Developing Your SaaS Content Strategy - Casey Hill - UserActive

Developing Your SaaS Content Strategy – Casey Hill

In this interview, Peter talks to Casey Hill, the Head of Growth at Bonjoro. Casey shares some great insight when it comes to growth for your SaaS. He shares how you can use amplification and distribution to reach your audience and stand out in a busy space. Check out this interview if you’re about to launch or want to improve your content growth strategy!

[00:00:00] – Peter

Today I’m live, interviewing Casey Hill, the Head of Growth at Bonjoro. Casey, thank you for joining us. Welcome to the interview. Can you share a little bit about who you are and what you do?

[00:00:13] – Casey

Yeah, thanks so much for having me, Peter. My name is Casey. I run the growth department for a company called Bonjoro. We’re a B2B SaaS company. We do personal video emails and video testimonial gathering. And so my role is kind of focused around marketing. Head of Growth is an interesting title in today’s world because it means a lot of different things to different people. In the early stages of when I came on board, I did a little bit more sales and I kind of migrated over time to a stronger focus around the marketing side, specifically organic growth levers. And we have other people in my team who really accentuated on the PPC side.

So that’s kind of like what takes maybe 50 hours a week out of my schedule. I’m also an institutional consultant, so I work with McKinsey and BlackRock and Goldman’s and GLG and a ton of different companies basically providing guidance typically when people are looking to make capital investments. So if someone is looking at doing a 100 million dollar investment in active campaign and they want to speak with basically experts in the ecosystem and understand that. So I do institutional consulting as well as kind of small business consulting, really accentuating in on early stage B2B SaaS companies typically is kind of like my sweet spot.

[00:01:25] – Casey

So those are kind of two of the central pillars that grab my time. I also run an ecommerce company called Hill Gaming Company. It’s kind of a passion project. In 2018 we had an 800% funded Kickstarter and from there I basically started running that. We launched our first label, a game called Arkon and it was a lot of fun and a lot of learning lessons through that opportunity. And then about a year and a half ago, I started a course company called Amplified Masterclass, basically taking some of these insights that I was learning and putting those into a course style format. And then earlier this year actually for the first time, I started teaching. So I now teach at UCSD in the marketing department around content marketing and organic growth lovers. So that’s kind of the quick and dirty background of it.

[00:02:12] – Peter

Great. It’s good to see you’ve been active in so many different areas. You’ve got a lot going on, but your main focus now is building this growth team out of Bonjoro. So you mentioned you’ve been there, was it around two years now?

[00:02:25] – Casey

Yes, that’s right.

[00:02:26] – Peter

Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve done there at Bonjoro? Maybe you want to introduce the product a little bit and then let us know how you’ve been able to create some impact with growth and building the team out for your all there?

[00:02:43] – Casey

Yeah, 100%. So again, Bonjoro is a personal video email tool at its core. When I came on board, that’s what it was. We’re kind of about to launch this new product video testimonials, but historically, that’s what it was. So the first thing to kind of note, and I think this is true of a lot of people probably in this community, as we walked into a fairly crowded space, there was Loom, there was Vidyard, there’s a lot of entrenched established players kind of walking in. And so one of the things that I started with, and I think this is when it’s really important, is really thinking about kind of amplification and distribution when we were producing content.

So one of the first major places I focused as a company was on podcasts and not running our own podcasts, but being guests on podcasts. And the reason that I focused on that lever is it gave the opportunity to have 100 listeners tie into a core message that we were trying to deliver, that high level, kind of like, what’s wrong in the space. We were able to kind of speak to that and say, yeah, video is awesome, but how do you make it scalable?

[00:03:42] – Casey

Right? How do you implement this at scale? And that was a message that I think a lot of B2B SaaS companies took to heart. They were like, they like these video tools, but it seemed really time intensive and there was this idea of, how do we take that personal touch and make it a little bit more something that we can kind of work into our processes and we can scale as an organisation with. So I think that, for me, one of the first key things I strongly push for people is to really have a distribution and amplification plan. Run all the content you produce.

So even if it’s your organic content, ask yourself who else is sharing it, who else is distributing it? Coordinate with people in your ecosystem to make sure that you have a distribution plan. Almost every business, when I sit down and I kind of started going through it, the answer is they do not they do not have a concerted plan. They put their content out into either they send it to their email list and wherever it goes, it goes, right? There’s not coordination with partners, there’s not coordination with any of these outside parties to say, let’s all push this message at this time.

[00:04:43] – Casey

So that’s one of the first things I guess I would really drill home, was the importance of having an amplification and having a distribution strategy.

