The Art of Engaging Content← View More Work
WatchGuard Technologies is a global leader in network security with a mission to make enterprise-grade security accessible to companies of all types and sizes through simplicity. More than 75,000 customers worldwide have deployed the company’s unified threat management and firewall products. With offices throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific, WatchGuard is sold by more than 10,000 dedicated resellers in 120 countries.
Be creative, be smart, be genuine
Establishing thought leadership is key to validating your brand. One way to become that authoritative subject matter expert (SME) is to provide solid content for newsrooms that are overwhelmed by both decreased staff and a flood of questionable news. With a little planning, creativity and foresight, you can turn your engineering or product team into a headline-generating machine.
If you’re not blessed with an industry rock star on your team already, building a campaign from ground zero takes good project management, strong writing and a dose of patience. Consider these tips:
1. Identify 2-3 potential internal subject matter experts (SMEs) that have a passion for the business and like educating others. For example WatchGuard’s SMEs consist of the CTO, a product manager and a threat research analyst.
2. Conduct internal brainstorms to generate new compelling ideas. Let the SMEs validate or reject the topics.
3. Narrow the list to 3-4 monthly topics and write compelling abstracts and catchy headlines for each.
4. As you pitch the editors, be sure to make a case not only for the topic, but for why your SME should be chosen. You’re working to burnish credentials, and this may require starting with some tier two publications that can build their profile.
5. Once approved, see if the SME can do the initial draft. If not, just get some bullets or do a quick interview and write it for them.
Getting the article published is just step one. Now that you’ve got content in hand, think about how you can market it to build an audience. What about creating an accompanying blog post with details that may have been cut from the original piece? Have you blasted it out in your weekly/monthly partner or customer newsletter? Did you run a promoted social media campaign on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? How can you make this the first in a series for that particular publication?
When everyone pulls in the same direction, the results can be astounding. For example, with WatchGuard in 2016, the team secured and helped create 56 contributed articles in publications such as Dark Reading, Help Net Security, GeekWire, CFO, Cyber Defense News, Retail TouchPoints, CSO Online, Yahoo, Hospitality Technology and more. The team has carried that success into Q1 2017, publishing 14 new contributed pieces on topics such as “6 Lessons ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Can Teach You About Cybersecurity” and “5 Signs It’s Time to Call an MSSP.”