Structured Information in a nutshell

We create and distribute marketing content for technology companies such as white papers, case studies, bylined articles, press releases, collateral, web copy, etc. Our core competency is our ability to quickly understand technology products and services and communicate their advantages clearly to the intended audience. 

Contact information

Phone: 781-728-5068

Email: info@strucinfo.com

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Monday
May062013

Obtaining coverage on your products in special articles and issues

It's frustrating when one of the key publications in your industry comes out with a major article highlighting your company's category of products but doesn't mention any of your products. Beyond losing this key promotional opportunity, chances are that there are 5-20 less visible opportunities every month for your company's products to be mentioned in publications or websites that cover your product, technology category or target markets. Many of these opportunities are relatively easy to take advantage of because the publications are often not looking for you to go to the trouble of drafting a complete article but simply want you to provide information that may already exist or would like to interview an appropriate person at your company.

How can you best take advantage of these opportunities? The first step is to obtain editorial calendars for the publications that target your prospects and customers. Prepare a spreadsheet of relevant issues and articles sorted by the publication's deadline for materials to be submitted. Contact the publications a month or so before their deadline to offer to provide materials for the article or issue. Offer to provide background information such as product releases and white papers, make your executives available for interviews or submit a contributed article. Editors are busy so there's a good chance your original message might be overlooked. Be prepared to follow-up as needed to make sure your offer is received and considered. If the editor accepts your offer, then after you provide what is requested, further follow-ups will be needed to keep the project on track and get a copy of the finished article.

We can help by taking charge of the complete process of tracking and following up on editorial opportunities for a low monthly fee. We utilize a database of editorial opportunities to identify targets and track submittals and follow-ups. A key advantage is that we have the technical background to understand what editors are looking for and can identify and select relevant information from existing materials or write it from scratch if it does not exist. We have written and placed over 9,000 articles in nearly every area of technology. If you are interested, please send me an email and I will send you examples of articles we have written and placed in your field. We also write white papers, technical papers, collateral, press releases, web pages and other type of marketing materials and also distribute press releases. Hope we can work together in the future!

Wednesday
Dec122012

How to generate consistent coverage in the technology/industry press

Companies selling technology products to businesses need coverage in technology publications and on the web to draw prospects to their website, generate leads and present a technology leadership image to potential buyers. Here are some ideas on planning a program that will generate regular coverage in publications and websites that target buyers of technology products and services.

With reductions in publication editorial staff, generating content on your product and company is a crucial first step in obtaining visibility for technology companies. Several types of content are popular with publication editors and buyers of technology products and services:

  • Case studies explaining how companies are successfully using your technology products and services
  • Thought leadership articles educating buyers in how to successfully select and use your products and services
  • News items on your new products, partnership relationships, major purchases, etc.

The next step is placing this content in publications and websites where it will be read by potential customers. Placement can begin even before creation of the content by identifying relevant publications, reviewing their editorial calendars and contacting editors to bounce article ideas off them. In cases where editors are writing articles relevant to your products, you can offer to provide experts to be interviewed and background information that they can use in their articles. In the more common case where the publication is soliciting submitted articles, you can provide them with articles that meet their requirements. News releases can be distributed to a targeted list of publications and the results tracked in a spreadsheet.

Structured Information can help you plan a program that will generate regular coverage in the technology press and also produce content for your website and other promotional efforts. Our strengths include the ability to write technical content in a broad range of technologies and relationships with publication editors that enable us to consistently place articles. Our services include writing case studies, thought leadership articles and news releases, article placements, news release distribution and complete public relations programs. Hope we can work together in the future!

Wednesday
Oct242012

How to write outstanding case studies

A recent survey by TechValidate found that case studies were ranked #2 among different types of marketing content in lead generation effectiveness and #1 in lead nurturing effectiveness by B2B marketing and sales professionals. The same study also found that case studies are the second least costly type of content to produce.

One reason that case studies work so well is that people love to read stories. So a case study should always be written as a story. It's usually best to begin the article with a short summary so that readers can quickly determine whether or not it applies to them. Next set the scene by explaining a bit about the customer and what makes them unique. Present the customer's challenge. Show how your product or service addressed that challenge. Then finally demonstrate the benefits received by the customer. Avoid superlatives about your product and marketing lingo as they can detract from the credibility of the article.

