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Bryony Pearce is the Head of Content at PMA and she's been working with words since she graduated from university. She joined Product Marketing Alliance just a couple of months after its inception and since joining, has seen its community grow to 11,000+ members (at the time of writing), web traffic consistently hit six digits month in, month out, and has been at the centre of several integral releases and programs - including certification, memberships, festivals, podcasts, and more.

Before joining PMA, Bryony dabbled on the freelance side of life where she'd create copy for brands worldwide and grew her consultancy to a three-person strong business. 

She now manages a team of four - soon to be five - copywriters and is that centre of everything from paid-for products, reports, blogs, books and social, to webcasts, videos, podcasts, PR and SEO.

You can ask her anything about:

- Building strategic content plans

- Making data-driven decisions

- Creating and managing content teams

- Understanding your audience

- Proving the value of content

Follow her on Linkedin

  • NM

    Natália Mendes de Souza

    9 days ago #

    Hi Bryony! How to start a new brand community and content marketing for lead generation?

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      Hey Natália! These two are pretty synonymous in my eyes; your content will grow your community, and your community will help grow your content. At PMA, our community is at the heart of our content and that isn’t something we just pay lip service to. When we’re building out our content plans, we put the topics people ask us to write about in there. Outside of that planning phase, we’re constantly adapting what we do based on trends we’re seeing in conversations happening within the community. And when our content writers are actually writing their pieces, a lot of the time, our community features in it - whether that be in the form of a quote, poll, case study or otherwise. This really helps people feel a sense of involvement and pride in what you put out there, and if you’re moulding your content strategy to those conversations, you’ve got an added layer of assurance that what you’re doing is what people want.

      In terms of building your community, keep pushing out content that adds value and people will come. PMA has tons of strings to its bow now, but this time last year we were purely a content machine, and we drew people into our vision and our community by consistently publishing content - articles, reports, podcasts, etc. that added value to our audience, and that’s how we grew. It sounds basic, but consistently adding value isn’t something everyone does - and that’s because it’s not easy - but that consistency is essential.

  • RY

    Ryan Yuan

    about 1 month ago #

    Hi Bryony, I would like to know what OKRs and KPIs you use for date-driven decision making?

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      Hey Ryan, it totally depends on what kind of decision I want to make and more often than not, it’s a blend of data. For example, if I want to decide what direction we should take next quarter’s content strategy, I’ll use the quantitative data I get from GA to tell me what’s already working for us, but then I’ll also pair that data with some qualitative data by putting something out to the community and asking what they’d like to see more of, or see is introduce down the line. Your historic data is good at telling you what’s working best out of your existing tactics, but it doesn’t tell you what opportunities you might be missing like your qual does.

      This applies to things like emails too. You can measure the impact of an email campaign or sequence fairly easily by measuring metrics like open rate, click-through rate, conversion rates, and so on, and then benchmarking these kind of stats against previous campaigns to see which performs best, but then I like to use my gut a little bit too. For example, the other week, one of the writers on my team wrote an email, it went out under my name, and I got 6-7 replies to me saying how great they thought this email was, one even said it was the best email they’d seen in 20 years! Now that isn’t cold hard data, but it’s pretty telling to me. There are plenty of emails I read and like but I rarely reply to tell the person so, so I think people taking the time to actually respond is a pretty solid indicator that what you’re doing is hitting the right notes too - in conjunction with the data too of course, it’s not good if everyone loves your emails but never buys!

      The rest are the BAU metric I guess, downloads for reports, organic traffic, time on page, bounce rate, and conversions (not necessarily just revenue, newsletter subscribes and so on) for blogs, engagement, following and rev for social, etc.

  • HJ

    Heather James

    about 1 month ago #

    Hey Bryony 👋 I'm from a business that is very sales-led, and the only metrics deemed to have merit are revenue figures. How do you prove the value of content that doesn't directly help to drive revenue?

