This is one of a series of articles on how content marketing fueled a company’s success. The original series is on LinkedIn.
ServiceNow, an American software company founded in 2003, helps organizations of all sizes streamline and automate workflows. Its mission is to “fire up productivity,” as the company website states, and to “enable growth and cost savings.”
To support their business, the folks at ServiceNow developed a content marketing program. However, they wanted to differentiate themselves from other content marketing programs, so the company launched a quarterly magazine called WorkFlow in 2018.
The magazine targets C-suite leaders and includes engaging stories, relevant scientific data, and real-world experiments. The company refers to WorkFlownot as a publication but as an “insight engine.” This is because it provides its target audience with credible, relevant information to help its potential clients achieve their business goals.
Richard McGill Murphy, the editor of the magazine, says the content covers information that is valuable to their clients and topics they most care about.
The format and the publication have done well. Since 2021, WorkFlow has been honored with several awards, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Among them:
- Best Multi-Year Content Marketing Program
- Best Content Marketing ROI/Measurement Program
- Best Agency/Client Content Marketing Partnership
- Best Content Marketing Program of the Year
In addition, Murphy was a finalist for the 2021 B2B Content Marketer of the Year.
To evaluate the content and its effectiveness, Murphy’s team developed their own analytical methods. For instance:
· They defined a reader of their content as someone who spends at least one minute reading an article or scrolls at least halfway down the page looking at content.
· Their focus was on getting more “visitor-to-reader” conversions than visitor-to-leads-to-sales conversions. By increasing the number of readers, the leads and sales would naturally follow.
· They evaluated the success of each article, finding ways to improve their content. For example, they found that articles with shorter headlines and content filled with photos kept people on the site past the 15 percent mark.
With the analytics in place, the big questions now were:
How well did WorkFlow do?
Here is what the company reports:
- The number of sessions on WorkFlow jumped 50 percent since 2018, even as their paid promotions – intended to drive traffic to the WorkFlow site – decreased. This made the paid promotions less necessary, if needed at all.
- Since its launch in 2018, more than 18,000 people have visited WorkFlow, and 15 percent of these people – nearly 3,000 people – filled out a form to learn more about ServiceNow and its offering. This is considered a very high response rate.
- Repeat visitors were found to be more likely to become future clients of the company. The company reported that one percent of one-time WorkFlow visitors completed the form to learn about ServiceNow. However, that percentage jumped to 9 percent of those who visited the WorkFlowsite three times. The goal was to get repeat visitors and they did it.
- In all cases, those filling out the form were found to eventually become leads and most likely became ServiceNow clients.
The Story Behind the Success
The editor of WorkFlow adds that key to achieving this feat was a small team of excellent editors and writers, many of them freelance journalists who have contributed to major publications such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Fortune magazine.
Besides having top-notch writers, what also made WorkFlow a success was how the content was presented. “We see ourselves orchestrating a dialogue,” says Murphy, “not just promoting how awesome ServiceNow is.”
Robert Kravitz is president of AlturaSolutions. For more than twenty-two years, his company has provided communications services for B2B industries, helping them become thought leaders in their industries. He can be reached at: email@example.com