By David Knight published November 7, 2011 Est Read Time: 4 min

4 Tips to Generate Awareness Through Your IT Content

There are no impulse buys when it comes to purchasing IT products and solutions. IT executives don’t find themselves in the grocery store checkout line deciding between a new company-wide inventory database system and a few tins of spearmint Altoids.

IT buying decisions usually involve a lengthy process divided into at least two steps, whereby IT vendors must convince their target audience that first, they have a need for the technology being discussed, and second, that their product is the solution to provide that technology. So when developing content for an IT audience, it’s helpful to assign early-stage content to the first step and late-stage content to the second step.

For our purposes, let’s focus on early-stage content, which must quickly get the audience up to speed on the general technology area and how it might affect their particular corporate environment. Here are four tips for developing early-stage IT content that will help you identify prospects and drive their interest in following your brand as they move on to step two:

Reveal common problems that have given rise to the technology in question

IT professionals don’t want their lives to be excessively complicated for no good reason. So when a new technology comes along, it’s doubtful that an IT person will jump to embrace it just to be an early adopter. Emerging technologies generally catch on because they solve specific problems or improve certain business drivers. By creating content that addresses what these specific problems and business drivers are and how your product addresses them, you will increase your chance of connecting with your target audience.

Determine how someone might articulate the problem that your product solves and include that in the title of your content. For example, if you produce security software that protects against data loss by securing Internet browsers, (problem = “data loss” and “unsecure browsers”), then an article title like Understanding Data Loss and the Threat of Unsecure Browsers would do the trick. If you produce virtualization software for storage servers (problem = “storage efficiency” and “storage management”), then you will find your audience with an article title like Improving Storage Management and Efficiency with Virtualization.

Communicate details of the technology, but don’t get too technical

Face it. When it comes to technology literature, a James Patterson page-turner it is not. Explaining how technology works can easily launch your audience over the cliff into the “glazed over” abyss. Even the techie-est of techies has a low capacity for hardcore tech speak when first learning about a new technology. Thus, early dives into educating your audience can assume an expert-level technical tone so as to reinforce your company’s subject matter expertise, but keep the jargon to a minimum so that the executive and the technical audience can both follow along with you.

Make comparisons and contrasts to similar, more familiar technologies

A single technology can affect many different realms of the IT environment. For example, when IT pros use the term “virtualization,” they could be talking about server virtualization, storage virtualization, desktop virtualization, or something else entirely. When new technologies emerge, the differences among each sect of the technology can be confusing even for the pros. But if your content defines and differentiates discrete areas of an emerging technology, IT professionals will likely snap up your information in a heartbeat. An article titled Storage, Server, or Desktop Virtualization: How Each Will Affect Your IT Environment would help vendors of any of these three virtualization solutions identify potential prospects.

Save the product advice for later

Offering specific product information to IT consumers too early in their purchase cycle will only fall on deaf ears. It may also  result in a missed opportunity to build a connection with them down the line. But by saving the product information for later and focusing on the technology at hand, you will accelerate your salesperson’s sales cycle by a few steps and create a sense of goodwill with your audience because you didn’t immediately hit them with a sales pitch.

Often, the first step in this two-step process demands a tremendous amount of audience education. And in the end, vendors will spend lots of time talking about technology and perhaps not as much time talking about their particular solution. But there is no bypassing this first step, and smart IT vendors will view it as an opportunity to identify legitimate prospects and advance them toward the product evaluation stage of their buying cycle.

Author: David Knight

David Knight is the Senior Marketing Manager for Realtime Publishers, helping technology marketers drive lead generation, brand awareness, and product launches through targeted content marketing campaigns for IT. David has overseen the promotion of over 150 IT publications, grown the Realtime Publishers readership to over 100,000 IT professionals, and led successful content marketing efforts for HP, Symantec, CA Technologies, VMware, and many more. Download any IT publications from Realtime Publishers' digital library. Follow him on Twitter @ITPublishing.

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