Content in Real Life: How Chainalytics, a global supply chain consultancy, built a content marketing program that boosted sales by combining industry expertise, team engagement, and execution
Jaime Reints, Senior Manager of Global Marketing at global supply chain consultancy Chainalytics, completely overhauled her company's content marketing program in 2014 by building a world-class marketing team and getting executives to buy-in. The biggest obstacle she found was that the company had a history of shying away from publishing content in volume. Though the Chainalytics team is made up of brilliant professionals, the vast majority of them simply aren't writers, or don't see themselves as having the time to write even though their expertise gives them leading positions of authority to discuss a great deal of topics. They often struggle to get blogs and content to the point where they are comfortable pushing their words out to the masses.
Chainalytics overcame this obstacle by hiring Write2Market. Together, we were able to develop a process aimed at taking the stress off of Chainalytics' analysts and making content generation as easy — and painless — as possible. They then were able to show early proof that removing 'writers block' freed Chainalytics to perform better in its marketing and lead generation–which allowed it to also expand its internal content team. This is how it works:
- Members of the Chainalytics team are asked to keep an eye out for emerging trends and problems that they encounter on client sites and let Jaime know about topics they would like to address.
- A writer–sometimes internal, sometimes external–conducts a 15-minute interview with the thought leader. This allows for the thought leader to share his/her insights on the topic and the writer to ask for any additional information needed to fully tell the story and provide a solution.
- After the piece is complete, the thought leader and Jaime both have a chance to offer edits before the content goes live.
This interview-based content generation has been used for bylines and blog posts for all content from Chainalytics since 2014. By involving the team in ideation, and having a writer actually construct the posts, Chainalytics was able to increase blog output by 93.3% from 2013 to 2014. This increase in content, paired with a refreshed social media strategy and media relations led to a 65% increase in overall web traffic year over year.
Team vs. 'content expert' in content marketing strategy
A solid content marketing strategy involves teamwork. It's akin to a crew of rowers working together and striving toward a common goal. There's a leader advising the team and keeping everyone in sync, but they can't do it alone. I've never seen a kayaker race a crew of 8, but I can guarantee you that it wouldn't be pretty. The same is true for one person attempting a full content marketing strategy for an organization all by his or her lonesome.
As a team, you can create more content on a larger range of topics that will interest your readers than any individual ever could alone. To get there you need a captain and the captain needs a team.
Group Writer's Block—How to Kill The Productivity Killer
Of course, even with a team, coming up with content ideas can be a challenge. Have you ever experienced this moment? You sit down, coffee in hand, a topic in mind, ready to put your wisdom on paper and then… crickets. If you write regularly (and probably even if you don't) I'm sure that you can relate. That feeling is individual writer's block, and it is TERRIBLE.
When we talk about writer's block for groups it's a little different. As we examine the effects of writer's blog on your entire content marketing team, we're looking at the strains of ideating lots of topics and pushing through to fruition. Here are some tried and true sources of topic inspiration that can inspire your team:
- Competitor Posts (Know thy enemies). What educational information is being shared by your biggest competitors? Keep an eye on the competition, and grade what your competitors are doing. Try using a tool like Buzzsumo to measure the shares of their past posts, and use those insights to shape your own content.
- Start with SEO. Use your SEO keywords to develop content topics. This way you can improve SEO and strengthen your content marketing strategy at one time. Likewise, the topics that your team wants to write on could uncover new SEO opportunities.
- Talk to Sales. If you want to know what topics will resonate with customers, talk to the team that deals with them the most. Members of your sales team is the front line when a potential customer calls in, so they know what major pain points are affecting the industry. This focus on customer needs will likely contribute to the sales process as well. 70% of the purchase decision is already made before a customer makes contact, so addressing your customer's main concerns through content can actually make your phone ring more often.
- Brainstorm as a team. 2, 3, 4, or 5 heads are better than one. Take a cross-functional team and discuss the trends the members are seeing across their work. Any trend or pain point affecting 2 or more clients is worth looking into as a potential blog post webinar or white paper.
- Events – Major industry events can serve as topics in a few ways. Use them fuel your content fire by:
- Writing pre-event blogs covering topics like: Why we're excited for The NRF Big Show or The 3 Trends Dominating Distributech.
- Post-event blogs with the top learnings or trends from the conference. Bonus points if someone on your team spoke at the conference and you can include information from their session.
- Embrace the Webinar. Okay so this isn't actually a way to find a topic, but it is a way to put a great topic to work in more ways than one. If your idea is fit for a webinar, you can easily make three pieces of content out of a single topic! Here's how:
- Announce the webinar and give an overview of the topic.
- The webinar itself–especially if you record it or transcribe.
- Follow up post including a deeper dive into the topic and a video of the webinar.
Ghostwriting, grammar and other gotchas – Handling the tactical tough points of developing lots of content
During her overhaul of Chainalytics' content program, Jaime found ghostwriting using her agency really helped remove roadblocks. If you're using an agency, here are some thoughts about how to smooth that process:
- Don't skimp on institutional knowledge. When onboarding a new agency, be sure to properly introduce it to your organization. As the content marketing manager, be sure to pass along information about your company goals, voice, and past content. A solid understanding of your business and the messages you are trying to convey will allow them to better serve you. Simply put, effort spent setting an agency and its content team up for success at the beginning of your relationship will save you time and energy in edits in the future.
- Put structure around interviews. Should the writer come with specific questions, or is the thought leader expected to explain the subject as stream of consciousness? Either process will work, but make the decision based on the culture of your organization and set expectations ahead of time.
- Limit edits. When you're striving to put out a steady stream of content, the edit cycle can be a major productivity killer. Set an expectation across the board of one round of edits for both the subject matter expert and content marketing leader. Use a collaborative platform like Google Docs to keep all edits and comments in one place to ease the process further. Once the piece is complete, have the thought leader make all comments and edits at one time. Once those edits are complete, the content marketing leader gets a round of edits as well before the piece goes live.
Just to be clear, that does not mean that every member of your content team must be a professional writer or part of your agency's team. If your team provides content directly, be sure that someone with a strong editing eye takes a look at the piece before publishing.
One of the best ways to avoid content burnout is to make a plan and stick to it. A constant rush to figure out what to post next adds a layer of stress that is completely unnecessary. Instead, make a content calendar that maps out posts at least a month in advance. A well-executed plan will allow for pre-planning and preparing posts in advance—preferably 2 weeks in ahead of time so that any hiccups in writing or editing don't affect publishing times. You can highlight SEO focus keywords, assign writers, and notate which posts are meant to promote events within your content calendar.
Below is the content calendar that serves as a basis for Write2Market's internal content campaigns. You can download it and modify it to fit your needs.
Download our FREE content calendar here: