Who is the person behind all the great content you have been reading?
You already love his or her work, but you would like to learn more about the talented marketers creating some of Boston's best content. Rather than stalk LinkedIn, we have asked local content marketers to candidly share their biggest challenges, career advice, and content inspiration.
First in the hot seat is Amanda Maksymiw.
Maksymiw has been working in content marketing for more than seven years, and is currently the senior content marketing manager at predictive marketing company Lattice Engines. If you are familiar with Lattice Engine’s content, then you already know how talented Maksymiw is. Read on to learn more.
Cara Hogan: What is your content marketing background?
Amanda Maksymiw: Before Lattice, I worked at a venture capital fund for about four years in an interesting dual role. Some of my time was spent consulting the firm’s portfolio companies on marketing strategies, whether content marketing, social media, public relations or influencer marketing, and the rest was spent building up the firm’s brand through—surprise, surprise—content marketing, social media, public relations and influencer marketing.
Were you interested in writing growing up? How has this influenced your career?
I have always liked reading and writing. Growing up, I would pour through books as a hobby. I also enjoyed creative writing classes. In college, I studied marketing and communications as part of an honors program. This led to a lot of writing, in short- and long-form.
Storytelling is everything, and I think all these experiences shaped me into the writer and marketer I am today. You have to have an interest in reading and writing if you are going to be in content marketing. Regardless of the content you create, it all starts with words on a page.
What are some of your content inspirations? Who do you think is creating some of the best content out there right now?
I look a lot to my peers at other B2B tech companies, but also keep a close eye on how content is being used in other spaces. You should never be afraid to look beyond your industry for ideas. I am always impressed with the content from LinkedIn, Cisco and Hootsuite, for the utility and use of humor on the B2B side, and delighted by Home Depot, Oreo and Moleskine on the B2C side for their use of visual elements, creativity and community.
How do you create content? For example, do you begin with an outline or do you just start writing and see what happens? How do you overcome the dreaded writer's block?
My process varies based on the format of the content. I like to start with a title or headline, then move to an outline to help guide my thinking and flesh out the concept from there. Other times, I dive right in to see where the blank space takes me.
I find listening to music, switching tasks, grabbing a coffee or going for a quick walk great tactics for conquering writer’s block. I find it’s about getting my mind off the task at hand.
What are some of your favorite content marketing tools you use daily?
How do you create content that doesn't just interest readers, but also drives sales?
It’s a content marketing cliche, but you have to understand your audience inside and out. You need to know their interests, challenges, goals and buyer’s journey. From there, I like to work closely with our demand generation and sales teams to ensure the content aligns with our sales funnel and the customer’s buying journey. This way I can bet the content I am creating will have an impact. Some of the most valuable content assets, in terms of generating leads, were ideas from the sales team.
What is one of the best things you've ever created at your job? Why were you so proud of it?
I’m really proud of the #MKTGnerd campaign we launched at Lattice. It was a multi-channel project, which included blogs, social, influencer marketing and in-person events. Everyone on the marketing team had a hand in making it successful. The concept of celebrating the nerdiness of marketing really took off and got people excited to participate and engage with us.
What do you think is the most difficult part of the job, and how do you get past it?
Realizing I can’t make everyone happy. There is always going to be a blog post or content project that flops. For me, content marketing is all about experimenting with new formats and trying new things. Sometimes they don’t work, and sometimes that is really hard to take.
What is something you have always wanted to learn or experience, but never had the time to?
I do like trying new things every now and then to push myself. I’ve been skydiving a few times and taken a round of improv classes. I’m currently trying to figure out what I’ll try next. I'd love to see more of the world. It’s important to get out there and experience other cultures, and I hope to do that really soon.
Follow Maksymiw on Twitter, @amandamaks.