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The importance of distribution with Brandon Gubitosa from Plural Episode 23

The importance of distribution with Brandon Gubitosa from Plural

Brandon Gubitosa is a Senior Content Marketer at Plural. Plural is a software development company that is on a mission to help DevOps teams access and deploy open-source solutions that are recognised as top-tier.

· 15:26


Jack: Hi, everyone. You're listening to Scaling DevTools. The show that investigates how devs go from zero to one. I'm joined today by Brandon Gubitosa, who is a senior content marketer at Plural. Plural helps you deploy open source projects with Kubernetes, thanks so much for joining today, Brandon.

Brandon: Uh, thank you so much for having me, Jack been a big fan of your work for a while. It's great to finally get on.

Jack: Brandon, could you tell us a little bit about where your growth has been coming from with Plural?

Brandon: So most of our growth really has been coming from content recently in the past few months, we really double down on our content strategy and focusing on distribution side of content. Sure. Like producing content. That's an insanely hard thing to do. We think we have a good framework for that right now, but really making sure we have our ducks in a row when it comes to distributing the content. So we've seen lots of our growth coming from different audiences in the forms of how we distribute our content.

Jack: Could you actually touch a little bit on how you do distribute your content?

Brandon: Yeah. So distribution we've really been focusing on finding new audiences to get our work in front of. So whether it is pair with people that are already in DevOps space or it's pitching to. Like newsletters, publications that are online that have a high level, I guess, the level readers that we are looking for and really making sure that we're again in front of them and right in relevant content, too, that those audiences do care about.

It's the same challenging thing to do at scale. So we kind of take it step by step, you know, as a startup, you don't really have time to focus on the future. You gotta focus on the. So when we're more focused on drive and impact quickly and getting the word out there as fast as we can, cuz that's our number one.

Advantage of speed. So getting in front of those audiences at a fast rate really does help us grow by content.

Jack: One of the things I've heard you say before is that distribution is often more important than actually creating the content. Why do you think so many companies under distribute at the startup stage?

Brandon: Yeah. So I think it's a cause of a few things first. I mean, creating content is a lot of work. I think that does get underestimated at times. Just how much work and how much value is involved in creating that content. Like if you were to look at. Getting some really good freelancers or a really high class agency to produce the content.

It's gonna cost you a pretty penny and you know, that is worth it. But if you're not really measuring the value that content is bringing, which is where distribution does come in the fly, then it kind of defeats the purpose of spending all those resources and creating the content. So I think also to another big thing I've seen, uh, in content.

people really don't know. They don't wanna like oversaturate some markets or really double down. But honestly, like if you've seen the right metrics that people are caring about your product, like they're leaving comments, they're reaching out to you. You're seeing increase in sessions over time. Then it definitely is a good indicator that, Hey, so far, like you're creating compelling content and you're getting in front of the right people too.

And you'll start to see that over time in maybe higher MQLs coming in, or just general interests. Whether it's Twitter, LinkedIn, or even just word of mouth to, and Reddit communities, which can be kind of rough to really get involved in.

Jack: It's interesting. You mentioned the metrics there, and especially when you're starting something new. Could you talk a little bit about how you use metrics to decide whether something's worth pursuing.

Brandon: Yeah. So I kind of have this big thing where like, if something really isn't working, as we thought it was as fast as it was, or like, let's stop doing that. Really. Like, for example, here, I had a really great idea early on when I started to create kind of just like a framework for us to really do like tutorials on our product and it was great and all.

What I learned is it really just wasn't different from anything else we were doing. It was kind of just like a copy and paste thing and, you know, that's great, but it's not really compelling for like a developer. And we really care about creating compelling content for developers that shows like the why you should care versus more of like, just having that piece of content just to have it out there.

That's the one thing I do really care about the most is creating like good developer experience. And a good read and experience too, for our people and try not to create the boring content. I think a lot of people do fall, trapped to that. They feel like they have to create content just to create content.

