How to write a blog introduction

How to write a blog introduction: in 3 simple steps

  • Essential tips covering how to write a blog introduction
  • Get your audience's attention and keep them interested
  • Blog introduction examples

Knowing how to write a blog introduction for your company’s tech product or service is an extremely powerful skill.

Writing a good blog introduction keeps people reading about you and your product or service. A bad blog introduction means people will hit their browser’s ‘back’ button. So, get ready to learn how to write a blog introduction with our three simple yet powerful tips.

First things first: know your audience

In themselves, blog introductions are not hard to do. Pick a subject, start writing. Eventually, you’ll have something that introduces your topic and leads into the rest of your blog.

But, introductions are hard to do well.

Why?

Because a good blog introduction is written in a way that will engage your target audience. A lot of people forget that they should be writing for their readers – and not themselves. You need to think about your reader – who they are, what they do, what their challenges are.

Say your company sells software for HR departments. Your ideal reader might well be an HR Director who has been in the job thirty years and has seen everything.

If your blog introduction fails to tell them anything new, is patronising, or just doesn’t chime with their experiences, they’re very unlikely to read on. To put it another way, don’t write a blog introduction that tells the HR director obvious things like ‘human resources is about training and resolving workplace disputes’.

With that caveat in mind, let’s look at how to write a blog introduction with our three expert tips.

Your three tips on how to write a blog introduction

1. Get the audience’s attention with a hook

The purpose of your introduction is to hook the reader into your post so that they read to the end. This is the essence of all good writing - to seduce someone into reading and not stopping.

The introduction is the place to get your audience’s attention and keep it. They may have been intrigued by your headline and clicked on the link to your blog. They will still give you the benefit of the doubt. But the introduction is where you need to win their trust, and make them decide to keep on reading.

Make sure your hook is:

  • Relevant – it must relate to the post and the headline. This seems obvious, but it can be easy to spiral into tangents.
  • Intriguing – the introduction should give them something juicy which they want to learn more about. It could be a stat, a line of dialogue or an interesting observation.
  • Short-lived – no one likes a hook that outstays its welcome. If you can’t fit your hook into two or three sentences, it’s worth asking if it’s really, erm, hook-y enough

EXAMPLE: imagine we were writing a blog targeted at our HR director mentioned above. Our hook might be something like:

“According to a recent survey, X percent of HR directors still use paper for most of their business processes. How does this measure up against your department’s experience? In a world where whole companies are built on cloud-based digital services, is it not time to finally leave paper-based processes in the waste paper basket?”

2. The intro must be connected to the headline of the post

People will begin reading your article because of the headline. Think of how you read a newspaper – you skim through until a headline catches your eye. If you begin reading, and the introductory paragraph doesn’t seem to be linked to the headline, you feel confused and, in a way, taken advantage of.

You therefore need to reassure the reader that the article is going to do what the headline implied.

EXAMPLE: Our headline might read: “Five ways HR departments can save £1000s by abandoning paper”.  Early on in your introduction, you need to confirm that the rest of the blog is going to do what the headline says. For example:

HR departments spend thousands of pounds a year on paper and ink, while also losing a lot of time filling in and filing forms. Is there a better way of using all that time and energy?”

3. The intro leads naturally into the main body of the post with a ‘thesis statement’

Making a smooth transition from introduction to the main text helps lead your readers through the article. It keeps their reading experience as seamless as possible because they aren’t disrupted by content that isn’t relevant.

EXAMPLE: A good transition for our example blog would be to point to the ‘five ways’ mentioned in the title:

In today’s post, we’ll be looking at five ways your HR department can finally free itself of paper.”

Here’s how we’d piece together that sample introduction:

Five ways HR departments can save £1000s by abandoning paper

According to a recent survey, X percent of HR teams still use paper for most of their business processes. In a world where whole companies are built on cloud-based digital services, is it not time to finally leave paper-based processes in the waste paper basket?

Many HR departments spend thousands of pounds a year on paper and ink, while also wasting time filling in and filing forms. This seems like a huge waste of energy. In today’s post, we’ll be looking at five ways your HR department can finally free itself of paper.

