Content_istockI’ve been doing a lot of training on the importance of content (particularly as it relates to inbound marketing), building a content plan, and developing content that resonates with your audience. I’ve gotten some really good feedback on the sessions. Sadly, the feedback is always followed by a “but”. Great session BUT we don’t have the time, the people, the budget, etc.

If you accept the fact (and yes it’s a fact) that content is the key driver of ALL marketing, then the “but” becomes a huge obstacle. With 80% of business decision makers preferring to get company information in a series of articles (versus ads) and 77% saying good content makes them feel closer to the company that is providing it, you can no longer avoid the reality – poor (or no) content will negatively impact your marketing results and ultimately  your pipeline and revenue.

After a few too many “buts” it started to occur to me that the answer for most software resellers is not learning how – but learning how not to. In other words, don’t try to be something you’re not. Focus on what you do well and outsource the rest. With this in mind here are my three very simple (but compelling) reasons for you to get out of the content business and leave this critical asset to the experts.

  • You write like a software reseller. Be honest here. Look at the materials you’ve created (from blogs to whitepapers). Are they full of techno speak, solutions and product upgrades, tips and tricks? Buzzwords and marketing speak? That’s not what content marketing is about. You need to develop honest, educational, thought leadership content that shows you truly understand your prospects’ challenges. In the manufacturing that could include pieces that address challenges such as globalization of supply chains, responding rapidly to customer demand and innovating processes. Most software companies don’t have that type of writer in-house.
  • Your hours are billable. Let’s assume you do have the talent in-house to deliver thought leadership content. Is it a priority? Probably not. Every client need and every billable project is going to come before the content development. The end result of this is less content than you need and most likely a lot of missed deadlines.
  • You’re limiting yourself. If you only use in-house resources (and here we are talking about non-writers), you will limit yourself to only one view. Outsourcing allows you to bring in experts who will look at your target industry with a fresh perspective.

Still not convinced? Worried about the cost? Try a test. Invest in an outsourced piece of content and at the same time ask your in-house resource to create something as well. Look at the time to delivery, hours invested (make sure you consider ALL the resources in house that touch the piece) and quality.

Worst case? You have a great piece of content. Best case? You have two great pieces. Either way, you have some insight into what it truly takes to deliver powerful content that attracts and converts prospects.

Barbara Pfeiffer is a Senior Consultant at The Partner Marketing Group, and obsessed with the power of content to accelerate the b2b buying process for ISV’s and VAR’s.

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