Don’t beat a dead topic: find your niche in the Forbes Tech Council

From a high-level marketing perspective, developing content for Forbes Technology Council that is unique and actionable for readers may seem like a simple task. The medium and mode of the message is already determined. It even comes with an engaged audience of likeminded innovative professionals and business leaders. If the company’s marketing message has already been successful in sales meetings and investor relations, surely it will also resonate with the Forbes Tech Council (FTC) audience? If the company leadership has well-thought-out strategies and real-world expertise that built a small startup into a successful company, surely that will be interesting to the FTC readers? Well, yes. And no.  
The FTC audience is eager to learn new things, including strategies to apply technology to business operations, as well as technology leaders’ unique recommendations for better corporate leadership of increasingly technology-dependent enterprises. The key is to share something new. But that doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel (or your company’s messaging and strategy) to develop successful, engaging FTC content that both increases networking potential and the value of a leader’s personal brand.  

Identifying Unique Topics That Are New to The FTC Audience 

The FTC audience is diverse. While the content focuses on business technology and leadership, those topics can apply to a broad range of industries and professionals. It’s more effective to reach a targeted audience with highly relevant messaging that speaks directly to their needs.  

Start by researching the relevant content that has already been published on FTC. Identify key words and phrases that are at the core of the message, expertise, and technologies. Use a search engine – preferably one designed for researching news and media with highly specific criteria – to find all the FTC articles that apply to those terms that have published in the past 6 months (or a longer timeframe for more niche industries). Develop a list of article themes and titles that address the key terms. An engine with highly specific search criteria makes this research and analysis much less time-consuming. Of course, your PR team would be happy to support you in this effort!  

Developing an Engaging FTC Content Strategy  

Once a comprehensive list of relevant content that has already published is created, it can be used to guide the identification of unique article topics. The list of published content can even be used to inform the content strategy. Avoiding covering the same topics is best, but if a business leader has a different way of approaching the same topic, wants to address an aspect of the topic that was missed, or simply disagrees with the approach suggested in the previous content, it can be a useful way of identifying new and unique means of covering well-tread ground with a distinct perspective. Obviously, don’t call out other FTC members and business leaders by name, but offering a new consideration or way of looking at a topic can revive and reinvigorate a previously closed discussion. Keep in mind, as with improv comedy, it’s always better to enter the conversation with a “yes, and…,” rather than a “no, instead….”  

At the very least, the list will serve as a quick reference to ensure any FTC articles address new topics that have not yet been covered by the publication’s members. No one likes an old over-used joke. The same goes for FTC content. When developing new article themes, once again, don’t reinvent the wheel. Use what has made the company successful, whether that’s a new way of approaching business leadership, a new way of applying technology to an industry or problem, new research finding that highlights the need for an innovative solution, or anything in between and beyond.  

Selling Ideas to The FTC Audience & Editors (Without Selling a Thing) 

The trick is to convey that message in a way that doesn’t directly sell a product or point the reader to a specific brand. That’s an advertisement. FTC readers, and editors want compelling articles that cause the reader to think about business problems and strategies in new and exciting ways – and inspire them to take action in their own businesses. In the long run, the increased value of the leaders’ personal brand, the company’s thought leadership, and the unique topics and strategies addressed in the articles will drive readers and customers to the company. 

One aspect of FTC articles that has become increasingly important to the publication’s editors in recent years is the inclusion of actionable insights. This involves more than simply addressing a problem and stating how it should be solved. FTC editors and readers want actionable, nearly step by step instructions on what they can do to solve the problem. This includes everything from telling the reader how to diagnose the issue, what to look for in a solution (which is the ideal time to evangelize the advantages of a specific product, strategy or technology in a vendor-neutral way), and how to go about deploying that solution. Not only do these insights offer a step-by-step way of solving the problem for the reader, but they also show the author knows exactly what they’re talking about; and ideally walks the reader, step by actionable step, to the author’s front door to ask for help solving the problem.  

Unique & Actionable: The Key to Successful FTC Content  

Just as all FTC content should be unique, each company’s FTC content strategy will be unique. These are broad strategies that will help most teams identify the best route to take in FTC content development, regardless of industry or technology category. However, these best practices are not hard rules that can never be broken, nor are they exhaustive. There are many ways to solve a problem – ways that reasonable business leaders can disagree on – just as there are many ways to approach content development. However, ensuring that any articles are, in short, unique and actionable, is a great rule of thumb for making sure FTC strategies are on track. 

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