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Supercharge your content with a killer creative brief

Posted by admin
Tuesday June 27, 2017
Categories: Uncategorized
Image result for supercharger photo

There were 72 million news articles written in 2016, according to Google News. And the volume is growing: 18.4 million stories were published in the first quarter of this year already.

It’s known by many names: content shockwave, glut, squeeze, tsunami — the over-saturation of material competing for views and clicks. Throw in today’s machine-generated content and shorter-than-ever attention spans and the challenge to stand out and be heard becomes self-evident.

If you’re a marketer today, you’re also a publisher. You’re the medium as well as the message. So how do you deliver relevant messaging that doesn’t get drowned out by today’s content deluge? The good news: there are time-tested ways of going about it.

A case in point: The creative brief has stood the test of time, having been a mainstay of marketing for generations. But never has it been more critical to successful communications than in today’s deafening environment. Crafted properly, the creative brief can guide the development of highly nuanced content that targets intended audiences with laser-like precision that can capture a fleeting viewership.

You know a great creative brief when you see it because it reveals a high-definition profile of the buyer, or the customer persona, at the right stage in the buying process.

Recently, a client of ours in the cyber-security industry, GuardiCore, wanted to reach three distinct types of buyers within the same target company — the business decision maker (BDM), the technical decision maker (TDM) and the technical influencer (TI). The brief we used carefully delineated each role in the buying process, including job function and title depending on company size.

Below, the descriptions of each of these functional personas was used as the basis for writing blog posts, case studies, FAQs, white papers, use cases and more. The more finely-drawn profile of your reader, the more finely tuned (read: useful) you can make your content.

BDM: Aligns the goals and objectives of the business with industry trends and requirements for security, and draws on technical teams to translate the broader business requirements into technical requirements. In a medium-size enterprise (250-1000 employees), they are CIOs or VPs of info security. In organizations with headcounts of more than 1,000, they are CISO, chief security officer or VP cloud network security.

TDM (target buyer): Translates the business requirements into security requirements, leads/drives designing, testing, implementing and maintaining systems, and partners with manufacturers and services providers. Typical title: manager or director of IT security.

TI: Performs the technical evaluation of systems/solutions and advises/guides the TDM with specific input. May be known as a security administrator in a medium-size company; in a large enterprise may carry title of security architect/engineer, security administrator or security operations director.

Keep in mind that each stage of the buyer’s journey calls for a slightly different slant. At the awareness stage, your target is gathering basic information. This means that videos, blogs, eBooks and “Questions to Ask Vendors” serve the best educational purposes.

At the consideration stage, you’re moving into territory where it’s appropriate to present your business and/or technical case for consideration. Webinars, case studies FAQs, whitepapers and third-party reviews are appropriate tools at this stage.

Buyers who’ve reached the decision stage are prime for a free trial, ROI analysis, demos, and consultations leading to estimates and quotes.

By pre-defining your intended audience with this level of granularity, your writers, producers, videographers and creative directors can tailor their respective content initiatives with greater efficiency that delivers optimum results.

Another way to look at the marketing challenge in a world awash in content is to remember the old science and engineering measure of the signal-to-noise ratio: you strive for a desired signal level to overcome the background noise. It so happens that a great creative brief is key to sending audible marketing signals in a noisy world.

So before your next foray into content marketing, start with an audience profile informed by a killer creative brief.

Why Great Interviewers Produce the Best Content

Posted by waAdmin
Monday July 6, 2015
Categories: Uncategorized

why great interviewers produce the best content

No matter what kind of content we’re tasked with producing – whether it’s a case study, new web copy, a solution brief or a ghost-written thought leadership article – invariably there’s an interview with a subject matter expert to guide the output.

That’s a given.

But not all interviews are the same, no matter what questionnaire template you design. In fact, they are like diamonds, snowflakes, and fingerprints: they are utterly unique.

So how do good interviewers extract the most meaningful information for content development purposes? In my experience as a former journalist trained in the art of asking probing questions, sometimes it’s the unexpected follow-up that yields the best results.

I’ll give you a good example. For the past two years, Write Angle has been producing case studies for Pure Storage. Yes, we’ve developed a questionnaire that asks about the nature of a customer’s business, their pain points, the evaluation process, selection criteria, key technical and business benefits and TCO/ROI results. And yes, the questionnaire has evolved over time to keep pace with product innovation and shifts in value propositions.

What’s not built into these interview guidelines is what I refer to as the art of the redirect or subtle insistence on elaboration. Sometimes a seemingly innocuous question can yield a dynamite response, especially with a difficult interviewee that isn’t terribly expansive.

A case in point involved a financial services customer whose corporate communications team sat in on the interview to “oversee” the interview. While this presented a gating influence from the outset, the subject of the interview was a “just the facts” spokesperson. After getting blunt and uninspiring input, I decided to shift gears i.e. utilize the redirect. I decided to ask about this individual’s history as an IT director so he could get comfortable talking about himself. Not only did this “loosen” him up, it provided some historical context that allowed me to probe for his experience with legacy storage systems and how this contrasted with his organization’s adoption of flash storage.

