We’re giving some perception into the technique behind among the winners of our Australian Content material Advertising and marketing High 20 to study extra about how their content material drives enterprise outcomes.
We spoke with Erin Smith, Strategic Communications Supervisor on the communications group at Xero, who’s all the time excited about how Xero can use content material to genuinely assist small companies thrive.
Erin is an enormous a part of the award-winning technique and execution that landed Xero in our High 20, so we have been excited to study extra about their content material advertising journey and to share their recommendation for different manufacturers.
Are you able to inform us a bit bit about Xero and your function inside the firm?
Xero is a cloud-based platform and our firm’s goal is to make life higher for individuals in small enterprise, their advisors, and communities world wide. My function is to assist lead our communications efforts because the Strategic Communications Supervisor for Australia.
How are you creating content material that helps the general mission of the enterprise?
We’ve got all the time had a extremely sturdy give attention to storytelling. You could find numerous examples on our weblog, which is residence to among the content material we create. By way of the mission, we’re fortunate to work at a values-driven firm, so we began to have a look at how we are able to construct content material to assist that. As you realize, content material does many various issues and has many various varieties and goals. We wished our buyer tales to inform the story of our model — extra authentically than we ever might.
Over the previous three years, the way in which we now have approached content material has matured quite a bit — what started as capturing tales from our prospects has actually developed into ensuring every little thing is rooted in a technique that ladders again as much as our enterprise targets. We now guarantee that all of our content material suits each our values and our enterprise goals.
A couple of years again, we additionally developed Xero Small Enterprise Insights, which makes use of aggregated and anonymised knowledge to assist us inform the tales that nobody else can. The info tracks key components impacting small companies, similar to cost instances, hiring traits, and so forth. This attitude is invaluable in serving to us body our buyer tales to media, authorities, and company entities — and to spark the type of conversations that may truly make life higher for individuals in small companies, their advisors, and their communities.
All of the whereas, we’ve gone on a journey as a enterprise to know what content material we produce, what function that content material has, and the way we are able to look to repeatedly evolve and measure to verify it’s producing the outcomes we would like.
How do you make sure that your messaging is constant when you will have totally different departments engaged on content material?
I received’t lie — it’s difficult! Within the earlier days, the method was pretty ungoverned. We had artistic roles flourishing in several enterprise models and every may need tailored the messaging that finest suited them. That works organically, to some extent. As we grew and matured, it grew to become essential to centralise some points and work with much more rigour.
Early into this course of, we undertook an audit of the content material inside Australia. The concept was to color a consolidated image of how typically we have been creating and distributing content material in-region, the place it lived, and the way efficient it was.
We shortly realised it was essential to broaden it globally. Content material can cross borders and the entire goal of a worldwide enterprise is to have the ability to share and collaborate.
This course of helped me to know how we might preserve tempo, share insights, keep away from duplication, and proceed to create stunning, constant content material. From there, our group put a plan in place to raised map our personal content material again to enterprise targets.
So as to add rigour with out slowing us down, we’ve additionally carried out cross-functional working teams, which have grow to be an integral a part of the way in which that we work. We give attention to sturdy and open communication throughout totally different groups, ensuring that we’re continually sharing what we’re doing.
You’ve talked about that you just’re considering quite a bit about enterprise outcomes. What are they and the way do you measure them?
That’s proper. Whereas our management group is chargeable for defining the enterprise targets, we now have a duty to execute them throughout our areas of affect. That implies that once we take a look at measurement from a content material perspective, we now have to contemplate the aim we began with.
Content material is such a catch-all time period, however there are various alternative ways it may possibly present up. You would possibly wish to curate stunning tales out of your prospects with the aim of producing dialog and constructing belief in your model. Otherwise you would possibly make a concerted effort to draw inbound site visitors and improve your website positioning rating, as is the results of our small enterprise guides. Every of these has very totally different metrics. Which means among the content material is perhaps evaluated on its conversions, whereas different items is perhaps measured by their affect on authorities relations or the variety of media items they drive — all of it comes again to the issue you’re making an attempt to unravel.
Objectives are distinctive to various kinds of content material and we should work to guarantee that we all the time have a really clear understanding of what that content material has to do for us on the outset.
Have you ever had challenges explaining internally that not all content material will drive gross sales?
We’re very fortunate right here in that there’s an actual dedication to content material, proper from the highest. There’s a craving to inform tales — not simply from Xero as a model, however from our broader neighborhood. So it’s not a lot a problem as an ongoing training. It’s our job to indicate individuals how every new article or marketing campaign will affect our viewers — and that’s not all the time a easy query of acquisition.
Our management group has been actually supportive of our efforts and, in flip, we deal with content material prefer it belongs within the boardroom. We’ve lately began working extra intently with our business group, and that has resulted in conversations which have actually lifted our technique.
That ties again to your earlier level across the significance of breaking down the silos inside your organisation and collaborating extra intently collectively.
That’s it. It’s a relentless. Everybody you meet within the hall on any given day and study one thing new about what their division is doing, which is able to doubtless enable you too. It’s an excellent vibe that we now have at our firm, and that curiosity is a continuing throughout our places of work.
Folks won’t consider accounting software program as probably the most thrilling subject for storytelling. How do you create participating content material?
On the danger of sounding cliche, we don’t consider ourselves as a software program firm. We take into consideration how we present up in our prospects’ lives. This strikes the dialog into a brand new house — excited about what the ache factors of small enterprise and what we are able to do to assist minimise them. Know-how is an actual enabler for small companies. We lean into our prospects’ experiences and attempt to amplify their tales. It doesn’t all the time have to come back again to our product. We’d quite be facilitating the pure conversations than making an attempt to slender somebody’s expertise right into a gross sales message.
Do you will have any phrases of recommendation to entrepreneurs which are new to content material advertising?
This is perhaps fairly an apparent factor to say, nevertheless it’s essential to consider what you’re making an attempt to attain by means of your content material. Are you making an attempt to encourage your prospects? Are you making an attempt to drive site visitors to your web site? Do you are feeling you actually need to speculate time to construct a neighborhood that’s engaged in speaking and supporting one another? From there, begin small. Choose a number of subjects after which exit and converse to your prospects. It’s straightforward to create content material in a bubble and anticipate it to resonate, however oftentimes you won’t be telling the story you ought to be.
Decide what the content material is supposed to attain, write, evaluation — then present the enterprise why it issues.
Take a deeper look into Intrepid’s technique (one other High 20 winner), and see who else made NewsCred’s Australian Content material Advertising and marketing High 20 checklist.
Esti Frischling is NewsCred’s Regional Supervisor, APAC.