This text initially appeared on Column Five.

Laura Winkenbach is VP of Product Advertising & Content material for HR software program firm Zenefits. In an more and more sophisticated trade, she’s tasked with educating and fascinating prospects to make their lives simpler. Her instrument? Content material. We caught up with Laura to talk about how she makes use of content material to make a terrific first impression, set up a relationship, and proceed to present worth to Zenefit’s prospects.

C5: Inform us a bit about your function. What do you do?

LW: I lead our product advertising and marketing and content material efforts at Zenefits. We assist educate and interact prospects in studying extra about Zenefits and the HR house generally. With HR changing into a way more strategic and demanding function at rising corporations, it’s robust for HR leaders to remain on high of regulatory modifications, enterprise tendencies, and HCM generally.

C5: What function does content material play in your general branding and advertising and marketing efforts?

LW: Content material is the tip of the spear in a lot of our efforts. We attempt to provide useful and academic content material to interact prospects. By providing precious and unique analysis, thought management, articles, webinars, and extra, we provide one thing to prospects earlier than we ask them to study our merchandise and options. The objective is to create a constructive notion of Zenefits by providing worth first.

C5: What does your group seem like?

LW: We’re a lean group. We’ve got two product entrepreneurs and two content material entrepreneurs who work carefully collectively on messaging, positioning, go-to-market, and demand era.

C5: What’s your group’s fundamental focus proper now?

LW: Proper now we’re specializing in rising natural visitors and bettering conversions of that visitors from guests to leads. We’re placing loads of effort into our weblog and specializing in topical, editorial content material.

C5: How do you measure outcomes?

LW: We observe our natural visitors patterns fairly carefully, in addition to how these guests are partaking with content material (time spent on web page, guests to form-fills, and many others.).

C5: Which varieties of content material yield the highest quality leads on your model?

LW: For us, leads who categorical curiosity in our merchandise are clearly deepest within the funnel. For instance, if somebody downloads a product sheet or watches a demo video, they’re extra doubtless going to transform to a personalised demo or a free trial. However not all leads are able to buy simply but. That’s why we preserve a helpful and considerate stream of content material and communication to maintain the connection going.

C5: What function does your proprietary knowledge play in your advertising and marketing?

LW: We really simply launched considered one of our first analysis stories, the Benefits Benchmark report. We heard from numerous prospects that they had been in search of benchmarks on what related corporations and companies of their area had been spending on worker advantages. We aggregated the info from our database and analyzed the findings into plenty of key tendencies, all revealed in our report.

The beauty of this report is that it isn’t survey primarily based, as many stories are typically. It’s precise knowledge. These kinds of stories are massively precious to present prospects but in addition assist drive leads from new prospects as effectively.

C5: In your opinion, which manufacturers are doing content material advertising and marketing and model storytelling proper?

LW: Salesforce all the time does a terrific job with going large and being in keeping with a theme. They preserve the identical theme all through all their content material, whether or not it’s their web site, printed collateral, occasion signage, and extra. Having this consistency makes them instantly recognizable even for those who don’t see their emblem. This sort of model and visible storytelling is hard to do, however they’ve aligned issues effectively.

Personally, I’m type of obsessive about Chubbies. Their tales and content material actually deliver to life their whole model and mission. This resonates within the model, their product, the messaging, and definitely of their content material. They make me prepared for the weekend. =)

C5: What’s essentially the most rewarding a part of what you do?

LW: Getting constructive suggestions from prospects and prospects that our content material was helpful is essentially the most rewarding factor. Whereas we actually need to purchase leads and convert them to prospects, it’s my job to present prospects a constructive first impression of Zenefits. And if we will do this by providing them helpful analysis or data that helps them do their job higher, we really feel fairly good about ourselves.

C5: At work, what’s the largest ache within the ass?

LW: Content material distribution! In case you construct it, they don’t all the time come. It’s robust to verify content material is discoverable, and this doesn’t occur by itself. We’ve augmented our technique fairly a bit to focus extra on web optimization and key phrases which are in demand. But it surely’s onerous to be sure that everybody who has a query can discover the content material you created to reply it.

C5: In case you had an “simple” button, what would you have got it do for you?

LW: It will just about take over Google’s algorithm. Simply kidding.

C5: What would you inform/train your self 5 years in the past that may have higher ready you on your work in the present day?

LW: I spend loads of time occupied with management and what makes a terrific chief. I’ve discovered a ton through the years and have been fortunate sufficient to work with some superb leaders. Probably the greatest issues I’ve taken from these years is that each second generally is a teaching second and a sharing second.

Nothing has meant extra to me than when my chief or mentor gave me suggestions, a particular tip or trick, or hung out providing extra rationalization. These moments have helped me achieve success in all types of conditions. I attempt to do the identical with my group now, to empower them to make selections in their very own area, take dangers, and share wins and failures equally. So 5 years in the past, I’d have to inform myself to “all the time be sharing.”

C5: What piece of recommendation would you give somebody thinking about moving into content material advertising and marketing and model storytelling?

LW: I’d say a very powerful is to be purposeful. There’s SO a lot content material created as a result of “somebody thought it was a good suggestion,” as a result of a competitor did it, or as a result of it “seems like we must always do one thing about X.” And not using a clear objective, function, distribution plan, and success metric outlined upfront, you run the chance of making content material that nobody will learn. And, worse but, you gained’t know if it was profitable or not. My sturdy recommendation is to be purposeful in all the pieces you construct.

C5: Any final parting phrases or nuggets of knowledge?

LW: Umm, we’re entrepreneurs. Have enjoyable! Keep away from the jargon and simply act as for those who’re having a dialog with somebody strolling down the road. An excessive amount of writing has turn out to be so technical and formal. Even for those who’re writing about technical material, you’ll be able to nonetheless be conversational.

Many because of Laura for sharing her ideas. Comply with Laura’s posts on the Zenefits blog and sustain together with her on Twitter @llbrooks44. For extra knowledge from game-changers in content material advertising and marketing and content material technique, try these Q&As:

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