Demonstrating expertise

OK, enough high level stuff. Let’s get into the nitty gritty.

The #3 job of your content marketing is to help prospects understand if you’re the right fit by showing what it’s like to work with you.

The #2 job of your content marketing is to increase familiarity by appearing regularly in front of your prospects.

For software development shops, job #1 of your content marketing is to increase trust by demonstrating expertise. The central question of doing content marketing right becomes…

How do you demonstrate expertise most effectively?

So many ways….

There are many ways you can demonstrate expertise. Here’s a short list:

  1. Articles that explain how to solve a problem.
  2. Screencasts that teach something
  3. Podcasts where you really go deep into a subject
  4. Talks where you explain a topic very well
  5. Slide decks where you teach something
  6. White papers that explain a topic
  7. Case studies that summarize how a project went and what challenges you addressed
  8. In-person or remote training where you teach on a topic

Your imagination is really the limit in terms of how you can demonstrate expertise, but the list above covers a lot of the popular approaches.

As I hinted at in the previous lesson on planning, you should play to your strengths. If you’re a boring writer but a more engaging speaker, then don’t make written articles the foundation of your content marketing (or hire a good writer instead of DIYing it).

Choose methods where you have an execution advantage. If you’re both a strong writer and a good speaker but have a much easier time getting in front of a microphone consistently and recording a podcast episode, focus on that over writing.

Getting your geek on

Once you actually get serious about content marketing, you’ll be faced with the question of how tactical/geeky your content should be.

If you’re a Rails developer, you’ll probably be thinking about writing articles on setting up your development environment or solving particular Rails-specific programming challenges.

If you’re a front-end developer, you’ll be tempted to blog about Angular vs. .

These kind of tactical-level content marketing pieces do demonstrate expertise, but don’t let them make up 100% of your content marketing.

Instead, they should make up no more than 50% of your content marketing. This is because you also need something that speaks to the people who make the decision about hiring you.

Getting your suit on

You also need to market effectively to the person or people who make the decision to hire you, allocate the budget to hire you, or have authority over the business unit that hires you.

This person also needs to trust you before you can make the sale, but they have different concerns. They want demonstrations of your expertise in:

  • Lowering risk for them
  • Skillfully getting results on time and under budget
  • Helping them make good decisions that pay off for their business

The other 50% of your content marketing should demonstrate that you have this kind of expertise. Expertise in turning your tactical skills into valuable business outcomes.
Case studies tend to work well for demonstrating this kind of expertise, though they are not the only way. Educational content aimed at business decision makers also works really well.

For example, if you created a thorough and unbiased guide that explained the business-level considerations around integrating a modern ERP system into a particular e-commerce platform, you would do a lot to build trust with any potential clients who might hire you to help with that kind of project.
Here are some of my favorite examples of this kind of content:

That’s it for this lesson! In the next lesson, I’ll give you some hacks for creating content marketing with less effort and disruption to your business.
Please email me if you’ve got any questions.

If you’d like my help with your content marketing, Content X-Ray is for you. You’ll get an actionable, custom-tailored report that will help you optimize your content marketing, eliminate confusion about next steps, and support you with an exclusive private library of how-to content. Check it out here.


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