- Case Study -
Focusing on Content Strategy to Optimize Content Creation
For many years, Ansys, a leading provider of engineering simulation software with around 5,000 employees, has significantly invested in content creation to support the buyer’s journey of its prospects and customers. Since the organization consists of multiple business units under one corporate umbrella, it was becoming increasingly complicated to ensure the appropriate mix of content was available to meet the needs of all its audiences. In addition to the perpetual challenge of reaching engineering audiences effectively, Ansys also was recently in the process of bringing together marketing talent from several acquisitions, resulting in a collection of high-performing marketing talent with everyone doing things just a little bit differently.
Ansys corporate and product marketing teams agreed that efficiency gains could likely be achieved by taking a step back to examine their content strategy and development process across the organization, both at a corporate level and across business units. This involved hosting an internal content marketing workshop and forming a strategic partnership with TREW Marketing to serve as an adviser on organization-wide and business unit-specific content strategy and development.
Getting Started: Hosting A Three-Month Content Marketing Workshop
To help members of its product and corporate marketing teams navigate the sometimes unnecessarily complex world of content development and promotion for their highly technical audiences, Ansys hosted a content marketing workshop based on the book Content Marketing, Engineered, written by TREW Marketing co-founder Wendy Covey. Covering a new topic each week, the workshop included interactive sessions based on different chapters in the book that were presented by internal subject matter experts (SMEs), including members of the executive leadership team. There were also occasional homework assignments or group projects to complete, giving participants the chance to collaborate on topics that might be outside their normal responsibilities.
This workshop resulted in 20 experienced marketers developing a common vernacular and aligning on foundational marketing principles. Workshop participants were also able to immediately apply their key learnings to their annual planning that coincided with the workshop’s conclusion. This workshop also provided a nice foundation for the team as they headed into their first strategy engagement with the TREW Marketing team.
Getting Focused: Developing a Corporate Content Marketing Framework
As companies expand, especially when growth through acquisition is involved, it is typical for some content development challenges and process inefficiencies to surface. This is generally because individual business units are focused on creating content to meet their audience’s needs but do not have insight into what other groups are doing. The result is usually duplicate content in some areas and content gaps for parts of the buyer’s journey in other areas.
To identify potential content gaps in the buyer’s journey and increase efficiency and ROI for content development in general, TREW held multiple working strategy sessions with Ansys corporate communications and product marketing leadership. As part of these working sessions, we documented their content challenges and identified the current and desired future state of their content program. Based on these discussions, we created a framework to help Ansys achieve their desired future state, including recommendations on content ownership throughout the organization, the content planning and intake process, the content approval process, content sourcing, metrics reporting, and content lifecycle management.
The Ansys content marketing workshop based on Content Marketing, Engineered resulted in 20 experienced marketers developing a common vernacular and aligning on foundational marketing principles.
This workshop also provided a nice foundation for the team as they headed into their first strategy engagement with the TREW Marketing team.
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Getting Things Done: Content Planning and Development by Business Unit
As part of the corporate marketing framework we developed, we recommended prioritizing content planning over content development. To help Ansys execute on this recommendation, we started working on content planning with product marketing managers in multiple business units. These engagements started with our team facilitating guided brainstorming sessions so that we could collaboratively develop content goals that align with each business unit’s objectives. As part of this exercise, we also identified and prioritized key buyer personas and target audiences and built out topic clusters for key themes for each of these business units.
From these sessions we aligned on the ideal state of content for each of these business units and provided a six-month content plan. Within the plan, we outlined eight to ten content topics for each identified theme and provided working headlines, key messages, CTAs, and target audiences and we identified SMEs within Ansys for each topic. We also created a content scorecard to help Ansys track metrics and have a straightforward method for measuring the success of its campaigns.
To help the internal content development teams at Ansys ensure these plans could be executed on immediately, for some of the business units we then started working on content development. This involved working directly with SMEs and Ansys partners to develop a variety of technical blogs, white papers, and case studies.
Improving the Success of a Mature Content Program with a Fresh Third-Party Perspective
While the Ansys content development program was already highly sophisticated and successful with content creation, the Ansys marketing teams knew they had the opportunity to increase their efficiency and the ROI of their content development processes. They achieved this through their internal workshop based on Content Marketing, Engineered and by forming a partnership with TREW Marketing to serve as a third-party advisor focused on their cross-departmental content strategy. Through our partnership, we helped Ansys achieve their goals by first developing a corporate content marketing framework and then assisting with executing on that framework through strategic content planning and development in various business units.