My advice is don't create the content just because somebody says you need to have a reason to create that content and then have the metrics to back it up. Like, Hey, this is what we have seen before in the past. This is why we're not gonna just create that content let's instead focus on a different angle or go after a different audience with this content.

And it's definitely a big challenge. Like I said, I'll admit, like I fell back into it at first, but in the content industry, it's just about moving fast, learning from your mistakes and failing upwards

Jack: So how do you justify if you're not creating content constantly?

Brandon: I recently met with like our CEO and CTO, both for our co-founders and we came up with a pretty good metric that we think is a good indicator for when we should be creating compelling viral content. the one thing that we did notice is kind of after a few days, like five to six days after that bio piece of content came out, we saw a dip in like the page views and sessions.

So we kind of now use that as an indicator where like, pretty much like once a week, we should be having a good, compelling piece of content that does drive readers and different audiences. And it's honestly something that at first you probably won't really know what to look for, but over like a month or so,you'll start to see really good signs and indicators.

And for us, we are an open source project. So if we saw like a decrease in people signing up for our open source product, and we definitely knew that, Hey, that's definitely because the content recently coming out, hasn't been converting people. Verse like over times we do have those compelling pieces of content where we do see a larger increase in people signing up for our product.

Jack: Could you talk a little bit more about how you decide which pieces of content. You think will be compelling.

Brandon: It's kind of something we're really still working on here at plural, making sure we're creating compelling content because I'm not an engineer by no ways. Like I did go to a flat iron boot camp for that, but that was more for software engineering and kind of covers the basics. And the DevOps world is very complex.

But in terms of creating compelling content, I'll look through. What words people in our space are going after our co-founder he'll tell me stuff. That's very popular in conversations he's having, also other members of our engineering team, and we'll kind of have like brainstorm sessions where we're really put together like.

all right. This is what we really should be focusing on these next couple of weeks and trying to come up with a solution there. And I'm trying to take more of an engineering approach. So at my previous job, my boss, she was the head of the Uber engineering blog and she gave me some great advice that I still take to this day on working with engineers to write blogs.

So I kind of put together a framework for us where if it's a very technical piece, My expertise wouldn't really help in any way. I primarily focus on , our engineers to write the content, and then I work with them on ensuring like, Hey, we just put together an outline. So I'll put together a high level outline for them to basically word dump in there and then I'll go in there and make it look nice.

And then I'll work with them if I need any clarifications. And then I also do use an outside editor. Person I've worked with before in the past, just to double check myself and making sure I'm making sense. I like to say, explain to like I'm a five year old. Sure. Like we're not gonna be explaining DevOps to a five year old, but kind of breaking it down, bare bones that somebody else could really understand it regardless of their position or just where there are in their learning.

Jack: And could you talk a little bit about how you've leveraged open source communities to drive your growth?

Brandon: Um, before I really started, we were starting to pick up traction, especially in the air bike community, doing a few calls with them and our head of community, actually, Abby he's from, air bike previously and came over to plural. So that definitely did help leveraging the air community. In terms of deploying air by which is an open source product on Kubernetes, which is basically our bread and butter right there.

So leveraging those open source communities and forming those relationships with people in them and getting on their docs, doing events with them if possible, collaborating. with Blog posts really does help. I kind of compare it to like modern day YouTubers right now. Like a good YouTuber. I really like is Mr. Beast.

And you'll always see other YouTubers trying to lean on to him. I think the same is kind of happening right now in the open source community where you're trying to really latch onto other open source projects, other open source creators and get the juice that they bring and kind of collabing together, content collabs they're very helpful. It does work and it's starting to really trickle its way over into open source and even the dev and the data space as well.

Jack: One other thing that I wanted to ask you, Brandon, is I know you've worked previously at a content. Agency and now you're working in house. And I just wondered, how you think about working with content agencies?

