Content marketing company Contently today will announce Pearl Collings as its new CEO. Collings replaces Joe Coleman, who co-founded the company and has held that post since Contently's inception in 2010.
Before joining Contently, Collings was chief business and sales operations officer at Time Inc. She also previously worked at About.com as president of revenue and operations.
Contently, she says, needs a new leader to get to the next stage of growth: “It needs that next piece. How do you grow from a startup to become a large company? How do you blow it out of the water?”
Contently does not disclose revenue, but Collings said it lands in the eight figure-range and, in the company's nearly nine years of operation, has paid out $50 million to its global network of more than 160,000 freelancers. Contently has worked with brands like Marriott, Google, Bayer and JP Morgan Chase for their content marketing needs.
Collings, who is originally from Hungary and came to the U.S. in 1992, says she is concentrating on the company’s “north stars”—its technology, freelancer community and innovating its services. She says the company’s “sweet spots” currently lie in travel, tech, finance, health and education content strategy.
Contently co-founder Shane Snow, who operated as chief creative officer until 2017, will also be getting more involved in the business. He plans on rejoining the board and working alongside Collings to create new options for brands in the content marketing space.
Coleman, the company says, is stepping down for personal reasons. In a letter to clients, Coleman writes: “We want to do more for you, and be the complete solution you trust to take advantage of the opportunities in front of you. And that’s what led me to make this decision and bring on Pearl.” He adds that he will stay on in an advisory role while Collings gets situated.
The company’s growth plan so far has not been without its hiccups. In March, Contently reversed a decision to charge a 4.75 percent service fee after receiving backlash from freelancers.
“I'm implementing a larger plan to turn Contently into a profitable business while continuing to increase the number of quality assignments we secure on behalf of freelance creatives,” wrote Coleman in a letter to its community of writers at the time. “I didn’t truly consider how it would affect the people who are the backbone of our company. ...So we’ve decided to find other ways to fund improvements to our network.” What followed was a new contract stating that Contently would never implement a mandatory fee, among other promises like allowing contributors to “review and discuss major changes to their bylined work before it is published.”
Coleman would not disclose whether the company is currently turning a profit.