Q&A with David Spark, Content Marketer and Producer, Managing Editor at Spark Media Solutions

MEDIA 7 | November 7, 2019

David Spark, Content Marketer and Producer, Managing Editor at Spark Media Solutions is a veteran tech journalist and founder of Spark Media Solutions. He’s been the creative director, producer, voice, and face of many content marketing campaigns for a number of Fortune 1000 B2B tech companies.

MEDIA 7: What part of your background, personality, experience, or skill set makes you a particularly effective content marketing professional?
DAVID SPARK:

• Veteran technology journalist (worked across all media)
• Former advertising exec
• Former standup comedian and comedy writer

M7: What inspires you to come up with new ideas for blog posts, campaigns, tech, and media podcasts?
DS:
Inspiration is dependent on the project, the output, and the medium. But in general, I’m inspired by finding a topic/question that the audience will eagerly want to answer. Two of our most popular examples:

CISO Series – This is a media channel we started in October 2018 that we tout as couples counseling for security practitioners and vendors. We have such a passionate audience that they’re submitting a steady flow of questions, commentary, and games for our two podcasts. The CISO Series has provided the forum for our audience to be inspired.

“Man on the street” videos – It’s our most popular video format. We’ve produced close to 200 of these and my goal with these videos is to come up with a question where the first reaction is to laugh and then an eagerness about responding. It could be a challenge question (e.g., “What would happen if you left your mobile phone at home for an entire day?”, or something completely inappropriate for the environment (e.g., asking “What’s Your Password?” at a security conference).


"This whole attitude of “let’s try it with one and see how it works out” is a failed strategy out of the gate."

M7: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the content marketing space since you first started in Chicago as a comedy writer for The Second City? 
DS:
 Not related to comedy, but the biggest change I’ve seen in content marketing was that the work moved in house. We started business in 2007 and most of my sales pitches were trying to explain the value of content marketing which at the time I referred to as brand journalism. By 2012 all of our current and past clients finally got it and stopped outsourcing the majority of their content marketing efforts. That forced us in 2013 to change our business model to specialize in certain industry sectors and be more product-focused. People now hire us because they want our style of production and access to our industry connections specifically in B2B tech and cybersecurity.

M7: As a Content Marketer & Managing Editor at Spark Media Solutions, how much content are you personally creating versus managing?
DS:
 I’m doing the majority of it, but I bring in audio editors, designers, video editors, and now I have a sponsored segment producer for the CISO Series. I’m constantly pitched, but no one ever actually pitches in our style. I reject all offers for guest posts. I’m extremely protective of my brand.


"The only way you create great content is you have to make a lot of bad content first."

M7: What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned about content creation/management over the last few years?
DS: 
The only way you create great content is you have to make a lot of bad content first. Nobody is amazing out of the gate. This is especially true about video production. For those getting into video, I highly recommend producing home movies first. The reason is those first videos will be awful, but your audience (your family) will love the videos no matter how bad they are.

M7: Could you tell us more about your book, “Three Feet from Seven Figures: One-on-One Engagement Techniques to Qualify More Leads at Trade Shows”?
DS:
A huge majority of the work we do is at trade shows where we see a lot of behavior that is far from optimal.
At big trade shows, companies are dropping six to seven figures to have a presence at the conference. The cost per hour to be on the floor is extraordinary. So much is spent on booth production, travel, and staffing, but it appears nothing is spent on training people on how to actually behave at a trade show. It pains me when I see booth staffers staring at their phones, turning their back to the floor, or getting in huddles and talking with fellow coworkers. All these behaviors scream, “We don’t want to talk with you, potential customer who is walking past us just three feet away.”
The book offers techniques on how to engage with random people as they walk by your booth and quickly qualify or disqualify them.
The engagement techniques from the book became very popular, so we built upon them and made them usable by anyone in a training program we created called “Business Networking Pickup Lines”.


"In the entire history of media, with the exception of feature movies, no media brand becomes successful with one magazine issue, one radio show, one article, or one of anything."