Just add personality

You should now have a nice tidy opening paragraph to your blog post, no matter what the subject. To add a little more personality to your articles, here are some directions to experiment with:

  • Be personal – engage your readers with everyday language and use the 2nd person (‘You’ and ‘Your’) to address them directly
  • Sound excited – if there is no enthusiasm in your introduction, people will be less inclined to continue
  • Tell a story – people are engaged by narrative and beginning your article with an anecdote or a reference to a story will help the reader relate
  • Form a question – this creates plenty of interest. Remember to answer the question in the post!
  • Offer a fact – facts and statistics are great for building authority and with a little research are abundant
  • Quote – a quote can be a great way to start a post - but make sure it’s relevant

 

Discover more tips and advice on producing top quality content to help engage your audience and drive leads right here.


How to Create Sustainable Content Marketing Plan

Keep the wheel turning: How to create sustainable content marketing plan

  • Interview with our Account Director, Aidan Danaher for his marketing tips and advice
  • Reasons why marketing campaigns can run out steam and energy
  • Tips for making your content marketing plan sustainable and 7 areas to consider

The first recorded attempt at creating a perpetual motion machine was Bhaskara’s Wheel – a wheel which always had more weight on one side than the other invented by an Indian scientist in the 12th century.

Since then, many an engineer has attempted to create a perpetual motion machine – one which will keep on turning without the input of any additional energy. And none has succeeded. The concept is fundamentally flawed because all bodies are subject to the second law of thermodynamics, which states that they are subject to forces and processes that gradually dissipate their kinetic energy.

The point in this short detour into mechanics and physics? Simply put, no motion occurs without the input of some form of energy. When it comes to a marketing plan, the same principle applies. Even if you have the best laid plans, even if your marketing has gotten off to a good start, it won’t simply keep on revolving by itself.

In today’s post, I’m speaking to Fifty Five and Five’s very own Aidan Danaher (our marketing maestro) for his insights into creating a sustainable approach to digital and content marketing plan. Aidan’s a graduate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and has a lot of experience helping brands differentiate themselves and talk about their products and services in the right way. He provides expert tips for digital and content marketers about how to keep creating content, staying fresh and keeping the marketing wheel turning.

Why do digital and content marketing machines “run out of steam”?

So, you had a load of meetings, you created a content calendar, you got exec buy in and you laid out your digital marketing plans for the next 6-12 months. It was all there in a proposal document, a spreadsheet – or even on a Gantt chart! It looked good and your colleagues got on board from day one. Dave from R&D wrote a blog post about your product. Karen from HR got stuck in with Twitter. Even Kwazi from IT agreed to appear in your video. The perfect start.

But then, three months later, you find yourself looking at the corporate website. No new content has been uploaded since the beginning of the year. The initial bubble of enthusiasm has burst and the digital and content marketing plan seems to have given up the ghost. What went wrong?

  • Falling at the first hurdle. Companies often expect immediate results from digital and content marketing. When their first sorties don’t turn into a rush of leads, they very quickly get dispirited.
  • No time. It’s the excuse any marketing manager has heard when trying to corral colleagues into writing blog posts and other content.
  • No new ideas. After the first enthusiasm, you soon ran out of ideas for engaging Twitter posts and articles.

Aidan notes that these issues are all too common:

“It’s great when people start to implement a new marketing plan. For anyone working in marketing, to see progress is a fantastic feeling. The next challenge is sustaining that progress and keeping momentum. Often, we see companies make a huge effort creating a ‘big bang’ campaign, which very quickly ends up running out of energy.”

Make your content marketing plan sustainable

1. Ownership

Aidan explains that for any marketing plan to be a success, ownership is key:

“From experience, it’s essential that you have one person whose job it is to push your marketing strategy forward. These things don’t happen by themselves; you need someone who’s dedicated to creating new content ideas, publishing said content on your website, monitoring its reach, sharing over social media, creating automation campaigns etc.”

2. Create a process

Content doesn’t publish itself; you need a process in place which will ensure the content is created regularly, and maintain quality standards.

“Put in place a simple and consistent process. Use tasks to ensure things get done. A lot of the most successful content marketers are producing new content regularly. For the team here, we’ve created an internal calendar and stick to it (most of the time!). But say you’re a small tech start-up – producing 2 or 3 blogs a week isn’t a reality. So aim to create at least one per week/every day 10 days. Again build a process around that goal. Ensure each blog is well researched, edited, proofed and then published at a time and day when it will most likely be shared.”

