Eric Wendt

If proficiency at Super Mario Bros. required dedication to client services instead of lightning-quick reflexes and calloused thumbs, Brafton Project Manager Eric Rubino surely would have saved the princess by now.

Actually, wait, lightning-quick reflexes are helpful for project managers and pixelated Italian plumbers alike. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Ready player one

Before Eric was the subject of strained video game references on this very blog, he was a student at Boston University hoping to develop interactive entertainment himself.

“I was going to go to college specifically for video game development before realizing it might be a horrible career choice,” he said with a laugh.

Instead he opted for computer science, but discovered it didn’t quite scratch his creative itch.

“I was very interested in film, TV and writing – I always wanted to do something creative,” Eric said. “I never anticipated being on the marketing side of things, but that was borne a bit out of my love for video games, working at a company that did video game tournaments around Boston. They hired me to be their content marketer. I was in charge of all things digital, and I learned you can blend creative and marketing.”

Project Manager Eric Rubino in his natural habitat.
Project Manager Eric Rubino in his natural habitat.

Eric found that special blend yet again at Brafton, where he originally applied to be on-camera talent for our video team. Instead, he found himself a content writer. After two years of wowing premium technology clients as a wordsmith, he realized he wanted to take on a more strategic, client-facing role. He saw an opening for a specialist editor who would take charge of trickier accounts to ensure client satisfaction. That role evolved, transforming into the Project Manager position we know today.

“The Project Manager oversees production of every asset, treating each thing, from eBooks to blog posts, as special projects and keeping track of them,” Eric said. “The benefit to the client is you have somebody managing it for you so you don’t have to keep track of when things are due or check on statuses. It’s giving the client a single gateway in which to recieve content and give feedback on it.”

Project Managers also act as internal client advocates. While they are part of the Brafton team, they essentially serve as the eyes and ears of our clients themselves, tackling every facet of a content marketing strategy with specific client needs in mind. From editing content with a fine-tooth comb to constantly asking how an asset can better appeal to a targeted audience, the only stakeholder who knows more about the client than the Project Manager may just be the client themselves.

In short, Brafton Project Management means being in charge of consistently producing engaging content, measuring its effectiveness and return on investment, ensuring it fits within client budgetary constraints, and then rinsing and repeating.

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Of course, such a role comes with its own unique challenges.

“When you’re criticizing or relaying feedback to somebody internally, it’s a lot more difficult to take than when it’s from a client,” Eric said. “When a client says something, that’s one thing. When a colleague says it, there’s more push back. A lot of project management is communicating to production teams and anticipating client expectations.”

However, obstacles for project managers aren’t all internal.

“It’s hard to do what a client wants when they don’t know what they want,” Eric explained. “Then again, it’s also an opportunity to step up and say, ‘this is what we think you should do and here’s why.’”

A major component of Brafton Project Management is overseeing the mapping out of content in advance, asking questions to ensure each piece of content serves a specific commercial goal and answers targeted questions, incorporating keyword research and data regarding trending topics. It’s a necessary step toward delivering impactful content in today’s crowded marketplace.

Managing the future

Brafton Project Managers oversee the production of far more than text, bringing everything  from graphics to videos to social strategies – to fruition. A focus on varied assets is something Eric believes will become even more important in the future.

“I think all the new devices will change content marketing moving ahead,” he said. “We’re always going to read stuff, that will always be around, but you really have to consider all the new mediums. Every company has its own little channel. I can follow news sites on Instagram to get my news. People need to think about how you can capitalize on that. I think the next step is how we are going to capitalize on virtual reality.”

“Start geeking out on content, reading assets and asking yourself why they’re good or not.”

As far as what content is most effective, Eric believes value and messaging will continue to take center stage.

“A lot of people think longer is better, more time is better,” he said. “It doesn’t come down to anything like that. Are you saying something that is unique, that is not a direct sale and is valuable and shareable? It’s easy to do content marketing wrong by only talking about yourself. There’s nothing wrong with talking about yourself, but that’s what a website is for, not your blog. You have landing pages to click on to learn about the company. I think promotional blog content is done.”

And what about other Brafton employees who may wish to serve clients in a project management role?

“[My advice is to] really start geeking out on content, reading assets and asking yourself why they’re good or not,” Eric said. “Immerse yourself in the content marketing space. Take an interest in your clients, not just reading their website and what they have to say, but contextualizing that outside of their website. What are competitors doing? What are other people saying?”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how the game is played. And based on the success Brafton clients have experienced thanks to project management, Eric and his ilk have most definitely earned an extra life.