Navigating the World of Content Management with David Pittman
Content marketing is not rocket science. But at the same time, it is an intricate web of different teams, different goals, different results and so much more. And all of this requires one person to take a step back and orchestrate the entire process while being cognizant of the end goal.
David Pittman, Director, Digital and Content Marketing at Springbuk, talks to Rishabh Shekhar, Co-founder, and COO at Pepper Content about the challenges of such a role, content management, budgets, and much more.
Here are some excerpts.
1. Tell us about yourself. What’s your story?
I am the Director of Digital and Content Marketing at Springbuk, a 110-people-strong technology company. In my 30 years in marketing, almost all of which is at tech companies, I have gone from 'there is no such thing as the Internet' to 'everything has to do with the internet'. So it's been quite a wild ride and an interesting one. I love seeing how marketing has evolved, what new media is available to us, and how we can make the best use of that.
2. How do you manage the constant inflow of content and build a team in that regard?
Currently, the team I am part of includes five people. Two are designers, and one writes every word of every content piece, be it a blog, ad, or email. She also does a lot of digital ad placements. And then we also have an email marketer who formats all the emails as well as sends and analyzes them. And finally, we have a Salesforce administrator. So we're fairly lean for our size but we produce well.
Up until recently, we produced a ton of content, and that's because when I came in, we had a large content gap. We knew our ideal customer profiles, but we didn't have content for many of those different profiles at different stages. So we've spent a year and a half building content for each of the personas at each stage. But now, it's not going to be about producing content. It will be about reinvigorating what we already have. Most of it is evergreen and slight tweaks will refresh it.
3. How do you decide on the kind of content you want to publish?
There are two sides to this. We do produce some content that is based on hot topics like what people care about, what they are talking about right now, and how can we latch onto that and get some views. But the other, the more evergreen one is when we aim to understand when that piece of content will be used in the sales cycle, which part of our readership we want to consume that content, and what we want them to do with it after they've read it or watched it or listened to it.
Using our marketing stack we have assessed which pieces of content our sales team is using. And we are now focusing on what they are not using and what we think is still valuable. The aim is to enable the sales team to remember that it exists. In other words, we are trying to bridge the gap between good content and its usability.
It is important for content teams to be on calls with sales teams and understand what the customer wants. We may think our content is good, but it may not have the nuance of the conversation that the salesperson has with an actual user.
4. Where do you stand on the whole outsourcing vs. in-house team debate?
That's always a tough one. I think so many companies have a technical product, and it's hard to outsource. That said, we do outsource some of our thought leadership content. This is usually for content that will eventually be inserted into print publications. They interview our subject matter experts and write the content piece after which we review and revise it so that it is technically correct and on point with our messaging. If the content is more product-centric, we keep it in-house, but again, depending on what the project is.
Another thing that we readily outsource is video production. We've been doing more animated videos that describe a business problem or product feature. Those things just take a lot of time and require a pretty specific skill set. And finally, we outsource our media placement. So I think it's a pretty decent mix of outsourcing versus in-house production for us.
5. How do you go about creating a budget for your content marketing programs and how do you define it for your superiors?
So our executive leaders give me a number, which is rarely ever close to what I think I need. But they also tell me how much they need to hit in revenue. So now it is up to me and my boss, who has a purview of both sales and marketing and immense industry knowledge. Between the two of us, we decide on the bigger buckets of marketing that we need to take care of. But for the rest of it, I need to fill in the gaps, which depend on the audience. If I feel that the audience needs awareness in one aspect, then I spend money on advertising there or emailing and so on.
6. How do you track your metrics?
When I first joined Springbuk, we had a marketing dashboard with over 12-14 different metrics. But they didn’t make sense to us. So now, we look at just six metrics. They are broadly based on how many people we are adding to our opt-in list. We use Google Analytics, Six Cents, and similar programs. We also look at how people are engaging with our content, where they are engaging with it and to what extent, do they download one piece, and then we never hear from them again or whether they come back for more.
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