3. Have an editorial theme

Very often, companies produce a lot of ‘generic’ content. To make your blog stand out, it should be personalised to your target audience. Aidan says:

“Understand who your audience is, the value you can offer them, and be consistent in what you say. Let’s say you deliver managed IT services for example, it’s a crowded industry. So how do you stand out and get people visiting your site? It’s no good writing about general IT news for instance – people will head to magazines for that. Instead, your blog, eBooks, email newsletter and tweets should be very clearly targeted at specific people, problems and solutions. A marketing persona is a great way to kick things off.”

4. Store ideas in a shared place

From time to time, you’ll have a great idea for a new article for the website, or even a brand new marketing campaign. However, if you only jot that down on a piece of paper then forget all about it, don’t expect it to ever materialise.

“At Fifty Five and Five, we use a shared OneNote page in Office 365, where everyone can add new ideas, give feedback and see what we’ve each contributed. Whatever you use – be that a SharePoint team site, Evernote or some other app – it’s really important for ideas to be stored in a shared space where everyone can access them.”

5. Create a content pipeline

No matter what your content marketing goals are, creating a pipeline of content for the next few weeks or even months will ensure you don’t get caught out. Aidan explains:

“By having a view of the number of blogs, email campaigns, eBooks, infographics and whatever other content you expect to publish in the coming weeks, you can build a much stronger long term strategy.”

6. Short and long-term strategies

Ideally, content marketing plan should come in two forms. You need a long term ‘editorial’, where you write about company news, produce great newsletters, and simply produce content on topics that are important to you. However, this also needs to be combined with occasional pushes around new products and events, Aidan says:

“The content marketing owner needs to combine long term strategy with short term pushes. We recommend about 66% of your content should be ‘regular’ content, then the last third needs to be your short term campaign content.
“For example, in Q1, you might be releasing a new product. So, naturally you want to push that new product and make people aware of it, but not at the expense of your wider plan. This isn’t an exact science of course, but say you post 40 Tweets a month. I’d say about 25 of those need to be general content, the rest should be focused on your new product. If you’re only talking about your new product, your followers will get bored.”

7. Stay inspired

The greatest challenge for any content creator is keeping new ideas coming in. Aidan recommends a variety of ways of generating these ideas:

“It’s very important to stay inspired, and I always recommend people follow people who are influential in their field on Twitter or LinkedIn for content ideas. Every day I read check my Feedly account to read up on content related to our field too. Besides that, a good old ‘brainstorming’ session is generally effective, and if you’re ever really stuck for ideas, go back to your personas and think about questions those people would be likely to ask. Think about your audience’s problems then start providing them with the solutions.
A marketing machine will never ‘run itself’. In order to keep your digital and content marketing strategy wheel moving, you need to build up a strategy and then keep driving it forward with consistent, quality content. It’s important to stay motivated and measure how you’re doing to ensure it’s having the intended impact. However, once you get there, it’s amazing to see just what impact content marketing can have.”

Looking to improve your marketing?

We can help put a plan together for you!

Get in touch


B2B technology blog

How to write b2b technology blog posts: 7 simple steps

  • Learn how to write a great B2B technology blog
  • Why it's important to find the right angle
  • Understanding your audience, adjusting your tone, using calls-to-action and more

A high-quality B2B technology blog that offers your audience value (‘How-to’ guides, thought leadership, feature updates, etc.) can help you stand out in a highly competitive market.

Along with being high-quality, your content also needs to be consistent. This is especially true in an industry where there are a lot of organisations that are providing similar solutions or selling similar services. One of the best ways of differentiating your organisation from the competition is through inbound marketing excellence. So, whether you are an ISV with your own product or a consultancy specialising in Microsoft solutions, improvements across your inbound marketing and your B2B technology blog will set you apart.

Want our best tips on how to improve your content marketing?
Grab a copy of our B2B content marketing eBook.

Putting your organisation in the window with an awesome B2B technology blog

Writing blogs about business problems and how they are solved by specific technology and solutions is useful because it allows you to showcase your organisation’s knowledge of your industry and customers. This type of B2B technology blog also showcases you as an expert in your field.

