How we work with our users to produce the best content

Today it is getting harder and harder to reach a qualified audience and promote your app/product/services. One of the biggest challenges that marketers have to face is how to get seen and heard. For a long time, we’ve been hearing how important it is to use SEO techniques; social media; paid marketing (SEA); PR; the list goes on. But now the time has come for content marketing.

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

But content marketing is not that easy to manage. It takes time to produce good content that will interest your potential users. We don’t produce content just for the sake of producing content. We write articles, eBooks, guides; we produce videos and infographics… in order to speak to somebody, to catch their attention with regard to a particular problem they have, and to provide them with information. So, I asked myself: what is the best technique for producing good content?

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Please note that I’m not going to talk about content promotion in this article, I’ll write another post dedicated to that later.

In my team, we have tried many strategies:

- producing our own content (good quality content, but time consuming);
- using content mills (bad quality content, and doesn’t bring anything interesting to our audience);
- inviting guest bloggers (average quality, but too self-serving — they are concerned with promoting their own product, and that’s fair enough).

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In the end, we chose to produce in-house the content that we want to push and promote. But you know, when you’re a small team it’s not that easy to find the time to produce content. So, I wanted to go even further and try to find a way of producing more content internally, without having to hire an entire content team.

A Strategy to produce our own content

Recently, we have found a new, very interesting strategy for producing content. We now work hand in hand with our users. It was so obvious: they’re the ones who use our app, so they know what they’re talking about, and they know better than anyone what type of content they’d like to read and watch.
So, below are a few of the content strategies we have launched with our users.

Rockstars Program

It all began with our Rockstars program. This program is an international community of passionate users, who are willing to share their expert advice. Today, we have about 20 powerful users who are our Azendoo Rockstars. They have two main roles:

- testing new features before we release them, and sharing their feedback;
- helping us spread word of mouth. For example, they participate in our Meetups to explain how and why they use Azendoo.

They also write articles to explain how they use the app, and share feedback on our website:

Last but not least, they demo the application to other users when needed.
Our Rockstars are very important to us. We truly rely on them, their feedback, and anything they have to say about Azendoo.

Guides to Getting Started on our app

One other great thing we have produced with our users is a 3-day Getting Started on Azendoo guide. How did that come about? One day I was talking with Lisa, one of our users, and she explained to me that she had written a guide to explain to her teammates how and why they should start using Azendoo. So I asked her if I could change it a little bit in order to adapt it to a broader audience, and here it is: the “3-Day Getting Started on Azendoo Guide”, written by an authentic Azendoo user ;-)

How to use Azendoo — A quick guide for you and your team

An eBook

For a long time, we wanted to write an eBook about why marketing teams should care more about team collaboration. But you know, we just never had the time. I think I even created a Task “Write an eBook”, which stayed in my To-Do list for about a year… And one day I was chatting with another Azendoo user, Gleb, who is the founder of a content agency. We discussed about Azendoo a lot; he also had written an excellent article about the app. So I asked him if he’d be interested in writing an eBook for us. As an Azendoo user and a content producer, he was just the perfect guy for the job! He felt very excited about it. We hired him and few months later, here it is: our awesome first eBook:

A Marketer’s Pocket Guide to Team Collaboration

Case studies

We also interviewed some of our users to write user case studies, explaining how to use Azendoo. We included those user case studies on our website so that anyone is able to access them. Working on case studies with users is quite easy; the only rule is to do the job yourself! Don’t ask your users to write them for you: call them, ask them questions, and then write the story. You’ll get the best user case studies that way.

Filming user interviews

During a recent Azendoo Meetup in Paris, we were lucky to have two important clients, Paris Numérique and Solidarité Sida, come on stage and share their Azendoo experience. So, I politely asked them if they’d each like to do a short video interview explaining how and why they use Azendoo, and they immediately agreed. Here are the results:

Interview: Solidarite Sida - Azendoo

Upcoming video

As with the eBook, for a long time now we’ve wanted to produce a video that explains what Azendoo does. But we couldn’t find the right agency, and we just didn’t have the time to do it ourselves. So Mattias, Azendoo’s Content Manager, started discussing with Raul, one of our very influential users who owns a video production agency. They chatted about Raul’s work, and what we wanted to do at Azendoo. A few days later, we hired him to work on this video, which we are currently still working on. Because he is an Azendoo user, he understands better than anyone how to explain and present what we are doing, and thus things are moving very quickly.

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What is great about working with our users for content production is thatwe get high quality content, as they truly understand what they’re talking about. They also like sharing their experience of our app, which is really great. Things are moving fast and what’s best of all is that we can work on all these projects directly within Azendoo ;-)