Shareist Case Study: ShareASale

When Brian Littleton, Founder and CEO of ShareASale, a major affiliate network with more than 4,000 merchant affiliate programs, signed on to beta test a new content curation platform back in 2011 he knew it was an interesting and useful tool. However, he had no idea the program would evolve into a major platform that his company would depend on for efficiency, effectiveness, and easily producing content. 

“Shareist was a very different tool 3 years ago – mostly focused on content curation. The evolution of Shareist - especially the collaboration parts – reshaped it into an extremely valuable content management platform that became very useful for us as a company,” Littleton says. 

Full disclosure: After beta testing Shareist for a while, Littleton felts so strongly about its potential and the need for such a platform that he is now among a group of personal, minority stake investors in Shareist. 

Getting Productive

Now ShareASale relies on Shareist for what Littleton refers to as “The 3 C’s – connectivity, collaboration and calendaring” – all things that were not easily accomplished before deploying Shareist within the entire ShareASale business. 

“We are now doing things that we couldn’t easily do before", he says, noting that to date, ShareASale is running all of its external communications using Shareist including:  blog posts, social media, email, newsletters, and all other customer facing content. 

“Now instead of creating a spreadsheet with blog post topics for the next 6 months and emailing them around to specific people for approval, I can actually create a calendar of posts everyone can look at and provide input.” says Littleton. “I can adjust permissions for editors or managers, pass the posts around and we can work collaboratively. We are no longer dealing manually with spreadsheets and email. That saves us time and increases everyone’s sanity level.” 

Littleton says the power of Shareist is in its deceptive simplicity. “The ability to collaborate by assigning posts, putting posts on a schedule, have others comment on post and see the status of content may seem small, but it adds up to a big deal and is invaluable for me and our entire team.”

Getting Everyone on Board

And while Littleton was personally enamored with Shareist and called the learning curve “really simple” the trick was to get all of his ShareASale employees excited and engaged in the process. 

To accomplish that he embarked on a project in January of 2013 that required a new post be put up on the ShareASale blog every day for a year. 

He claims to have done this for several reasons: 

  • To get all of his employees accustomed to using the system 
  • To allow his savvy employees to come up with their own ideas for using and improving the process 
  • To show workers that they would be able to do their current tasks faster and more efficiently than they could with current applications such as Excel or Word or even WordPress (in some cases)
  • To prove that information could more simply and quickly be disseminated to all of ShareASale’s social media platforms
  • To ensure uniformity and stylistic conformity in all messaging that had not been consistent previously. Littleton did this by creating centralized and easily accessible stylized templates within Shareist for different types of content. 

The ShareASale daily blog project was considered a huge success because:

  • The company met their daily post goals
  • The ShareASale team embraced Shareist and continues to use it as part of their everyday routines
  • New  ideas and uses for how to use Shareist were generated
  • Customer engagement increased
  • ShareASale firmly established itself as a premiere information resource for the industry

“We wanted everyone – not just our normal social media and content creators to use it.” he says. “We ended up finding that even our developers embraced the idea of providing customer focused content because it was so easy. The project was even more successful than I expected and now Shareist is part of our everyday process.”

Shareist: A Perfect Complement 

Littleton emphasizes that at ShareASale, Shareist is not a replacement for WordPress, other blogging platforms, and other tools, but rather a perfect complement. 

“I need Shareist and WordPress. I could just use Shareist, but WordPress is a very specific tool that is very good at what it does.” he says. “Shareist offers a different kind of power – to share, store, curate, collaborate and build content that is going out. Together they are powerful combination.“

Shareist cofounder Scott Jangro also works hard to help customers, including ShareASale, by soliciting feedback, customizing Shareist when possible, and including seamless integration with other programs that provide open application programming interfaces (APIs). Some applications like Google+, AWeber and others have yet to open their APIs to third-party developers.  Both Littleton and Jangro expect that closed apps will soon see the value of offering third party developers to seamlessly work with their respective programs. 

ShareASale and Beyond

The power of Shareist for Littleton goes further than his own company. Littleton, who also serves as the President of the Performance Marketing Association, a non-profit industry trade association, has started using Shareist at the PMA to perform many of the same tasks as ShareASale. 

“The PMA is a volunteer-run organization, as such; we need to do things in a streamlined way that maximizes efforts by providing un-paid board members and contributors great tools to streamline the  process of collaborating, communicating, and scheduling content to get our very important message out there to the industry,” he says.  

And finally, according to Littleton, Shareist is a tool that should be in the arsenal of every social media professional, content creator, freelancer or contractor, or anyone that needs to collaborate on content or multiple projects. 

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