Be laser-focused

In putting together our annual Top 50 report on the best inbound marketing that Microsoft Partners have to offer, we read a wide variety of blog content. From thought leadership to practical guides on updating your systems, we’ve seen the good and the great; what works and what to avoid. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the most important steps we think you should take when drafting a quality, value-driven, tech-focused blog post.

To download our latest report and see which Microsoft Partners produce the best inbound marketing, click here.

Summary: Here's how to write a B2B technology blog post

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Build a structure around problems and solutions
  3. Research your topic
  4. Adjust the tone for the medium
  5. Search Engine Optimisation
  6. Find the right angle
  7. Include a call to action

Seven steps to write a great B2B technology blog post

Here's how to write a B2B technology blog post in seven simple steps.

1.   Understand your audience

Writing of any kind is always concerned with its audience. The importance of this is even greater when your subject matter is technology-specific. So, it’s important to ask:

  • Who is this blog aimed at? Is this a high-level post that is targeted at decision-makers like the CEO, CFO or CIO? Or will it be targeting a more technical audience, like developers, in which case you can afford to be more esoteric with your language and delve deeper into technical explanations.
  • What do you think they hope to get from reading your blog? Are they looking to find a solution to a known issue or bug in a Microsoft solution? Or are they hoping to discover a better solution to a business problem?

Answering these questions will help define how you draft your post.

2.   Build structure around problems and solutions

When you are setting out to write a blog about a piece of technology, it is important you remember that age-old writing advice: show don’t tell. A good way of structuring a blog post, no matter how technical the subject matter, is to think of it from a business problem to business solution perspective. This helps you avoid the pitfall of laboriously telling us the features of the tech by instead showing us how it’s useful in a business context.

You might structure your post roughly along the lines of:

  • Introduction
  • Business problem – perhaps your employees are finding it difficult collaborating
  • Show how the technology solves the problem – Office 365 and SharePoint are designed to enhance and speed up collaboration by providing tools for flexible working
  • Call to action – find out more about the technology...and how your business adds value

3.   Research your topic

If you don’t know what you are writing about it shows. If you don’t have practical experience using the product or aspect of technology you are describing, read as much as possible around the subject, or talk to someone who does.

4.   Adjust the tone for the medium

Tone of voice is your brand’s personality expressed in words. So, the tone you use for your blog should reflect the type of language you use in other areas of your marketing and communications. However, your blog is a medium where you can add in a little more personality, than say a press release or a longer piece of content like a whitepaper, which calls for a more formal tone.

So, why not make the most of the opportunity? Encourage your teams to write posts in their own voice. Add a human dimension to corporate communications. But remember to stay on topic and keep your focus in the right direction, i.e. there’s not much point producing content that isn’t related to what you do as an organisation – no matter how ‘fun’ the post is.

5.   Search Engine Optimisation

It’s more important than ever that your content is optimised correctly. What’s the point of producing great content if you’re not giving yourself the best chance of it being seen? Appearing on the first page of a Google search is one of the most important ways of being seen. That means finding and using keywords in your blog posts. We recommend coming up with keywords for posts at the same time you come up with blog ideas.

6.   Find the right angle

Blog writing is mainly about producing content that is relevant to the product/service you are promoting. It’s important that your posts are not just being produced for the sake of it; there should be a good reason for your latest blog entry. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, you may just need a jumpstart. Here are some boosters to help – just make sure your product or service finds its way in:

  • Tell a story about your topic
  • Start with a definition
  • Write a how-to guide
  • Write a beginner’s guide
  • Predict the future
  • Compare and contrast
  • Write a list

7.   Include a Call to Action (CTA)

We are all familiar with the final line of a post asking us to ‘find out more’, but you may not have noticed the other smaller calls to action dotted around the post. These include links to other areas of your website or other posts you have written. Include a balanced blend of these smaller calls to action as well as the final one to increase your chances of turning a curious reader into a potential customer.


Lieberman software

Content marketing advice from the best – an interview with Lieberman Software

  • Lieberman Software ranked 5th in 2016 our Inbound Marketing report
  • Received top scores for their website and blog
  • We interviewed their Director of Marketing and Marketing & Comms Manager

Coming in fifth place in the 2016 edition of the Top 50 Inbound Marketing Excellence report was Lieberman Software. So, why did they score so highly and what’s the secret to their inbound marketing success?

We already know that a big reason for their high ranking was the strength of both their website (73/100) and blog (an even more impressive, 87/100). We called up Jane Grafton and Kevin Franks – Director of Marketing and Marketing Communications Manager at Lieberman, respectively – to see how they went about putting together such a slick marketing operation.

Perhaps we could start with a brief background of Lieberman Software and how your online publication, Identity Week, came into being?

Kevin Franks: "When we first started the blog, one of our main goals was to do less direct company promotions and more raising awareness of the niche that we’re in, in the cyber security market. At the time we started this blog, about six years ago, there was some uncertainty about what the Privilege Identity management market—as it’s called—really is, so we wanted to start a blog that would be educational and tell people what these types of products do and why they’re needed; what’s the unique differentiator that our type of product does versus all the other security products in the market."

"So, we started looking for ways that our product fit in with a lot of the cybersecurity news stories going on at the time—the hacks that you might hear about and what’s behind the hacks—and discuss what we give you as a way to prevent that. So, it was, in a way, a ‘soft sell’ of what we do."

Jane Grafton: "Also, it should be added that it was an opportunity to do some cross pollination and build good backlinks to enhance our SEO and get us up the search rankings."

How do you generate new ideas for your blog?

Kevin: "Well, a lot of it, certainly at the beginning, was a certain amount of ‘news-jacking’: where you find a current event—for us it’s a data breach that’s in the news—then you write about that breach with your own niche or angle. That’s probably the main thing. Also, there’s a focus at our company on different things now than when we started. The cloud and the Internet of things (IoT) would be good examples of that. So more of our blog posts now reflect more cloud-focused and IoT issues, in addition to continuing to look for current events that align with what we do as a business."

What Lieberman Software does is specific. Was it easy, then, to determine your target audience?

Kevin: "It was relatively easy for us to determine our target market. There’s largely an overlap of those who are reading our blog and customers who are buying Lieberman Software products so that made it a lot easier. But then there’s others things; like, those who are reading IT media, to a certain degree are our audience as well. Some of our posts have been republished in different IT security magazines and online publications, etc. So, there’s that aspect of the audience, too."

You’ve clearly got a content strategy in place. At the beginning, did you ever struggle to form a consistent style?

Kevin: "I don’t know if it was very difficult, but like anything, at the beginning it was a challenge. One of the issues that kept coming up was generating enough content to get two posts a week—even three. When you’re first starting it’s a new assignment that you take on and have to make time for. And for the article or post to be meaningful it requires getting valuable information from our security experts here in the company, and being able to turn that information into an engaging post. So, when you start, it can be difficult because you have to work across departments [to get this information], often with people who have busy schedules, so there can be coordination issues. But after doing it for a while, you can get into the right rhythm and a schedule that works for everyone."

How strict is your content strategy?

Kevin: "I don’t think there’s necessarily a strict structure to it. We do have a loose editorial calendar planned out a little in advance, and we know generally the types of topics we want to write about. And then, in the news cycle, things that are in our realm bubble up and become something that we might pop in immediately in our calendar. I read something by David Meerman Scott that I found really good regarding our new online-dominant world and the opportunity for companies to think like a publisher in what they are doing. That by having your own online community, you don’t have to rely on the traditional news media—that you can put out the content that you want, for the world to see, in your own format. Whether it’s interviews with executives you can turn that into long-form articles, or shorter blog posts or whitepapers… whatever it might be. So, you can kind of control your own way of messaging the world without having to rely on external parties."

Jane:  "Plus, there are two consistent places where you do get content: one is from the surveys you do at trade shows and events which trim into very good content that seems to do well both on the blog and on our website. And two is the ‘Top of Mind’ for our newsletter."

Kevin:  "Yes, that’s absolutely right. And I guess it goes back to what you were asking before about our audience. One thing we do, two or three times a year at the trade shows we attend, is surveys among the attendees there. Largely speaking, those in attendance at these trade shows are in our target market. So, we are surveying them on topics that might have an impact or an interest in their line of work. We’ll take those surveys and spin them out into different things, like articles, press releases, etc. The latest one we did was from a recent show focusing on a cloud security topic, which is becoming more and more important for us at the company."

