How Uberflip Determines Who Owns the Content Experience

How Uberflip Determines Who Owns the Content Experience

Christine Otsuka, Content Marketer at Uberflip, joins the Content Experience Show to discuss her new ebook and who should own the content experience.

In This Episode:

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Full Episode Details

Rise of the Content Experience Manager

You have a brilliant idea for a piece of content, but once that content has been created the work is far from over. Whether your company is a brand new startup or well established with a large content marketing team, it is crucial that someone is overseeing the overall content experience for your audience.

Great content that is hard to find, engage with, or is presented in a way that doesn’t give your audience a smooth, pleasant experience is a disservice to both your customers and your business. With the new ebook “Who Owns the Content Experience?” Christine Otsuka and Uberflip are determined to help you ensure a great experience for your customers.

By establishing a content experience manager within your organization, you can help your audience engage with your content in a consistent and natural way that brings a greater benefit to them and your business.

In This Episode

  • How to define the content experience
  • Why your business already has a content experience
  • How to determine who should own the content experience
  • Why having a content experience manager is important

Quotes From This Episode

“A content experience is the environment in which your content lives, how it’s structured, and how it compels your prospects and customers to engage with your company.” — @christineotsuka

You have to have someone who has a watchful eye on all of the elements of content experience. Click To Tweet


Content Experience Lightning Round

Though Christine has never owned a pug, she’s a huge fan of them. She even goes as far as to describe herself as a “pug fanatic!” She owns all kinds of pug memorabilia and as soon as she moves to a place where she can own a dog, buying a pug is first on her to do list!

See you next week!

What Great Brands Do That Good Brands Don't in Content Marketing

Okay content is easy. Killer content is hard. This nifty eBook shows you the difference, based on our real-world work with dozens of brands. A must-read!

