The Freelance Creative

Chatting Content Marketing 101 With an Executive Editor at Dell

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It takes an unbelievably well-oiled machine to pump out engaging content, and even then, there will be glitches—deadline changes, project hiatuses, budget constraints, you name it.

Thankfully, Contently client Dell Technologies knows all about efficient machines. As one of the biggest technology companies out there—and as an organization that produces a staggering amount of impressive content—we thought we’d pick their brains. What does it take to keep their content apparatus humming along smoothly?

We chatted with Jesse Steinbach, executive editor of Perspectives, Dell Technologies’ thought leadership destination, to learn more about their content creation process. Here’s what he had to share.

Could you give us a quick rundown of your background in content marketing?

Jesse: Before entering the content marketing world, I was the digital managing editor at OUT magazine and the special projects editor at Logo TV. Some of my personal writing has been published by MTV, Salon, Interview, The Advocate, Blackbook, and Newest York, among other outlets. Today, I work as the executive editor of Perspectives, where we spotlight how Dell’s technology and innovation fuels human progress.

What does content marketing mean to you?

Jesse: In short, I would say good content marketing consists of good writing, consistent editing, and a thoughtful approach to branding and planning.

Any content marketing I can get behind is, first and foremost, good content. It leads with strong storytelling before any kind of branding or company objective; it’s smart, thoroughly researched, and well-presented. In the case of Perspectives’ content, it must show how technology and innovation are fueling human progress, without agenda.

How do you plan out the editorial calendar for a large organization with such ambitious content goals?

Jesse: We have specific company goals that we aim to hit each and every month while also honoring corporate observances and trends. We utilize a cross-organization calendar tool in addition to an intake form that other teams can complete if they’re interested in publishing on Perspectives.

Staying nimble and agile is the key to prescient storytelling.

We tag all of our content according to subject matter, category, etc. so that we can monitor cadence and coverage and adjust as needed. Though we have firm deadlines for certain articles, we make sure we work in six-week sprints with room to adjust ad-hoc—staying nimble and agile is the key to prescient storytelling.

How do you decide on which content format to use?

Jesse: We primarily publish articles, infographics, and podcasts, as well as our annual print magazine, Realize. This is mostly dictated by what visuals a story demands, as well as its timeline.

When considering content that will be utilized by multiple teams or departments, we prioritize the audience and Dell placement. We’re an external-facing publication with a vendor-neutral, lightly branded approach to all of our stories. We’re not a place to drive sales—though we find creative, tasteful ways to push readers down the funnel.

What are your main points of advice regarding audience targeting and analytics?

Jesse: An audience needs to be specific, and you have to be willing to take risks—and do some A/B testing—to reach them effectively. And with any organization, though especially large ones, it’s important to get buy-in across teams.

Regarding analytics, at Dell, we pay close attention to engagement and return visitors. We want to build a loyal reader base and have them actually spend time on our site, learning and sharing.

What content marketing blogs/newsletters do you read?

Jesse: I think the best updates come from your competition and other editorial sites that you admire. This material lets you learn from what other people are doing (and contemplate how you can do it better), and it also keeps your vision broad by staying in lockstep with what’s happening beyond content marketing.

Be sure to check out Dell Perspectives‘ stories about innovation and human progress. While you’re at it, subscribe to Contently’s blogs, The Content Strategist and The Freelance Creative, and give us a follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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