Contently’s new CEO Pearl Collings: ‘There’s  room to move in any which way’

Pearl Collings Contently
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Contently’s new CEO Pearl Collings is focusing on moving the firm from break-even to full profitability by deepening its strengths in core subject areas, growing its services business and network of freelancers.

Collings, who formerly served as the chief business and sales officer at Time Inc., was formally announced as CEO of Contently last week. She replaces Joe Coleman, who co-founded the company along with Shane Snow and Dave Goldberg. Contently offers digital tools to manage content marketing programs along with a database to source talent to create content and other services.

In an interview with B2B News Network amid Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Collings said she had initially looked for her next opportunity “something technology based” like AI, cloud computing and analytics.

“Within that, I stared to recognize how these segments in content, marketing and technology are converging. Once you start to do a Venn diagram on that, (moving to a firm like Contently) becomes obvious.”

While Contently — which competes with firms like NewsCred and SkyWord — works with both consumer and B2B brands, Collings said there’s no reason those marketing to the enterprise can’t achieve the same warm connection with their target audience as a Coke or a Nike.

“Honestly, demonstrating empathy is what creates that warmth,” she said. “Your conversations should always be around how can we help that brand, that SaaS company, and see them succeed. And content helps because it creates that bridge between them and the customer.”

Some of Contently’s “sweet spots” from a vertical market perspective include technology firms, financial services and education, Collings said, but while expanding into new areas is of interest she suggested there was still room to “go deeper” within some of its existing categories. She also indicated her leadership style is not far removed from the Jeff Bezoses of the world.

“We all can and should be customer-obsessed,” she said. “That customer could be another business, a freelancer, all the different flavours. If you go through that lens, everything comes together.”

Other priorities include contributing to build out Contently’s freelancer network, introduce more marketing services and a mix of light and deep integrations across other content marketing and automation tools.

“At the end of the day we’re still a startup, even if we’re mid-sized,” she said. “There’s  room to move in any which way.”

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Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.