Episode Transcript

Anna Hrach:Hey everyone, welcome to the Content Experience show. I'm here with the always amazing Randy Frisch from Uberflip, and today is a very special uber, Uberflip show. We have Christine Otsuka who is the content marketer at Uberflip. Now, Randy, this one is kind of interesting because you and I are used to doing this remote and having guest dial in, but you actually, because Christine is in your office, you got to hang out with her while we recorded this.
Randy FrischYeah it was kind of weird, Christine and I sit in meetings all the time, she's part of the marketing team and I help oversee the marketing team here, but it's definitely a different dynamic when you have your team member there and you're both trying to tell this story on a podcast. I was really excited to do this. Christine, to her credit, has worked really hard over the last number of months on putting together what I think is a really important piece of content for marketers as a whole. It's really defining content experience.
It's funny, it's obviously, to a degree some people will listen to this podcast and say "Okay, Randy is just trying to drop his company this time", but I try not to do that that much. This podcast for me is about connecting to other marketers that we bring on and hearing how they define con-ex. It's about us together trying to advocate for the importance of going beyond just content creating, which I think people are definitely buying into when we get them on here. I think we are not the only ones saying this these days, but I think it's something that all of us have to really take a step back and make sure that we know how to advocate for this in our own company.
Anna Hrach:Totally. You know it's funny because everybody out there has heard us, Randy, talk about content experience for several, several episodes now, and I think the really cool thing is that, going back to your point, this really wasn't just meant to be a promotion but there's this really great guide you guys have put together. It's "who owns the content experience?" And it's a fantastic ebook. It is so chock full of helpful advice and tips and tricks and really defining what that content experience is, which, you know Randy we have been talking about too. Content marketing and content marketers are just at this point where it's like "okay, we've got all this content, stuff just isn't really working. What do we do now? What is that next step?" Or it's "We've got all this content, things are moving along, what now?" And content experience really is that next step, and you've really put together this fantastic guide for them. And it is available now. It's available at Uberflip, it's "who owns the content experience?" And you guys gave some great tips and gave a lot of great previews in this.
Randy Frisch:Yeah absolutely. It's funny as you said, this took us a while to come to, and it was kind of interesting, we don't get into this in the time Christine was with us, but just to give people the backstory of how this ebook came to be. I actually wrote a blog post in October of 2017, and I wrote it on an airplane as I always do with my blog posts. No wifi scenarios are great for me like that. I brought it in and everyone was uncomfortable with it. It literally sat in draft mode for about three months, but in the middle of that, the post is live now, people can find it, it's a little controversial, it's called "Fuck content marketing", sorry for that.
It's the idea of content marketing is just something that we take for granted that we should just create content now and that's all we have to do. If you've seen Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come, right? But to your point, it goes beyond just great content these days. It went from create content to create great content to now create a great experience, and that's what we ultimately picked up in the middle of the debate of do we release my blog post or not, was, well maybe we just need to talk more about whose supposed to own this thing that's getting ignored.
Anna Hrach:Totally. In the guide, you actually have the responsibility matrix, and you have some personas. You have some really great guidelines in there. It's really, I think, a great tool for anybody out there, and before we keep giving away all of this great information, people should definitely go download the ebook now, because it's a great companion guide as we go through this podcast. What do you say we bring Christine in and hear exactly from her what the ebook is about and what people can start to do to help shape their content experience today?
Randy Frisch:Perfect, let's roll this podcast.
Anna Hrach:Let's do it.
Randy Frisch:Welcome to Con-Ex, the Content Experience show. I'm Randy Frisch from Uberflip. We've got Anna Hrach here from Convince and Convert. But today, don't get confused, we've got more guests here from Uberflip. We've got Christine joining us, as you heard, she's already in here in the studio, and this is weird, because usually Anna and I have to do this kind of in three different locations, but we are all in one and we figured out all the audio.
So Christine, maybe now that you're here and we figured it out, you can tell us a little bit about what you do. As much as I know, no one else knows. They read your content if they follow Uberflip, but what do you do here?
Christine Otsuka:Alright, so I'm Christine Otsuka, I'm a content marketer at Uberflip, and what that means is I'm responsible for not only creating and strategizing around our content strategy, but also creating these amazing content experiences for everyone.
Randy Frisch:Amazing, and you left out, very graciously, that you have to filter through my ideas to figure out what we do put down on paper, what we do put into our content, and what we decide to just pass on right?
Christine Otsuka:Exactly.