The best case studies are those that demonstrate a big win for your customer. But not every case study is this clear-cut. You can make any story more interesting by focusing not just on the product but also on what's interesting about the customer as well. Certain industries inherently attract wide interest such as auto racing and space exploration. Customers can be interesting because they are connected to a news event or represent a unique achievement, such as being the biggest or oldest something or because they are unusual in some other way. Find out what makes the customer interesting and weave their story into the case study.

Details add interest and credibility to the case study and make it easier for the reader to determine whether or not the solution described in the article applies to them. The importance of details is demonstrated by the fact that the standard length of a case study for many publications is 1500 words -- about two full pages in a print publication. The types of details that draw in readers include specifics on the customer's business, how they conduct operations, what types of issues they were having, the solution provided by your company, and of course, metrics on the benefits they have achieved.

It's important to avoid subject areas that might make it difficult to get the article approved. Customers are often willing to provide information on the problem they were having in the past but when management reviews the article later problems may arise. Admitting that there was a problem in a previous version of their product could make management reluctant to approve the article. So it's important to determine up front what problems can be discussed and, if necessary, make the challenge section more general. For example, you might say that the customer wanted to make further improvements to its already high levels of quality.

Many companies find the best approach to producing case studies is to hire an experienced independent writer. I have written about 4,000 case studies on a wide range of technology products and services. If you are interested, please send me an email and I will send you examples of case studies I have written in your field. I also write white papers, bylined articles, press releases, web pages and just about any other type of marketing materials and also do placements. Hope we can work together in the future!

Thursday
Sep132012

How to locate the information you need to create great technical content

Gathering the required in-depth technical information is often the hardest part of creating a case study, white paper, application note, etc. Here are some suggestions on how to uncover the source material you need to create great marketing content.

Conserve the time of experts in your own company by providing an outline that makes it clear what information you are trying to obtain and how it will be used. Using a writer with as much experience as possible in the topic will help reduce the amount of time required for the interview and avoid frustration on the part of the subject matter expert.

Information provided by customers has greater credibility and the customer's perspective is typically the same as the audience's. Customers usually are willing to cooperate with your content creation effort as long as you assure them that their contribution will not be used as part of a blatant sales pitch and that they will have a chance to review the material prior to publication. Again, using an experienced writer with a technical background will minimize the amount of time required on your customer's part and ensure that they are happy with the final result.

Industry experts, such as analysts, educators, consultants, and authors, also add credibility and may provide expertise in areas where your own people are lacking. To gain their cooperation, provide assurance that the content will help increase their own visibility.

While facts and opinions provided by your people, customers and industry experts should always constitute the primary thrust, information obtained from the Internet can provide supporting documentation, background information and complementary opinions. This content can be utilized either by quoting and crediting the source or by rewriting more generic content.

Structured Information has extensive experience in producing substantive content in nearly every area of technology. We can help convince your customers and industry experts to cooperate with your content generation efforts, obtain the needed information from your sources in the least possible time and dig out supporting information on the Internet. We produce case studies, white papers, bylined articles, web copy, sales literature, etc. Hope we can work together in the future!

Tuesday
Mar132012

Getting Wikipedia articles published on your top people

Steve Jobs was a notable example of a corporate executive who by becoming an industry guru transformed his company's new product introductions into media extravaganzas. While Jobs was a unique case, nearly every B2B market has technical gurus that frequently comment in publications and blogs on technology and market trends from their company's point of view.

You can help your company's executives achieve industry guru status by publishing articles in industry publications and blogs under their byline, quoting them in press releases, and arranging speaking engagements for them.

But the gold standard for an industry guru is a biographical article in Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the 6th most visited site on the Web so it usually comes up at or near the top of search results. Wikipedia is also used by editors to validate the expertise of people they are thinking of featuring in an article.

One of the reasons that a Wikipedia article on a person has so much value is that it is so difficult to obtain. Wikipedia demands that the notability of every article subject be proven by being written about numerous times by independent publications. Wikipedia also has many writing style requirements that are primarily intended to ensure that articles are not promotional.

We can help you achieve industry guru status for your company's executives. We can do an assessment at no charge as to whether your people have achieved the level of notability to merit a Wikipedia article. If they have, we can write and publish the article. If they have not achieved the required notability, we can provide a proposal to help them get there by writing and placing articles under their name and arranging for articles to be written about them.

We have written and published over 10,000 articles for technology companies including many articles on companies and people in Wikipedia and articles in over 3,000 publications and blogs covering the full spectrum of the technology industry. Our core competency is our experience with a wide range of technology subjects and our ability to communicate them to a B2B audience. Hope we can work together in the future!