written by
Dayana Mayfield

Teardown: Drift’s BOLD Content Marketing Strategy

Knowledge 10 min read

Ready for something a little different? Sweet! Today we're launching a brand new series of content marketing teardowns, and the first company we'll be analyzing is Drift, the conversational marketing platform that (in the B2B sales world at least) has become synonymous with chatbots and the lightning emoji. ⚡

Where there's a lightning emoji, there's a Drift employee. These peeps do employee advocacy like nobody's business. Let's see what else they do right, and discover if there's anything they can improve upon.

Table of contents:

And even if you're not in B2B, there's still a ton you can learn from this content marketing teardown, because Drift blurs the line between B2B and B2C anyways. Take it from their VP of Marketing:

Let's get into the teardown!

Content categories used on Drift's blog

What does a company like Drift — with over 150,000 customers and $107 million in funding — post on their blog? How do they solidify their authority in a category they created (conversational marketing), while still remaining accessible and humble?

These are some big questions. Let's take a look at what Drift is doing.

Helpful content

First off, Drift is definitely posting what we all think of when we think of content marketing using a blog:

  • Tips and tricks
  • Listicles
  • Guides

Within this content category, their content most likely has other categories such as sales, growth marketing, etc.

What can we learn from Drift? They're posting content that is helpful to their target buyer and they offer tips that are up-to-date. They make sure to never rehash things we've heard a million times before, and always add a fresh take.

Employee expertise

In addition to posting content written by in-house marketers and seasoned consultants, Drift's blog also hands the proverbial mic over to employees in other roles as well.

In this example, a customer success manager offers tips for using video in customer success.

This is a smart strategy in B2B. Your in-house team has knowledge that your customers can benefit from, so invite leaders from relevant teams to share their expertise on your blog. Make sure to have someone on the marketing team manage content pitches, ideas, titles, publishing, etc. etc. so that contributing employees feel excited and supported.

It shouldn't be a chore for them to help out with content marketing.

User interviews

The Drift content team also regularly interviews their customers. In this example, they ask the following questions and more:

  • How does Drift fit into your day-to-day workflow? What other tools do you use in conjunction with Drift?
  • What kinds of questions do people on your site usually have?
  • How does a conversation with a visitor on your site typically go?
  • How do you have your bots set up in Drift?

Notice how the above questions are not set up for a case study style interview. Rather the purpose of the content is to help others learn how to do conversational marketing right.

User thought leadership

Drift has another way of bringing users to the forefront of their blog. Aside from interview posts, they also take thought leadership contributions from users.

Users can share how they setup Drift, what types of chat bots they have, how they approach live messaging, how they train their teams, and more.

You can set up a contributor program for your customers, too. In B2B, marketers and CEOs want high quality backlinks, so they will most likely be happy to write for you if your domain authority is good (or excellent, in Drift's case). In B2C, you may need to incentivize user generated content with sweepstakes or giveaways.

Product updates

Like most top notch B2B SaaS companies, Drift releases new product features often. They post about them right on their main blog, but in order to make it not boring or come off across as too company centric, they used outcomes-focused messaging in their headlines.

"Get Your Best Leads To Your Sales Team Faster" is something that just about any B2B sales or markter can get excited about.

Learn from Drift. Don't make product announcements all about you. Figure out how to frame it to be about your customer. And if you can't do that, then most likely you shouldn't have built or created that product in the first place. 😱

Why Drift doesn't use lead forms

Did you know that Drift doesn't use lead generation forms anywhere on their website? Yeah, it's kind of their thing.

Go ahead and agree or disagree, but Drift's CEO David Cancel believes that people don't want to fill out lead forms. They just want the content. You should give it to them, and make it easy for them to subscribe to your email list if they choose, instead of barring them from your ebooks unless they subscribe.

It's this vision that has led to the removal of all lead forms on their site. Instead, they creatively make use of their own product (namely the chat bot) to engage with website visitors who meet certain criteria, such as viewing a certain page, or reading a certain number of posts.

How Drift gets site visitors on their email list

Alright, so if they don't use lead forms, how do they get visitors on their email list?

There are at least a couple of ways they do this.

Subscribe button above and to the left of posts

Drift has a black subscribe button above the title of every post. Also, when you're digesting the meat of the content (eww, that sounded gross, sorry), you can clearly see a subscribe button on the left side bar too.

In terms of side bar design, the minimalism here is pretty dope.

Chat bot prompts for people who have who have read multiple blog posts

In addition, Drift's bot also prompts regular blog visitors to sign up for their email list. From the outside looking in, I'm not sure how many blogs you have to read for this prompt to pop up, but I'd imagine it's at least three.

Want inspiration for setting up your own chat bot? We've got you covered. Here's how the conversation went:

Chatbot: Hiya 👋 You're becoming a regular around here... Want to take things to the next level?