Randy Frisch:You can decide if you want to pass on commenting further on that. Cool, and maybe just for everyone, give some context as to what you did before you joined Uberflip, how you got to this point in your content career.
Christine Otsuka:Sure! So I have been a B to B writer for the bulk of my career. And before Uberflip I was working as a content marketer and a customer marketer at Event Mobi, another Toronto startup, until I was, I guess summoned away to the land of Uberflip, which was always the pinnacle of marketing in Toronto, so that's where I wanted to be and that's where I ended up.
Randy Frisch:Amazing. I remember sitting in the interview when you joined us, and I was like "listen, no pressure, but pressure." I mean if you're going to be a content marketer at a company that's all about content marketing, you gotta be able to step it up. Right?
Christine Otsuka:Yeah, exactly. In a past life, I was an event planner or wrote for the events industry, and that was sort of the same thing. It was that kind of level of expectation, that level of pressure, to produce events for the event's industry, and now we are doing content marketing for content marketers and other marketers, so same thing, but I love the excitement and the pressure.
Randy Frisch:Amazing. So you're not new here, but in the last number of months you've been working on a really big piece of content. I would say that it goes beyond being a piece that's important for Uberflip. I think it's important for the industry of content experience and the category of content experience, because one of the things that you pointed at is that there's a lack of a proper definition. So we've got this awesome ebook out there floating around now, and we figured that today would be a great way, rather than me talk about it, actually have you, because you did all the research for this thing, you've put together this awesome story, and maybe we'll kind of unpack this here today.
Do you want to start us off with the research you did going into this ebook?
Christine Otsuka:Sure, so I think the impetus for this idea was that people understand content, they understand experience, but maybe when you put the two together it sort of gets a little bit fuzzy, a little bit gray for some people. I found that when I started working at Uberflip and I explained what we did, and some of my friends who worked in marketing were like "what is content experience exactly?" And trying to find that definition internally, trying to find it externally, we all couldn't seem to agree on one solid definition, so that was the first order of business, was let’s create that foundation, lets make a definition for content experience, which we can all agree, rally around, rally behind and get that out there into the industry, so we can really create that category and lead that category. What we did was we broke down content experience into three major buckets. Our final ending up definition was 'a content experience is the environment in which your content lives, how it's structured, and how it compels your prospects and customers to engage with your company.
Anna Hrach:So I love this definition because it's very crystal clear, but at the same time, it leaves some room for interpretation. Randy and I have been talking about content experience obviously throughout this entire podcast series, but the thing that I love is that a content experience doesn't have to be that massive, expensive, Disneyland experience right? I mean this ebook really lets marketers of all types, all ranges, all sizes, kind of create their own content experience right?
Christine Otsuka:Absolutely. The thought behind this was that a content experience is not something that people lack, it's not something that they have to buy or envision and put all of these funds towards or dream up in terms of the big Disneyland style as what you had mentioned. For us, it's that everyone has a content experience, they just may not be using it to the best of their ability. They may not be optimizing it. They may not be creating those remarkable experiences, those personalized experiences, those relevant experiences that will help move their buyers to the point of conversion.
Anna Hrach:So, you had mentioned that you really break down the content experience into three key parts, and the first part is environment, the second part is structure, and the third part is engagement. Based on your experience in writing this and doing all this research, do those all work together, or is it sort of a ... you have three options, pick two, it doesn't have to be that right? They can all work in unison, it doesn't have to be one has to be amazing, the other sort of have to suffer?
Christine Otsuka:No, I think sometimes when people think about the content experience, they may get hung up on the environment, which for a lot of people is how your content looks, it's the wrapper, it's the packaging. And that's important, the design is important, there's lots of statistics that will support that content and the layout, if it's unattractive, people will stop engaging with your website and maybe it doesn't make you look as professional. But it also has to do a lot with the structure, which for us is sort of more of the UX design, what is that user experience? Are they able to find things easily? Can they navigate your site? Have you curated the right kinds of things for them? And then on the engagement side, ultimately what we want to accomplish with a positive or an optimized content experience is to enable your buyers to actually get to that conversion state. So we want to make it easy for them to act. And part of what we do with the content experience is personalize and create things that are relevant and contextual and provide that consistency so that they can get to that next stage.
