Credible.com, an online, multi-lender marketplace for borrowing and refinancing student loans.
Credible was founded in 2012 just as an industry of online lenders emerged to help student loan borrowers manage their debt. Despite offering a unique service — providing multiple, pre-qualified offers for borrowers to borrow or refinance their loans in one place — Credible struggled to differentiate itself from lenders like CommonBond and SoFi, as well as from lead-gen platforms.
Credible began working with Ditto in September 2015 with the goal of being included in more news coverage of student loans and mentioned alongside other companies in the space. While Credible initially only offered student loan refinancing, it later introduced a service for borrowing in-school student loans and wanted to be included in stories about paying for college in addition to paying off student debt. Once Ditto had substantially increased reporters’ awareness of Credible and establishing CEO Stephen Dash as an expert on student debt, the focus shifted to pursuing more in-depth, feature coverage on Credible.
To introduce reporters to Credible and Dash, Ditto’s first strategy was “expert sourcing” — offering to put reporters in touch with Dash to weigh in on news concerning student loans. The team also proactively pitched Dash’s insights in anticipation of recurring news cycles, such as tax and graduation seasons.
Credible’s marketing team began publishing reports on their blog, called Credible Insights, which used the company’s data, as well as external data, to draw different conclusions about the student loan crisis. In early 2016, Ditto suggested pitching the data to reporters in advance, under embargo, before Credible published the reporters on their website. Each report secured ample coverage, and Credible Insights became a core component of the communications program.
In early 2016, a producer for NBC Nightly News reached out to Credible proactively, in part because he had seen the high volume of media coverage about the company. Ditto worked with the producer to provide the components for a compelling story, and the resulting feature was incredibly successful in driving new users to Credible’s website.
Over the course of the engagement, Ditto also generated press coverage around several important announcements for Credible, including a funding round and partnerships with professional associations and online lenders.
Within months, Credible went to receiving very little press coverage to being regularly featured in top-tier publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Time Money, CNBC.com, USA Today, Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report. In January 2017, reporter Josh Wasik mentioned Credible and its biggest competitor, SoFi, as two resources to refinance loans in a story about student debt — signifying that Credible had become a household name, surpassing their expectations.