DivvyHQ aims to help companies manage content sans spreadsheets
Managing content for a business can be stressful and time intensive for companies without a plan and a simple process. Take, for example, a company selling a software product. There's product information in press releases, on the website, in the web API, in a flyer, in the user documentation and in the customer support materials. The content created is the sum of information from engineers, the marketing team, the co-founding team and other personnel. Plus, as a company grows and its product evolves, content must continually be managed to ensure its message is fresh and its supporting documentation is up to-date. For most businesses, this can become a huge headache.
Many businesses have tried solving their content management needs by creating a Excel sheet, according to Jayme Thomason, co-founder of Kansas City, Mo.-based DivvyHQ. But even spreadsheets can be unmanageable, Thomason said. That's what led Thomason to create DivvyHQ, which aims to make it easy for companies to manage and share content.
"People get strategy and execution, but the planning is often left out," Thomason said. "It’s our goal and mission to make easier the lives of people who manage the content production process, most of which are using some kind of spreadsheet to do that task now. There are a few special ones who love their spreadsheet, but most are hating life."
DivvyHQ is a spreadsheet-free calendar web application. Thomason (left, middle) and her co-founders, Brody Dorland (chief strategy officer) (far left) and Brock Stechman (COO) (near left), started Divvy HQ in 2009, not releasing their product until September of 2011.
Today, DivvyHQ has nearly 1,000 active accounts. If offers payment plans ranging from $29.99 a month for one calendar with as many as three users, all the way up to custom-priced accounts for enterprise companies with more than 10 calendars and 20 users.
The five-person team behind DivvyHQ is out to solve some of the same problems as the Basecamps and 5pms of the world, but Thomason said those products don't offer exactly what she believes content management systems need. "Really, I think of spreadsheets as our main competition," Thomason said, "because that's what 99 percent of our potential customers are using right now."
"I think of spreadsheets as our main competition, because that's what 99 percent of our potential customers are using right now." - Thomason
I caught up with Thomason via email to learn more about her team and how DivvyHQ got its start.
Silicon Prairie News: What inspired the idea?
Jayme Thomason: The idea was born out of frustration. As a freelance copywriter, I was managing content production and deadlines for several different clients at one time. I had tried using a spreadsheet, and after missing a couple big deadlines, figured I’d better find something that took a bit less discipline. So I then started trying general project management tools, to-do lists, Google Calendar ... I even literally created a calendar template in Microsoft Word and plotted my content dates on it. What a mess when I went in to change or add anything! Then, as Brody and I moved into content strategy, we would hand over a client’s finished strategy, complete with an editorial spreadsheet with at least six months’ worth of content ready to plug and play. We even mapped them out to different personas, assigned deadlines and responsibility on the sheet. But what did we find? Clients hated using the spreadsheets as much as we hated making them. They didn’t have the time or, let’s face it, the desire to add each and every content deadline to their work calendars, and then if they needed to manage an outside freelancers’ deadlines, forget it.
I had the idea for a while, and then in the car on the way to a strategy meeting, Brody and I decided to build it. For real. We enlisted the help of Brock, who is an amazing graphic designer. He’s the reason the tool’s so pretty.
SPN: In your bio, you mentioned you're working on a book. Do you mind commenting on the book you're writing? Specifically, what you are writing about and who's your intended audience?
JT: Brody and I developed a content strategy program that we call The Publisher Method. The methodology behind the program is, as you would guess, teaching brands not only how to “think” like traditional publishers, but how to look, act and produce content like publishers. The program takes brands through an engaging process that helps to “round out” the entire online marketing plan. That’s the goal, to get their entire “machine” up and running, because when all facets of your plan are working together, I bet you’re seeing some amazing results. That’s what we helped our clients do and that’s what we’re writing the book about.
SPN: Can you comment on the entrepreneurial and startup energy you currently see in and around Kansas City, and what affect that has or had on DivvyHQ?
JT: Oh man. I am so excited about the startup energy in Kansas City! You can’t throw a rock right now without hitting an entrepreneur. Hang out at Mildred’s for a while, and you’ll meet a bunch. We love being around other startups because it’s a great way to get ideas, talk about issues we’re facing, and just energize each other. It’s not easy doing this, and it’s great having other people around in the thick of it just like you.
Credits: Screenshot and photo of founders from divvyhq.com.