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The Elephant in the Room: Evernote Talks Content Marketing

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By Debbie Hemley Jan 10, 2012 3 comments

If you’re like a growing number of people trying to manage information overload, finding ways to organize and remember what’s valuable to you specifically is becoming more and more important.

The folks at Evernote are here to help. Their free, full-featured application allows users to create, save, tag, search, and access (among other functions) “notes” in various types of media via desktop, phone, tablet, and the web. A premium version enables a number of advanced features, such as file synchronization and higher monthly upload allowances.

As if that weren’t enough, the company’s product line also includes numerous other apps, hardware, and notebooks that complement and enhance its primary application.

Evernote currently claims 20 million users and is gaining serious attention. It was recently named company of the year by Inc. magazine, which published an accompanying cover story in its December 2011 edition. Evernote is also a finalist in two categories—Best Mobile App and Best CEO—of the 2011 Crunchies Awards.

In addition to its product suite and eye-catching logo, Evernote clearly understands how to integrate smart content into its offerings. With highly trafficked blogs and large followings on multiple social networking channels, Evernote is a content marketing triumph.

Know Thy Users

Two factors drive content development at Evernote: demographic information and the creative uses of its products.

The company conducts periodic surveys to learn more about its user demographics, such as occupation and age. For example, Evernote has gleaned that its users are lawyers, doctors, designers, chefs, writers, and undergraduate and graduate students, to name just a few, and are typically in their mid-30s to mid-40s.

Evernote is also committed to staying attuned to the unique ways those individuals are using its products.

Andrew Sinkov, vice president of marketing, and editor Kasey Hickey agree: “Content should be useful, fresh, and offer something new.” In a recent interview, they both relayed the importance of creating content that humanizes Evernote. They hope users will see “there are real live people behind the company.”

Therefore the tone of its content—whether in blogs, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube—is “casual, approachable, friendly, and passionate,” Hickey says. Sinkov adds, “If content helps to educate, then people will want to tell their friends; it will drive word-of-mouth marketing.”

As a result, Evernote has quickly grown its followers and fans on social networking platforms, where helpful content is rewarded with re-tweets, inbound links, and “likes.”

It Takes a Team

Content creation at Evernote is divided amongst a team.

As editor, Hickey has many writing tasks. She works on user stories, partnership announcements, and company updates. Sinkov contributes product-focused updates, and with their growing list of products, he says, “They’re many.”

Additional team members specialize in video creation and have developed a rich video library with tutorials, demos, and tips; others tailor content for specific markets, such as education.

On average, Hickey publishes three blog posts per week—a mix of user stories, tips for how to use Evernote products, and product updates. Posts from the 2011 holiday season included ideas for using Evernote to help plan a party, create a master budget, and develop a gift-giving list; how to use Evernote and the Skitch tool together for learning and practicing sign language; and how a private investigation company uses Evernote for case management and field work.

Evernote applies a combination of Google Analytics and Hootsuite to monitor its website and social media traffic, as well as listen to its audiences. The entire Evernote team is active on social media channels, and follows users’ comments and questions. When the need arises, team members answer support questions or send direct messages with solutions and links to additional information.

Evernote has learned a lot from such practices.

“One key lesson has been that people who follow and read our content on a regular basis will often go on to become some of the most valuable users, driving user education, and very often these users will upgrade from a freemium account to become a premium user,” Sinkov says.

From Readers to Ambassadors

Happy users can become the best brand advocates, and that’s certainly the case with Evernote, which has developed a successful ambassador program. Currently, nine ambassadors are profiled on the company’s website, users who “teach, share and help you get more out of Evernote. Each was selected because of their passion for applying Evernote to a specific part of their daily lives.”

Would-be ambassadors can submit their names and unique experiences with Evernote via a form on the site. Existing ambassadors specialize in organization, paperless living, outdoor travel, productivity, teaching, blogging and public speaking, craft, design, and parenting.

“They’re eager to share stories about how Evernote has changed their lives, and made them smarter, more productive, and better gift givers,” Hickey notes.

A Future With More Content

To remain sustainable, Sinkov believes more businesses will begin focusing on content creation, thereby driving even more of a need for community managers who possess expertise in both social media and quality writing.

“We’re not joking that as a company we want to be around a long time,” he adds. “One hundred, two hundred, even three hundred years.”

And if the company continues to deliver the caliber of products and content it has over the past few years, I don’t think it’s so far-fetched to believe Evernote will soon become a household name—one with the potential to be passed along to future generations.

iconAbout the author Debbie Hemley

Debbie Hemley is a social media consultant and blogger. Follow her @dhemley on Twitter.

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