As told by IMPACT Lead Content Marketing Trainer Kevin Phillips
Doing content marketing the right way isn't easy. In fact, it’s a lot of work. Specifically, the most time-consuming aspect of content marketing is publishing between two and three revenue-generating blog articles per week.
For companies serious about content marketing and the philosophies of They Ask, You Answer, a big decision has to be made:
Who is going to write all of the content that will increase traffic, leads, and sales?
Many companies hire professional freelance writers, whereas others hire an inhouse content manager. Then there are those that require many on their staff — primarily sales and subject matter experts — to write the content.
Very rarely, however, does the CEO of a company take it upon themselves to do all of the writing.
But in the case of Intek Freight and Logistics, CEO Rick LaGore did just that, and the results were beyond anything he had hoped for.
When I first met Rick to kick off a content marketing consulting engagement in November 2018, one of the first questions I asked him was:
“Who will be your content manager?”
I was a little taken aback when he said he would be taking on the role. At the time, having a CEO say he was going to do all of the writing himself was a red flag.
Could a CEO Really Be the Content Owner?
At first, I thought Rick may be underestimating the level of effort he would need to commit to. That, in order to see the results he was looking for with content marketing, he would have to produce a substantial amount of content consistently, to the tune of two to three blog articles per week. On top of that, he would also need to oversee copy updates to web pages, creating landing pages, scheduling social media posts, publishing premium content offers, sending emails, and so on.
For most companies, this is a full-time position in itself. In fact, many companies hire full marketing teams to handle the workload.
So I pressed him further:
"Why do you, the CEO, want to do all of the writing yourself?”
“Because I know the content much better than anyone I could hire,” he explained. “Also, InTek is my brand and investment, and I want to have full control over it as we come out of the gate. We only have one shot at a first impression, so I want it to be strong.”
I had nothing but respect for Rick’s determination. Still, however, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more than a little doubtful that he could pull it off.
I’d worked with other clients who were convinced they could handle the workload without hiring a content manager, and it always ended in one of two ways:
- They cave and hire an in-house content creator to manage the workload.
- Their efforts don't generate the results they expected, so they give up.
But Rick at Intek Proved Me Wrong
I assumed that, at some point, the workload would become too great, and I would need to convince Rick to hire a content manager.
I assumed incorrectly.
Over the next year, Rick wrote 92 blog articles himself.
What's more, the quality of the content he was producing was top-notch. In each blog article, Rick wrote lengthy, detailed answers addressing the most important questions his prospects had.
Not only could he handle the work, he really took pride and care with every piece he sent my way for review.
Through our conversations every week, I remember asking Rick what exactly he wanted to get out of content marketing. He had purchased HubSpot back in 2013 to track his website growth and it had the most stagnant, flatlined traffic I had ever seen; five years without so much as a noticeable uptick in monthly traffic.
Rick told me he was basically a small player in a field filled with juggernauts. All he wanted was to get noticed and to get his brand name out there.
“There are companies we’re competing with that are $15-20 billion dollars in size. They have the name,” Rick said.
“Nobody knew Intek Freight and Logistics. To be able to exist, you need to be known. To be known, you have to put yourself out there. Without marketing efforts, nobody would know who we are.”
From writing content addressing "The Big 5" blog topics guaranteed to drive traffic, leads, and sales — cost, problems, comparisons, reviews, and "best of" content — to putting out weekly updates on what was happening in the world of freight and logistics, it didn’t take long for Intek’s name to start getting noticed.
Intek Raised Their Profile & Saw Results
“We’ve been quoted in some of the largest industry magazines,” said Rick.
“We’ve had Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern, multi-billion-dollar companies, call us and ask who our marketing people are because they’re finding us everywhere.”
Rick’s business partner and president of Intek, Shelli Austin, discovered that the sheer number of leads they were getting through the website allowed them to be pickier with whom they did business with.
“We have people coming to us that would normally go to a larger railroad directly,” said Shelli.
“But they’re coming to us because of all the education and information we’re putting out there. We’re the first one that pops up (in Google Searches), so they call us first. It gives us the chance to find all of those bigger opportunities we wouldn’t have found before because nobody would have known who we were.”
Since I first met Rick a little over 16 months ago, his determination to be the voice of his company has led him to become one of the most influential voices in his industry.
Organic traffic to Intek’s website, driven primarily by blog articles went from 1,633 visitors per month to 14,599 as of February 2020, a 794% increase.
The increase in website-generated leads is even more impressive.
“We used to get five to eight contacts per month,” shared Rick. “We’re now getting 125 new contacts every month. We have about 3,500 contacts that are actively engaged with us on a monthly basis. We went from an unidentified sales pipeline to $5,000,000 at this point.”
The Power of They Ask, You Answer
Rick and his team attribute the growth in traffic, leads, and clients to the philosophies found in They Ask, You Answer which prioritizes customer education above all else.
“We position ourselves as industry experts,” said Rick. “Our content isn’t rah-rah Intek, it’s rah-rah freight, logistics, and supply chain and how can we help solve problems for people. We’re just trying to educate. And through that education people find us and say, 'Hey these guys seem to understand what they’re doing. Let me explore more.'”