Q&A with XYDO CEO Eric Roach
Over the last 18 months content marketing has enjoyed a meteoric rise as brands adopt this exciting, compelling and extremely visual approach. It has grown into a thriving discipline in its own right as organisations begin to understand the value of online content and how it can be leveraged to tell their story, engage with fans and remain front of mind.
Coca Cola are a great example of a company adopting a content led approach to adapt, grow and ultimately thrive in the digital age. To mark this change they released two videos showing their point of view at the turn of the year called Coca Cola Content 2020 – and they were (of course) outstanding pieces of content.
Meanwhile, Eloqua and JESS3 have emerged as content marketing leaders during this period, having created the Blog Tree: New Growth Infographic and Social Media ProBook, whilst nimble start-ups like XYDO have spotted the opportunity to tap into this trend and curate existing content to businesses seeking to better engage their audiences.
XYDO’s approach currently focuses on content in emails and it has been hugely successful; recently I was lucky enough to catch up with Eric Roach, CEO of XYDO to hear more about the company, as well as the opportunities, benefits and challenges of content marketing.
Initially conceived in May of 2011 as a news-based social network, XYDO’s broad range of curated news feeds quickly gained traction among businesses and non-profits.
1. What is XYDO and your USP?
XYDO is a content marketing platform that gives businesses the ability make every interaction with their customers meaningful. The XYDO platform uses a sophisticated content system that processes 250,000 articles, images, and videos every day, and can identify the hottest, most relevant pieces for almost any vertical. Our clients can then leverage that 3rd party content to drive serious engagement with their customers.
Our first release combines XYDO content with email newsletters, and our customers have seen a 500% average increase in click through rate.
2. In your view what are the main advantages of content marketing?
Engagement – Great content endears your customers to your brand, and gives them a reason to interact with you. It’s amazing how many people reply to our customers’ mailings, thanking them for sending such a great email. When was the last time that happened with a promotional email?
Lead Generation – If what you send to your customers is good enough, they’ll pass it along to their friends. In fact, 10-40% of the clicks in our clients’ emails are their customers sharing content to their social networks, which in turn builds our clients’ audience (and sales funnel) .
Retention – Content marketing helps you stay top of mind with your customers in between purchases. By interacting with them consistently – and providing consistently good content – you increase your chance of a subsequent sale immensely.
3. What do your clients use content marketing for?
Email is the first distribution channel we’ve developed for, and the results have been astounding. One of our first customers, Lendio (www.lendio.com), saw an 800% increase in their click through rate after one week. The Utah Jazz, another customer, has seen consistent increases in their open and click through rates, such that they use XYDO mailings for the majority of their email communications.
4. How would you describe XYDO’s approach to content marketing in general?
The XYDO approach is twofold. First, we focus delighting existing customers by making sure every piece of content is absolutely engaging. Content marketing is worthless unless the content itself is amazing, and our system does a great job of identifying what will resonate with people. Second, we focus on helping our clients grow their audience by providing them with content that has a high viral potential. One of the by-products of the way our system judges content is that we know beforehand what people will share with their friends. It’s like giving our clients a loaded deck, and they see huge improvements to their social reach because of that.
5. What is your long term vision for XYDO?
While email was the first channel we developed for, we’re focused on becoming the best content resource for smart marketers regardless of communication channel.
6. As a marketing discipline, what more can agencies do to demonstrate the value of content marketing?
As large brands shift towards a content marketing approach, the argument for content gets easier to make. American Express is a classic example, with Coca-Cola following closely with a new content focus. Following with quantifiable results from their own experience should close the argument for content marketing.
7. In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception about content marketing?
The biggest misconception that we’ve seen is that content needs to come from within the company. The conversation doesn’t start in the marketing office – it starts and often ends with your customers. Providing great content, whether it originates from your company or not, is an extremely effective way to participate in that conversation.
8. How do you measure and evaluate the value of content marketing activity?
The metrics you use to measure content marketing efforts should depend on your distribution channel. For example, we’ve found open rate (change over time), click through rate, and % clicks to social shares to be great indicators of content marketing effectiveness when distributed through email.
I would like to put on record my thanks to Eric for taking the time to talk to us about XYDO and providing us with such a fascinating insight into content marketing. I wish him and the rest of the team all the very best for the future.