The “future of work” is a hot topic for anyone publishing content these days, and brand publishers have latched onto it as many people in the workforce grapple with the nature of work in a post-pandemic landscape.
Asana is among those giving it a shot. The workplace productivity software has a natural alignment with “work,” and via its print magazine and a slew of other editorial initiatives, it’s now seeking to leverage the topic to grow its reach and engagement among enterprise customers.
Emily Anne Epstein, who runs Asana’s editorial division, joined the Brand Publishing Show to discuss why she went brand-side, how she’s structured her team, and how to build a practical, audience-first mindset into a content organization.
Edited highlights are below. Thanks to our friends at AudiencePlus for their support.
Why she went to Asana
“I’ve grown up in a time in journalism where things were changing really fast, both for the good and for the different. Every role I’ve had has been all about learning a different aspect of the world of storytelling. I’m one of the rare people that really get to bring experience from both areas of visual storytelling and written storytelling into one. When Asana came to me, I had sort of reached the point in my career where I felt like I had learned everything I wanted to learn. Asana was an opportunity to take all of those skills, be part of a mission-driven organization, and apply them to a new thing where I could learn the world of tech, and I could learn the world of marketing.”
Asana’s goals with its content
“Asana wanted to go upmarket and reach more enterprise organizations. Thought leadership is a huge component because enterprise executives at large organizations are spending their time reading Bloomberg Businessweek. They’re spending their time reading the Atlantic, they’re spending their time reading the Economist. How do we transition our content into something and start applying the lens of thought leadership across all of the different assets that we produce? The appetite for this sort of storytelling was there, and they just needed somebody to bring that vision to life.”
How Asana structures its editorial process
“We take all of the best practices of journalism, first-party interviews, talking to people about basically the answers to questions that most people haven’t asked before. We want to create a social and emotional and intimate relationship with an audience, not just thinking of them as prospects, not just thinking of them as customers, but thinking of them as an audience and serving their needs.”
Connecting editorial with ROI
“The editorial team covers the full funnel of audiences. I’m writing for executives, what IT executives read, I’m writing for a general knowledge worker audience, what are the things that they need? We work in collaboration, not only with the writers and the editors, but also with our partners, like performance marketing partners in revenue marketing, and make sure the strategies that we were proposing could really move the business forward. And that’s something that I think a lot of journalists don’t necessarily think of: How do we make the media business better? How do we contribute to the bottom line and the ROI of a publishing company? But content marketers have the opportunity to look at that and make sure it’s helping the business.”
Redesigning a content marketing organization
“The way the organization was designed was really for a type of content marketing that isn’t going to be successful in the future because it was defined by what piece of content you could create. So if you were a writer doing e-books, you would produce e-books for a variety of audiences. And you didn’t really get to dig into the why of an e-book. And so what I did was create an internal agency. So every single writer or editor is assigned a cross-functional collaboration team. They serve as the content strategists for that arm of the business, as well as the writer. So somebody could be writing emails one day and writing e-books the next day, writing an article the next day, and just expanding the type of writing that people could do if they were owning an audience and a specific part of that audience’s journey.”
This episode was edited by Eric Johnson at LightningPod.fm.