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      Hi Heather! I feel your pain. I’ve worked in companies in the past where the culture was engraved in a revenue mindset (which I don’t disagree with), but no-one was able to see the bigger picture. Fortunately, I don’t have that problem with PMA, but I’ve certainly been there in the past. One way I went about achieving this in the last place I worked in-house was by sitting down with key stakeholders in various areas within marketing (SEO, PPC, email, etc.) and coming to a mutually agreeable rev share split. Areas like these are relatively straightforward to tie revenue to and in your marketing or company meetings these folks will report on their MQLs or $$$, but without giving direct credit to content and in reality, content is at the heart of all of those. Your PPC ads probably wouldn’t perform if your words were rubbish, people wouldn’t click through from your emails if the words were rubbish, and people wouldn’t organically land on your site and decide to make a purchase if the words on that page were rubbish, and so on. So I sat down with the people in these teams, came to an agreement on how much influence content had on their area, and then we reported on the content team’s performance each month, we used that percentage of that revenue generated as our monterey metrics.

  • DZ

    Dylan Z

    9 days ago #

    Proving the value of content is a great prompt for this question, and similar to Heather's - how do you best illustrate/pitch the ROI for content that doesn't have any empirical search volume?

    Do you use personas when building your content / marketing strategies? Why or why not?

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      Hey Dylan. There are a couple of ways you could go about this. For argument’s sake, let’s pretend the content you’re talking about is blogs. If you talk to recently won customers and ask them to talk you through their buying journey, you should be able to unpack whether or not your blogs played a role in their purchase path. If not a single person mentioned your blogs while talking you through the A to Z of their buying process, perhaps they’re not working as-is. If lots of new customers are commenting on your blogs - even if only for the discovering phase, you’ve got the answer you need.

      Another (but way more risky!) way to discover this is by removing/pausing the piece of content and seeing if it has a negative impact. I say this with HUGE caution though because if it were having a large impact and you get rid, it could have ramifications on your pipeline. I would only advise this if the risks are minimal.

      Yep, we use personas when building out our content strategy. During those persona interviews, we ask questions like, what are your top five content formats? How often do you consume content? When do you consume content? What content are you most interested in? And then this feeds directly into our plans.

  • GA

    Gaurav Arora

    9 days ago #

    Hey Bryony!

    My question is:

    Should SaaS marketers follow the conventional TOFU MOFU BOFU approach to content marketing? Or just focus on educating prospects with content revolving around the product?

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      Hey Gaurav! I would always recommend aligning your content to the stage of the funnel. Every piece of content should have an end goal and in one way or another, that end goal is tied to revenue. If it’s an email, perhaps its instant conversions. If it’s a blog post, perhaps it’s a newsletter subscription which eventually leads to a paid conversion. If you want people to perform a certain action, it’s on you to nudge them towards that action, and that’s really tricky to achieve if you’re talking to people at different ends of the funnel with a blanket message.

      Whatever stage of the funnel, your content can still revolve around the product, but it’s just about tailoring how you talk about your product for that particular stage.

  • PB

    Phill Brougham

    9 days ago #

    Hey Bryony! What do you think about content formats? Video is increasingly important and I think it's the right move for my organization to really invest in it... 1) what is your view on the mix of effective content formats? 2) what do you think is the best way to make a decision to get the best ROI?

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      Hey Phill!

      1) I don’t have a particularly strong view on which is the best mix to be honest as this will largely depend on your audience. For PMA, we know things like podcasts and live broadcasts go down a storm, in the last place I worked at (an employment law firm) this wouldn’t have been the right content for our audience.

      But I do believe a mix is important, period. If *all* you do is churn out just blogs, or just podcasts, etc. you’re a) going to potentially put off the people who don’t like to consume content in that format, and b) you’re going to run the risk of getting a bit boring - I like reading blogs, but I don’t *just* like blogs, I pick the format that suits me at that given time and if I didn’t have the option to consume it differently, I’d probably go elsewhere.

