Inside InterWorks: The Importance of Content in Marketing, Part 2

Culture

Inside InterWorks: The Importance of Content in Marketing, Part 2

Go behind the scenes of the day-to-day responsibilities of InterWorkers and get a glimpse of our unique company culture.

We love giving as much inside insight into InterWorks as possible, and here you’ll find part two of “The Importance of Content in Marketing” miniseries. My colleague and InterWorks Content Coordinator Andrea Avey took the bold first step in part one where she covered culture-focused content, the InterWorks blog and social media. That’s no mean feat! In my piece, I’ll focus on mediums like case studies, podcasts events and email marketing. It’s a wide content world out there, so let’s keep grooving!

Q: What are your goals as Communications Manager?

One of the things I love about working in marketing is that you never live the same day twice. Because we interface with every department at InterWorks, and because the nature of our work is highlighting the great work that those people do, our goals and priorities are varied and constantly evolving. This is especially true with content and messaging. That said, I think there are two overarching goals that stay the same no matter what it is I’m working on:

  1. To communicate who InterWorks is and what we do in an authentic way
  2. To connect our audience with resources or ideas that are relevant and valuable to them 

Q: What does content creation and delivery look like in your role?

I’ve been at InterWorks for over nine years now, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there are so many different paths to successful content creation and delivery.

On the creation side, we lean heavily on knowledge shared from our many subject-matter experts. One thing I really love about InterWorks is how open and generous we are with sharing knowledge. Where the Content Team adds value is by tweaking or polishing that content for our many different outlets. Andrea lives a lot in that world and is one of the very best at it.

My role focuses heavily on delivery, things like: Where should we share certain content pieces and with whom? What new mediums can we explore? How can we reposition or repurpose content in ways that really extend its utility? It’s experimental and exploratory, and I really enjoy the challenge of moving these different chess pieces across the board.

The Case for Case Studies

Case studies come in a lot of different shapes and sizes, but at the heart of each is an age-old social construct – the referral. Case studies are like a more advanced version of the referral. Specifically, at InterWorks, the value case studies have for readers is two-fold:

  1. They show readers and prospective clients who we’ve worked with. As good as a product or services might sound on paper, people want to know if you’ve worked for organizations that are like them.
  2. They don’t just show you who the work was done for but also how that work was achieved. Beyond knowing that others were generally successful, this illustrates what the path to success looks like – its requirements, pitfalls and lessons along the way. The journey is just as important as the destination.

Our hope in writing and sharing these case studies is that clients have a clear picture of what’s possible when they work with us, as well as the assurance that we can help them be successful through a multitude of challenges.

So, how do we go about case studies at InterWorks? First, case studies are massively collaborative and specifically designed to highlight the success of others, especially the client. Above all, we want to highlight the vision and hard work of our clients who are driving the meaningful work within their organization. They are the star of the show, and InterWorks is just a supporting character.

Over the years, we’ve seen case studies provide value not only for InterWorks but for the clients themselves. By allowing us to showcase their great work and say the things they might be too humble to say, we’ve seen case studies become a powerful marketing tool for them within their own organizations. Case studies are a great resource for them to share with leadership or their own clients to communicate the value of their work.

Above: An InterWorks video case study for OROS Analytics

People Love Their Podcasts

Who doesn’t love a good podcast? Whether true crime is your thing, or you enjoy super obscure historical diatribes like me, the beauty of podcasts is that they cover a wide gamut of topics AND, most importantly, bring an immediately discernible human touch to the world of content. Remember that humans were oral storytellers before written ones.

At InterWorks, our podcast is called “Podcast Your Data!”. Our intention with PYD is to deliver the same great content one might find on our blog or via our case studies, only in a portable audio format. One thing I really love about “Podcast Your Data!” is that it works much like our case studies in that our goal is to elevate someone else and their expertise. This could be everyone from one of our own analytics consultants to an engaging figure in the data community. Another thing I’ve noticed is that, for a lot of people, it’s much easier to talk about the work you do than it is to write about it, so there are always little knowledge nuggets that come from these conversations.

“Podcast Your Data!” has had several hosts over the years (myself included as the current emcee), but InterWorks Multimedia Coordinator Ricki Thompson is the person responsible for actually producing these audio wonders and sharing them out into the world. So, I asked what impressions she had about them:

Q: From your perspective, what makes podcasting impactful?

