Five Hacks to Optimize your Content for CIOs

Cecilia Bylund • 19 May, 2021

Content for CIOs

Working in marketing at a B2B tech company presents special challenges compared with less technical industries. Targeting CIOs might be tricky, as they are often under pressure with an ever-increasing list of tasks and responsibilities attributed to the role. And we see that a lot of the content that is targeting CIOs, are too technically detailed and sales-heavy while mostly talking about features as opposed to benefits.

So, how can you lure the CIOs attention via your content? This post is aimed at providing you with 5 hacks to appeal to the CIOs with the right message.

Hack 1 – Be Specific

Writing too broadly is a common pitfall in content campaigns. Sometimes you might be afraid of narrowing that scope and missing out on some people. In other cases, it could be a sign that you have not defined your persona or another parameter clearly enough. As a rule of thumb, think quality over quantity when it comes to the scope of your campaign. That’s the key to getting more high-quality leads.

This means being specific about:

Persona: Make your persona as detailed as possible and limit the number of personas.
Buyer’s journey: Make sure each content piece fits into a specific stage in the buyer’s journey.
Demographics: Limit the number of industries and company sizes for each campaign.
Solution: Focus on content related to as few of your products and services as possible.
Call to action: Don’t overcomplicate your CTAs. Single-purpose landing pages and CTAs are more effective.


Hack 2 – Talk to the Customer

Is your company talking about itself or talking to CIOs in your content?

It’s not uncommon to receive some really interesting blog posts from technical consultants that start off great but then descend into a we/our spiral. You want to come across as authoritative, helpful and unbiased. So, don’t come on too strongly and don’t talk directly about your products in early-stage content. Talk about what the CIO should look for in a solution instead of what your solution can do. Or talk about how certain features (that you happen to have, of course) can benefit the CIO directly or help solve specific challenges instead of bragging about your product’s features. See examples on the next page! Remember, it’s all about keeping the CIO’s interests and challenges front and centre. Start personalizing by checking that your content uses you/your more than we/our. Even automated nurturing emails should still feel like they were written individually.


Don’t say:

This is how we solve the problem

Our product can do X

Our processes provide benefit Y


Do say:

This is how you can solve the problem

You need a collaboration tool that does X

You can enjoy benefit Y with the right processes


Hack 3 – Catch the CIO’s attention and keep it

As mentioned above, CIOs, in particular, tend to be stressed and don’t have a lot of time to leisurely read content all day just for fun.

As a result, you’ll need to go the extra mile to ensure your content’s value and relevance is clear. A good introduction that is catchy, different, and shouts to the target audience by grabbing their attention is a perfect way to start.

Both of the first two hacks we’ve talked about are extra important in the first words your audience will read. For instance, be clear that you are talking to a CIO about specific challenges and solutions in the title, subtitle, social posts, email subject lines, landing page, and the introduction to your content.

Of course, your title must be interesting, but you also need to deliver on what you promise. You can’t just throw some clickbait out there and not live up to it. Remember, your goal is not just to catch the CIO’s attention momentarily, but to keep it and drive them toward conversion in your CTA.

Someone who doesn’t make it to the end of your content may not ever even see your CTA, so conversion also requires that all of your content is relevant. When in doubt, less is more, so don’t be afraid to cut out some parts and skip points that are not absolutely essential and relevant. This way, our busy CIO is more likely to read more of your content, and most importantly, make it to the end!


Hack 4 – Make your Content Visually Appealing

Do you have mountains or islands of text in your content? Long paragraphs that go on and on are like mountains that your persona may not be up for climbing. On the other hand, isolated sentences hanging out on their own are like deserted islands outside of the world of context.

"When a relevant image is paired with information, the percentage of people who will remember it three days later increases from 10% to 65%" – Brain " Rules by John Medina

Loads of text without some visual variety can get boring as well. Make sure to throw in some bullet lists, pop-out quotes, photos, and other visual elements to improve readability, catch the reader’s attention, and hammer home a key point.


Hack 5: Deliver Value without going Overboard on Details

Our busy CIO may not have patience with or might get lost in content that’s too full of details and not to the point.

However, CIOs are also proud of their tech expertise and may not appreciate being treated as if they’re an amateur. In addition, oversimplified content may also run the risk of not adding any value because it’s nothing the CIO doesn’t already know.

That’s why it’s important to bring an understanding of both content marketing and tech to content production. Someone who doesn’t understand the tech may not deliver any value and someone who doesn’t understand content marketing may be too detailed and not know how to package the content for readability.

Linking to statistics and paraphrasing and quoting external sources are very important and useful parts of content marketing, but you should not be afraid to add your take. You don’t need to reveal all your secrets and tell your entire story, but make a point of sharing some tips and insights from your company’s unique experience and expertise relevant to the CIO’s challenges.

The quality of your content is a high priority and key to your success, this includes content marketing deliverables in order to build relationships and trust. Keep your content visually appealing, ensure to captivate the reader at the start of your piece, and make sure that it is aimed with your target persona in mind and that the value you bring within the piece is enough without revealing all the tricks in your book!


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