      Also, sometimes people might not even know what they like. If someone’s never listened to a podcast before, they won’t know if they do or don’t like it. If you don’t try, you’ll never know, so consider taking calculated risks to test the water - if it doesn’t take off, you know not to pursue that format, but there’s usually little harm in trying new approaches. Start small and scale if you’re unsure - there’s not much, content-wise, you can’t do on a budget.

      • BP

        Bryony Pearce

        2 days ago #

        2) Ask and listen. I conducted a bit of persona research earlier this year and during those conversations, I literally asked people to rank their top five preferred content formats, and the insights I received from those calls fed directly into our content strategy. This, along with the data we track for each of our main mediums (articles, reports, podcasts, and videos) provides us with confidence we’re pivoting in the right direction.

  • WT

    Wojciech Trochimowicz

    8 days ago #

    Hi Bryony.

    I have a few questions about the strategy and effectiveness analysis of your content:

    1. What is the content creation process at a glance? Could you give me its stages?

    2. How do you obtain data to create the person of your readers?

    3. How do you analyze the effectiveness of the content created?

    4. How do you influence purchasing decisions / readers' opinions? Do you use persuasion techniques?

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      Hey Wojciech,

      1) The content creation process will vary a lot depending on the type of content - we don’t approach podcasts the same as blogs, for example, but here’s a top-line overview:

      -Research what topics our audience wants to read/hear about
      -Thoroughly research said topic both in terms of what’s already out there and what we’ve already covered internally
      -Reach out to the community, gather real-life case studies, run polls on social - basically anything that will add value to what we’re talking about, bring it to life, and make our piece better than anything that’s already been published
      -Share the piece of content with other content writers internally for fresh ideas/proofing
      -For larger pieces, we actually send the content out to individuals in the community to make sure we’re hitting the nail on the head before we launch it
      -Go live and shout about it - and keep shouting about it long after the day it launched. Too many people make the mistake of pushing a blog live, sharing it on social, and then leaving it untouched. Yes, SEO will help evergreen traffic, but make a conscious effort to proactively keep it alive too.

      • BP

        Bryony Pearce

        2 days ago #

        2) We do this in a few ways. One is via persona research where we ask questions specifically around how people prefer to consume content, when they prefer to consume content, and what kinds of topics they’re most interested in. This is all qualitative. We then also gather data from our reports - for example, in our State of Product Marketing report we unpacked what a PMM’s main responsibilities are - this gives us a good inclination that these are going to be the topics they’re most interested in. We get lots of golden insights from these kinds of meaty reports.

      • BP

        Bryony Pearce

        2 days ago #

        3) Depends totally on the type of content.

        Podcast = number of plays, when people drop off, and where we rank in playlists.
        Blogs = traffic, bounce rate, conversions.
        Social = engagement, following, conversions.
        Emails = open rate, CTR, conversions.
        Reports = downloads and conversions.

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      4) Social proof is the main mechanic we use here. From day one, we’ve built everything we now offer on the foundation of quality and value and it pays its dividends. People in our community, or who’ve taken our course, or purchased our membership plans, or buddied up with a mentor, etc., are very forthcoming testimonials so we’re very lucky in that we’re spoilt for choice here. More often than not, we use our community’s words to sell, not ours - and this is very clear if you had to PMA’s homepage - we literally use one of community members in our hero section, and the H1 before that is an excerpt from another testimonial, too.

  • WM

    Walk My Town

    6 days ago #

    Hi Bryony! How to start a new brand community and content marketing for lead generation?

    Rick

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      Hey. These two are pretty synonymous in my eyes; your content will grow your community, and your community will help grow your content. At PMA, our community is at the heart of our content and that isn’t something we just pay lip service to. When we’re building out our content plans, we put the topics people ask us to write about in there. Outside of that planning phase, we’re constantly adapting what we do based on trends we’re seeing in conversations happening within the community. And when our content writers are actually writing their pieces, a lot of the time, our community features in it - whether that be in the form of a quote, poll, case study or otherwise. This really helps people feel a sense of involvement and pride in what you put out there, and if you’re moulding your content strategy to those conversations, you’ve got an added layer of assurance that what you’re doing is what people want.

