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Your boss doesn’t care about content (but here’s how to convince them)

I once had a job where one of my tasks was to “go talk to the data people” to put together some reports. 

The back-and-forth of “go talk to the data people” became onerous, and I eventually began pulling the stats myself. I didn’t have a product as easy to use as Parse.ly, but I was an Excel wizard. I got a login to our data warehouse, and went to town. 

Extracting insights from raw data was (is) not easy. It took me hours of data scrubbing, testing, grouping, ordering, and all sorts of tedious—but necessary—tasks before I got to the fun part: actually analyzing the data.

The hardest part of this report? Getting my boss to pay attention. 

I would get so frustrated. This is important, why doesn’t he see what I see? This could change the way we do business! 

And I wasn’t alone. There are content strategists, audience teams, and marketers everywhere who struggle with: but don’t you get it??

The argument for “why content?” differs from team to team. In media, content is your bread and butter; without it, the organization wouldn’t survive. Still, that doesn’t mean that sales, product, or finance teams are going to interact with content in the same way an editor might. Elsewhere, content is still perceived as an overhead cost of marketing.

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In an era when every business has to be in the content business, at some point, we’ll all need to convince an executive or department head that the way we do content matters. Here are two companies that figured out how to help their colleagues “get it.” 

 

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Company
Convene designs and manages spaces to host meetings, your office, or inspiring events in first-class buildings in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., L.A., Chicago, and London.

How does it use content?
Convene started hearing from landlords and event attendees: “I wish I could work somewhere like this.” As it focused on engaging new audiences, Convene needed to shift its identity as a brand.

“There was just no sense of who we are.” — Andrew Littlefield, managing editor, Convene

Many career and business publications offer an individualistic approach, but according to Littlefield, “not many are talking about placemaking or collectivist aspects of work. What happens when people are all working together? How do we make an office feel happy and healthy?” Developing a new voice meant building it up internally as well.

Who needed convincing?
Sales executives

The “aha” moment:
“I needed to instill some confidence that not every piece of content needs to talk explicitly about our product and differentiators,” said Littlefield. So he set up a real-time Parse.ly dashboard at his desk. As colleagues strolled by, Convene’s real estate team was attracted to the stock market-like chart.

“One of the big wake-up calls I had was while I was presenting at one of our sales team meetings. I had a sales director raise his hand and be like, ‘it’d be really great if we had some way to share the articles that we published digitally all the time because they’re just so good.’” Something so obvious to Littlefield was completely new and engaging to the sales team. 

“I get wrapped up in my own world…I needed to be better about educating people.” 

Convene had spent so much time promoting content externally, it needed to promote it internally as well: “I get wrapped up in my own world…I needed to be better about educating people,” Littlefield said. If readers were connecting with Convene’s newfound voice, certainly the sales team should be too.

Convene has made considerable efforts to target not just large audiences, but the right ones. Externally, that means focusing less on the reach (and costs) of Facebook, and more on the organic, impactful audience of LinkedIn—”Our’s is a LinkedIn-browsing-at-lunch type of crowd.” Internally, that means echoing Convene’s voice throughout sales conversations and RFPs. 

 

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Company
HelloFresh, a global meal kit provider, curates at-home meal assembly and cooking experiences.

How does it use content?
HelloFresh uses content to build and foster customer loyalty, which is core to the brand’s success. HelloFresh curates an experience on its blog not only through recipes, but lifestyle-oriented home cooking content promoted through an app and social channels.

“We knew we had to draw them in beyond just looking at recipes.” —Jacqueline Parisi, copywriter, HelloFresh

Customers primarily use the HelloFresh app to select their next week of meals, but the company wanted them to dwell in the app longer. “We knew we had to draw them in beyond just looking at recipes,” said HelloFresh copywriter Jacqueline Parisi.  Why not collaborate with the product team and incorporate more content in the app?

Who needed convincing?
Product Development 

The “aha” moment:
If both the product and content teams sought more frequent, longer sessions, then Parisi needed to understand: what makes readers stay?

The data showed the strategy was already on the right track—a validating moment for both teams. “More readers than we expected were interacting with the related content section.” If serving readers related content was already working on the blog, certainly HelloFresh could replicate that success on the app.

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Now, every time HelloFresh publishes a blog post, the content is immediately pushed to the app and its performance is monitored in the Parse.ly dashboard. “We’ve seen increasing traffic coming in from the app,” said Parisi. “That’s a sign that our customers are engaged with us on multiple platforms and they’re interested in this added value content… It’s been illuminating for us.” 

“We’ve seen increasing traffic coming in from the app. That’s a sign that our customers are engaged with us on multiple platforms.”

Both the product and content teams have met their goals: not only does traffic from the app continue to grow, Parisi says organic search traffic increased by 122% and page views by 65% in just seven months.

(Read their full case study here.)

Content: How can I help you?

So what does it really take to get your boss to see things the way you do? Turns out, they don’t need more data: they need more relevant data. 

The Convene sales team was excited to adopt the brand voice for themselves. HelloFresh found that the success of its content could foster new cross-team collaborations. 

No matter how unique your product, audience, or content is, if the insights you share with your boss do not directly impact them, their team(s), or somehow influence their personal success, they’re more likely to tune out, forget, or dismiss. 

The power of content today is about more than streamlining your voice across platforms. In fact, you might have another undiscovered audience that needs your help: they’re sitting right next to you.