You’ve probably heard that content is king, but as an MSP, you may not feel comfortable writing blog posts, especially when you have vendor marketing guidelines to consider. Luckily, there are options that don’t require you to painstakingly write hundreds of blog posts yourself. To make it easier on you, we’ve put together this guide on content strategies for MSPs and channel partners.
DIY vs. outsourcing content
You first need to decide whether you’ll handle your content yourself or outsource it. Outsourcing to a professional will give you cleaner copy and a more polished product, but it’s also more expensive, and the content creator may not have the technical expertise you need them to. And while creating the content yourself will be cheaper and technically correct, it may not have the same impact that professionally produced content would. Plus, an experienced creator might have a better idea of what channel content marketing should look like, especially if they’ve worked with MSPs before.
Luckily, outsourcing doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Michelle Andreas, Vice President of Marketing at Logicalis US, says if you only have the budget to outsource part of your content creation, you should outsource the creative parts like graphics and videos. “If you have the best paid media campaign out there, it will not be successful if the creative is off or not tailored to your audience. Get the creative right, then spend the money on the other tactics to market that creative,” she says.
Create a brand identity
In order for your content to stand out, you need to create a brand identity and infuse that into each piece of content you create. What makes you stand out from other MSPs? What’s your value proposition? Baruch Labunski, Founder of Rank Secure, says, “If you don’t know what sets your MSP business apart from others, there’s not a chance in hell that prospective customers will.” MSP content strategies rely on differentiation because so many MSPs offer the same services or sell the same products.
Your value proposition needs to be provable, not something subjective like having the “best” customer service. Maybe you have a proprietary tool or an SLA that guarantees the most uptime in your area. But brand identity also includes your logo, color scheme, and slogan or tagline. Make sure you brand the content you create, so your audience can start associating it with your company.
Identify your target audience
Who are you trying to speak to with your content? “This goes far deeper than simply saying you’re trying to engage IT decision makers,” says Andreas. “Identifying specific job titles and mapping out associated content to reach those individuals, will yield greater engagement overall. While this is not a new concept, many overlook this important step in the process of content creation.” MSP content marketing has to be targeted for it to have the desired effect.
Figure out the kinds of businesses you go after and then map out the decision-makers they’re most likely to have. For example, small businesses without many in-house IT staff probably don’t have a CIO or a CISO, so you’ll likely want to target their COO or operations manager. And don’t just create one type of content because not everyone in your audience will consume content in the same way. While some might read blogs, others will prefer an audio or video format.
Focus on your clients’ needs
When creating your content, focus less on what you offer and more on what your clients actually need. Labunski says, “Find out what’s important to your prospective customers and set yourself up as the solution to their problems. Pain points? Here’s the fix.” Prospective clients aren’t going to care what your product or service can do until you relate it back to them. No one knows your clients better than you, so even if you outsource, work with your content creators to explain the pain points your audience faces and what the solutions are.
“I believe the best content invites readers to engage in a conversation,” explains Labunski. “You can bring up a topic that they really care about. You can be funny or provocative (consistent with your brand identity, of course). You can ask questions, create content that they’ll want to share, or ask for input from clients about what matters most to them. Starting that conversation means your clients and prospects are engaged — and that’s effective content.”
Keep it simple
Your content doesn’t have to be groundbreaking to be successful. Stick to the basics, especially until you get more comfortable with the work. Make your content easy to access and understand, while giving your audience the answers they’re looking for. Once they’ve come to trust your content, it’s not a huge leap for them to trust you with their business.
Event marketing is changing too, thanks to the pandemic. Andreas says, “From an event standpoint, the “fun” with digital events is over. Customers want more business-driven events. Make the message and speaker compelling; get back to basics!” Don’t try to distract your audience with gimmicks. Just focus on your messaging and how you can best serve them.
Play to your strengths when it comes to content marketing
When creating content, remember that you don’t have to outsource everything or do everything in-house. Play to your strengths and get help where you need it. You have the technical knowledge, but maybe you don’t feel comfortable writing or making a video. Work with creative contractors to get your message across in a way that will attract and resonate with your audience. And if you don’t know where to start, TechnologyAdvice offers custom content creation programs that offer written, audio, and video options.