written by
Dayana Mayfield

Teardown: InVision's Authoritative Content Marketing Strategy

Knowledge 10 min read

As a content marketer, you already know that InVision is a standout in terms of content. But have you dissected why (exactly) they're a shining example of strategy and execution? Probably not. We get it. You're busy. That's why we're doing a teardown of InVision's content for you.

invision, content marketing teardown by StoryChief

P.S. Did you miss our first teardown of Drift's bold content? Check it out here.

Table of contents

InVision's two main content hubs: Inside Design and DesignBetter.co

InVision, a digital product design platform, has created two content hubs. One of them, Inside Design lives on their main domain, the other DesignBetter.co is its own domain.

If you're a curious bird, you're probably wondering...

  • Why do they have two different content hubs?
  • Why did they create a second one after the first one was already successful?
  • Why does their main menu navigation say Design Education instead of Blog?

And a whole lot more.

So, let's get right into it.

Deep dive into Inside Design

In order to understand how these two content hubs are different, let's first dissect them individually.

Cheeky histories

It's kind of a crime when an American says "cheeky" (or "cheers" for that matter), but is there really a better adjective than cheeky for this sort of content?

Design nerds and digital geeks love these sorts of history lesson posts. These are the fun, unexpected pieces of content that keep you feeling like there's always something new to discover over at Inside Design.

Customer successes

Like with our previous teardown, we discovered that InVision finds smart ways to highlight their customers.

In B2B, your customers likely get significant results from using your product or service. When you include them in content (outside of the traditional case study format), you humanize their story and give your audience a chance to learn from their successes.

High level thought leadership

It's not easy to teach an old dog new tricks. How do you educate designers who have been in their industry for a long time, and already stay up to date with continued professional development workshops?

That's when you go to the experts.

Tutorials and how tos

Even though Inside Design features tons of creative, funny, and thought-provoking content, they still have a strong backbone of how to articles and tutorial style posts that they publish regularly.

Design resources

The design resources offered by InVision are highly useful. We're talking UI kits, icon packs, and mockups. In fact, "Design Resources" is the first menu item from the left, so rest assured this is a key piece of InVision's strategy.

Not only do these resources convert readers into email subscribers, but they also keep people coming back to the resource page to find new helpful downloads.

Something new every weekday

InVision publishes something new on Inside Design every single weekday. Daily frequency is a huge part of their strategy of being not just a company blog, but a digital publication that any designer would want to visit regardless of the tool they use.

🤔 So...do you need to replicate Inside Design at your company?

Let's go ahead and assume that you don't have the bandwidth to publish one piece of funny, insightful, educational content every single day.

Does this mean you can't grow your business using content marketing?

Of course not. You can still grow your business with one or two posts per week. The most important content to focus on is blogs that solve a problem for your ideal audience, or teaches them something they really need to know.

Inside Design published a roundup of their top 15 posts of all time (in terms of reads and shares). Guess what? Their top 15 articles aren't the "cheeky" histories or even the earth-shattering thought leadership or even the customer examples.

The top 15 stories are actionable, practical, and offer a simple outcome to a problem or desire.

Here's a sampling of their 15 top-performing posts:

Regardless of how off-the-wall their daily content gets, the top performing pieces are still informative and immediately helpful.

No, you don't have to replicate Inside Design to get results from content. But if you want to have a digital publication that readers return to daily, rather than a company blog that doesn't build an audience, then in that case you do need to follow their lead more closely.

Deep dive into DesignBetter.co

What is DesignBetter.co?

Why did InVision create it in 2017 after having made their blog a success since it launched in 2014?

Let's see what InVision has to say about DesignBetter.co in their own words.

Here's what InVision's Elijah Woolery wrote in the blog post announcing the launch of DesignBetter.co:

"At InVision, we’re committed to transforming the way individuals, design teams, and companies practice product design. We want to see companies of all sizes elevate their design practice for success. That’s why we’ve created DesignBetter.Co—the essential guide to the world’s best design practices. We interviewed dozens of leading designers at companies like Google, Airbnb, Netflix, Facebook, Slack, and more to discover the design practices that will help you transform your design practice and push your organization to create better products.

While Inside Design does have some practical content, the focus of DesignBetter.co is clearly on more evergreen, actionable content. Let's explore further.

A home for InVision's podcast

From its launch, DesignBetter.co has been the home of the company's podcast, which interviews leaders at enterprises on how they manage design.

Actionable ebooks

Written for their enterprise target customer, the DesignBetter.co ebooks aren't basic or simplistic tutorials on design. Rather, they're about design sprints, design thinking, design leadership, design systems, and design ops.