The results were dramatic. Suddenly, I had an expansive and engaged subject. By invoking the redirect strategy, I succeeded in pushing for greater elaboration to responses. This resulted in terrific real world examples of “before and after” scenarios involving his storage infrastructure. What had been a teeth-pulling exercise morphed into an engaging story with real drama: a subtle yet growing problem threatening a segment of the business; a proof of concept trial ripe with competitive give and take; and a powerful resolution with meaningful results that went well beyond technical metrics.

So what’s the takeaway? Like great jazz musicians, be prepared to improvise when leading an interview. Sometimes straying from the melody can take you in an entirely new direction with better results.

As a former journalist trained in the art of asking good questions, it goes without saying that the “Who, What, When, Where and Why” line of questioning is a starting point. But It’s a blocking and tackling set of tactics

Content Development in 2013: A Look Back

Posted by admin
Tuesday January 14, 2014
Categories: Uncategorized

Content Development in 2013:  A Look Back


As we ramp up for what looks like a very busy 2014, it’s always good to look back at the variety of content development projects we tackled in 2013.

It’s no surprise that Big Data, Cloud and Mobility clients dominated our time.  But we also found opportunities to collaborate with one of the world’s most famous science museums and an emerging talent recruiting organization.

Here’s a short list of key clients and the projects we worked in 2013:

AppSense:   Write Angle was tasked with crafting copy for the company’s MobileNow web site as well as use cases, a comprehensive MobileNow datasheet, a BYOX white paper, a case study and a strategic iOS7 Readiness blog.

Cloudscaling:  Delivering elastic cloud infrastructure to enterprises, service providers and web application providers, Cloudscaling turned to Write Angle to help with a comprehensive web refresh.

Exploratorium:  In our second year of collaboration with one of the world’s most famous science museums, Write Angle was called upon to develop compelling content for the organization’s Annual Fund brochure and Annual Report.  Look for writing samples soon once these pieces are published.

Glassbeam:  Providing business intelligence from machine log data, Glassbeam once again utilized Write Angle to develop a key Service Revenue Generation solution brief as well as a case study featuring Hitachi Data Systems.

Paxata:  Emerging from stealth this year as a highly innovative provider of Adaptive Data Preparation technology for agile business intelligence, Paxata is working with Write Angle in the development of two major contributed thought leadership pieces that will publish in the Q1/Q2 timeframe.  Check back for a look at these compelling articles.  We also created a “Declaration of Data Independence” marketing collateral that supported the company’s coming out party at the recent Strata Conference.

Pertino:  As one of the most innovative providers of cloud networking solutions, Pertino turned to Write Angle to help craft its “Under the Hood” web copy.

SenSage/HEXIS Cyber Solutions:  Write Angle was called upon to deliver a wide variety of content for venerable SIEM vendor Sensage that was acquired by KEYW Corporation/Hexis Cyber Solutions.  We crafted a thought-provoking piece entitled “Defending Against APTs:  Looking For the Big Picture” that ran in the December 20, 2013 edition of SC Magazine.  In addition, Write Angle developed a comprehensive white paper addressing the The Event Analysis and Retention Dilemma.

TalentSky:  Formerly known as Devine Capital, the executive recruiting firm that helped Apple land CEO Tim Cook, TalentSky engaged Write Angle to develop an entirely new web site reflecting the company’s new brand and approach to talent acquisition services.

What are your content development needs in 2014?

Hello world!

Posted by waAdmin
Thursday September 19, 2013
Categories: Uncategorized

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Making your messages drive more sales

Posted by admin
Wednesday April 27, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized

It’s satisfying to see principles that we’ve touted for years enjoy more traction and visibility in today’s Sales 2.0 world. The concept of revenue-minded marketing is a prime example. A post today in a Marketo’s blog calls out the new focus on sales and marketing alignment intended to maximize each function’s specific skills and what they do best. In fact, the software vendor urges marketers to be more “revenue focused”. Amen, indeed.

The message to marketers? It’s never been enough to only be good at “messaging”. To be a sales-minded marketer, your content must be informed by sales-mindedness. Familiarity with the world your customers live in. Being conversant in their daily issues. At the very least, all terminology of campaigns and product materials must reflect the language of customers and prospects. Ditto for website copy, collateral, and anything else seen by customers, users and prospects.

Tools such as those available from vendors like Marketo and Eloqua among other things enable predicting future revenue based on present efforts. When investments in marketing generate revenue, and everyone can see and measure the cause-and-effect, you make course corrections faster. You can better allocate your budget. Added bonus: making your budget case for a bigger investment will not fall on deaf ears of management. And then you’re free to focus on even more revenue-minded marketing content.