The Streamlined Playbook: Designing a Content Machine

Boris de Souza is the Founder and CEO of Streamlined, the intelligent invoicing and payments platform for fast-growing Shopify brands looking to expand into wholesale. 

We recently sat down with Boris to jam on his experience with Verbatim, diving into topics like: 

  1. How great content educates users in a jargon-filled ecosystem
  2. The importance of domain expertise and true ownership
  3. Building consistent content off a strong foundation
“Verbatim is the only content studio out there that’ll take you from Zero to One, driving exceptional results. They’re one of the strongest in the eCom landscape.” 

How Organic Content Sets You Apart in Crowded Verticals

Boris has seen far too many companies push articles designed purely for SEO.

While planning content in the early days of Streamlined, he immediately knew they’d have to keep away from pieces built to serve search engines instead of readers. 

Instead, he wanted the company to produce content with actual value-add — stuff that could help customers understand the pain of B2B payments, even if they didn’t try Streamlined. 

In that sense, their content vertical is focused on generating educational content for users who are newer to wholesale, often brands beginning to encounter growing pains in the space.

“We realized that many eCom founders come from different backgrounds and experience levels. We wanted to make sure our content was easy to understand and approachable.” 

To become a true force of thought leadership, they’d have to establish their position as a trustworthy, reputable source in an often crowded, confusing area. 

Eventually, Boris discovered Verbatim and turned to us to answer major questions like: 

  • Who do we want to be? 
  • What stories do we want to tell? 
  • How does this serve our end goal of transforming the payments experience? 
Value Alignment in Partnerships = Ideal Outcomes

Throughout the earliest stages of Streamlined, Boris grappled with how to define the brand voice and navigate a space flooded with jargon, lingo, and (again) simple SEO garbage. 

The norm of utilizing content as a full-blown sales mechanism, rather than an opportunity to educate and communicate in good faith, felt emblematic of the market’s problems. 

So, Boris entrusted the Verbatim team with architecting the Streamlined blog and other potential content franchises that would serve his vision of actually assisting eCom teams. 

The end result? A content engine that’s built to, in equal parts: 

  • Address different pain points and issues eCom brands experience
  • Provide expert insights and solutions regarding these problems
  • Explain these pain points through the Streamlined brand lens
“Verbatim's content strategy helped us tell our story compellingly and authentically, making it easier for our audience to resonate with what we were building.” 

The Power of Studios: The Best of Both Agencies & Freelancers

In today’s eCom market, there are two standard paths to content: 

  1. Hiring full-time & in-house — This is, quite simply, too expensive for most early-stage companies trying to run a lean team. 
  2. Hiring freelancers — Contract content writers tend to need a lot of direction (and spoon-feeding) to understand the space, the average customer, and their pain points. 

Boris refused to settle for either and landed on Verbatim, which he describes as a hybrid that “actually worked out better than I could’ve ever hoped for.” 

When Verbatim first partnered up with Streamlined, the young platform had almost nothing (besides a placeholder landing page) in terms of a web presence. 

We soon introduced Streamlined to their current brand and web design agency, working hand in hand to ensure their brand voice remained strong and consistent from end to end. 

The partnership quickly tackled and resulted in: 

  • An initial launch announcement
  • Creating the company blog and setting its tone and voice
  • Setting the tone and voice of the larger Streamlined brand itself

As Boris puts it, working with Verbatim meant gaining someone who was: 

  • Embedded within Streamlined
  • Deeply aware of what the company was building
  • Able to guide the team across strategy while owning execution

This was all made possible by Verbatim’s deep familiarity with both content and eCom as a whole, as well as our dedication to sitting in on Streamlined’s company-wide meetings. 

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How to Ramp Up Content: Focus on Clear Outcomes 

Boris summarizes Verbatim as an intelligent operation that’s well-designed to sit between the roles of a freelancer and an agency — or, in other words, to function as a content studio. 

  • Agencies and freelancers drop in to do what you explicitly tell them
  • Full-time hires are self-driven and independently invested in the company’s success

In that sense, Verbatim struck a perfect balance between all three capacities. Boris also emphasizes our final role and contributions beyond our initial scope. 

While most agencies come in for one specific project, Streamlined gained multiple precise outcomes with Verbatim — namely, building a content engine from Zero to One. 

Verbatim also provided hands-on help across functions, contributing to Streamlined's renaming, rebranding, and site-building. 

“Verbatim owned all of these pieces — even non-content functions — to drive our desired outcomes. They weren’t scared to add value beyond the original scope.” 

Laying the Foundation for Independent Content Success

Streamlined has since grown considerably and continued along its content journey. 

They’ve shifted efforts internally to build out social, editorial, and similar functions with the help of new in-house marketing leads to essentially taking on Verbatim's role. 

Boris highlights how, many months later, that initial content foundation laid by our studio has been crucial to set things in motion. 

While the in-house marketing team grows at Streamlined, they still rely on a set of best practices, expectations, and guardrails that were established during the Verbatim era. 

They remain highly intentional, never putting out content for the sake of content itself. The ethos, then and now, continues to be: “Let’s create meaningful and valuable content.” 

It’s a simple (or maybe even obvious) framework, but one that all too often gets overlooked to focus on driving sales, feeding SEO rules, etc. 

By taking this path to content, as guided by Verbatim, Streamlined spreads the word about their company and drives awareness and organic growth while educating customers simultaneously.

“We learned a lot from working with Verbatim and are excited to continue building on that foundation.” 
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