Slack’s Genius Content Marketing Blueprint Unveiled

Did you know Slack was never meant to be a business communication platform?

Yes, it’s a classic case of ‘When life gives you lemons…’

Back in 2009, Stewart Butterfield was hard at work creating a game called Glitch. However, his team of only four people was spread across New York, Vancouver, and San Francisco. To simplify communication across multiple time zones, Butterfield and his team decided to build their own communications tool.

This tool, which was initially just a feature of another product, was launched as Slack in 2013.

Within just 24 hours of launch, it onboarded 8,000 new users. The instant messaging tool for professionals also hit the billion-dollar valuation mark within 8 months.

Why are we telling you all this? Because up until this point, Slack hadn’t hired a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and wasn’t big on SEO and lead generation.

So, what was the secret behind Slack’s rise to the top? Let’s find out.

Slack’s Unconventional Marketing Recipe

Instead of relying on traditional advertising, Slack leveraged clever, unconventional marketing strategies to build trust and grow its user base. These included:

  • Word-of-mouth: Slack reached 15,000 users through word-of-mouth marketing without even having a Facebook page yet.
  • Freemium Model: Unlike other platforms that offered a free trial and required the user’s credit card information, Slack was actually free. If users wanted to access more features, they could simply upgrade.
  • Constant Iterations: Slack constantly tweaked, improved, and polished its platform, pushing the boundaries to exceed user expectations.
  • Innovation: Slack regularly added new features to enhance the platform’s effectiveness.
  • Listening to Customers: Slack always puts its customers first. They actively listened to their feedback and tweaked their product accordingly.
Slack tweet Andreessen

Source: Business Insider

But besides these unconventional methods, Slack also doubled down on content marketing. In fact, in 2019, Slack spent over 50% of its revenue on sales and marketing activities.

Let’s break down the content marketing strategy that contributed to the platform’s viral success in less than a decade.

Slack’s Genius Content Marketing Playbook

While many companies rely on flashy ads and aggressive campaigns to grab attention, Slack took a different approach. Focusing on creating valuable, informative, and downright entertaining content, they nailed their content marketing game and connected with their audience on a deeper level. Here’s how:

1. Resource Library

Slack has an extensive resource library of blogs, guides, reports, and eBooks, contributing to a whopping 105+ million monthly website visits. It focuses on creating helpful content with clever CTAs that aren’t too pushy. Not only that, but Slack also makes it easier for users to navigate their blog by specifying the categories right on top.

Users can further find relevant topics by using a host of filters.

The result?

  • Enhanced user engagement
  • High organic traffic
  • Increased Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

2. Effective SEO

Organic search makes for the top 2nd source of traffic for Slack. According to research by Openview Partners, a big part of Slack’s SEO success comes from its App Directory landing pages.

Source: Openview

None of the users looking for these keywords were looking for Slack. So why were they suggested its website? You see, Slack integrates with tools like Google Drive, Trello, and Zapier. It leveraged this by creating separate landing pages for each integration.

With this content marketing strategy, Slack secured a place on the first page of search results for products that integrate with it.

3. Email Marketing

Unlike traditional email marketing strategy, Slack focuses on delivering relevant and timely content. They don’t bombard users with frequent emails and only communicate when they have something of value.

Additionally, their emails are crisp and impactful. They grab the reader’s attention with a relevant subject line and get to the heart of the matter quickly. Their emails also include multiple CTAs, allowing users to take immediate action.

Newsletter from Slack

Source: Narrato

4. Customer Stories

Slack has a dedicated ‘Customer Stories‘ page where it shares case studies of some of its biggest customers. These case studies not only highlight how Slack impacted their business but also offer valuable insights into how the platform can be tailored to meet different business needs.

To make these case studies more impactful, Slack also shares data points and video testimonials of senior associates.

5. Social Media

Slack has a huge following and actively posts on all major social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, X, Instagram, and YouTube.

  • LinkedIn: With over 1 million followers, Slack sticks to the professional nature of the platform, sharing product updates and recent events.
  • X: Slack uses its X page to understand user preferences and boost engagement using polls.
  • Instagram: On Instagram, Slack posts educational and fun content for its users, focusing heavily on reels.
  • YouTube: Slack uses this platform to provide informative and educational content, such as step-by-step guides, customer stories, security features, and more.

Source: LinkedIn

6. Podcasts

Slack also dabbled in podcasts, given their recent popularity as an effective content marketing strategy. It started by sponsoring popular podcasts and later launched its own podcasts called ‘The Slack Variety Pack’ and ‘Work in Progress.’

Again, Slack focused on briefly introducing the platform with non-salesy CTAs. It also drove engagement by asking listeners to share their feedback and thoughts.

Source: Spotify

Slack’s Secret to Success

From unconventional marketing strategies to clever content creation, Slack has nailed the content marketing game. It left no stone unturned with its crisp, impactful, and relevant content delivery, whether it’s insightful blogs, entertaining podcasts, or helpful YouTube videos.

But remember, in the end, Slack’s genius content marketing blueprint wasn’t just about selling a product—it was about putting their users first and delivering content that truly added value.

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