      In terms of building your community, keep pushing out content that adds value and people will come. PMA has tons of strings to its bow now, but this time last year we were purely a content machine, and we drew people into our vision and our community by consistently publishing content - articles, reports, podcasts, etc. that added value to our audience, and that’s how we grew. It sounds basic, but consistently adding value isn’t something everyone does - and that’s because it’s not easy - but that consistency is essential.

  • VF

    Veronica French

    5 days ago #

    Howdy Bryony, how do you stay on top of content marketing trends, tactics, best practices, especially since it can rapidly evolve as Google updates? Any cool blogs or sources you subscribe to?

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      Hey Veronica. A blend really. I love just scrolling through my LinkedIn feed and getting ideas and inspo from there. I often find nuggets in there that I share with my team. Outside of LinkedIn I hang out on Ahrefs a lot, I find all their content super useful and regularly say to my team that the style, structure, and depth of their content is the kind of thing we should be aiming for with every piece.

      I’m subscribed to a bunch of emails - some obviously competitors, some totally unrelated, some for tools we use. Without fail, I open their emails (even if I know I’m not going to be interested) because I tend to get ideas within them - whether it’s their subject line, the way they’ve structured their email, the discount mechanism they’ve used, etc., etc.

      A few others specific ones I’d pull out: Neil Patel, HubSpot, and Moz.

      And then just the team! We try to have (unforced!) brainstorm sessions around once a month for people to just chuck ideas out there, share examples they’ve found online, and spitball ideas. Without fail, I walk away with some actionable ideas from this.

  • JD

    Jarret DiToro

    4 days ago #

    Hi Byrony. I run marketing at a fairly substantial company, and one of my greatest challenges has been hiring people who can deliver truly impactful, persuasive copy. How would you go about hiring? Where would you look? How would you interview people?

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      Hey Jarret. Ooo good question, and it’s a really tricky one as the hiring process can be so deceiving as it’s so easy for people to say all the right things during an interview and then not deliver when they turn up.

      How would you go about hiring?

      Pretty simple one, but before I even invite people in for an interview I ask them to share a selection of samples, so I can see where their strengths lie in terms of email, social, blogs, etc. and also what direct experience they have in each of these areas. During the interview process, we also get candidates to complete a short writing task (usually under pressure to reflect a real-life, working environment) to further test those skills and how they’d apply to our industry. Again, when I’m doing this, I’ll test a few different skillsets - i.e. write the first 250 words of a blog post along with an accompanying social post and subject line.

      Where would you look?

      I always, always prefer a word of mouth recommendation from someone I know. Like I said, interviews can be deceiving, this gives me a bit of peace of mind! That obviously isn’t always possible so, outside of that, I use the usual really - LinkedIn, job sites, etc. We take the approach of ‘there’s always room for good people’ so in many ways, we’re always hiring.

      How would you interview people?

      Our interviews are pretty information because that reflects our culture. At the moment this has obviously all been via Zoom, and we’ll be probing into their experience, how they were measured in previous companies, where they see themselves in two years time, what they want to get out of working with us, and so on. One thing I’ve learned to do is follow up with how/why. So if someone tells you they created their content strategy - ask them exactly how, in this case, it will help you understand how strategic they are and force them put their money where their mouth is. Anyone can say they create content strategies, or anyone can put a naff content strategy, but the people you want will be able to talk you through how to put a well throughout content strategy together.

  • GI

    Gadgerates India

    24 days ago #

    thanks for sharing help full detail

  • TD

    Tim Donovan Jr

    5 days ago #

    Hi Bryony,

    I'm Tim, a recent Columbia MBA and Founder of an outdoor fitness company, ShayrdAir (www.shayrdair.com).

