content marketing

Content Marketing All-Stars Q&A: Micha Hershman of Eventbrite

By NativeAI / June 23, 2017
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What does effective
content marketing look like?

I looks exactly
like what Eventbrite is doing.

The event
technology platform excels at every step of the process, from high-level strategy to production
and measurement. Most
importantly, Eventbrite’s content serves a purpose: each piece that’s published is both valuable to the audience and also
increases the likelihood of a sales opportunity for the company.

Recently we
chatted with Micha Hershman, Senior Director of Demand Generation and Inbound
Marketing, to learn more about Eventbrite’s highly sophisticated approach to
content marketing.

Check out
the full Q&A:

Q: What is your role at Eventbrite?

A: I’m the Senior Director of
Inbound Marketing and Demand Generation.

I
supervise a team of 13. We are broken into two groups: an acquisition content
team and a channel marketing team. One team creates the content and the other
is responsible for the distribution of that content as well as its
transformation into demand. We also have a few outlier team members, who work
on big initiatives like our new foray into account based marketing.  

We
generate warm leads through an inbound program, cold leads through an
outbound program, and we push all qualified leads to our sales development
team. They use the intelligence that we provide about lead content  consumption as part of their outreach.

Q: What role does digital content play in that process? Why are
you creating it?

A: We have an explicit goal for
our content: to create a sales opportunity. We want a prospect to become a
customer.

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So,
we built a content engine, explicitly designed to deliver this outcome. We
start at the top of the funnel and use the principles of inbound content
marketing to serve lightweight social content to prospects.

For
example, social content pushes the prospect to our owned media, either a blog
post – again something lightweight top of the funnel – or a landing page
where the prospect fills out a form.

From
there they move our mid-funnel tier; our conversion tier. Now we’ve acquired their
information, and they know who we are. We can start to provide them with
valuable resources to solve their problems.  This is content that is
explicitly engineered to address issues, not to promote our
solution.  Examples include: How do you sell more tickets using
social media? What are copyrighting secrets that can help you write better
event pages? How do you use a video at your event to solve X, Y, and Z problems? 

We
also a have a bottom-of-funnel content strategy, which is largely sales
enablement material. We provide these assets to our sellers and we also make
them available on our content portal. So, if you don’t want to talk to a seller
but you want to learn more about our capabilities you can do that on your own.

All
of this, from top to bottom, is scored through our marketing animation tool.
For example, if you click from a social media post and you read a blog post you
might get two points. If you read three more blog posts you might get ten
points and you click a link to download a gated access piece you might get
fifteen points. When a lead is engaged enough – when they cross a specific
point threshold - we declare that prospect warm enough and engaged enough to qualify
as a lead.

Q: You referenced earlier that you’re experimenting with account
based marketing. How personalized are you getting with content as part of that?

A: We’re still in our first
quarter of testing and only have one dedicated headcount for that project. She
owns the whole initiative right now, so we don’t want her to spend all her time
as a content writing expert. Given that, we’ve had her partner with other
content marketers on the team members to repurpose existing content

For example,
over the last two years we’ve published something like 15 eBooks serving
the conferences sub-vertical. Our account based marketing lead worked with our
content marketing manager to edit those guides, with our design team to
repackage them, and publish them as a printed book. We then sent the book with
a personalized, handwritten letter to 50 extremely high-value prospects. That
letter directed them to specific chapters of the book that are relevant to the
challenges the prospect is facing.

Q: On a nitty-gritty level, how are you creating your content?

A:  Our core philosophy is
the content pillar.  Everything we do is planned around the content
pillar. 

Our
in-house team of writers produce between six and ten content pillars a quarter.
They are supervised by a managing editor who works with the team to engineer
the publishing strategy, scheduled the editorial calendar for the quarter, lead
the developmental editing process and ensure we publish each pillar on
schedule.

We
have three in-house writers. These people are close to the business; they are
tasked with a particular category, such as music, registration, or festivals. They
know the market and they work very closely with the product marketing team to
write these value-rich, 10 to 20 page eBooks.

From
there we then use our network of freelancers to say something like: “Take this
eBook and write three blog posts from it.” We can have that done by freelancers
because a blog post based on a chapter of an eBook is a relatively simple
effort. You don’t need a lot product expertise nor do you need a lot
of brand or market expertise. 

Q: What’s an example of a pillar?

A: One example from 2017 would be
our Guide
to Event Sponsorship
. It’s approximately 15 pages long
and is targeted to the conferences sub-vertical. It’s targeted towards large
conference organizers who are approaching sponsors with large budgets. The
guide is engineered to provide organizers with resources to help them solve
that problem; it’s very detailed and offers a lots action items.

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That’s the eBook that our in-house team produced.  Then if you look at our blog you’ll see there are two or three blog posts which extract
chapters from that eBook and which talk about solving a specific problem. We
give a teaser on the blog and then have a CTA or button that points back to the
gated eBook landing page. 

We
need prospects to go to that gated landing page so that we can capture their
information and so we can accelerate their velocity towards qualification and a
call with the sales development team.  If you’re only digesting social
media content or are only reading the blog – awareness stage content - it’s
going to take much longer before we push you toward that level of engagement
where we’re ready to talk about our product. 

Q:  When you’re starting
from the very top of the funnel how do you reach audiences?  Are there any
distribution methods that work particularly well for you?

A: We focus a lot on email and we
focus a lot on organic social.

We
also spend a lot time with SEO and making sure that the content we’re
building is driven by prospect search behavior. We don’t try to reach people
searching for terms with brand-driven thought leadership content. We are
focused on answering their questions.

We
do lots of channel marketing experimentation - things like syndicated content
and content-driven partnerships. One example: we partnered with Asana to create
a
productivity guide for event organizers
.
We co-branded that asset and promoted it through our own channels. By
partnering with them we doubled our reach.

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Q: Final question, do you have a few favorite pieces of Eventbrite
content?

A: I’ll give you a few answers,
some that are data-driven and some that are subjective.

From
a data-driven perspective, last year we looked back at our top producing
content and we identified the top three or four pieces. Then we turned those
into what we’re calling the “Essential” series. So, there’s the Essential
Guide: Social Media for Events
,
etcetera. That’s all driven by what’s working and what sells, so a year from
now we may add three more pieces based on performance, and if some aren’t
delivering we may take them out of the program.

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Another
that I’m proud of is an eBook we published recently called Boost
Sales at Every Stage of the Event Marketing Funnel
. I think it’s best-in-class work. It uses proprietary data to
tell a story that’s customer centric but which also highlights the power of
Eventbrite’s marketplace. It’s beautiful – our design team did a fantastic job
– and it tells a story that no one else can tell.

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A
last example is our copywriting
guide
. It’s a favorite because you never would have expected it. We did
some posts on the blog about copywriting and then published the guide. It’s
been one of our top performing pieces since we put it up. And that’s something
you never would have guessed by only talking to the sales team or looking at
the data.

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Written by NativeAI / June 23, 2017

The NativeAI & News360 team curates this blog with valuable insights and interviews from content publishers, marketers and analytics experts across industries. We are committed to provide the best possible Content Intelligence tips and tricks you can find on the web to boost your digital media publisher business.