When it comes to effectively attracting new business, content marketing is one of the latest successful trends. If you’ve ever worked with WordPress, Type Pad, Movable Type, or even Blogger, you may have noticed they have a few things in common. Rest assured that although the aforementioned blogging platforms may have a few similarities, they’re not all the same. For example, another perhaps lesser-known platform, Compendium, allows blog owners to have greater control over approval and to even list topics or target keywords so that writers always know what kind of content they’re required to produce. Co-founded in 2007 by ExactTarget founder Chris Baggot and Ali Sales Roach, the Indianapolis, Indiana-based Compendium has garnered recognition in Businessweek and the Wall Street Journal.
Sramana Mitra: Hi, Frank. Let’s start with some context about you and Compendium.
Frank Dale: I’m the CEO of Compendium, a content marketing software company. Content marketing is the core of social media. The reason we exist is the way that people are buying has changed radically in the last five years. If you look at the data, the average buyer, if he’s B2B, has done 60% to 65% of the research that he needs to make a decision before he even talks to a salesperson at a company. On the consumer side – and this comes from a Google study – the average buyer is now using 10.4 sources of information, primarily derived through searches and social media, before making a decision. That’s growing pretty rapidly, and what it’s telling you is that the people who are making buying decisions are able to get information in a way that they never could before. There’s a high level of transparency, and it’s much easier to access.
Given what’s happening, marketers are realizing they’ve got to start providing valuable, useful, and relevant content that’s not necessarily sales-oriented early in the conversation to be a part of that information gathering process. Where social media will typically come in is that any good social media strategy requires a good content strategy. You have to have something to talk about to make social media work. To get social media to work, the conversation can’t be too tailored to you, or the other person is going to lose interest. It’s like talking to someone at a party who only talks about himself. That person generally isn’t very popular.
What we do, given that context, is provide a SaaS platform that makes it easy for companies to get the kind of content that they need to make the strategy work. That means we have tools that make it easy to create original content that’s written either by employees or contractors that they might hire. We have tools that makes it easy to get testimonials and references from customers, where they’ll talk about happy experiences they’ve had. Then we organize and optimize them for search, and then publish them on a branded hub that the client posts. We will then syndicate that to various social networks and provide a series of tools that make it easy to share those great pieces of content over and over again on social networks and across channels.
So, if you run B2B company, [you’re interested in things like] lead nurturing programs and software providers like Eloqua. If you run a B2C company, [you’re interested in things like] email marketing platforms and things like ExactTarget. That’s where we fit in the world. Our job is to help you have the content for the conversation and get it to the right person at the right time.