Thu, 6 July 2017
In 2011, four lads from Dublin were running a successful business that let programers and engineers know when a user encountered a problem with their program. The problem was that none of them were particularly interested in the world of programming errors.
Instead, they found their passions centered on why it was so difficult for online businesses to talk to customers. They didn't know it at the time, but they were about to reinvent the concept of content marketing.
So Des Traynor and his three co-founders sold their successful business, packed their bags, and moved to sunny California.
"We were four Irish founders and basically our previous company, we had already done the bootstrapping thing. ... When we were going through this change of business and this change of approach, we said, 'What's the opposite of running a bootstrapped business off the north side of Dublin?' Well that's come to Silicon Valley and raise a million dollars, and that's what we did," Traynor says.
It turned out to be the right move, as the company that now known as Intercom raised more than $160 million in the past six years, building a customer base of over 17,000 customers, and making over $50 million in revenue. Their mission was simple: to make online businesses feel less like talking to a robot and feel more personal instead.
The solution to that was to help businesses talk to their customers through their own websites and apps instead of the usual mish-mash of emails, texts, and phone calls. Intercom built its reputation and customer base through the power of content marketing, but in a way that might surprise you.
Instead of following the traditional strategy of hiring a content team, focusing on SEO and backlinks, and churning out at as much content as possible, Intercom went in the completely opposite direction and developed a unique content strategy that led their business to go viral within the startup community, while building a beloved brand.
"We're not one of those people that do all that black hat stuff. I really, really hate that. We had a recommendation recently to go post on discussions.apple.com and write a piece that links back to your site, and it was just so puke-worthy. I could never get excited about gamifying the Google algorithm and building the business on such a messy, fragile house of cards," Traynor says.
Traynor goes in-depth with us in this episode about why the conventional content marketing strategy doesn't work anymore, and how to really get your message across.
In this week's episode you will learn: