gtag('config', 'AW-943903666');

It’s Okay to Cheat on Your Business

By Ed Lynes

You are in a committed relationship with your business. You spend more hours a week together than you do with any living person, and its your primary love. It nurtures you, helps you grow, breaks your heart and gives you untold pleasure. But let’s face it: as much as you love it, every now and then you look for a distraction. It’s time you cheat on your business.

For almost a year, I’ve had a little distraction called 13p5.

13p5 is named after the tipping point where a product begins to gain mass-market adoption — 13.5 percent — and is Woden’s side project. Each week, our awesome intern Zach scours the Internet for the best articles on building and growing a business, and he creates original long-form content, as well. The topics range from content marketing to culture change to entrepreneurship, but support one overriding theme: breaking through the wall of 13.5 percent market penetration and into the mass market.

You should hire a Zach.

Since we launched 13p5, more than 1,900 businesses have joined our e-mail list. 13p5 campaigns average north of 30 percent open rates and 15 percent click rates. Our Twitter feed is equally active; we are seeing an incredible level of engagement with content our audience truly sees as valuable.

Of course, Woden already has a blog, e-mail campaigns, and social feeds, like most businesses. Why would we invest so much effort in what is essentially a pro-bono client with absolutely no overt connection to ourselves?

People are savvier about advertising than ever these days. The over saturation of advertising has taught us to avoid these messages, and filter out information we perceive as advertising. Content marketing is designed as a way to avoid this — it gives audiences truly valuable information that is overtly connected to a brand. This should build trust and a sense of authenticity that converts a customer. But that overt connection to the brand still breeds skepticism. Sure: You might like reading my blog posts on LinkedIn, or enjoy the Woden social feeds, but they’re not completely altruistic. You know we’re doing to this to win business.

13p5 has no clear connection to Woden. And, most importantly, no calls to action or marketing information to erode reader trust. The content we curate and create are exclusively items that we truly believe have value to our readers. We even include sources from our competitors!

What we do gain is an incredible level of intelligence on our customers and prospects. We know what content each subscriber is reading. We see what gets shared or forwarded. Those insights allow us to create tailor-made marketing messages that speak directly to consumer need — and have conversions through the roof. Subject-targeted e-mails sent by Woden to our 13p5 readers have more than double the effectiveness of our normal e-mail campaigns (which are already more than three times the industry average).

13p5 enables Woden to speak to its prospects about the exact challenges that are on their minds. It allows us to tailor our product offerings to the trends we see among all our clients, and develop new product offerings that fill clear areas of need.

We’re not the only people who have seen tremendous value in this approach. The team at Crew are masters of this. This coming year, more and more laggards will get into the content marketing game. The best marketers will continue to stay at least one-step ahead and invest in innovative side projects that support their brand without levering it directly.

Ed Lynes is a founding partner at Woden. Whatever your storytelling needs may be, let Woden help. Download our free StoryGuide, or send us an email at to discuss how we can help tell your story.