“Of all the media mediums, podcasting is quickly becoming one of my favorite types of media to consume. There is something about being able to complete a mundane task like a commute or a neighborhood walk with the virtual company and wisdom of someone else that makes podcasting unique to me. When most visual media is presented, it demands full control over the attention and environment of the audience. Podcasting works a bit differently as it participates with the listener, often alongside what they are doing. The nature of this accessibility makes podcasting a partially impacting and integrative way to share ideas and information.”

Q: What about podcasting draws you to it and keeps you engaged and interested?

“I love the versatility of podcasting. Prior to producing “Podcast Your Data!” and various short series for InterWorks, I may have said the visual constraints of podcasting limit the creativity of production. I’d say the opposite now: Using audio alone to tell a story opens so many doors of creative narration.”

Q: What’s most fun or enjoyable about your work in/with “Podcast Your Data!”?

“The way we consume information and present information is always changing. Trying new things with the podcast is common for me. Each interview or show presents its own unique opportunities to add personality and character. I love that there are no hard and fast rules to podcasting because this industry and the expectations around audio conversations and narration are constantly evolving.”


Above: One of my favorite “Podcast Your Data!” shows

Check Your Inbox: The Email Marketing Frontier

When most people think of email marketing, they think of Gap ads, unwanted solicitations and email chains from your great aunt Ethyl. The truth is that, when done well, email marketing can be a meaningful and fruitful connection for both you and your audience. While people may not check social media daily, they almost certainly check their work email.

For InterWorks, our email marketing lists consist of people who have opted in directly, attended an InterWorks-hosted event or webinar, or is already a contact or client of ours via some other interaction. The point is that email marketing for us is never a cold shot in the dark to people who really have no interest in us. The key is continuing to grow that interest and providing consistent value through email.

InterWorks Marketing Analytics Manager Zion Spencer is diligent about ensuring we’re sending the right things to the right people. We don’t waste anyone’s time, including our own, by sharing things that aren’t relevant. In that spirit, one thing we try to be intentional about in our email marketing efforts is providing valuable resources like blogs, case studies and webinar invites with no strings attached. That’s because we don’t view our relationships as purely transactional. We’re thrilled to win people’s business, but we’re also members of the same data community who simply enjoy sharing useful knowledge.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the beautiful and fun graphics that InterWorks Graphic Designer Alex Gelmers creates for all of our emails. Beyond sharing useful content, we also like to make our emails visually engaging. This has been a really great outlet to do some fun things with graphics, and I always enjoy collaborating with Alex because he’s simply the best at what he does.

Overall, I think email gives us the clearest picture on what types of resources, services and solutions our audience is interested in because we can see exactly what performs well within certain segments. Using that info, we can refine what we send and to whom, hopefully resulting in more utility for the reader as well as a great chance of fostering meaningful connections. Our goal is always to be useful and to hopefully continue the conversation. Here’s what Alex and Zion had to say about working with email:

Q: From your perspective, what makes email marketing impactful?

Alex: “I see the emails as a unique opportunity to visually catch the eye of an existing or potential new client. Through the designs of our emails, we have the ability to generate consistent brand recognition, and with the familiar graphics each month, we are reminding clients that we are still here with useful information and available to assist them. The content curated each month by Garrett could stand on its own, but I always want to do it justice by creating something that people won’t just glance past.

The design efforts put into our emails are intended to excite the viewer and make them pause to digest what we have to offer. Through these design efforts, my hope is that people are interested in what we share with them each month as we visually showcase the vast amount of InterWorks offerings. In turn, we generate new customers and connect existing customers with practices they didn’t know we offered, whether by bringing a webinar to their attention or offering them useful knowledge over on our blog.”

Zion: “I like how email content can be easily shared and stored for later consumption. When it’s a really thoughtful email, there are even higher chances the email gets forwarded to a friend/colleague. It enters the word-of-mouth realm, which always seems to have the highest impact.”

Q: What about email marketing draws you to it and keeps you engaged and interested?

Alex: “Each month, I always look forward to what the topic will be and the challenge of how I will represent it. Sometimes, the visuals might obviously represent an offering for an email, and other times, because our offerings don’t always have an obvious physical representation, the graphics may become more abstract yet still conceptually tie back to the theme of the email.”

Zion: “There are endless options for thoughtful and timely email messages to an interested audience, and I think that keeps me fascinated with the possibilities.”

Q: What’s most fun or enjoyable about your work in/with email marketing?