Anna Hrach:I love this. One of the things that I especially love is that you do start to talk about the actual user experience, so the actual UX side, so not just how things look, not just the varnish that's put on it. One of the things that I always try to convey, especially when I was at agencies prior, is that people might be looking at something but they're reading, and it's really that content that matters, and it's really the experience they have with it. It doesn't matter how beautiful something is. Exactly to your point, if it doesn't have those other two elements of engagement and design and structure, it's just not going to be good. The experience is going to be really really bad. So when you were putting this amazing ebook together, did you find through any of your research and just all of your findings that there were brands who were doing this model really really well and hitting on all three pillars of the content experience?
Randy Frisch:I'll jump in there, because that's a tricky one. Obviously it's easy for us to talk about Uberflip customers who do this really well, but it's happening out there all over the place. We see ... a lot of us can think of brands that we enjoy going and reading their content, because, as Christine outlined, they've structured it well, it's easy to find what we are looking for, they suggest that next piece of content. In some of these cases, we often align that with really big companies that have huge budgets for designers and agencies that they can bring in. But even some of the companies that have that scale, when they're going after many markets, they struggle to execute beyond their main W W W.
One of the companies that I always love what they do well is 3M. They do this not just on 3M's main website, but when they're going after more micro-targeted campaigns, they're executing at that same level that Christine is outlining. There's this terrible story that we talk about very often where there was fires in Fort McMurray, Alberta, it was a number of years ago, and what was cool was not only did 3M go for their health and safety division and create content for that audience, but they did so in a way where it was easy to find, easy to navigate, very beautiful as well when we look at the way that was delivered and the way it was structured. It also compelled you to read more and be engaged and convert to learn more about the products that they had, even though really what they were trying to do is execute in the moment.
I think that's the trouble that we see so often, is not just how do you do this, but how do you do this quickly these days? How do you do this at scale? That's I think for a lot of us as marketers where we are starting to struggle a bit.
So Christine, pulling it back to you though. All this emphasis these days on content experience, what are some of the trends going on in the market? I may have started talking about personalization there, but what other trends have you seen as a marketer on our team even that have pushed us to have to prioritize experience? Or made it more of a daunting task beyond a beautiful main website?
Christine Otsuka:I think for us ABM is obviously the one that comes to mind. It's kind of top of mine with a lot of marketers these days, and I think for us on the content experience side, creating that personalized experience at scale is something that should be on everyone's radar.
Randy Frisch:Perfect. So what we are going to do, now that we have unpacked this concept of what content experience is, what I want us to do is be able to dig in to who needs to own this. I know that was another big part of your research. We are going to take a quick break here on Con-Ex, and we will be back with Christine to dig in to the different personas on your own marketing team and who should and shouldn't own the experience.
Anna Hrach:Alright, welcome back everybody. We are here with Christine Otsuka who's the content marketer at Uberflip. Now Christine, when we last left off, we just started to touch on the content experience and who really owns that. Based off of all the research that you did, what were some of the different hands that go into creating this experience, because it's definitely not an easy task, I don't want to make it sound like it's super overwhelming, but there's a lot of people who are involved in creating a fantastic experience right?
Christine Otsuka:Right, exactly. When we were doing our research, one of the things I wanted to do was look at our customer base and find out what were some of the common job titles who were in our platform all the time using it who are really owning it on the day to day side. What I found was that there were five or six main titles who were always in there, and it didn't really lead to a solid conclusion as to one specific job title who should be the owner. What we ended up doing was we created composite sketches of eight different positions within the marketing organization and the larger organization who could potentially own it based on what their role and responsibilities were, what they were invested in on the day-to-day, and whether it made sense for them to actually own a piece or all of the content experience.
Anna Hrach:So you had a couple broken down, so you had some pretty typical roles like we'd expect, like a content marketer, a digital marketer, a demand gen marketer. I think you also had some that maybe people aren't completely interacting with today, so I love that you guys included a sales and an account manager, a product manager, a UX designer, again going back to our amazing UX conversation. If some people don't have these roles on their team, what is some advice that you might impart to them on how to sort of cover off on these roles and responsibilities? Are these things that can shift to other people, or do you recommend that they continue to start hiring for these roles?