"And as Jane mentioned, our monthly newsletter goes out to our customers and subscriber list. A mainstay of that is a column written by one of our executives and those columns are very good to use for other content (blogs and whitepapers, etc)

In the Microsoft Partner Network, we find many partners struggle to maintain and regularly update their blog (and content marketing in general). What’s the one piece of advice you’d recommend for starting a blog?

Kevin: "I think it would be having something to say. Not focusing on what your products do. But look for broader issues that are of interest to your community in general and focus on those. If you can get people who read your content to like it, then that will lead in to a more direct type of interest in what you are doing as a company, which will naturally generate more leads. A lot of the traffic that we generate to the site is through the social media outreach that we do too. So, that’s a big part of it now."


Content and Code Case Study

Content and Code A marketing strategy that aligns with Microsoft.

Microsoft experts and a trusted partner

Having won or been a finalist for Microsoft’s coveted Partner of the Year award for the last 9 years, Content and Code have been at the forefront of championing Microsoft technologies for the past decade. Founded 14 years ago, they boast a deep understanding of SharePoint, Office 365 and the entire Microsoft landscape to enhance their professional services.

Content and Code Case Study

An agency that understands the audience

When we first spoke to Tim, founder of Content and Code, he was looking for an agency to take some copywriting off his hands. As our relationship has progressed, we have broadened our offering to include a wider variety of services.

The work we have done for Content and Code has covered a number of specific sectors:

    • Construction
    • Healthcare
    • Finance and banking

Working closely alongside Content and Code, Fifty Five and Five now provide full digital marketing services. From initial generation of content ideas to SEO and social sharing, we are there every step of the way to ensure content is fresh and always geared towards the right audience.

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Interested in learning more?

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Content marketing advice from the best – an interview with Qorus

  • Qorus ranked 10th in our 2016 Inbound Marketing Excellence report
  • We spoke with their VP of Marketing and internal content writer

Qorus ranked 10th in our Top 50 report, and a substantial factor in their high ranking was their blog and content strategy. We spoke to Heather Thompson– Senior VP of Marketing –  and Taryn Netterville to get an insight into how Qorus brainstorm, create and share engaging and inspiring content with the Microsoft Partner Network.

When we carried out our Top 50 Inbound Marketing Excellence Report we were looking for examples of Microsoft Partners who could provide awesome examples of digital and content marketing. Coming in at number 10 was Qorus, the Seattle-based software company that helps organizations be more productive when creating, managing and collaborating on business-critical documents. We were highly impressed by Qorus’ in-depth content strategy; they provide their readers with informative posts filled with character and a wide variety of content and sources.

We sat down with Taryn Netterville, and Heather Thompson, VP of Marketing to find out more. Located in Qorus’ Cape Town office—where most of their marketing, development and support teams reside—we picked their brains and to find out what’s at the heart of their marketing success.

The quality of your content speaks for itself and you were a Microsoft Partner of the Year finalist for Modern Marketing. With a pretty big office in Cape Town, do you use an internal team specifically assigned to content creation and ideas?

Taryn: "In terms of looking after the blog, that’s myself [content manager] and our digital specialist, Odette. Working together, we start from an SEO perspective. [Odette] will advise me on keywords for the month and we’ll brainstorm ideas."

"We try to encourage employees to write as well, but it’s not always easy as most are not confident writers! Sometimes I’ll interview them to get their insights and make it easier for them to contribute. These posts are different to what we usually produce, with less of an SEO focus. I try to also include a few ‘culture’ posts that highlight our ‘personality’ and our company values. We also find that fun, topical posts - posts centered around Halloween, Christmas etc., - are popular, so we include them."

Heather: "We work with a diverse mix of contributors. We don’t have a big team of in-house writers, so our “content team” is made up of both internal and external writers, as well as industry experts when we want to write something specific. This helps to keep it fresh and interesting. In fact, we’re currently working with our contacts at Microsoft to create a couple of posts!"

Obviously, Qorus have a wide variety of content and resources, from traditional blogs to infographics. How do you weight these different styles of content? Do you consider any of them to be more valuable?

Taryn: "We try to produce a mix of different styles. Often the style will depend on the situation. For example, we’ll come across statistics that would be a great fit for an infographic, or we have the opportunity to create a video or an eBook."