Brandon: Oh, yeah. So I'll be very upfront and honest. When I first got my job at my first agency, I was a technical content marketer at animals. Great agency. I honestly really didn't even know what content marketing was, what SEO was. None of that stuff was really, and I got on there and I was in for it my first day, but I kind of just fell in love with it.

I liked the tech side of stuff. I've always been a writer by background, had a sales background before this as well. So it kind of just matched everything together. and working with agencies was really eyeopening experience. I got to see the true ins and outs of not only how an agency ran, but how other marketing teams of organizations were ran by working with those marketers on those teams.

And I got to see like firsthand, like how much they really have going on in our day to day. And like why content is so hard to really do properly. And also distribute properly too, because at animals, we were primarily focused on creating content when I was there. So a writer like myself, you'd be paired with one or two customers, depending on the number of articles they had a month.

And you would work with those customers on creating compelling content for whatever they were looking to go after from like an SEO standpoint or thought leader. And that's where, uh, previously I said, like setting goals is very important. We were very big on there on setting goals and realistic expectations with our clients.

If you're like a small startup, you're probably not realistically going to rank high for very competitive keywords, just due to a variety of things like your domain rating, the number of like posts you have on your site, people back looking to you. That's probably not a realistic thing.

It does happen every now and then, but SEO does take a long time to do. And to get the juice out of it as well. Like I seen it take like six to seven to even like a year to really get to those number one spots where people really do click on. So focusing on SEO content is great. If you have the resources available to really do it.

And that's where an agency does come into play, because you're kind of just offset a lot of that. Work that's I wouldn't call it mindless, but stuff. That's not really a top priority for a fast moving startup.

In terms of working with like technical agencies, my big piece of advice is to see where those writers have wrote before in the past and where their content, does end up. So, for example, like judo writers have connections or to the agencies with other publications that can really get your content out there to larger audiences, because it's one thing to really create the content.

But as a content marketer myself, it's like, all right, I have this piece of content and I just can't really put it on the blog and just like put it on there and just forget about it. Like I have to distribute it as a content marketer nowadays, I really spend probably. 55, 60% of my time distributing the content, cuz I worked hard to make that content and I need to get the results from it.

It's not just gonna organically show up there for like a small startup. We really have to put in the work, pitch it to as many people as possible and try to get in, in front of many eyes as possible. and it's just like a numbers game. Really? Like the more you pitch it, the more eventually you get out there.

And even if you are really bugging those people with like emails or LinkedIn messages to post your content, they eventually do end up seeing you pushing the content and they eventually will read one of them and eventually get it out there. Just the nature of things coming from a sales background myself, I do know how many touchpoints you probably do need to really.

Make an impact somewhere or get in some, not get in someone's head, but really get on their agenda or mind like, Hey, I should probably get Brandon a chance with how many times he's reaching out. So it's really just a numbers game in that sense. And then from there, like you just have to make sure you're tracking everything properly using UTMs and just properly reporting it to management.

Because then when opportunities do come up to sponsor with them, you have that data in front of you already, like, Hey, we saw like X amount of traffic come from this. Like if maybe we pair up with them, we even buy email lists stuff along those lines, it's definitely is working.

Jack: that makes so much sense. Brandon, thanks so much for joining us. It's been a pleasure.

Brandon: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Jack: Where can people learn more about Brandon and about plural?

Brandon: Yeah. So if you wanna learn more about myself connecting me on LinkedIn, send me a message. I love talking all things, content and content strategy too. If you think I am wrong with my opinions, I would love to hear it and just debate back and forth because I really do believe content distribution outweighs content creation.

So connecting me on LinkedIn it's Brandon Gubitosa and also I would really appreciate if you went to our website, plural.Sh tech checked out our blog post, check out our message. If you have any feedback for us, please, uh, send it over. I would love to learn more about it. I still am learning every day about marketing and trying to really make sure I'm the best marketer possible.

So I would appreciate any feedback, support, or advice I could get. Thank you again for having me.

Jack: Thanks so much for listening and we'll see you again next week.

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