    I'm in the early innings of developing a following for my company and I was wondering if you could recommend a growth marketing reading list?

    Would really appreciate you pointing me in the right direction.

    Best regards,
    Tim

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      Hey Tim, here are a few recommendations - I'll admit I haven't read them *all* myself, but I've heard good things about them if not:

      -Contagious: Why Things Catch On
      -Growth Hacking Your First Startup: A Simple Guide to Marketing for Entrepreneurs
      -The Growth Hacking Book: Most Guarded Growth Marketing Secrets The Silicon Valley Giants Don't Want You To Know
      -Product-Led Growth: How to Build a Product That Sells Itself
      -Explosive Growth: A Few Things I Learned While Growing To 100 Million Users - And Losing $78 Million

      Hope they help!

  • SK

    Suchita Kaundin

    4 days ago #

    Do you think content will help mobile apps ? If yes, what kind of content and in which channel ?
    Thanks

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      Hey Suchita. I might be a little bias, but I think content has a place anywhere and everywhere, and it shouldn’t just be thought about in the context of blog articles and whitepapers. Each word you use in your app - from its onboarding, to popups, to upsell messages, and so on, should be crafted by someone who knows how to make each word work for you. Along with other elements, of course, this will aid adoption, usage, retention, and, ultimately, revenue.

  • GN

    Gustavo Nunes

    3 days ago #

    Hi, Bryony! Thanks for joining us for this session.

    I have a couple of questions hehe

    1) After you've found a viable channel how do you think about scaling the acquisition channel? What changes for how you use a channel from when you first identify it's viability, to using the traffic channel at scale? And do you recommend any specific channel to scale retention?

    2) How do you align sales + marketing and/or customer experience + marketing . In your opinion, what are the most important steps to build out a bridge between the two? Most critical assets?

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      Hey Gustavo, thanks for having me!

      1) I think this is largely an experimentation game. You could talk to your audience again but to an extent, you might limit yourself here. If we look at social media for a second, it’s hard to know what you like on social media till you’ve seen it. Before gifs became a big thing, if you’d asked people ‘what do you like to see on your social feeds?’ they probably wouldn’t have said a gif, but now look at them! So yeah, I’d say just trial and error really but giving your trials enough time to effectively measure them, and making incremental changes - or for things like emails, A/B testing till you hit that sweet spot. In terms of scaling retention, this will largely depend on your platform, but it all goes back to that value point. Whether you’re trying to retain follows on your LinkedIn profile, readers on your blog or subscribers on your email list, if you’re consistently delivering value and giving them a reason to keep coming back, you’re on the right track.

    • BP

      Bryony Pearce

      2 days ago #

      2) Communication = alignment. Sounds simple, but it’s so hard to achieve and I don’t think anyone has the perfect recipe here. Content + marketing/sales come hand-in-hand and so much of what comes from content can - and should - be used throughout the cycles. I think the bridge between marketing is easier to close because content writers typically sit within the marketing team and very much a part of their process, but sales can be trickier. I think the key steps here are to a) create an open line of communication and get some of your best sales reps on your side - if they’re bought in, it’ll help get the others bought in. b) Clearly explain the value - in isolation, sales reps won’t care about your blog, but if you can articulate why them including that blog in their followup email to add value is going to benefit them, then they’re much more likely to listen. c) Use data - if you buddy up with a handful of your sales reps, get them bought into your content (and using it!) and they see a spike in their numbers, not a single other sales rep in the room is going to snub their nose at that.

      In terms of most critical assets, looking at the content <> sales relationship alone, it sounds a bit wishy-washy, but I’d actually just say a central location, that’s a living document, and is uber easy for your sales reps to pick out what content they need, when they need it, and use it in the right way.

  • HD

    Hamit Demir

    1 day ago #

    Hello Bryony,
    Firstly, Thanks for your time. Which type of content might be more effective in very technical b2b SaaS companies?

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