"We also look at our key personas and try to work out what style of content would appeal to them, for example we found that webinars work well for Sales and Marketing professionals. Sometimes we’re guided by our partners or clients, like this month we’re working with several partners to create insightful opinion and thought leadership posts."

Heather: "It depends on relevancy. If we’re trying to promote a certain industry and we have a relevant eBook, for example, we’ll amplify that copy more so than other content."

"In terms of content priority, I think it’s difficult to single one medium out. Video is obviously very powerful, along with anything visual. Interviews can resonate very well with particular audiences. People are always looking for referenceable materials and how-to guides too. In terms of priority it’s whatever we believe will appeal the most to that particular audience. We try and get a holistic view before deciding which approach to take."

You mentioned using an external agency; how useful do you find being able to outsource some content?

Taryn: "We work with external agencies in a couple of ways, sometimes for content creation, other times for SEO and digital work. It has its pros and cons, but if you’re looking for experts who are tapped into trends, then the right agency can be a huge help. I do find that clear briefing and building good relationships with external writers is vital though, and those take time to establish."

Has your content strategy evolved over time or has it been more concrete?

Taryn: "At least since I’ve been here, we’ve always had a strong digital presence. Our inbound marketing strategy was already in place, which naturally requires a fair amount of content. At the time, this content was created by an agency that had little input from the marketing team (there just wasn’t time). Thus, I think there was a lack of audience knowledge which meant quality wasn’t as closely guarded and content wasn’t as 'deep' as it could have been."

"Now our strategy has become quite fluid. The strategy is (and has always been) consistent blogging that speaks to our personas, is SEO optimized, and drives them to download an eBook or a similar content asset so that we can engage with and nurture them via email marketing. We’ll either try and target a specific persona for one month, then move onto another or we’ll spread it evenly throughout the month."

Most companies know that a blog is core to gaining a strong relationship with customers, so for a lot of them this is their starting point. Creating such a variety of content, is a consistent blog still your main focus before ‘experimenting’ with mediums such as videos, infographics etc?

Taryn: "That’s a good question. Our downloadable content is core to what we do because it’s how we gather information about our potential customers. And our blog is designed to encourage people to download that content by completing a form."

"Blogs form part of our ‘top of funnel’ content: they’re not always selling what we do, but are more about getting people interested in Qorus and the topic we care about. Videos are then further down the funnel; case studies or company showcases allow people to learn more about us. We very much work all our content through a sales funnel."

We spoke to Michelle at our stand at WPC and she made similar remarks on the importance of planning your strategy. From publishing our Top 50 report, we found many Microsoft Partners struggle to get a streamlined and integrated strategy in place. What advice do you have for them?

Taryn: "I believe that it must start with personas – understanding your audience is arguably the most important aspect of content marketing. Once you know your audience, you can work out the search terms they use and build your content around the challenges they face."

"The other side of the coin is distribution. Once you have created your content, you need to get it out there."

Heather: "And that’s actually been one of our challenges – having all this great content and deciding on how to distribute it effectively. We’ve spent so much time, effort and money developing content, but if it simply sits on our blog and no one sees it, it’s all for nothing. Planning, and actually measuring, is very important."

"Reviewing the success of content tells me whether we’re reaching the right people with the right content. But it can be tricky to measure content effectiveness. For example, one piece of content might perform better than another simply because we shared it more widely through our social and email marketing channels, or because we put money behind it and advertised it. You have to take a holistic view."

"The notion of measurement is definitely an interesting one. Since you’ve been in charge of the content strategy, have you seen a consistent improvement in engagement or has it been more peaks and troughs?"

Heather: "I’d say we see clear peaks and troughs, not only in reach and engagement but also in sentiment and the comments we generate. Sometimes people won’t agree with your opinion - that’s bound to happen, and it can still be a good platform for conversation."

Taryn: "We have also found that the way we phrase our tweets and posts when sharing our content is quite important in driving engagement. We try to ensure we encourage comments and conversation, so we avoid generic tweets like ‘read our latest blog post’… Lazy social posting defeats all the other hard work – something our digital manager taught me early on!"

Heather: "We’ve also gotten better at working out what content gets the best engagement – so we aim to produce conversation-starting pieces."

"And engagement is something that can take time. We have found companies getting started with their marketing often consider a blog to be a ‘quick fix’; that they will immediately achieve 100 views but in reality it’s a gradual process."

