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Why we built Ottimo

A founder’s tale by Dylan Stark

When we started the Ercule agency in 2015, we set out to help clients with every type of marketing. We were doing SEO, content creation, ad management on every platform, account based marketing, PR, guest blogs… everything. It was exhausting.

We asked ourselves: which of these tactics actually has the best return on investment? It was surprisingly difficult to answer. After a year of instrumenting tracking for dozens of clients we started to see one trend.

At the end of the day, for our B2B clients, the most honest bang for their buck was always organic search.

So our agency followed that course and we’re still following it. Over the years we’ve hammered out a handful of reliable formulas and processes that consistently help our clients increase engagement with organic search. Eventually, we thought…

Why isn’t there an app to do this already?

Everyone on a sales team uses Salesforce every day. They have to. It makes success measurable and clear. Content marketers don’t quite have that yet. If you’re a content marketer, it’s likely you’re looking in a slew of places to write, publish and analyze content. Docs, Google Analytics, your CMS and probably a couple of spreadsheets at the very least.

With Ottimo, we want to build a home base for web content. A place that content marketers could go every day to take a look across their campaigns and prioritize their next steps.

They should be able to glance at their content library and know this one’s doing bad, this one’s doing good, this one needs updating. And they shouldn’t have to pay us to go out and spend hours digging across platforms just to understand that and know what to do next.

A (completely true) cautionary tale

A few years back we worked with a software company that had a team of very, very talented writers who published three pieces of new blog content every week. They always checked in on their total site traffic in Google Analytics, but eventually they asked us: exactly how well are our blog posts doing?

The answer to that question was… painful.

About 95% of the posts on their blog stopped receiving any traffic after their first week. That meant hundreds of blog posts and thousands of writing hours were going to waste.

It hurts to tell a writer that. It wasn’t their fault but I felt like our data was going to get somebody fired. They were excellent writers taking on interesting topics, but they never had a solid content strategy and there was nowhere they could go to easily understand which posts were doing well and which were floundering.

The gap between performance data and library management

On one hand, content teams often manage existing content with platforms like Notion and Asana, which are both awesome and, at their core, very smart spreadsheets. On the other hand, they’re using data tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to monitor performance.

Teams needed the interactive views of a platform like Notion but also needed granular traffic data to understand what to do with their content. Internally we were using a very effective but also very complicated spreadsheet that still didn’t empower content marketers to do this work without.

Showing clients how to import traffic data and use the spreadsheet themselves was cumbersome. So we started working on Ottimo.

How we’re using Ottimo today

The Ercule team uses Ottimo every day for our client engagements. When somebody asks about a page’s performance on a call, we can go to Ottimo in just a few seconds and see traffic, search metrics, page content and page speed all in one place.

So we’re able to answer important questions at a faster clip. Ottimo gives us the data we need to tell clients whether a page has any traction, or which keywords it’s ranking for. No more jumping between multiple tools to answer those questions – it’s all in Ottimo.

It’s the start of what we hope is a permanent home base for content marketers. Something you can look at every day. Sift through in different ways. Export data visualizations before a meeting.

And Ottimo is opinionated, which was really important to us. Other marketing tools like Hubspot and Google Analytics are often black-boxes that show a bunch of data but don’t offer any real advice on how to act on it. We’ve been working to turn everything we’ve learned as an agency into actual, actionable insights.

Ottimo long-term

Long term, the goal is to keep building out this home base for content marketers. We’re working to make our recommendations even smarter and down the road we expect to have a broader suite of tools for every part of the content pipeline – from coming up with a topic to understanding how much business that content generated.

That’s our full content pipeline dream. If you think that’s cool, Ottimo is free to use and we’d love to hear what you think about it :)

Analytics with Ottimo

Get control of your content analytics with Ottimo by Ercule