Sramana Mitra: What do you have in terms of the content team? How do you run your content production farm?
John Sundberg: We have consultants and developers. We have product marketing managers. Those are all internal people that we have. We probably have a handful of customers that have done a couple of things too. They might create a piece or we will work with them to create the piece. Then we have an external marketing group that does, quite frankly, a fair amount. When I say a fair amount, what I mean is we’ve been working with them long enough for them to be a part of our company. Therefore, they know our company very well. They know our situation quite well. It’s pretty easy for them to create content that’s relevant, on-message, and accurate.
Sramana Mitra: Do you have to pay them to write content or do they just want to write it because they want to be known in the community?
John Sundberg: We pay them. They do a lot of things other than just plain content creation. They help us to create key messaging. They help us coordinate with people who create videos and websites.
Sramana Mitra: Do you have metrics on how your content marketing dollars are converting? It’s actually hard to do because I know this work really well. This is our entire strategy, so I know it’s very hard to do.
John Sundberg: I know we have metrics. I put very little weight on the metrics. If we were creating crap and I was spending $10,000 on crap, I don’t really know if I want to spend this $10,000. But if you’re spending $10,000 to create content that you know is actually of value but is not creating a lot of measured clicks, there are other ways to value the content.
Sramana Mitra: Absolutely. You can think of it as brand positioning and brand building. Based on what you said, 2,000 pieces of content directly related to this whole Remedy ecosystem tells me that there is a significant amount of organic search result that you’re picking up.
John Sundberg: We have 2,000 pieces of content about our system that may or may not be related to Remedy.
Sramana Mitra: There is search traffic that you’re harnessing because a good content strategy generally does harness a lot of the organic traffic content.
John Sundberg: What I have seen first-hand is we might get one click or one analysis of our website, but the value is so high. The Federal Reserve is a customer of ours. They told me a year and a half after they bought why they bought our software. They said it’s because our support, how we operated in terms of helping our customers, and our reputation were all over-the-top good. That’s our content, customers, and our support. That’s all related to the content that we do. Our support is as good as it is because the content is good. Our customers like us as much as they do because our content is good. When the Federal Reserve goes in and inspects our website and sees hundreds of examples and articles on different things, they go, “This is a real company.”
Sramana Mitra: I know exactly what you’re talking about. This is absolutely the same strategy that we got.
John Sundberg: It’s the same strategy that every single company would do if they’re trying to be a real company.
Sramana Mitra: It’s not easy to do.
John Sundberg: I was reading your blog. To me, what I think of it is, it’s one million real companies doing real things making a real difference versus hundreds of companies that puff up to look like something and get bought for a ridiculous amount of money. Two years down the line, you don’t even know who they are.
Sramana Mitra: You said you switched off your Google advertising budget and switched to content marketing wholesale. When did that transition happen?
John Sundberg: Roughly five years ago.
Sramana Mitra: You did Google advertising as your primary customer acquisition for about five years and then switched to content marketing about five years ago.
John Sundberg: I wouldn’t call Google ads our primary strategy.
Sramana Mitra: What was your primary customer acquisition in the earlier years?
John Sundberg: Trade shows, quite frankly, and as my sales people would like to call it, hand-to-hand combat – pick up phone, make calls, and introduce yourself.