Heather: "Exactly! It takes time to build credibility. People will only share things that resonate with them or they find relevant. As huge a platform as social media is, people don’t just share stuff without thought. It’s got to be worth sharing. You need to see it as an investment in building credibility and developing your brand."


CPS case study

CPS A cutting-edge web presence for a leading partner.

A leading Microsoft Gold Partner

Founded in 1995, CPS pride themselves on using integrated, joined-up solutions to help businesses the world over, earning them a coveted Microsoft Partner of the Year Award for 2016. As one of the leading Microsoft Partners, they know that an attractive and user-friendly website is of the utmost importance… yet it remained an area of need. A modern website overhaul – involving re-design, content and SEO – provided CPS with a slick and unified home for their services to mirror the core values of the company.

CPS case study

Design, build, content & SEO

CPS asked us to help them revamp their web presence to better reflect their updated brand. A modern overhaul met the company’s desire for a more content-focused approach to marketing: with revamped landing pages, interactivity, blogs and social sharing. As well as handling the design, information architecture and build work, we also provided CPS with fresh content to fill these new pages. Furthermore, we optimised all content for specific SEO keywords to enhance the visibility of the CPS website.

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Rencore Case Study

Rencore In depth content, SEO and marketing services.

Putting clarity at the core

Aiming to bring transparency to the SharePoint and Office 365 development process, Rencore’s dedication to optimising Microsoft’s two biggest platforms is reflected in their name. Stemming from the Swedish word “ren” – standing for clarity and clearness – and the English “core”, Rencore is home to internationally recognised developers, Microsoft MVPs and MCMs.

Rencore Case Study

Content and SEO

We work with Rencore on their website and blog SEO requirements, deploying a wide range of techniques focused on pushing great content up search engine rankings. The results speak for themselves, and we have been able to get Rencore’s website and blog articles ranking highly on Google for targeted keywords.

We employ classic SEO techniques, such as optimising content for keywords, using titles and images appropriately and ensuring content style, length and language meet optimal search engine requirements. We also help to push content towards community influencers, using social networks and relationship building techniques to promote the organic sharing of content.

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Metalogix case study

Metalogix Informative and engaging copywriting in a range of formats.

Defining the future of Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365

At just 15 years old, Metalogix has already stated their case as one of the leading voices in cloud collaboration. A business that continues to evolve as quickly as the technology they specialise in, Metalogix were looking for a new content campaign to inform audiences of the new and varied services they offer. Fifty Five and Five’s fully-fledged content offering ensured that message was broadcast to as many people as possible.

Bringing insights and clarity to complex subjects

We work regularly with Metalogix to provide a wealth of content in the form of whitepapers, eBooks and blogs. A lot of our work focuses on the complexities of maintaining availability, performance and security of content across enterprise systems.

Working closely with teams and stakeholders, we have built a clear understanding of the business challenges (and solutions) Metalogix are focused on. From detailing synopses to signing off finished work, we are able to support the team responsively and flexibly.

A range of content

Providing Metalogix with the full content spectrum, we create colloquial and friendly blog posts alongside longer form Whitepapers and eBooks. Our copywriting team have forged strong relationships with Metalogix' product specialists to gain in-depth knowledge around their tools and to keep up to date on all their latest tools and features.

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Infragistics Creating a raft of engaging content and copy.

A veteran in the field of user experience

With over 25 years’ experience in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) best practice, Infragistics have cemented their place as a worldwide leader in the enterprise software design space. With their own dedicated tools for rapid prototyping, self-service business intelligence and a mobile SharePoint, Infragistics support developers to build powerful, engaging and dynamic tools.

Business blogs, technical blogs, eBooks and whitepapers

We work with Infragistics across a number of content marketing projects. Through content for blogs, whitepapers and eBooks, we cover all manner of business, technical, and thought leadership subjects for both digital and print distribution.

Infragistics were looking for an agency that could offer them a wealth of technical expertise in the software developer tools and enterprise mobility space. Our team is unique in this respect, able to write with real clarity and understanding about Infragistics’ products and services.

We have worked on projects that show how Infragistics' tools can be used in a diverse range of sectors:

  • Construction
  • Banking and Finance
  • Education and Training

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