They say partnerships flourish when both sides meet in the middle. At Influence & Co., this is especially true — in more ways than one.
We produce our best work when clients meet us halfway by providing key insights, personal expertise, and creative collaboration. But growth and success also hinge on something a little more personal: mutual trust and respect. And one of our clients in particular makes a stellar case for this.
Hope Horner, founder and CEO of video production company Lemonlight, has been an Influence & Co. client for more than three years. She’s still a happy client with an enviable content marketing strategy, but our partnership deserves a proper backstory.
Hope first discovered Influence & Co. after noticing another agency, also a fledging startup, was producing solid, relevant content at a startling rate. This baffled Hope: How was the agency pulling this off? How did its leaders have time to churn out so much content, let alone good content, while growing their business? Someone had to be working behind the scenes. So Hope reached out to the startup’s founders, and they directed her to Influence & Co.
“I was immediately intrigued and delighted that Influence & Co.’s services existed,” Hope recalls.
Today, her articles are performing in top-tier publications — from Adweek to Forbes to Inc. — and her content generates a steady stream of inbound leads and solid prospects. It also continues to educate audiences about why video matters, and Hope has become a trusted source in the video marketing arena because of it.
Nonetheless, the road to success wasn’t obstacle-free. The element that continues to drive win after win is how Hope and Influence & Co. conquer challenges together.
In the beginning, Influence & Co. produced blog content for Lemonlight’s site. It performed well, but we pivoted when Hope realized she’d rather focus on guest-contributed content to establish her thought leadership and executive brand.
Three years later, she’s got a lot to show for that decision: more than 20,000 total content shares, an overall social reach of 25 million, an average article share rate of 400, and an ever growing edge over her competitors.
Because of Hope’s willingness to collaborate with us to ensure her voice and message stayed true and intact, Lemonlight took off about a year into our partnership. The company started raking in business, and the brand grew to new heights. Then, for about a month, we didn’t hear from Hope.
What went wrong? We worried the sudden lack of engagement meant our partnership wasn’t producing desired results.
As it turns out, she’d gotten overly excited about her company’s growth and hired too many employees; money was tight. To stay in the black, she had to make budget cuts and shift the company. The setback was so jarring that Hope wanted others to learn from it. Thus, we helped craft and publish a guest-contributed article in Entrepreneur that highlighted the darker side of owning a business. In it, she discussed being honest about your struggles, losing revenue, making mistakes — and ultimately, how she got her business back on track.
Through this difficult period, Influence & Co. worked closely with Hope to reevaluate her content strategy and package. By slightly modifying deliverables, we struck a perfect balance that benefited both parties.
Today, we utilize Lemonlight’s blog posts as a springboard for any guest-contributed work we produce. This strategy not only saves Hope time, but also ensures all her content is working together to further her goals.
Using her blog content, we supplement answer sets, mine for hidden topic gems, and embed blog links within guest-contributed articles (which encourages prospects to click back to her site, thus generating traffic and potential leads.) And because we’ve built such a robust library of Hope’s insights over the course of our partnership, we’re able to avoid asking Hope for information we already have. This strategy works well: Hope keeps her internal team busy producing great on-site content, which frees up her time for more critical work.
We’ve also helped boost Lemonlight’s SEO. This occurred naturally. As we became familiar with her industry, the content we produced built upon her internal SEO efforts.
Acknowledging all of this, we must reiterate the value of collaboration. Content marketing is our expertise, and it’s our job to turn Hope’s unique insights into digestible, actionable content that nurtures leads and educates prospects.
Perhaps it sounds like a lot of work, but it seems to be the secret to client success. It’s also why clients like Hope have stayed with Influence & Co. for so long. We’ve proven to be a valuable outsourced arm of her internal marketing team. She’s integral to that process. And while ROI is always top priority, you can’t ignore the warm, fuzzy feelings that come with a long-lasting partnership.
“From time to time, clients, friends, or even strangers will mention an article I’ve written and share how it affected them,” Hope says. “Seeing my name published made my parents incredibly proud.”
The feeling is mutual.
This blog post was developed and co-written by Bridget Healy, Alexa Hartwig, and Diane McGraw.