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Case Study

Gleam.io Streamlines Content Management with Directus

By Pedro Pizarro on January 11, 2023

Company: Gleam.io

Industry: SaaS

Goals:

  • Eliminate the need for multiple content management tools
  • Simplify workflows for publishing and updating content
  • Enable freelance writers to quickly and easily post content
  • Remove dependency on technical staff
  • Reduce custom development of CMS

Results:

  • Consolidated all types of content into Directus, eliminating the need for other tools
  • Provided non-technical content creators with a simple and intuitive interface
  • Shortened the process of publishing and updating content from 24 hours to minutes

Background: Helping Companies Grow

A privately owned Australian SaaS business based in Melbourne, Australia, Gleam.io strives to empower businesses to take charge of their own growth. More than 6,500 businesses around the world use Gleam's apps — including Competitions, Rewards, Gallery & Capture — to power marketing campaigns.

Gleam’s Growth and Content team was looking for a solution that would replace multiple in-house and legacy tools for managing and publishing content to the company’s website and blog. Their goals were to be able to push content updates and changes quickly and efficiently by removing their dependency on technical staff and reduce custom development of their content management system (CMS).

Challenge: Multiple Content Management Systems Made Updates and Changes Slow and Tedious

The Marketing team at Gleam.io was using a variety of disparate tools to manage different types of content across the organization. For blog content, they used Ghost, a free and open-source blogging platform written in JavaScript and distributed under the MIT license. GitHub pages and Markdown files were used for documentation, and other content such as FAQs, guides and landing pages were stored in an in-house, home-grown content management system (CMS).

Because of the complexity and technical nature of the content management process, making changes to the website or uploading a blog post often required help from a developer or technical staff. As a result, updates and changes were laborious and slow. Piping in variables and body text was a primitive process that was manual and error-prone. “Our developers would create the backend and put in strings using Ruby, then convert it to HAML or HTML,” said Helena Ng, Growth Marketerat Gleam. “Then, users on the frontend would leverage a basic interface and YAML to manage those values.”

Managing content across numerous platforms and repositories was time-consuming and inefficient, and a lack of validation processes introduced risk. “Since Gleam.io is a web app and we were using a backend tool, we didn't really have a lot of validation in place,” Helena said. “I would have to copy the YAML, paste it into the code, and validate the syntax before I pasted it back into the platform.”

In addition to content, Helena is also in charge of the site's aesthetics, such as button color, microcopy and other website elements. “I often make changes, test them on my local instance, make a pull request and deploy them,” she said. “The process is quite tedious for a small operation.”

Helena and her team needed a tool that would bring everything together and enable them to publish content through a simple, no-code frontend interface. “We wanted to gain total control over our content – everything from the Marketing site, to pricing customer testimonials, feature descriptions and reviews,” Helena said. “It was a really ambitious goal.”

Solution: Directus Cloud Provides Simplicity, Consolidation and Security

Helena evaluated several solutions before choosing Directus, including Strapi and Contenful. The evaluation process involved creating an MVP with all existing content types and relations, and showing it to managers. “I built a prototype using Strapi and I was happy with it, but Strapi isn’t a cloud-based solution,” she said. “Directus is cloud-based, and its collection types have much more granularity.”

Helena uses Directus permissions and roles to control access to content at a highly granular level. In this way, she empowers Gleam.io freelancers to safely post content on their own without compromising security. “With Directus, we can provide our writers with a clean interface and that makes it easy for them to access and use the system,” she said. “Permissions enable us to limit what they see for security reasons, which would have been really difficult to build in-house.”

Results: Faster, Easier Updates, Granular Control

Directus provides Gleam.io’s Marketing team with a streamlined workflow for managing and publishing content, freeing up developer resources and accelerating the process of making updates and changes. “With the old process, turnaround time for a single change or update was about 24 hours,” Helena said. “With Directus, it’s nearly instantaneous.”

Helena recalled a Black Friday promotion she deployed prior to using Directus, and how she had to learn coding to execute some small visual fixes. “Because our emails were so closely tied to HAML code, I had to make code changes myself and preview it on the staging site before deployment,” she said. “If we had used Directus, I could have just written the email, created the preview and pushed it out much faster.”

Helena appreciates the intuitive and powerful interface Directus provides, as well, which makes it easy for non-technical writers and staff to publish updates and changes. “With Ghost, we weren’t able to write something and publish it without asking for technical assistance,” she said. “Directus enables us to control large or small pieces of content – from long-form copy to descriptions, instructions and more – and publish it to the website on the fly, without help from a developer.”

Helena and her team plan to move all content across the company, including documentation, FAQs, Guides, landing pages, reviews, testimonials and microcopy blocks into Directus. Not only will eliminating the need to use multiple platforms reduce administrative overhead, it will free up Marketing staff to focus on what they do best. “With Directus, we can focus on the writing, and we have secure access to the content whenever we want,” she said. “Everything’s in one location, and we have complete control.”

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