[00:04:50] – Peter

Yeah, I love that you were able to do that and identify the channel that would work best for Bonjoro. Right. You mentioned that it was a crowded space, that you felt that it was back there, and then you identified the issue or the challenge that the audience were having, potentially, with personalised video. And then that enabled you to kind of magnify not only the message, but then also find a channel that will work for you. For other SaaS founders at this similar stage, they’re looking to get that larger market reach with their content. How would you suggest they go about finding the channel that will be right for them and potentially also that message?

[00:05:31] – Casey

Yeah, it’s a great question. So I’m a huge fan of repurposing. One of the first answers is you write exceptionally good content and you move it across a lot of channels. So almost all the content that I build is going to ten to 15 channels. It’s going to Reddit, it’s going to demand curve, it’s going to different Facebook groups, it’s going on Twitter, it’s going on like LinkedIn as a post, but also probably then LinkedIn as an article. It’s being taken in bite size and taking a video chunk of it.

And I’m using video here and I’m using a text snippet here and I’m taking a core argument from it and using that as sending out to someone to get on a webinar. It’s relevant in our space. So there’s this concept that you’re repurposing and through that you’re getting a much better understanding of what those channels are. I was actually talking with a TikTok expert and I am not a TikTok expert, but I thought it was really interesting, his philosophy, because he basically said, look, we use TikTok to actually just create the content piece and then we share it with all the other channels.

[00:06:29] – Casey

And it actually doesn’t matter if our TikTok totally flops, we’re actually using it as a quick editing tool. I thought that was so interesting because it represents this thinking where, like, you build content in one spot, but then you distributed across all those to maximise the impact. So I think to me that’s one of the important starting points. The other thing I think is super important when you’re looking at what channel works for you is you have to engage. You can’t just post content and then just kind of disappear or only engage on that one content you post.

If you really want to dig into an ecosystem, you need to be in the comments section, you need to be answering other people’s questions, you need to be building yourself as a thought leader. To me, one of the core components of organic growth on a channel is building yourself up as a thought leader. And in order to do that, it can’t just be a push. It has to be something where you’re able to draw people in through having those types of conversations. So I think that cross department or that engaging across all the different facets of other people’s content is super critical.

[00:07:29] – Peter

Yeah, I really like that. Just that repurposing enables your content to just get much further reach and work a lot harder for the effort that you put in. Did you suggest that through that distribution and repurposing of the content. You’re looking for channels that resonate most with your messaging or where you find your audience. Is there a process where when you start repurposing content you’re looking out for where it makes the most impact?

[00:08:03] – Casey

Yeah, for sure. So I’m always monitoring, me and everyone on my team, I’m always monitoring like, where we’re getting traction and what the views look like and what the actual leads look like. We’re looking at Attribution. We always ask. So Attribution, we could have an hour long conversation just on Attribution, but one quick tip is to always make sure on your intake forms, you’re just explicitly asking people. UTMs and all the different ways that you can track Attribution are limited, especially if you start tapping into outside amplification channels. If you’re getting a bunch of people from podcasts, you don’t have full control over that ecosystem.

Same with partnerships. So one of the things you start doing is you just ask people, how did you hear about us? And one of the ways that we really got a complete picture of our impact from podcast as an organisation was we would look and say, okay, this month 140 people said they heard about us from podcast, and then we’d use that coupled with any UTM data we could to really get a complete picture. So I think that’s part of this equation is make sure that you have a way that you’re monitoring on intake, new trials and new paid accounts, so that it’s not just vanity metrics.

[00:09:06] – Casey

Vanity metrics is maybe a starting point to give you some sense of things, but really, at the end of the day, you need to make sure that you’re understanding the back end impact of those platforms. And you can do that fairly well, I find, by just asking explicitly on a form.

[00:09:20] – Peter

Awesome. And just previous to this conversation, we were talking about how the growth Team has grown during the time that you’ve been there at Bonjour, and I wanted to ask you about what are some of the pains in growing the growth Team, and also how does the work adapt with what you’ve just been describing? How does that evolve as the team grows?

[00:09:47] – Casey

Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest thing for me for sure on that is really like, specialisation, right when you’re an early stage person. When I came on and we had ten employees, I wore a tonne of different revenue-based hats. I was doing all the sales calls, I was doing this marketing work, I was doing SEO content, LinkedIn. I had just a bunch of different orbs that I was across. And as we’ve grown, I have the ability to continue to specialise. I hired someone specifically focused for content, I hired someone specifically focused for partners.

I hired all of you hire these people that kind of fill those gaps, I think, as you grow as an organisation, again, from us, from ten to 30, where we’re at now versus where I started. You have more of that ability to kind of specialise in those roles and get people that can really own that thing. And that’s the thing that’s super critical for me and how I lead. And what I think is important as an organisation is to really give autonomy and freedom and have a meritocracy and have it where the best idea can win or people are really proud of owning this piece of the business.

