Slack's Content Marketing Strategy to become a media first brand
Case Study-1 for Media First Brand
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Slack has not only changed the way employees communicate with each other within an organization but has also enabled businesses to adapt and thrive via community-first culture.
So much, that existing community-first entities use Slack as a base for their community-building efforts. Now, with the recent acquisition by SaaS giant Salesforce for USD 27.7 billion, Slack is set to grow stronger and redefine enterprise software for the remote world.
It’s one of the brands that, even though are utility apps, have managed to tickle the emotions of its users to make it a habit-forming product. The major contributor that enabled Slack to be seen as not just another boring software, but a coming-off age product is - content marketing and brand voice.
Let’s explore its content marketing strategy to understand how it managed to do so.
What idea does slack sell?
Slack primarily wants to sell the idea of ‘organizational transformation’ via being the company’s ‘Digital Headquarters’.
It also advocates for
bring employees closer via conversations
improving workplace productivity via collaboration
enabling remote work
Slack aims to upgrade communication within an organization by replacing inefficient emails. Its audience includes startups, corporates, SMEs, and anyone with a team/community to formally communicate with.
By having a look at its blogs, it seems to specifically target the following professional profiles within an organization:
Internal Communications Teams
Brand emotions - If Slack was a person
Slack has aimed to make workplaces efficient and fun. Its content, graphics, language, and tone are modern that constantly focus on ‘change’ and ‘culture’.
Slack’s content works towards making an impression of a person who:
is fun and cool
is productivity obsessed
wants to put you at ease
is a rebel
is socially savvy
has a modern outlook
believes in innovating by reinventing the wheel
How does Slack build trust?
Companies put their resources in content marketing is to build trust and create an impression of being an industry leader with every stage of customer interaction.
Here are some ways in which it has managed to stay in touch with customers and highlight great product experiences using content:
Slack’s Wall of Love on Twitter features all retweets of people who provided positive affirmations and experiences about Slack.
Featuring integration tools in their blog posts helps them build relations with their partners.
Slack exclusively posts regular updates about new partnerships, products, or company updates in their news section of the blog. This makes publications link the blog post that provides Slack with SEO backlinks and trust in the authenticity of the news.
Partner integrations tools feature slack in their own blogs of ‘How to integrate ‘xyz’ with slack’. This helps Slack with their SEO, generates brand impressions, and provides credibility for legit partnerships.
Slack itself has created content that is focused on how using its tool can help organizations and teams build trust within their ecosystem. Content that weaves themes of company culture, diversity, and inclusion helps it paint a picture of how much it values the same and how organizations can imbibe it for themselves.
Unique and vibrant illustrations that throw some energy and modernity into their website design and blogs.
Interviewing industry experts outside their ecosystem for their content across podcasts, guest posts, etc.
Slack has created a community of slack users within their ecosystem (duh!) with friends.slack.com
Sharing about how they do things in their own organization - Slack seems to enjoy talking about itself and the story behind their successes. Examples include:
Stewart Butterfield’s memo on how Slack is about organization transformation and not just 0s and 1s of a group chat application
All these efforts provide a higher-order view of the kind of ideology Slack follows with reasoning.
Though not content marketing, but Slack adopts a fair pricing policy by providing your credits back in case some users become defunct. Anyone who respects your money will end up respecting you. Very few organizations do that, hence this creates customer loyalty and builds trust.
Slack’s Content Marketing Funnel
For your Information:
A content marketing funnel is an arrangement under which you create targetted content in each stage of your customer’s interaction with your product that range from generating awareness to converting visitors and making final sales.
Slack has used various touchpoints to ensure its most obvious target users - founders/CEOs, HR, designers, and developers get comfortable and familiar with using their tool. They have optimized their strategy to maximize word of mouth as much as possible.
We have analyzed its content across various platforms to segregate it in terms of 4 funnel stages - Awareness, Education, Sales, and Training.
“We bet heavily on Twitter. Even if someone is incredibly enthusiastic about a product, literal word of mouth will only get to a handful of people — but if someone tweets about us, it can be seen by hundreds, even thousands,” says Butterfield.
More than 60% of Slack’s website traffic is direct - which means either people directly open their website or have reached them via their blog.
The Slack team is active on Twitter - asking and listening to customers for their product building and customer support.
Their podcast called Slack Variety Pack highlights stories from work across office culture, teamwork, and modern society. They have also launched a new podcast ‘Work In Progress’ which is a show about finding your identity and meaning in work.
