The amount of content in front of your target customers and prospects has recently exploded.  To cut through the noise, you need a significant amount of compelling content. It has become a bit of an arms race and relevancy is key. And it’s a problem many marketing leaders face daily.


We recently spoke with Elissa Fink, the CMO at Tableau Software. She is tasked with creating and distributing content for the fast growing software company. Exactly how does she feed the content machine?


Setting Goals

Elissa thinks about goals in two ways. First, what is the goal for the readers? For Tableau, the goal of their audience is to increase their knowledge. Elissa’s end goal for visitors?  “We want you to walk out saying the company just made me smarter, and better at my job,” claims Elissa. They believe this makes prospects more likely to receive messages. She also focuses on creating highly engaging content for the audience. Not only should it make the reader smarter, but it should be so good that they want to share it with their peers.


And secondly, she considers the goals for Tableau itself. Will the content help the company reach their objectives? Will it result in more leads and more opportunities? She thinks about it from the sales team perspective. The content must be something a rep can share or use to engage a customer. It has to be relevant to the personas the sales team are interacting with on a daily basis. When planning her content strategy, Elissa considers factors in both internal, and external goals. And the two must be in sync.


Determining What Content You Need

There are a couple of ways Elissa recommends determining your content needs. She first recommends conducting a content audit. This is where you determine what content you already have, and where your gaps are. She also recommends being very analytical in your approach. Which content is generating the most activity? Who is viewing your content? And what stage are they in when the piece of content was consumed? At Tableau, Elissa and her team sit down, map the content to both personas and the stages in the buyer’s journey. This helps them understand where they are set, and where more content is needed. Then this information is used to put together the editorial calendar and production schedule.


When creating new content, another key tip Elissa shared with us is to hire a journalist. This has helped Tableau turn product centric content into a story. Story telling is a skill that has to be learned, and journalists are a great source. Consider hiring a full time journalist for your marketing team.


Finally, Elissa spoke about determining which distribution channels to utilize. How does she determine which content to which channels? “We’re constantly testing, and holding up a mirror to our analytics,” she explained. It helps them answer questions like “was this the right content for that channel given our audience?” For example, since their audience is very IT-centered, they produce IT-friendly content that is distributed where their audience lives digitally.



Elissa ended our conversation with 3 simple tips. These are things marketers can do immediately to improve their content process. First, know your audience. Know what you uniquely bring, and be clear about what you’re trying to accomplish. Second, be creative. You may need to get a lot done with limited resources. Be sure to understand the most effective use of these resources and use them accordingly. And lastly, never think you’re done. Instead embrace a cycle of constant measurable improvement. Ultimately compelling content is what will help you reach your audience. And get your product and services in front of them.



Greg Alexander

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by getting the product team, the marketing department, and the sales organization into strategic alignment.

Greg is the host of The SBI Podcast, the most listened to sales and marketing podcast on the internet.


He is the host of SBI TV, a monthly television program broadcast on the internet featuring top B2B sales and marketing leader sharing their strategies to grow revenues.


Greg is the Editor-in-Chief of The SBI Magazine, the leading B2B publication focused on sales and marketing effectiveness.


He is the author of two critically acclaimed books Topgrading for Sales and Making the Number.


Greg has authored over 100 articles on SBI’s award winning blog, The SBI Blog.


He graduated from The University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in English and received his MBA from Georgia Tech.




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