Subject matter expertise might be the hardest problem in content marketing.
Subject matter expertise is the catch-22 of content marketing: the people with the most experience don’t have time (or desire) to write, and the people tasked with writing don’t have the experience to give a firsthand account.
There are workarounds for this, but the team at LaunchNotes, led by Blake Thorne, has come up with the best solution I’ve ever seen. LaunchNotes is one of our marketplace customers, and we’ve had the chance to work with them closely on this—and we’re impressed. Here’s how it works.
LaunchNotes is the first B2B SaaS company I’m aware of that has put its podcast at the center of its content strategy. The podcast is a weekly interview show where Blake interviews product leaders. Recent guests have titles like “Senior Product Marketing Manager,” “Head of Product Marketing,” “Head of Product” and “Senior Director, Product Enablement.”
These are the exact people they hope to sell to and the exact people they need to understand fully to do better marketing.
The episodes are deep dives into product strategy and tactics that are rich with anecdotes, ideas, and opinions. With more than 60+ episodes in the library, there’s a massive amount of content out there for listeners. And while the podcast is a polished form of content itself, it also feeds the creation of other types of content.
No effort is wasted, making it almost perfectly efficient. This is where Blake begins to differentiate.
LaunchNotes also runs a Slack community called Launch Awesome. It includes office hours with more product leaders, lots of good Q&A, and a book club. The medium is different, but the goal is the same: make subject matter expertise ubiquitous. It’s helpful for attracting the target demo, supporting existing customers, and for the team to understand these people better.
The Slack group also functions as its own marketing channel but has all the same positive side effects as the podcast. Many companies have all this raw material, but Blake is operationalizing it to maximize its utility. Not only do the marketing team and its vendors listen to the podcast and hang out in Slack, but they also can tap into the ever-growing library of content for future marketing.
Here’s how Blake described the behind-the-scenes in his content strategy doc:
I want to make these conversations an actual query-able experience for content producers. This means some tool that we load all these long-form recordings into, which generates a transcript and lets us search against them. So if we say, “let’s write about backlog grooming.” We can type in “backlog grooming” and immediately see every instance of that topic coming up in all our interviews, find what was said about it and by who, and pull out the relevant quotes or insights.
Since that was written, Blake has created this database in a tool called Dovetail. It does what you’d imagine—it sucks in all forms or content, then makes it really easy for people to search. The more you add, the more valuable it gets. And since LaunchNotes’ content strategy is built to extract insights from product experts, this “insights hub” is really, really valuable.
This is where Superpath comes in. LaunchNotes hired us in mid-2022 to help scale content. Blake is a content team of one. He’d done much of the early writing himself, which set the expectation for future content. (As a side note, content vendors love this. When the in-house team creates the first few pieces, it sets clear expectations for all future content.)
Blog traffic each month grew (on average) 5-10% month over month. If we do that again we’ll see blog traffic nearly double. That’s if we did no new content and just basic SEO hygiene, combined with some implied continued lift from just overall brand growth. If we layer on some new, targeted content—we should easily double blog traffic again.
The Superpath Marketplace pairs in-house teams with experienced freelancers and an editing service. We’re able to deliver high-quality content for much less than agencies and without the headaches of finding and managing your own freelancers. Blake provided us with a list of target keywords in order of priority and, more importantly, a ton of material to work with.
Superpath writers can start in Dovetail instead of Google to find quotes and anecdotes for articles. This gives our writers an edge, but it also means that LaunchNotes has lowered the barrier for creating really good SEO content since all of their writers have a rich library of material to work with. Superpath can help grow organic traffic by creating content that’s actually differentiated. I can’t overstate how important this is—the SEO playbook is so dry and formulaic that it’s become extremely difficult to build momentum.
This post is a perfect example where we infused easy content with elite insight: Every product launch tactic we could think of (+ how other SaaS brands used them). The target keyword is obviously “product launch tactic” and the format is a simple listicle. So far, it’s run-of-the-mill SEO. But if you read through each section, you can see that many suggestions are sourced from product experts. These tactics were uncovered from the podcast and crowdsourced from the Slack group. The LaunchNotes internal team even created a bonus podcast episode where they brainstormed all the tactics that they could think of.
Maybe this all seems obvious to you, but I don’t see this often. SEO content still works. Listicles are still a great format. But you absolutely have to find new ways to flesh the pieces out.
LaunchNotes is nailing this, and the results are proving it. About 80% of organic traffic hits a blog post first. Total organic traffic is been steadily growing 5-10% month-over-month. (Do the math on your own traffic. How long would it take to double at 10% MoM? Not that long.)
Here are a few other examples we’ve helped them create that follow this same formula:
Most SaaS companies seem reluctant to tackle “easy” posts like this—lists of podcasts, books, landing pages, tactics, etc. And I think it’s because they’re hesitant to regurgitate content from other blogs to put these pieces together (as they should be). But LaunchNotes has expert insight, which opens to the door to easy, fast content. They still do the hard stuff (thought leadership, case studies, etc.), but these posts help them get in front of a lot of readers fairly quickly.
LaunchNotes’ answer to the subject matter expertise problem is simple and efficient. With the hardest problem in content solved, Blake can focus on other things, like amplifying distribution, growing the community and expanding the reach of the podcast.
I won’t be surprised at all if this strategy is the norm for most SaaS companies in a year or two. Blake is paving the way, and proving that expertise really is the key unlocking better content and reliable growth.