Four years ago, I started Christine Parizo Communications on my dining room table with a consumer grade laptop, a BlackBerry Curve, and the desire to exercise my writing chops. Since that fateful evening spent designing a logo (yes, I did it myself, and I recommend hiring a graphic designer to do it instead), setting up a website, and ordering business cards, I’ve whittled my focus and honed my skills writing case studies, white papers, and contributed articles for B2B technology companies; website copy, brochures, and press releases for entrepreneurs; and feature articles for a variety of business and B2B technology publications, mostly under the TechTarget umbrella.

In honor of my fourth anniversary of B2B technology copywriting, I’m offering up four tips to help you get the most out of your content marketing programs.

  1. Set an end goal for your content. I wouldn’t run a race without having a goal finish time, and it’s the same with content marketing: you need to have a goal in mind for each piece of content. For example, the goal of a white paper could be either lead generation or support for the sales team. Different goals require different approaches – a generalized educational piece for lead generation, a benefits-heavy white paper for support.
  2. Collaborate with the sales team. The sales team is in the field every day, meeting with customers and potential customers, hearing about their pain points, and trying to sell solutions that will alleviate pain. Your sales team is a great resource for content: ideas for blog posts, material for white papers, and a go-between for customer case studies. Invite sales to the marketing discussions, and find out how content marketing can complement their efforts in the field.
  3. Collaborate with your customers. Most people do not want to admit they had a problem that needed solving, and your customers are no different. However, if you can position them as industry leaders, they might change their minds. Write case studies and customer success stories that highlight how your customers were able to leverage your solution to solve a problem that a lot of businesses have, and how your customers are now on the cutting edge of their industries. Laserfiche is a great example of a company that does this: their user conference consists of an entire session track of customer success stories, told by the customers themselves. Exact Online is another that creates videos of customers offering up their positive experiences.
  4. View content as multi-use. One piece of content does not have to just get one use. A white paper can be repurposed into a webinar (or vice versa); a case study can be the basis for a press release.  White papers can be broken down into blog posts with calls to action to download the full document. A video case study can be written, turned into a blog post, and used as testimonials in marketing collateral. No one piece of content exists in a silo.