Their blog ‘Several People are Typing’ focuses on modernizing work, easing remote work via collaborations, building productive and inclusive work culture. They have a dedicated blog for design and coding subjects who are their main target audience.
They have a job board: Slack at Work where their customers can list positions available within their organization that drives traffic.
It cleverly projected itself as an ‘email killer’, which generated a lot of buzz for them in the PR circle (Fast Company, ReadWrite, etc). It also pitched itself as anti-Microsoft that has a dominant market share in enterprise software.
They also had their share of controversy around their change in logo design and controversial welcome of Microsoft’s latest - MS Teams tool ( ‘Dear Microsoft,’ -an advertisement) that generated a lot of mentions.
Slack conducts webinars across industry trends and ‘future of work’ themes. These are mentioned as one of the 3 main tabs on their main resources page, highlighting its importance. They have been active in sponsoring events as well. Not to forget how Slack’s leadership team gets invited to speak about itself and how they work on various occasions.
Slack’s Industry Reports and Playbooks have been referred to by lots of other publications, especially since the pandemic where they have focused on ‘remote work’ related topics.
Their educational resources focus on enabling their customer to build better companies:
Topics around using Slack
With this, Slack aims to constantly showcase via its content why effective collaboration can increase the productivity of employees, which in turn will lead to reinventing organizations and their culture.
They have also released a series of ebooks under their ‘Reinventing workplace’ theme.
Multiple formats across guest posts on thought leadership, reports, product news, guides, tips, etc are published helping existing and potential users navigating their workplace hurdles.
To ensure its potential customers feel comfortable choosing slack as a no-brainer option, it has adopted some strategies like:
Sharing case studies on how their customers use slack with the ‘Customer Stories’ section of their blog.
There are numerous blog posts on other publications, some seeded by slack, some organic, on Slack v/s a competitor product.
Repeated content narratives around ‘slack v/s email’ or ‘slack for remote work’ make them look like a better and modern alternative.
Their organizational transformation messaging, guides, ebooks, etc show a higher level picture of what happens when one uses Slack.
Narrative of ‘Your Digital HQ’ and content around it, especially during a pandemic, had led to more adoption as Slack eases remote work.
Slack is very active in sharing its product announcements that ensure new customers feel that the product is active while entertaining existing users. Their efforts span building communities, extensive help pages, guides, and tutorials on using Slack.
Slack has its own tips library that shares how Slack could be used productively.
Slack has a dedicated Help Center showcased on its main Resources page that covers all topics that customers might require assistance with regarding Slack.
Dedicated universal FAQ dump for product and development queries that help with initial support.
Slack has built several Slack Community Chapters across the world for Slack enthusiasts and potential users to meet up or attend Slack-hosted events.
Slack Certified is an initiative under Slack where they train individuals to become experts in using Slack and helping organizations onboard to their ecosystem. Target roles are:
Admins: to tailor Slack for your organization
Developers: to develop apps under the slack ecosystem
Slack Skills: to help organizations use Slack productively
Slack has used almost every trick up its sleeve to use content marketing for driving word of mouth. Most of their strategy shows great use of publicity, media, thought leadership, and product marketing for easing their customers and establishing authority.
Here are some major takeaways to keep in mind:
Focus on the ‘Why’ of your product and ensure this is repeated across your content strategy and communication
Learn to ride the media wave by turning controversies into opportunities for PR
Showcase your customers love and your ethical initiatives
Listen and speak to your customers. They appreciate constant updates about the product they use. This keeps them excited about upcoming initiatives and drives discussions
Structure and segregate your content into well-defined tags and ensure your various target audiences are able to navigate through the blog to find what’s helpful for them
Showcase how you and your customers use your product
Focus on having multiple touchpoints to build trust
Don’t be all over the place - Slack focuses only on Twitter as its major social media channel
For SEO, what worked for Slack is multiple link-building posts due to its 1000+ app/tool integrations and solving customer FAQs as blog posts.
Next: How Harvard Business School became a media first brand with Harvard Business Review
Out of everyone, why is a globally ranked top business university creating magazine content that is well respected around the world by various organizations?
We will dive deep into Harvard Business Review - one of the best business publications in the world and how it helps Harvard build its brand with its content. Subscribe to receive the case study:
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At Merrative, we can work on the strategies mentioned in this case study to manage your publication via books, articles, thought leadership, case studies, reports, podcasts, etc. Hire us as your flexible editorial team via our managed publishing talent marketplace.
Very complete and detailed analisys! Super nice article!