Alex: “The most enjoyable aspect of our email designs is the opportunity to explore. Obviously, we want to maintain a high level of design and keep it representational of the InterWorks brand, but there is still always a lot of room to explore with the visuals and try new things. The freedom to experiment and try new things when it comes to the visuals and layouts each month keeps these emails exciting for me.”

Zion: “Even if it’s related to knowledge or a resource that may have already been distributed, email becomes a way to highlight another level of importance and say that it’s really worth checking out or revisiting when there’s time. I enjoy the opportunity to do that for our customers and make sure they haven’t missed something that could be a game-changer.”

Above: A recent email we sent to our broad BI list

The Advent of Events and Webinars

I think most people attach value to events because they’re an excellent way to connect directly with our audience. There’s simply no substitute for that interpersonal connection, whether it’s in person or, in a very different way, virtual via webinars. I’m sure that InterWorks Partner Marketing Manager Brittany Dunn and Field Marketing Coordinator Amanda Robinson could elaborate in much greater detail to that end, so I’ll focus on an angle that many people might not consider: Events are fantastic vehicles for producing laser-focused content.

While the focus of events is undoubtedly people, most of our events and webinars at InterWorks are centered on some form of content. This may be in presentation form or perhaps via an expert panel, but most of these formats are designed to relay some sort of useful knowledge from our people to our audience. As savvy content marketers, our mission is to recognize this value and then capture it for further use beyond the event itself. That’s why you see us record virtually every webinar we host, so we can leverage that content for people who might not have been able to attend.

Much like our blog or our case studies, our events are all about collaboration. Our event topics can vary drastically in subject matter, but regardless of topic or format, each features some sort of subject-matter expert or experts. They are the driving force behind event content, so we really let them take the lead.

That said, there is a MASSIVE amount of work involved by Brittany and Amanda in standing up events behind the scenes. Coordinating the content, aligning with partners, promoting the event and generally making sure everything goes off without a hitch is truly impressive. I’d be remiss not to mention Ricki’s incredible digital media skills in ensuring our webinars are flawless. Now, if that isn’t amazing enough, the scale at which they work is insane. Last year, they coordinated over 100 events! Here’s what Brittany had to say about events:

Q: From your perspective, what makes events impactful?

“Field marketing is where we can bring the brand to life. We get to IRL show the fun and excitement the rest of our Marketing Team (design, content, etc.) takes so much time to create. While creating these moments, we often have to rely on the Design Team and Content Team to bring those voices and visuals forward so that at every step of the way (from pre- to post-event), people can feel our brand. Webinars have also been super important for our brand/marketing as the whole world goes virtual. It has been an important place to stay connected to our current and potential customers.”

Q: What about events draws you to it and keeps you engaged and interested?

“Field marketing/events is where I get to be creative. I can’t create an image or a compelling content piece, but I can create an engaging in-person or digital experience.”

Q: What’s most fun or enjoyable about your work in/with events?

“I most enjoy getting to collaborate with the Marketing Team and others in the company for events. The Field Marketing Team orchestrates the experience, but it in no way can be done without the whole Marketing Team or others at InterWorks who will knowledge-share and volunteer to present, etc. Same with webinars – It is now an easy process, but working with others is the fun part.”

Tableau Conference 2018 InterWorks group at booth

Above: “Remix Your Data Experience” at TC18 was one of my favorite event themes.

Teamwork Makes the InterWorks

Narrowing down the purview of the Content Team is always a challenge because there are just so many odds and ends where we’re plugged in. Hopefully, this piece covered some of the broad “buckets” of work and how the broader Marketing Team puts their own unique stamp on the work we do (InterWorks Global Marketing Manager Jenny Parnell would have lots of insight there!). One thing is for certain: I feel incredibly lucky to work with such a talented team. They make marketing InterWorks a truly delightful experience, and I’m immensely proud of the work we do and the way in which we do it.

I’ll close by plugging our open job positions! Depending on when you find this piece, you’ll see a variety of positions available across the globe. Regardless of position or geography, we’re looking for wonderful people who are multi-talented and great team players. If you think that’s you, go apply! Who knows, maybe we’ll have the joy of working together soon.

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More About the Author

Garrett Sauls

Communications Manager
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Inside InterWorks: The Importance of Content in Marketing, Part 2 We love giving as much inside insight into InterWorks as possible, and here you’ll find part two of “The Importance of Content in ...

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