[00:10:48] – Casey

That’s a super important tenant. That’s one that we really try to embrace at Bonjoro.

[00:10:53] – Peter

Yeah, that’s really nice. How about the future plans for yourself? Once you start identifying channels that work and you’re starting to grow and getting more and more traction, how does your mindset shift? Do you personally like to stay in the early stage of the business or do you have plans as it grows towards scaling more?

[00:11:20] – Casey

Yeah, well, I’m excited about the scaling phase as well. I’ve worked throughout my life both as a consultant as well as for four different B2B SaaS organisations and I’ve worked at a lot of different ranges. Not in the, I guess, fully matured setting, most of the businesses have been in the zero to 25 million arr range. But I’m excited about kind of that next step essentially for us to go into. I think it provides a lot of unique challenges and the problems that you have really shift. There’s a lot of new, interesting organisational challenges that don’t exist when you’re smaller, that exist as you grow.

But I think it’s really about impact. At the end of the day, we’re building organisations, hopefully what all of us are doing, spending our time every day is to try to change the world in some sort of meaningful way. And I think that scale does give you the capacity to have that larger impact. So I think that excites me and like what we do every day and what I’m focused on and kind of this idea of the importance of relationships in business and in this world of automation, which by the way is the world I came from too.

[00:12:23] – Casey

I worked for three years in an automation company and I love automation, I think automation is part of the future so it’s definitely nothing against automation but I see that we don’t want to ever lose that human relationship side of business. I think that’s critical, and I think more than ever in crowded ecosystems, one of the ways you differentiate is through that personalization is through that relationship building that you at a 50 person company or 100 person company are willing to do things that the 10 person company isn’t willing to do. And that helps you define yourself.

[00:12:54] – Peter

And it seems that it’s a good fit with Bonjoro for you, because there is the personalisation element that you’re adding to a process that could be automated. So you’re keeping that enabling people to do that at scale through video, which I think is a great way to interact at scale as well with one by one video. So the video, as I understand with Bonjour, I have tried it once before, it’s like person to person video.

[00:13:24] – Casey

Yeah. I’m sorry, can you question yeah.

[00:13:27] – Peter

Because you’re doing a recording, but it’s usually intended for one recipient. And I wanted to ask you if that’s still the key feature of the product.

[00:13:38] – Casey

Yes, you can do it in a lot of different ways. You can do one to many. You can do one to one. I think the really key piece is that because our system is built to tie in to your email automation system or your CRM or your point of sale. The idea is that you systematise where you use it in a process. When a lead gets to a lead score of 100, I want to reach out at that point. Or when someone goes from a lead to an opportunity, I want to reach out. Or when someone becomes a customer.

So a lot of tools in the market are really good at oneoff emails. I actually think that Loom and Vidyard are like exceptional at that application. And when someone’s like, I want to prospect with email, I’m like, go to Vidyard. Right. I openly push people to whatever is the best fit. But if they say, I want to try to convert more leads by interacting, as soon as someone opts in, I want all the information they put on that form. I want to see it right in front of me, and I want to be able to record a 32nd video to engage.

[00:14:27] – Casey

I believe that Bonjoro is by far the best in the market to accomplish that. And so we’re focusing on that kind of working into their systems and that capacity and on a grander sense. The future scale is we’re growing from a product into a platform. So next week we’re about to launch video testimonials, making it super easy for people to gather video proof. And the billion dollar business, the billion dollar business that we want to build someday is this idea that you want to take casual customers and turn them into superfans, turn them into advocates. We believe that advocates are what ultimately are going to drive business in the future. And so our focus is to give people a series, a suite of tools to help take people from that just like casual interest and really build that advocacy.

[00:15:09] – Peter

Awesome. Hey, well, thanks for sharing all your experience and what you’ve been doing at Bonjoro with us. Casey. Is there any way that you could suggest that people can follow you or get in touch or follow what you’re doing at the moment?

[00:15:23] – Casey

Yeah, for sure. So Casey Hill on LinkedIn, if anyone – I’m pretty active on LinkedIn- I post a lot there. If anyone wants to connect with me or reach out, people are also welcome to email me casey at Bondiro. Just my first name@bonjoro.com. If you have any specific questions, you can also contact me there.

[00:15:39] – Peter

Awesome. Great stuff. Well, thanks again for joining us, and we’ll see you around.

[00:15:43 – Casey

Yeah, sounds great. Cheers.

Final Words on Developing Your SaaS Content Strategy

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Sarah Stratton

Sarah manages the social media at UserActive as well as other marketing activities. She also writes blog content for UserActive.

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