What a big-data vendor’s splashy debut can teach about creating great content

Posted: January 31, 2012 in content creation, content optimization, marketing, Silicon Valley, vendors, web traffic
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The Big Black Microphone


Jerry Della Femina, legendary ad executive from the “Mad Men” era, insisted his copywriters gather seven times the amount of source information needed on any subject prior to penning one word of marketing material.  A half-century later, we can’t argue.

The time-honored approach paid off again this week in the splashy debut today of our client Sumo Logic, a next-generation log management and analytics service competing in the red-hot Big Data revolution.  What we generated on their behalf, starting from scratch, amounted to a full menu of short- and long-form content, from web copy to FAQs, datasheets, use cases, case studies and whitepapers.

Sumo Logic made its directive crystal clear: develop compelling content that drives web traffic and craft a story that positions the company as highly differentiated, innovative and above all else, relevant and believable.   To the client’s credit, they demanded high-value content that stands up to the pushing, shoving and “prove it” probes from devil’s advocates: customers, media and analysts alike.

So what’s the key lesson learned? It begins with gathering as much relevant secondary and background material as possible.  Then comes a layer of deep sourcing sessions or interviews with all the key people. Kudos to our client for their enthusiastic collaboration providing direct and extensive access to the CEO, CTO, co-founder and director of biz dev, and the executive sales liaison. It’s here where we extract the primary material.  In these sessions we want to come away with the “ore” that can be processed into high-grade ingots:  the specific, real-world examples of customer struggles and challenges.  We probe for as many viable use-cases as possible.

What we’ve learned over the years is that the stronger the reader identification with these use cases, the deeper the impression and the more compelling the read. Only when we’ve extracted all relevant details do we prepare a tight outline as the storyboard or blueprint of the final product. Each piece — web pages, case studies, whitepapers and more — is a specific chapter in the company story.

The Sumo Logic intro reminded us, again, how perspiration trumps inspiration when it comes to crafting really great marketing content. Content drives marketing and sales today as in no other time.  And somewhere, Jerry D. is smiling.

What’s your content-development process?  How do your mobilize for intros and product launches?


(This post was also published today in The Write Stuff, the blog of Write Angle Inc.)


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