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Let your content fuel your flight

Anda Gansca is the co-founder and CEO of Knotch, a content intelligence platform that enables companies like Amazon, Facebook, Walmart, Bank of America, Salesforce and others to plan and measure breakthrough content. and optimize it on all channels. A regular thought leadership contributor to trade media and the industry in general, Anda has been named to Forbes & Inc.’s 30 Under 30 Annual Lists, AdWeek’s Young Influential List, Female Frontiers List. campaign and AdWeek’s top 100. Creative, to name a few.

I had the opportunity to interview Anda recently. Here are some of the highlights from this interview:

Jill Griffin: You are the co-founder of Knotch, a content intelligence company. I want to talk about your entrepreneurial journey, so let’s start with your journey. I understand that you are an immigrant. Tell me about it.

Anda Gansca: I am from Transylvania which is the northwestern part of Romania. I grew up trying to be a professional dancer, and then I became one, and I was also good at math and computer science. I was trying to figure out which path I would take, so when it came time to apply to college, I applied to the top 10 universities I found online. I have been accepted in several, including Stanford. The admissions manager called me and said, “From your request, I can tell you are an entrepreneur, and this is the place for entrepreneurs. You should come here. ”I had never spoken to anyone from the United States at the time, so it was such a defining moment that I decided Stanford was the place to go.

Griffin: Was not being an English speaker a problem in business?

Gansca: I didn’t speak English very well until I started the business and started fundraising. I realized I was already an anomaly to be a woman in business software, so I had to learn English really well to be sure I understood.

Griffin: What is content intelligence and why did Knotch enter this space?

Gansca: Today, businesses are investing heavily in digital content, including websites, blogs, videos, social media, business emails, and paid branded content. Almost one in five marketing dollars is now spent on content. Yet content teams struggle to figure out what works and prove that their efforts are helping drive business. That’s because you can’t tie content success to things like views and clicks. It should be linked to longer term metrics such as impact on branding, sales and audience growth.

Content intelligence – which is a term we coined when we built our platform – measures the success of content initiatives in the context of business results. The Knotch platform does this by using artificial intelligence to calculate success in three different categories and express the result as a score of 1 to 10. We also consolidate all content data across all content channels into one. location for easy analysis and monitor competitor content activity in real time to facilitate content planning. We are currently the only company that offers all of these capabilities.

Griffin: What should content creators focus on when writing or producing other work?

Gansca: It depends on your goals, which brings us back to our goal of linking content to business results.

If your goal is to increase brand awareness or awareness, you need to focus on creating engaging content that grabs people’s attention. It’s tough because there is so much noise today, but if you can deliver something of value you will likely improve what they think of the brand.

If your goal is to get more people to buy a product, you need to create content that explains how that product helps customers achieve their own results, whether it’s a toothbrush, complicated software or a jet engine. The harder a product is to explain, the more content you need to create. It’s about increasing demand or conversion to generate a strong ROI.

If your goal is to grow your audience by collecting newsletter signups or increasing the number of subscribers, what you’re really trying to do is collect more first-party data to have a more direct relationship with your customers or prospects. In this case, you need to give the audience something of value that they know will continue to add value over time.

The Knotch platform measures the success of these three goals, i.e. how content improves the brand, drives ROI and grows audience, and displays the results on dashboards that help marketing teams improve their campaigns and demonstrate the value of their work. to CMOs who control their budgets.

Griffin: How did you realize that the market needed a content intelligence platform?

Gansca: Aron Tzimas, my co-founder, is a content creator. I am a data scientist. Aron thought “I’m a content creator and I don’t know if what I’m doing is working or not, and I don’t even need tools to optimize things in real time.” From my perspective as a data scientist, I thought this was a really interesting and complex problem because the challenge is to analyze many different data points from many different sources and spit out a very simple answer that allows content creators to optimize their work. You have to take something very complicated in high-level math and convert it into a real-time actionable preview.

Then we started meeting with content leaders from companies like Bank of America, Citibank, Square, Dropbox, and many small businesses. Everyone has the same problem. They know content is important and they put all that money into it, but they have no idea what is working or how to optimize their work.

From our research, we realized that 80% of the content created has no impact. This means that you are wasting 80% of your money that you could use to drive the media for the 20% that actually works. But if you don’t have a platform to tell you which are the 20% and which are the 80%, it is impossible to optimize. We created Knotch to solve this problem.

Griffin: How did you connect with your partner?

Gansca: I was starting a consumer-oriented business with the idea of ​​creating an opinion-centric social network. It was a fascinating product and we loved working on it. Aron left Australia to join us as our first designer, but we finally realized that it wasn’t really our passion. We didn’t want to build consumer products. We wanted to build a data platform. We had 5 or 6 people at the time, and we decided to move from Silicon Valley to New York to be close to the media companies and marketers who believed in content. It was late 2015 or early 2016. We are now close to 120 people. At the time, it wasn’t normal for a Silicon Valley startup to move to New York, but rather the other way around. It’s interesting to see how the ecosystem has changed, and I think that’s what has contributed to our success.

Griffin: Tell me three things you learned that fueled your success that other entrepreneurs should know.

Gansca: First, there is the saying: “Businesses don’t fail, people give up”. The first 4 to 5 years of a business’s life are Darwinian, where every day we feel like we are living and dying. You don’t have money, you don’t pay yourself, there is a lot of stress, but competition and lack of money cannot kill you. What can kill you is giving up. As I kept telling myself this, we crossed very big barriers and impossible chances.

The second is the Spanish quote: “Because they didn’t know it was impossible, they did it”. This is entrepreneurship. It’s about taking something that hasn’t been done before, and the odds are stacked against you, and you build it up before you become a cynic. It’s really hard to be an entrepreneur once you’ve gone through many years of work experience and a lot of different startups because you create these rules and they take precedence over how you think about the world. But when you are a starting entrepreneur, there are no rules. Everything is a possibility, and it creates a beautiful and hopeful environment as you struggle against all these impossible difficulties.

The third is really about this inflection point. A lot of businesses fail before they even get there, but if they listen to numbers 1 and 2, they’ll get to a point where they’ll go from a team of 5 to a team of 50. When you start to evolve you have to completely change your mental wiring. It’s like you are flying a plane higher and higher trying to change the engine, and you realize that you are no longer concerned with that. It was all around you until you had maybe 10 people, and all of a sudden you need to create a culture that harnesses talent and makes everyone believe and succeed. At this point, it really isn’t about you. The quote I like is “What got you here won’t get you there.” While this is your company, you are no longer the founder, you are now the CEO and it is very different. As a CEO, you have to prepare everyone for success, give all the credit and take all the responsibility. It’s a mental turnaround that’s hard to do, but I think once you’ve done that you’re on your way to evolving and creating a great environment for people to do the best job they can. life.

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