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Success Spotlight: Candace Bryan

10 Aug 2020 12:59 PM | Kathy Bryan, WOM President
Article written by:   Amy Gesenhues
Candace Bryan is a woman of many talents. Content Strategist by day, Bryan builds content strategy for the mobile video software platform Penthera. She is responsible for writing copy and putting the company’s content marketing plans in motion which Penthera’s commitment to amplifying a seamless video viewing experience. In the evenings Bryan transitions from the marketing technology world at Penthera, bringing her writing – and performing – gifts to the stage as a professional comedian. 

“Getting up in front of strangers to react to unexpected responses helps make you stronger, especially as a woman,” said Bryan, who caught the bug for stand-up comedy four years ago when her all-female writing group began hosting comedic readings featuring standup comics. 

Not one to hem and haw over what’s next, Bryan left Brooklyn for L.A. to focus on her standup comedy career. She plans to return to the stage as soon as things return to normal, while keeping her role at Penthera. 

Bryan’s fearless move to the West Coast took a lot of courage and a deep sense of one’s own talents and capabilities – something she didn’t always have. Bryan says finding that self confidence only happened after years of hard work and dedication to becoming the woman, and professional, she is today. 

Always In A Mindset To Learn

Bryan’s expertise for writing and content strategy goes way beyond her more than eight years of experience. In the constantly evolving world of online content, Bryan’s value stems from her learning mindset.

“It’s important to always be in a mindset to learn. If a blog post doesn’t get as much traffic, or if an editor turns down a pitch, these aren’t failures, but opportunities to finesse our strategy and improve our content.”

Bryan says she is always adapting her understanding of content and its relationship to the trends and changes across the industry. 

“Part of what I love about content strategy is that it’s an exercise in humility to understand that what you know, about Facebook, for example, could change overnight based on the platform’s technology or people’s perceptions of it.”

I Think Therefore I Curate: From Philosophy To Content Strategy

Bryan studied philosophy at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. An editorial internship after college led to her position as the first social media editor for The Dodo, a digital brand dedicated to publishing animal-related stories and videos. Bryan has also spent time as a fashion and pop culture writer, contributing to various print and online publications. In November of 2014, Bryan was hired by the non-profit organization Oceana to build the company’s content and social strategy, shaping content that would help advance Oceana’s mission to preserve the world’s oceans. 

After her time at Oceana, Bryan worked for an agency with video-on-demand (VOD) clients including YouTube and Netflix. Her VOD work led to her current role as a content strategist at Penthera. In the course of her career, Bryan realized she thrives on building out entire content strategies, designing content marketing plans from concept to delivery. Penthera offered her the opportunity to build content strategy for the martech platform while also the flexibility of working remotely.

Working From The Ground Up

“I helped the marketing team at Penthera build a content strategy from the ground up. As a startup, when I joined over two years ago, we didn’t have much in place, and now we regularly publish reports and papers that are shared across the industry, our executives are frequently published on a variety of industry publications, and we have an active blog and social media presence.”

Building thought leadership doesn’t happen overnight. The challenge lies in providing real value to readers. By establishing a steady drip of content, Bryan created a way for Penthera to build their sales pipeline for revenue opportunities and to stay connected with clients.

“Breaking through all the noise of content online is very difficult, of course. And thought leadership is challenging from a marketing perspective, because I want to share the expertise and value of our company without just doing a sales pitch,” said Bryan.  

“Finding that balance with organic content that can provide real value to the industry is sometimes a challenge. We’ve heard from editors that a pitch or two has been too close to the self-promotional line, but I think I’ve really gained a sense of how to speak to our industry without preaching about our solution.”

The Power Of Company Culture & Working For A Female Boss

Working at Penthera has helped Bryan gain a deeper sense of confidence in herself and her work. “A lot of that comes,” notes Bryan, “not just from the success we’ve had with content at Penthera, but from the culture at Penthera that has been very empowering.” 

Bryan says working with a female boss has been life-changing. 

“She [Bryan’s female boss] communicates well, builds up the employees and recognizes our success, but also fosters a culture where we can raise concerns, challenge ideas, and speak our minds and actually be heard,” said Bryan, “As a woman in the workplace, we’re often programmed early on to be more demure and agreeable, and I love that at Penthera I’m actively encouraged to speak honestly and contribute to high-level discussions.”

Finding Confidence In The Randomness

Bryan has worn many different hats in her career: fashion blogger, journalist, social media editor, content strategist and standup comic. She knows writers who have taken similar paths may be tempted to downplay the randomness of their careers, but she takes an opposite approach. 

“I think a lot of writers/content creators can feel lost or feel like their career is too random. But landing on content strategy showed me there’s a need for people who have this kind of diverse content background and that having a lot of different experiences can actually make you an asset.”

Instead of downplaying her diverse experience, Bryan has used it to move her career forward, landing roles that opened new opportunities and gave her the power and flexibility to follow her true passions. 

Embracing Dissent 

Bryan advises women working in martech to speak their minds.

“Women can often feel that agreeing with every idea their coworkers propose is a good way to remain likable and therefore have success. But if I think something is a bad idea, I will challenge it (tactfully!) by explaining the risks I see and suggesting an alternate way to approach an issue. At the end of the day, I think that commands more respect because it shows I’m actually thinking through everything.”

Article written by:   Amy Gesenhues

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