Content Marketing

When scientists publish articles in reputable journals, it enhances their reputation. When the scientist works for a company in the industry, it enhances the company’s reputation. That kind of knowledge leadership builds trust and indirectly generates revenue. No amount of marketing can create that kind of trust and customer loyalty, until now. That is precisely the kernel of truth upon which content marketing is built.

Feed this concept to a roomful of hungry marketing professionals, and suddenly slick brochures and catchy hard-sell webinars go out the window. Take the in-depth knowledge of a scientist or other subject-matter expert, package it in a variety of formats, at varying levels of complexity, and you have content marketing.

You reach the widest audience by delivering the same insightful information via article, webinar, video, digested blog version with links to more information. Fill it out with case studies. Add photos, charts, graphs, and infographics that firmly support and illustrate the data (not just for looks). When one expert publishes one article in one journal, very few people will see it. Content marketers get it in front of a much wider audience: more formats, more channels, and more organic search traffic.

Content marketing is not about products. But it is about generating revenue. Isn’t that a contradiction? No. Content marketing delivers insights, new levels of understanding, and useful information to the customer. It feeds a hunger for knowledge, instead touting a product. If the content has substance, the connections between customer and business will follow.

To the customer, content marketing is not marketing. But to the C-suite, it must be presented as marketing. When the C-suite can’t see how deliverables map to revenue, it’s harder to get funding. But smart corporate decision-makers get it—successful companies are the ones who bolstered their brands with industry-thought and industry-knowledge leadership. The only way to leverage that knowledge is with content marketing (since that’s the very definition of it). To make this happen, the marketing budget should include content-expert resources, either internally or outsourced, who can take your knowledge leadership to the streets where it will do you some good.

In the first paragraph I said, “until now,” as though content marketing is new. It’s not new, but broader recognition of its value, and the widespread adoption of it, is relatively new. Our digital population does not respond to ads, largely because today’s digital-device landscape lets us avoid ads altogether. Companies need a different way to reach people. Content marketing is a way to give people what they truly want—knowledge that empowers them to make informed choices.

Actually, you don’t have to toss the slick brochures out the window. You can still use them. But they will be much more persuasive with a solid content marketing strategy behind them. A foundation of reliable knowledge leadership will give glossy marketing assets a whole new impact, and some precious material to leverage.

Content marketing shows your key audience that they can rely on your knowledge, your thoroughness, and your innovation, ahead of your competitors. That means they will buy your products.

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The Doublecheckers

Exhausted after fifteen hours of preparing a CD product that had to ship that day, one last little error was found, and fixed. “It’s good to go!” said the person who fixed it. It was 11 p.m. on a Friday night, we had been working on this since 8 a.m., pushing to meet the deadline. There was a sigh of relief by everyone, except for me and my lead Quality Assurance Analyst. We looked at each other and nodded in agreement—“No, not good to go.” Continue reading

My 4th-of-July Thank You

Like every year around the 4th of July I hear a lot about the Fathers of America, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams. They were men of character, courage, and intelligence. We do well to learn from their example. We should be grateful year round for those who set such a high bar risking everything for others, doing what’s right without faltering in fear of painful consequences Continue reading

Archaeology of SDLC

There are some great names among the founders of the still-nascent field, industry, and profession of Software Testing & Quality Assurance: Dave Gelperin, Boris Beizer, Glenford Myers, Rick Craig, and Lee Copeland, to name a few. A name not often included in that list is Michel Foucault. That may be because Foucault was a social theorist and philosopher rather than a software quality practitioner. But I was listening to a Foucault interview on knowledge and culture from 1971, and as with all things interesting, I started thinking how it might relate to QA. Continue reading

Shakespeare 450

William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday is today, born 23 April 1564. Or at least it is traditionally celebrated on 4/23. He was baptized 4/26 so his birth date would be a few days earlier. Being born 450 years ago today adds a certain symmetry—he also died on 4/23, in 1616, 398 years ago today.

Just about a tenth of all the words in Shakespeare’s works are words that he invented Continue reading

“Software Test Essentials” in Tea-Time with Testers

My article: “Software Test Essentials” is published in Tea-Time with Testers magazine, March/April 2014 issue.

Tea-Time with Testers is the largest-circulated software testing monthly in the world, and one of the best international software testing publications available for today’s test and QA professional. Link to the magazine homepage.

Big Data and the New CMO

Marketers and especially CMOs transition into increasingly technical roles as marketing becomes an increasingly metrics-driven activity. Big data is largely to blame. Metrics deliver actionable information on human community, phone apps behavior, ecommerce behavior, social networking, browsing patterns, as well as metrics on real-world trends and transactions Continue reading

Thanksgiving, Football, and Web Development

Thanksgiving reminds me of many things for which I am grateful. Thanksgiving is a time to count blessings, and a time to use football analogies for software projects. As the stuffing settles, and the games are on, my thoughts naturally turn towards the leadership, the coaching, the training, the practice, the teamwork, and the execution that all contribute to the successful launch of a website. Continue reading

Thoughtfulness

Thoughtful can mean both “kind” and “thinking.” Historically the two were closely related. It was the sign of a thinking person to act in kindness, to have good manners, to show sincere courtesy towards others. Courtesy evolved as a vital aspect of wisdom, because thinking people understood the far-reaching personal and social benefits of a thoughtful and courteous population. Continue reading