Christine Otsuka:Well definitely, it's not as though with a smaller marketing department you wouldn't be able to own or share the ownership of the content experience. It just means that you have to have someone who has a watchful eye on all of the elements of content experience. So for instance, if you have a content marketer and you don't have a UX designer, that's not to say that the content marketer, or someone on the web team for instance with a digital team, isn't also going to be interested in creating those user paths and creating that optimal user experience.
Anna Hrach:Awesome. I know I've probably stressed out a lot of graphic designers and UX designers in the past by insisting that content was part of shaping the entire experience, but it's something that I feel passionate about but agree completely that for anybody out there who doesn't have these super specific roles, that doesn't mean that you're lacking in your experience, it just means that maybe you should think about some skillsets beyond your immediate role to help fulfill some of these requirements.
Christine Otsuka:I think to people in my role, people who are content marketers, they're not necessarily just interested in creating content and letting it go out into the world. They want to see it through from creating all the way to consumption, and they want to ensure that people are finding and leveraging and discovering their content and actually consuming it, so they should be interested in that side of it as well.
Randy Frisch:Yeah another part that I sometimes see when I'm out talking to marketers is that there's been a big shift, as you touched on there, some of these rules are not typically even in the marketing department. It's getting harder and harder for us to always rely on pulling in say a web developer or a UX designer to help people like Christine ensure, as she put it, that her content will get consumed, that it will be ... that it will reach the target audiences. It's a really interesting shift. You think about it, we've been hearing about this forever. It was this idea that in our org more and more budget would shift from the CTO over to the CMO, moving from the web teams over to the marketing team, the marketing team owning more and more. I think that it's a lot of pressure, the way you called it out in and it's kind of like tricky for us to figure out how are we actually going to execute this as a marketing team now?
Anna Hrach:Nice. With all these responsibilities coming back into the marketing team, I'd love to touch on, you guys introduced something that's really interesting, which is the content experience manager. Is this sort of Randy what you're talking about with somebody taking on more of these roles a little bit more of some of these different pieces of different positions and really just overseeing the entire experience?
Christine Otsuka:Yeah so I'm going to jump in there. I think when we were introducing the content experience manager, it's not necessarily a call for everyone to go out and hire for a brand new role, but we do recognize it is an emerging category and there's going to be some early adopters here, and we want to be one of those early adopters, being a content experience company. For us, what we mean by that is someone who's going to have that watchful eye on the content experience, who is going to work with all the different members, all the different stakeholders on the marketing team, and within the organization, to make sure that someone has an eye to what the customer is always experiencing around our content.
Randy Frisch:One of the cool things too in it that we actually did hear is that we brought in someone at a director level on this role. So we have someone on our team, her name is Paige, her title here is Director of Content Experience, and beyond just thinking about creating content, one of the things that I know is really important to you Anna, is that she's very responsible for now is buyer journey mapping. Understanding the different stages and to us that's really where content needs to be dropped in the most. Once you have the buyer journey stages, what are you going to drop in there if not content? Whether it's an email that you're sending out that's got really creative copy, or whether it's a blog post or video that we're going to send to people, these are all assets that tie to, if you will, Christine's definition around the structure, the environment, and how we get someone compelled to engage.
Anna Hrach:I love it. You guys know me, I'm a massive fan of the user experience side, so when I hear customer journey mapping I get all sorts of excited. I love them. I love that you actually have somebody who is responsible for that and really looking at those touch points and seeing what is going to work best for that person at that stage. The other thing that I love about this ebook, speaking about roles and responsibilities, is you actually provided some really cool little mini personas for some of these different roles within an organization. So Christine, questions for you, which one is Randy? And was this hard? Did you actually create on for Randy and had to like scrap it and be like "never mind, don't look at that Randy."
Christine Otsuka:No, I think for us, Randy, if we are going to personify him, he would be that leadership, that from the top down, the way that we do it within our organization, the way we were doing it before Paige's arrival, was that we were trying to get everyone in our marketing department to rally around the content experience. The way we were able to do that was because we had Ryan from our leadership. We had our VP, our CMO, who really understands and champions for the content experience and wants us all to take a piece of it. So we were meeting monthly to discuss different ways that we could optimize it, and everyone has their own role, because everyone is invested in different aspects of the content experience. Sometimes maybe it's environment and structure, sometimes it's environment and engagement, but you know what I mean? Everyone has their piece, and so when we can all get together and all talk about it, then we're able to act on it as well.
