work is always backed up by the technical expertise from our network of programmers and developers, so there’s no more back and forth between us and the client. Our clients will focus on the big picture instead of all the small details.
In brief, as our team efficiently combines content marketing and technical experts, from now on, we’ll offer end-to-end content marketing services for tech companies.
Our Key Takeaways about Writing for Tech Start-Ups
To sum up, despite the potential blocks, technical content writing and marketing for tech start-ups is what we enjoy and know we’re doing a good job. We acknowledge there’s always room for improvement, so we’ll keep our minds open to changes and switch directions to keep up with business trends. After all, being agile isn’t vital only for the tech companies we’re partnering with.
We’ll try to always think ahead, plan our next steps carefully, and leverage up all the tools we’ve got.