The technology sector has always been a leader in content creation. But with so many companies producing so much content, it can be hard for a newcomer to see the full landscape and identify whitespace in the market.

What are tech brands writing about? Where are they sharing their content? Which ones have the largest share of voice?

At Knotch, we wanted to find answers to these questions. So we used our proprietary content planning software, Knotch Blueprint, to compile data on all the paid content (that is, content created by a brand that they pay to have shared in a third-party outlet) produced by Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Alibaba over the past year (July 2019 - July 2020)

Why these brands? We feel they serve as a fair representation of the overall enterprise tech content landscape.

Here’s what we found.

Keyword Analysis

We started our analysis by filtering the keywords that appear most often in the paid content produced by these four technology brands over the past year. We then pared down the list to the top 15 keywords used over the past year. They are as follows:

  • Privacy
  • Cloud 
  • Business
  • AI 
  • Analytics
  • Data
  • Personalization
  • Performance
  • Technology
  • Security
  • Enterprise
  • Intelligence
  • Infrastructure
  • Transformation
  • Google

From there, we tried to illustrate the frequency with which each keyword appears as a percentage of the total amount of content published (i.e. the keyword “Privacy” was used in 11.9% of all paid tech content published between July 2019 - July 2020).

paid tech content

Here are some of the key takeaways from that analysis:

  • The keywords “Cloud,” “Privacy,” and “Business” comprised 30% of the total share of voice (SOV).
  • The keyword “Google” had the highest SOV [13%]. Interestingly, IBM’s content housed the second most mentions of this keyword [32%]. Google Cloud comprised 34% of the mentions, with Google only at 25% of the total mentions. 
  • Microsoft had the largest count of the keywords “Business” [31%], “Technology” [41%], and “Intelligence” [60%]. 

Lastly, we sought to understand article length based on different keywords. This provides some insight into how these brands approach creating content around these topics.

We found that articles written where the focus keyword was “Technology” had the longest article length on average (773 words). On the other hand, the keyword “Privacy”—which was the second most popular keyword used—had the shortest article length on average (245 words).

These keywords clue us in on some of the major themes these brands focus on in their paid content. They also tell us what sorts of topics these brands aren’t writing about. Is there an opportunity there for your brand?

Content Volume

Next we analyzed the paid content volume of these four brands and their subsidiaries over the past year, as well as the average word count of a paid piece of content by each brand. Here’s what we found:

  • IBM published the most content (53% of the total content analyzed across all publishers) over the period measured.
  • Microsoft, Microsoft Azure, and Alibaba published longer-form content between the 800-1200 word range on average.
  • Google Cloud and IBM published shorter-form content between 400-600 words on average.
  • Alibaba and Alibaba Cloud published the least amount of content over the period measured, and generally didn’t invest in paid content distribution.

Publisher Breakdown

paid tech content

Paid content volume only reveals half of a strategy. To fully understand their content marketing approach, we also looked at the publishers Google, Alibaba, IBM, and Microsoft placed their content with. Here’s what we found:

  • The three most frequently used publishers by these enterprise tech brands were Computer World, Network World, and TechRepublic (all IDG brands).
  • 64% of Tech Prepublic’s paid content, 63% of Network World’s paid content, 60% of Forbes’ paid content, and 56% of Computer World’s paid content came from IBM.
  • Microsoft published 31% of their paid content with Computer World.
  • Google published 48% of their paid content with the Evening Standard.

Which publishers can your brand work with to stand out from competitors while reaching your target audience?

Topic Breakdown

paid tech content

Outside of keyword frequency, we also aimed to categorize the focus of each article. The categories listed in the chart above are pulled from Google Natural Language Processing (NLP) which uses Content Classification to analyze a document and return a list of content categories that apply to the text found in the document.

Here’s what the topic breakdown tells us:

  • Articles with a category of “Business & Industrial” and “Computers & Electronics” accounted for nearly (70%) of the total content analyzed in the past year across all four brands. 
  • 43% of the “Business & Industrial” content and 62% of the “Computers & Electronics” content was from IBM (95% of IBM’s total content).
  • Alternative categories like “Sports,” “People & Society,” “Health,” Science,” and “Arts” & Entertainment” combined to make up 12% of the total SOV.
  • Google was the only brand publishing content in the “Hobbies & Leisure,” “Online Communities,” and “Reference” categories.
  • IBM was the only competitor publishing any content in the “Sensitive Subjects” category.

Are there opportunities here for your brand to create content around an underserved topic?

Key Takeaways

Here are some of the key insights from our paid tech content analysis:

  • IBM was the largest publisher of paid tech content over the past year.
  • Outside of “Google,” “Privacy” was the most popular keyword focused on in paid tech content.
  • Articles with a category of “Business & Industrial” and “Computers & Electronics” accounted for nearly 70% of the total content analyzed across all four brands.
  • IDG brands were the most popular outlets for distributing paid content.

All of this data was compiled using Knotch Blueprint. If your brand is interested in doing competitive content analysis & market intelligence to differentiate yourself from competitors and find whitespace in the market, request a free 7-day trial.