M7: How has Spark Media Solutions been experimenting with new approaches/content formats/platforms? Are there any campaigns/programs you can give as examples?
DS:
Our survival is based on coming up with different media products and one of our core philosophies is “single effort/many units of content.” So if we’re hired to produce one video we’ll pitch more assets such as let’s turn it into highlights clips, transcripts, memes, photos, and more.
Here’s a good case study we did on a product we created called “Crowd-tooned”.
And here’s one of our most popular articles that speaks to our most popular production model: “21 Tips for Producing Funny ‘Man on the Street’ Videos”.

M7: What are the biggest mistakes you see new content marketers making consistently?
DS:
 Thinking you can be successful with one of anything. This whole attitude of “let’s try it with one and see how it works out” is a failed strategy out of the gate. In the entire history of media, with the exception of feature movies, no media brand becomes successful with one magazine issue, one radio show, one article, or one of anything. Why does a company that has no media experience whatsoever think they’re actually going to pull off what’s never happened in the history of media ever?


ABOUT SPARK MEDIA SOLUTIONS

Spark Media Solutions is a B2B content marketing agency for the tech industry. Content marketers that have perfected the model of building influencer relations through content. When dedicated to building an editorial voice, our clients have become the leading corporate media brand for their industry. We've worked with companies such as HP, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Juniper Networks, Symantec, Indycar, LinkedIn, Citrix, IDG, Dice, and many more. Our most popular service is live event reporting and production.

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Yottaa Announces Conversion Zone, a New Integration with Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Yottaa | September 22, 2022

Yottaa announced that it has launched Conversion Zone, a new integration with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, the fastest path to unified commerce. Commerce Cloud enables brands to provide personalized experiences for shoppers that span web, mobile, social, and in-store. And now, as part of the world’s #1 CRM platform – Salesforce – brands can deliver completely unified experiences for customers that extend beyond commerce to include marketing, customer service, and more. Conversion Zone is a new product in Yottaa’s RAPID CTRL eCommerce acceleration solution. As part of Yottaa’s integration with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Conversion Zone empowers Commerce Cloud customers to determine the site speed where shoppers convert most. This enables these brands to optimize their sites to ensure pages are loading in the “Conversion Zone” resulting in higher online revenue, as well as better shopper experiences. Yottaa’s integration with Commerce Cloud is through RAPID CTRL, Yottaa’s patented application sequencing solution that optimizes and sequences the way 3rd party technologies and images load in the browser. Through RAPID CTRL, online brands can increase eCommerce site speed and improve conversion rates across all devices. Conversion Zone, a new product in RAPID CTRL, enables brands using Salesforce Commerce Cloud to determine the target site performance range needed to maximize online conversion rates. Comments on the News “Yottaa’s integration with Salesforce Commerce Cloud enables online brands to deliver faster and more engaging experiences for their shoppers, As part of this integration, Yottaa’s new Conversion Zone solution provides these brands a customized, powerful tool to determine the exact page load time periods that result in the highest conversions so they can get more value from all of their eCommerce investments.” Rich Stendardo, CEO of Yottaa “Creating personalized, omnichannel experiences is now more important than ever for brands,” said Mike Wolff, SVP, ISV Sales, Salesforce. “By leveraging the power of Commerce Cloud and the new integration from Yottaa, customers will now be able to not only speed up the loading of their sites, but also identify optimal site speed ranges that produce the most online conversions.” About Salesforce Commerce Cloud The Salesforce Commerce Cloud empowers retailers to unify customer experiences across all points of commerce, including web, social, mobile and store. From shopping to fulfillment to customer service, the Commerce Cloud delivers 1-to-1 shopping experiences that consistently delight customers, driving increased engagement, loyalty and conversion. With embedded predictive intelligence and a robust partner ecosystem, the Commerce Cloud helps retailers deliver superior customer experiences for retailers, from planning to launch and beyond. About Yottaa Leading brands such as 1 800 Contacts, Carter’s, J. Crew, Lands’ End, Ralph Lauren, and Samsonite rely on Yottaa to accelerate, optimize, and secure their eCommerce sites. By optimizing the loading of third-party eCommerce technologies, high resolution images, and other website elements, Yottaa enables online brands to deliver superior customer experiences, improve site performance up to 60%, and increase online conversion up to 20%. By controlling the execution of all 3rd parties and other services on their sites, Yottaa also enables brands to enhance their overall security posture, provide more secure shopper experiences, and ensure compliance with internal and external policies. To learn more about how Yottaa can optimize every page load on your eCommerce site and increase conversions

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