Live workshops

You can check out their live workshops on topics like design sprints and design systems, or fill out a form to inquire about a live on-site workshop for your company.

Conversations with design leaders

In addition to the podcast, DesignBetter.co publishes separate written interviews (no audio) with design leaders on their management and collaboration experiences.

🤔 Okay, so what really makes DesignBetter.co different from Inside Design?

At first glance, DesignBetter.co appears to house different content formats from Inside Design (podcast, ebooks, workshops, interviews). But the real difference is about much more than format, it's about the audience.

In a nutshell, the target audience is the key differentiator.

While Inside Design has fascinating and helpful content for designers of any level, DesignBetter.co is very clearly targeted toward leaders of design: chief product officers, design experience leads, heads of design, directors of product design, etc.

The content isn't just about design, it's about managing large teams of designers, speeding up business processes and results through design, and overall making an enormous impact on a company's growth and bottom line through design choices.

Need further proof of this elevated audience?

The subscribe optin for DesignBetter.co suggests a work email. Inside Design doesn't.

Ultimately, the reason why they separated out DesignBetter.co was so that they could go upmarket and secure more Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 customers, without alienating the audience of freelancers, junior designers, and senior designers that they had already built up.

They needed to separate out the topic of design (Inside Design) from the topic of managing design and getting business results from design (DesignBetter.co).

In the B2B world it's common to have very different user types. For a while, you can separate out their needs with content categories. But for many companies with complex, robust solutions, there comes a time when you need two or more individual content hubs.

How InVision converts content traffic

InVision is clearly investing a lot into content. How do they make sure that content comes back? One strategy is of course that the quality of their content inspires long term readership.

There are also ways that they divert traffic deeper into their funnel. With Inside Design, free resources capture email addresses in addition to their newsletter subscription. And with DesignBetter.co, ebooks are how email addresses are captured (in addition to the newsletter subscription).

They even drive traffic to check out the product straight from each content hub.

On Inside Design, a tab on the left hand side of every page leads to InVision's home page, where readers can learn more about the product.

On DesignBetter.co, a CTA at the bottom of every page leads directly to their product signup page.

How does their freemium model impact their strategy?

The freemium model has a huge impact on how they've organized their content. Most likely, it's because of their freemium model that they decided to separate out the enterprise-only type of content on DesignBetter.co.

If they muddied up Inside Design with lots of content on managing teams of hundreds or thousands of designers, then that could be a turnoff to the individual designers who make up their freemium base.

Sure, freemium users typically don't convert at a high rate, but they become advocates for the product as they change roles and grow in their careers.

Design Education: elevating the role of content

Aaron Walter is the VP of Design Education at InVision. Elijah Woolery is the Director of Design Education at InVision.

Notice that those titles aren't VP of Content or Director of Content?

InVision is so clear on the fact that the content they provide is a world-class design education that the employees in charge of their podcast, blog posts, audio, video, etc. all have titles to match.

I wouldn't underestimate the power of these titles. We become what we say we are.

At InVision, the Design Education team is focused on sharing the lessons of the world's top brands and the best freelancers— everything from design fundamentals to organizing a design team.

These titles make it clear that their job isn't to sell the InVision product with content. Their job is to provide enormous value to designers at any company size and at any level of expertise, and to then allow the product to sell itself.

That little something extra = great UX

InVision's UX is great, whether you're navigating their main site, the Inside Design sub folder, or the DesignBetter.co URL.

Here are some examples:

  • You can click to play a podcast from the main podcast page without clicking through to the title of that episode
  • Podcasts play in a popup that lets you navigate through the site while listening (like how on YouTube mobile you can watch a video while searching/scrolling)
  • You can load the images of the mockups before deciding to download the resource
  • Your email autopopulates when you click on a resource page

Great UX and design is something every company should strive for, but obviously it's ultra important for InVision, because their target audience will notice every pleasurable experience and bemoan every terrible one.

What's your professional audience? What irks them? What delights them? The answers should inform how you approach the little details in your content and site.

InVision's overall strategy

Now that we've seen the nitty gritty of what InVision is doing to attract and convert an audience of UX designers, product designers, and web designers, let's take a step back and study their overall strategy.

  • Dominate the conversation: InVision wants to be the authority on design for designers of any experience level.
  • Secure upmarket position and win the late majority: Since the dawn of BetterDesign.co, InVision has been creating more enterprise focused content to gain more large accounts.
  • Get loyalty from designers at the start of their careers: Even though InVision is loved by design leaders at top companies, they still want to appeal to freelancers and junior designers.

Want to improve your own content marketing strategy? Start by overhauling your content operations to free up the capacity you need to implement the exact right strategy your audience(s) demand.

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