How Dell Perspectives Grew Its Audience 200% Through Bold Social Impact Storytelling
Contently Case Stories gives a behind-the-scenes look at the amazing stories Contently customers are telling.
Dell Perspectives launched in 2017 to showcase the company’s thought leadership and attract the attention of business leaders across the globe. Immediately, the content was a hit. The site earned a Digiday Content Marketing Award for Best B2B Branded Content Site in its first year thanks to a blend of unique research, reporting, and insights.
Heading into 2020, Dell Perspectives welcomed Christina Westbrook from the Global Client Solutions business unit as its new editor-in-chief. “I don’t think I ever wanted a job as badly as I wanted this job,” she said.
As Westbrook took over, her team wanted to maintain the publication’s strong coverage on emerging technology and the leaders behind it. But they also had a goal of appealing to a younger audience that would become the C-suite of tomorrow.
“For Gen Z and millennials, it’s not just a ‘nice to have’ to be aligned with their social impact priorities and beliefs,” Westbrook explained. “They don’t want to work for—or with—companies that they think are tone deaf or disingenuous. So Perspectives is a great platform to discuss the topics that really matter to us as a company and as human beings—like diversity, inclusion, social responsibility, and sustainability.”
One of the first steps was increasing the diversity of voices on the site. “Diverse content requires diverse writers,” Westbrook said. “We didn’t want to be a technology publication publishing a wide range of articles written entirely by contributors of a singular experience. In 2020—in an industry as diverse and innovative as tech—that was unacceptable to us. We worked with Contently to recruit a team of global writers of all races, ages, gender identities, and sexual orientations. These folks help us tell stories and tell them right.”
The creative additions proved to be crucial when COVID hit last March, and Dell Perspectives needed to shift its content strategy to address the new challenges it was facing.
In response to the pandemic, Westbrook and her team developed the Recovering Together Series in April 2020. During a time that was full of non-stop depressing news, Dell Technologies wanted to stand out with stories about incredible innovations that were helping the world fight back.
“We just threw out one giant pitch request on the Contently platform and said: ‘Bring us your stories about how technology is helping us address all these cracks in the system,'” Westbrook said.
The series spanned everything from this fascinating story about a Dell Technologies employee making face shields at home to this fantastic feature on how a new wave of telehealth access was helping address the needs of the LGBTQ community.
“The telehealth story is one of my favorites,” Westbrook said. “It’s not because it was the highest performing, but it was the first one where we really leaned into something we’d never done before. It was article about cutting-edge innovations in queer health written by a queer-identified author.”
The end result was a 23-story series that reached over 24,000 readers and generated over 40,000 minute of attention time—as measured by Contently’s Analytics—all without any paid promotion.
Celebrating diverse innovators in tech
The next big series for Dell Perspectives came in February of 2021, when it launched a Black History Month campaign, which celebrated black leaders and innovators who paved the way for us all.
Ideas for the visually engaging series came from Dell Perspectives’ diverse roster of writers. The stories attracted readers by highlighting incredibly important figures in the history of tech, examining where we’re falling short today, and reporting on initiatives, like the Code Crew in Tennessee, that are building a better tomorrow.
“Dell Technologies believes in the power of diversity and considers it one of our huge strengths,” Westbrook said. “Diversity and inclusion are not just the right things to do, they drive better ideas, better decisions, and even a better bottom line.”
The series was also a hit. Stories saw 34 percent higher attention time on average than other Perspectives stories, an 11 percent higher finish rate, and 1,686 percent more readers.
Following Black History Month came Dell Perspective’s Rebel Women Series in March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The name for the campaign was inspired by the Rebel Girls YA series, and profiled five incredible women in STEM—all of whom are distinguished engineers at Dell Technologies—sharing the path they took to build storied careers.
Dell Technologies’ staff of Contently writers interviewed the engineers, and the journalistic approach unearthed incredibly moving stories.
“All the pieces were about women and written by women. People loved it internally, and it got great results,” Westbrook said. “One woman said her father cried when he read it.”
People loved it externally too. The series generated an astounding 73 percent average finish rate, 50 percent more attention time, a 71 percent higher engagement rate, and 494 percent more readers.
The response led to an important realization: This type of content shouldn’t just be limited to a specific month.
“I have a steering committee meeting every Tuesday and we asked ourselves, ‘Why are we only doing this for women’s history month?'” Westbrook said. “The number of women in STEM is low. We’re trying to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM. So these women’s stories are both interesting and relevant.”
One thing Westbrook appreciates is the way Contently has helped Dell Perspectives take their storytelling ambitions to new heights. “I appreciated the excellent editing and the thoughtful writer sourcing. I don’t have to worry about whether the writers or the graphic designer are up to par,” she said. “They’ll point out things that I don’t notice, and that’s where the partnership is really valuable.”
This month, Dell Perspectives is continuing that ambition with a Pride Series. Stories covers everything from how to be a more meaningful ally at your tech job to a feature story on LGBTQ community groups trying to ease the digital divide for seniors, at-risk youth, and homeless people within the queer community.
“As we enter the second half of 2021 and into 2022, we want to continue to ensure that our Black or queer or women writers, for example, aren’t only given stories that speak to their personal life experiences,” Westbrook added. “Yes, we want them to be the ones to tell those stories on Perspectives, but we also want them to feel encouraged and empowered to write the tech story that has nothing to do with belonging to a marginalized community—the ones that straight, cis, white men have had the privilege of telling from the get-go. That is the future of Perspectives. That is where we are moving toward.”
These efforts are paying off. Dell Perspectives has become beloved internally as the audience grew 200 percent over the past year, reaching hundreds of thousands of readers.
“What excites me is that there’s a lot of confidence internally in what we can do with Perspectives,” Westbrook said. “And there are a lot of people interested in leveraging what we’ve done and scaling it across our entire organization.”
As that happens, there’s no limit to the kind of high-impact, human stories that Dell Perspectives can tell.
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