IAN GREENLEIGH

Author | Marketer | Speaker

I help companies turn data, ideas and relationships into reach and influence. 

Quit blogging like a tech company

Every tech company in the world thinks they're innovative. A fraction of them truly are. The companies that have widespread recognition as innovators had to earn that recognition before anyone would listen when they talked about themselves. But the majority of tech companies talk about themselves as if they've earned your attention. And they haven't. They imagine you'll come back again to read more. And you won't.

This is a low barriers to entry story, as is so much else in social. Blogs are free or cheap to own or build. They cost nothing to use. Why bother devoting time and energy to creating great content for something that you and I and everyone else can get for free? “But if my website comes with a blog, I have to put something up there,” says the tech company. “What do I have lying around here? Let's see...release notes, press releases, customer testimonials...” Those are easy to cross-post on a blog, and they make that vacant real estate look like it's been lived in. They'll quickly find that these post types aren't the golden content they've been looking for, so they resolve to create some original content of their own. It's a step in the right direction.

Then they discover how easy it is to blog about themselves. "I could do this all day," says the CxO, or marketing guy, or PR intern. And they could! But no one reads it, or cares. Sooner or later, when that ROI never appears from the ether, they give up. And then they're really blogging like a tech company, because they're actually blogging so infrequently, it's a sad little ghost town of quarterly posts.

Because people only care what you do or think once you've given them a reason to.

Google could devote 12 blogs to how it cleans its bathrooms at the 'plex, and thousands of people would read them every day. Marc Benioff could blog about his hand soap collection, and people would care, because they care about Marc Benioff; they want to get inside his mind. But 99% of tech companies aren't there yet.

Blog like you have something to prove, even if you don’t think you do.

Get rid of the product release content and write about the ideas that led you to that release. Congrats on winning that award, but your blog is a better place to talk about the philosophy that enabled the work that qualified you for entry, or what you learned along the way. What is the space your solutions are filling? Blog about that space, not those solutions.

At a certain point, you’ll know when people are really  listening, and you can flip the switch and start writing about yourself. But take note; even the best, most revered tech companies in the world don’t write about themselves exclusively.

The best tech companies tell great stories in which they're not always the main character. But by mastering this idea-driven storytelling, they are positively associated with the ideas expressed. If you put 10% of the thought that you put into your products into your blog, you can come out ahead of the 99% of tech companies that see their blog as a content dump.

 

© 2016 Ian Greenleigh