Me: Maybe, what does that entail?

Chatbot:

Im so glad you asked

If you like our blog content, you'll LOVE our resource library. It's full of e-books written by members of our team on things like leadership, marketing role models, ABM strategies, and more!

Want to check them out?

Me: Absolutely

Chatbot:

Awesome!

We keep all of our books on our site here! But my personal favorite is This Wont Scale. Let us know how you like it 🤓

Before I forget, did you get a chance to subscribe to our blog yet? If not, I can sign you up now!

We send you a roundup of our content and favorite things we've seen on the internet on Sunday nights and, of course you can opt out at any time.

How Drift engages with website visitors on high-intent pages

That's a great chat bot prompt for blog visitors, but what about posts that represent a higher intent? When someone is reading a product update, that shows that they might be interested in your product, not just your content.

Here's how the conversation with the Driftbot flowed when I was on a blog post about the product for longer than a minute.

Chatbot: Hey 👋Think you can answer this question on lead response time?

Me: I'll try my best... 😬

Chatbot:

I believe in you

SO the question:

Waiting X amount of minutes in your lead follow up leads to a 10x decrease in conversion?

Me: 15 minutes

Chatbot:

Close!

According to Harvard Business Review, having a lead wait 5 minutes or more results in a 10x decrease in connection rate 😱

We know it's tough to make sure that the right rep is connected with the right lead as quickly as possible, so today we're announcing Advanced Routing: The best way to get leads to your sales team, faster. (available on our Enterprise plan)

Should I tell you more?

How Drift drives traffic to their content

Now that we know what kind of blog content Drift creates, and how they communicate with blog readers via chat, let's peek into how Drift acquires traffic for their blog in the first place.

SEO

It's impossible to rank for every blog post, and from the looks of the results in Ubersuggest, Drift isn't getting search traffic for most of their posts. However, they do have rankings for several keyphrases with high amounts of search traffic, including:

Featured snippet and position #4 for "growth marketer":

Featured snippet and position #1 for "product marketer":

Position #11 for "chat bots": (By the way, this same post ranks #1 for "sales bots," so let this serve as a reminder to include secondary keyphrases in your posts!)

Fact checking geeks, search rankings do fluctuate a bit, so keep in mind these rankings are written as of August 2019.

Employee advocacy

As previously mentioned, Drift totally rocks at employee advocacy.

Employee advocacy is when employees share company content, whether they wrote it or not. Drift's employees are constantly showing up in my LinkedIn feed, and the posts get a lot of comments and likes, meaning their getting tons of eyes on their content due to employee shares.

Email marketing

While Drift doesn't send an email notifying readers of every blog post they publish (so they don't bombard their subscribers), they do use email marketing to get signups for their webinars and other virtual live content.

Social media

Drift has thousands of followers on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. They use these channels to drive traffic to their blog posts, and they prominently feature important posts, like product updates.

Social media shares

Getting other people to share your content is actually a win win.

You get more eyes on your content.

The sharer keeps their social media account active and they get more eyes on their name and their profile picture.

When you create content that your target audience loves, they will share it without you asking them too. Make sure to study trends. What do people ask about? What do they want to know? Engage in social listening so you know what kind of content will inspire organic shares.

Regular readers

It's safe to say that because Drift creates fresh, helpful content for sales teams, marketers, and customer success reps, that thousands of customers and potential customers return to their site organically to read up on their latest content.

When you create content that solves problems, has a clear brand, and caters to clear target audiences, then you create a content hub that people want to return to. Without a doubt, Drift has achieved this.

Big time branding

About branding...

Drift's brand is very well known in the B2B world. It's bold, loud, clear, fun, and exciting, without being either silly or overly serious.

They use bold fonts, and they combine the color black with really bright, in your face colors in text highlights and other small details. Having a clear style serves them really well. When you see a Drift post on any digital channel, you know it's Drift.

Do an audit of your blog, your email newsletter, and your social media profiles. Are they all over the place? Do you have a clear brand?

Without a clear brand, it's much harder to establish the sort of authority that will have people returning to your website organically. An enticing, relevant brand helps people connect with your content at a deeper level beyond its educational value. Your brand can create loyalty, not just with your products and services, but with your content too.

Key takeaways: Drift's overall strategy

Wow! There's a lot to learn from Drift's blog, how they engage with blog readers, and how they drive traffic.

Here are some of the top takeaways:

  • Highlight customers in your content, not just as case studies but as experts whose insights can help other users and prospects
  • Publish content written by employees who fit your target audience
  • Use chat bot prompts sparingly — trigger them based on user behavior
  • Take content branding as seriously as you do product branding
  • Prioritize employee advocacy to get organic traffic
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