Have you met someone recently where you thought, “Wow, you’re inspiring! How did you do that? What could I do with if I had your knowledge or passion or skills?” Well I have. And I didn’t have to go far to find her, because her company is a Vidyard customer.

Stephanie Totty works at ExamSoft. The software company creates assessment software for educators and students. Now, exams might dredge up feelings of anxiety and memories of cramming too hard too fast, and drooling on the pages of your textbooks (please tell me I’m not the only one!). But ExamSoft is dedicated to creating a better experience for educators and for their students. Like at TSTC School of Nursing, where the software helped educators connect with students who needed additional help and remediation, bringing their board exam pass rates from a 77% to a 100% within a year. And at Touro College of Medicine New York, where ExamSoft data helped improve student performance and decrease student dropout, saving the school over $2 million in tuition.  

Wowzers.

It’s clear ExamSoft, and Stephanie, were doing amazing things. How do they do it? It turns out, Vidyard has played a big role: Through video, they reach more and more people through the powerful medium, since it’s more engaging than other formats like text. Using Vidyard, they are learning exactly what content their audience is truly interested in, and are having great success delivering the right messages to the right people.

But only a few years ago, video wasn’t even on ExamSoft’s radar.

ExamSoft had no video content to speak of, and no plans to change that. So what happened? Why did ExamSoft make the leap into video with Vidyard? And who was brave enough to strap on ExamSoft’s figurative running shoes, stretch calf muscles, take the risk and clear the hurdle?

Can you guess? Stephanie Totty, Senior Content Strategy Manager at ExamSoft. I was lucky to sit down and chat with her about how she does it all, what drives her success, and why she loves ExamSoft and what she does.

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Stephanie Totty, Senior Content Strategy Manager at ExamSoft

J.K. Rowling should probably never come over for dinner.

I quickly discovered that Stephanie and I shared a passion: storytelling. Stephanie told me she’s always considered herself a storyteller. As a child, she loved learning and writing, and as she grew, Stephanie found inspiration from some of the greatest stories and storytellers, including Star Wars, Tolkien and his epic Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter, created by J.K. Rowling (who, if Stephanie could host a fantasy dinner party, would be the guest of choice. “I would serve 15 courses just to keep her at my table longer!” Stephanie says unrepentantly during our chat. I could only agree: I would follow suit and maybe even lock my doors.).

Writing and storytelling was never just a pastime or hobby. It helped Stephanie shape her career as a content marketer: “One of the things that struck me about J.K. Rowling is she would drop what seemed like minor details into the first Harry Potter books, and by the time you got to the seventh book, those minor details actually showed themselves to be the basis for the whole story!” It was a vital lesson to a content marketer: “You can’t just put any words down on paper or a screen. You have to put effort into crafting your story and determining what the real point of it is.”

Storytelling is a way to share a powerful message, but you have to know what the right message is. Audiences are different, and good marketers know that the story that works for one person may not work to convince someone else. ExamSoft software means a lot of different things to different users, and Stephanie knows that “one story may go completely over someone’s head or not be applicable to their wants and needs. Content marketers must make sure that they’re NOT telling the story they want to tell.” Sound a bit crazy? She clarifies: “Instead, they need to be telling the story—or stories!—that resonate with whatever audience is currently consuming the content.”

So how can you know what the right story is?

But how could Stephanie and the ExamSoft marketing team know for sure what the right stories were? How could they create a human connection and build relationships with audiences?

Stephanie realized that video could help. As an online video consumer herself and voracious self-learner, Stephanie knew video was a new and powerful marketing trend that could have lasting impact. That’s why she took a closer look at Vidyard, despite not having a video strategy, when the video platform was presented as a good fit for her business.

Vidyard offered analytics that ExamSoft hadn’t known were possible, like who was watching which videos, how long they were staying engaged, and what kind of content was performing the best. If Stephanie could get her hands on insights like that, she could make sure ExamSoft was delivering the content their audience wanted and needed. On top of that: “The Vidyard salesperson we worked with at the time was very hard to say no to. He was enjoyable and kept going the extra distance to make us happy, which is something we try to do ourselves for ExamSoft customers. It felt like Vidyard and ExamSoft valued the same things: building strong relationships, and sharing the right stories with the right people.”

So Stephanie discussed Vidyard with her VP of Marketing, who agreed that the analytics Vidyard could offer, as well as the deep integration with the marketing automation platform and CRM that they were already using, could only help them understand their leads even better.

Video can teach lessons, if you’re willing to learn.

Embracing video felt a bit overwhelming at first—where should they start? How many resources and how much time would it take? But the whole ExamSoft marketing team jumped in, spending much of 2016 focusing on creating video content for every discipline, persona, and pain point—in fact, in 2016 alone, the team created over 200 videos! And when Vidyard’s analytics told them some content wasn’t resonating with their audiences, they tried again. Getting insights on how they could improve really spoke to Stephanie, because again, it seemed Vidyard was in line with ExamSoft’s own value proposition: ExamSoft is dedicated to helping people learn and grow. The exam software itself “gives in-depth analytics to students on their performance, helping them learn what they did and didn’t do well in, and what they can focus on to improve.”

What Stephanie and the ExamSoft marketing team learned from Vidyard was immensely valuable: “We didn’t need to go super-fancy to have major impact.” They created a lot of webinar content, and focused a lot on customer testimonials as well, because this content continued to shine. As these insights from Vidyard showed them, “academics want to hear from academics”. These content types became “low cost/high reward” assets for ExamSoft and their audiences.

One of the most interesting things they learned? “We believed ExamSoft’s software analytics were the strongest part of our story, so we had been focusing on that. But Vidyard data indicated that our audiences also really wanted to hear about our security features, and to date, our second strongest performing video is on ExamSoft’s security!” (The video is outranked only by their general demo video.) You can check out the video yourself:

There’s nothing better than earning your success.

But it’s not about finding out which topic you should or shouldn’t focus on. There was a bigger message, one to be inspired by. Stephanie’s passion for storytelling and drive to keep learning will help her and her company achieve greater success: “Even when you think you know something, there’s still so much you can learn. You can still rewrite your story and become a better, stronger storyteller and marketer.” We can imagine even J.K. Rowling would be proud….

The whole ExamSoft marketing team is behind her. 2017 at ExamSoft has been declared the year to create the right content for the right people. I can’t wait to see what they create next! Have you been inspired by Stephanie and what ExamSoft has achieved? How are you using video to strengthen your own stories and connect with your audiences?

Want to learn more about other organizations’ success with Vidyard? Check out more Customer Success stories.

Emily Ross