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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INTELITY and Incode Technologies Announce Strategic Partnership

INTELITY | July 05, 2022

INTELITY®, provider of hospitality’s leading guest experience and staff management platform, announced at HITEC Orlando 2022 the strategic partnership with Incode Technologies, the industry leader in identity verification and authentication for global enterprises. To further enhance a hotel’s operations encompassing a safe, secure, and reliable check-in workflow process, the integration partnership with Incode fulfills a hotel's requirements for full ID verification and enables guest ID verification during the check-in stage, either at a single property or brand level, through any INTELITY mobile app.“The partnership with Incode furthers our strong commitment to servicing our hotelier, residential, casino, and other customers with the most advanced guest experience platform available,” said Robert Stevenson, CEO of INTELITY. Hotel guests requiring an advanced identification check will experience a more fluid mobile check-in process. Before guests arrive on property, they are prompted to verify their identity through INTELITY’s mobile application and Incode’s powerful platform. Hotels are able to automate the process of validating a guest’s identification with Incode to confirm the legitimacy of the presented guest ID, virtually eliminating human error. The process can confirm requirements, such as age, during the check-in process to ensure the hotel is in compliance with any requirements. Incode also provides an automated digital ID creation for a guest’s profile to interact with the hotel property and process payment sources, continuing INTELITY’s goal to provide the industry with a full contactless workflow. “We’re excited to partner with INTELITY, the leader in guest-facing technologies, to reimagine the future of hospitality experiences. Guests can skip the check-in line and seamlessly access experience – all powered by an omni-channel identity layer that will be integrated into any INTELITY app, Together, we have created an experience that brings guests to their room and vacation faster than ever before. Our partnership will give the hotel staff what they need, where they need it, and the hotel guest the easability to enjoy their stay before they set foot in the door.” -Ricardo Amper, Founder & CEO, Incode Technologies. We have ID capture on the INTELITY platform, but a richer verification process is a vital element for our clients, said Matthew Lynch, VP of Product Management at INTELITY. Being the hospitality tech leader in mobile application platforms, we knew we only wanted to address this challenge with the leaders in identity verification and authentication. We quickly saw that Incode was the perfect partner. At INTELITY, we know Incode offers the best of breed in verification solutions. This partnership is a natural and evident fit to service both of our customers, Stevenson continued. We are excited for the future of hospitality technology and thrilled to be sharing this news during the 50th HITEC trade show celebration. It truly is the best venue to announce this new partnership. To experience the INTELITY platform and learn more about the Incode partnership at HITEC Orlando 2022 firsthand, visit booth #1129. For more information about the INTELITY platform or to request a demo, please visit intelity.com/demo. For more information about Incode, please visit www.incode.com. About INTELITY INTELITY is the global leader in contactless guest experience technology, uniting mobile, in-room, and operational tools into one fully-integrated hospitality platform. INTELITY has won numerous awards including becoming the “Official Guest Engagement and Staff Management Platform Provider” of the distinguished Forbes Travel Guide. The INTELITY platform is used at boutique hotels, casino-resorts, luxury residences, global hotel brands and more in over 60 countries across 6 continents. For more information, visit www.intelity.com. About Incode Incode is a leading identity company that is reinventing the way humans verify their identity and interact with the world’s largest companies with a highly secure and delightful AI-based experience. Incode’s end-to-end fully automated orchestration platform enables seamless access across multiple channels with products focused on onboarding, authentication and payment verification that increase conversion and reduce fraud. With its mission to power a world of trust, Incode works with a number of the world’s biggest banks, fintechs, hotels, governments and marketplaces. Incode is based in San Francisco with offices in Europe and Latin America. To learn more about Incode, visit www.incode.com

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