SAS’s Alison Bolen on Content Marketing Results, Audience Expansion, and More

3 minute read

Upland Admin

Bolen_Alison headshot for The Content MarketeerAlison Bolen is the editor of blogs and social content for the SAS Institute, a global provider of business analytics software and services, which Fortune placed at the top of its “100 Best Companies to Work For” list in 2010 and 2011.

Bolen is part of a full-time, 10-person team that produces and oversees a serious amount of content, including a network of 28 blogs, two quarterly magazines, three microsites, two monthly and twelve quarterly email newsletters, various social media channels, and 200 annual customer success stories.

As the manager of SAS’s blog network, which counts more than 300 employees as contributors, Bolen’s work includes coaching the team on writing, social media, and WordPress, in addition to her own editing and blogging.

Over the past year Bolen, one of our 50 Marketers to Watch in 2012, has also been involved an initiative to collaboratively expand SAS’s digital marketing efforts across the company’s various divisions.

If the workload seems daunting, you wouldn’t know it from talking with Bolen, who recently took some time to field our questions about her work at SAS, audience development, her favorite app, and more.

Results-Driven Content

“Big data is a hot topic for many people—and our sweet spot—but we felt there wasn’t enough information about it. In February and March we undertook a cross-divisional effort to increase our share of voice on the topic. One component of that campaign was a project I led to blog once a day for a month on the topic of high performance analytics (HPA). The story topics ranged from big data in social to big data themes in the retail and financial services industries. I also produced two print publications dedicated to the topic, all of which was syndicated in a number of ways on our sites and channels.

“The results were great. Our share of voice, combining traditional media coverage with social media conversation, increased more than six percent over the course of two months. SAS blog posts about HPA were tweeted twice as much as other blog posts. From January to March, traffic to resulting from the search terms ‘big data’ and ‘high performance analytics’ increased by 500 percent. And finally, time-on-page for the HPA blog posts during this time were three to seven times higher than the site average.”

Advice for Fellow Content Marketers

“Take the time to come up with a promotion and distribution plan for each piece of your content.”

Inspired Innovation

“One of our new external bloggers is a Seeing Eye dog, Willie, who is the companion of a SAS employee in charge of developing products for accessibility (for blind customers, for example). Our internal communications team did an interview with him about what it’s like to work for SAS. It was so popular internally, we set him up on our external group blog, and he has written two posts now. Everyone loves a dog, and the posts are funny but they also broaden the audience for content around accessibility and applied assistive technology.”

Favorite App

Evernote. I use it a lot, writing up quick blog post ideas when they come into my head.”


“I really like Content Marketing Institute. I like how they’re informing not only the practitioners like us, but are getting the message out more broadly about how content marketing can benefit business. I also relate to Seth Godin’s blog. And Jeremiah Owyang—he continues to really have a pulse on the enterprise space and understanding what and where we’re going next with social media.”

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