Anna Hrach:Nice. I was really hoping in all honesty for you to get to accidentally spill some tea there, but obviously there is none with Randy, because he's amazing. But in all seriousness, these personas are really fantastic, and I love how you guys have put this together. I think it helps because we work with some of these people every day in our organizations, but we don't ever objectively step back and take a look at some of their motivators and some of the reasons why they do what they do, and I think it's just a really helpful guide for anybody to go through and take a look at sort of who they're working with, what their goals are, and understand how our goals align and differ with theirs, so I love this piece.
Randy Frisch:Well listen, we are very biased, but we love it here too, and I'm going to actually let Christine do a little call to action in this podcast here and let people know where they can actually find this ebook to download.
Christine Otsuka:Yeah, sure, so if you want to learn more about who owns the content experience, what the content experience is, and how you can get yourself to a place where you can own it, you can go to to download the ebook
Randy Frisch:So there is an 's' at the end of that
Christine Otsuka:Owns.
Randy Frisch:Owns. Okay. I'm sure that was a big grammatical decision as the content marketer here, whether it's to own or who owns. Amazing Christine. It's been a lot of fun to have you talking about this. I feel like we've been going back and forth on this ebook for a long time and it's nice to see it out in the wild now. As we always do here on Con-Ex, so we've got a few more minutes if you can stick around and I know you can because I know what meeting you have next, and we'll just get to know you a little bit beyond the ebook. So we'll be right back here on Con-Ex.
Alright, so we're back here with Christine, talking about who owns the content experience, but I want to talk about something that you really should own that you don't, because it's funny, I mean a lot of people have obsession and they obsess either over a star or they've got a lot of pictures all over the place about someone really close to them in their family. For you, it's actually someone that you are not connected with, but who you have a huge crush on.
Christine Otsuka:For me?
Randy Frisch:Is it not? I'm talking dogs.
Christine Otsuka:Okay, I was like what do you know that I don't know?
Randy Frisch:I don't know where we're going, this metaphor is not working.
Christine Otsuka:No, pugs. I'm a huge pug fanatic. I don't know how it happened, or how it came about, but I've never even owned a pug, but I am obsessed. I have my mother bought me a pug a day calendar that sits on my desk, my boyfriend has bought me every single pug memorabilia. He actually tried to track down what they call a 'Mur-pug', it was a Kickstarter at some point. They stopped making them and I found it at an event one time, and I was like "I need to have this", and he actually contacted the Kickstarter woman to actually see if she would make another one and sell it to him, and I got it in the mail the other day. So kind of [inaudible 00:26:10]
Randy Frisch:Wow. That is wild. It's funny I mean, has your boyfriend not taken the hint and just bought you a real pug?
Christine Otsuka:Well, we were renting right now and unfortunately we are not able to have a dog where we are renting, but as soon as we are able to, that's my first order of business.
Randy Frisch:That's so funny. It's funny, when I was younger, just met my wife and we'd been dating I think only for probably six months, but we knew we were going down that direction. I'd always pick her up, she worked at this mall and there was a pet store there and she'd always point to this dog. And one day I was just like "if you want the dog, we can get it, but I was going to spend some money taking you to Mexico," thinking that she's going to jump in on Mexico right on the moment. Long story short, we've had this dog for about 13 years now, and I always say that I was more nervous to buy the dog than buy the ring, because it was commitment, it was like we are in this for the long run. Are you a dog person Anna?
Anna Hrach:Yeah! Can you guys not hear my dog barking right now? I think he got really jealous when we started talking about pugs and he's like "hey, I'm right here." I do. We went the adoption route and we just went to the humane society, and we lovingly call him our little lemon, because he's yellow, and also very very broken. He's just goofy and yeah... he's a mess, but he's our mess.
Randy Frisch:That's amazing. That's amazing.
Anna Hrach:Yes.
Randy Frisch:Alright, so now everyone knows how to get Christine's attention is this day of ABM, where everyone's doing direct mail again these days, all you gotta do is send her a pug in the mail and she'll respond, demo request, or solicitation of your product, whatever it is, that's how you get her attention, pretty easy from here. Christine, it's been awesome to have you on the podcast, you're always helping support me come on to this thing, so it's great to hear you perspectives, and on behalf of Anna at Convince and Convert, I'm Randy Frisch from Uberflip, this has been the Con-Ex content experience show podcast. You can find this podcast pretty much anywhere you get your podcast these days: Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play. When you find us, leave us feedback, let us know what we can do to make this more engaging. Until next time, thanks so much for tuning in.
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