Content strategist Rob Yoegel takes us inside the content marketing team at Monetate and shares his tips for fielding a team built for success.
In this week’s Labcast, Rob Yoegel, Content Marketing Director at cloud-based ecommerce platform Monetate (an OpenView portfolio company), sits down with OpenView to discuss the key roles companies looking to build a content marketing team should hire for, and how best to integrate the team into the larger organization.
Kevin: Hello, and welcome to this edition of Labcast. I’m Kevin Cain, and today I’m joined by Rob Yoegel, the Content Marketing Director at Monetate. Today, Rob and I are going to be talking about key content marketing hires and giving you some insights based on the experiences we’ve both had.
Hey, Rob. Thanks for joining us today.
Rob: Thanks, Kevin. It’s great to be here.
Kevin: So Rob, obviously you’ve had experience at Monetate, one of our portfolio companies, building out a content team. In your expertise and experience, what are some of the most important positions you’ve had to hire for or have filled out your team as needed?
Rob: We’ve really had a great opportunity to build a content marketing team. The content marketing team includes myself, as the Content Marketing Director, and then we have a senior editor and a managing editor. I believe that the content marketing team at Monetate is successful for a bunch of reasons. The first is it’s very well rounded. We have members of our team who have knowledge of marketing. Our key audience is marketing professionals at e-commerce businesses, so they know the industry. I think with any hire for a content marketing team, you have to look at the journalists as far as what expertise they have in the industry that you’re hiring them for. If you can get somebody who has written or has created content for the industry that you serve, it’s going to be much better than hiring the sports writer at your local city paper. We also have some extremely talented copy editors, people who just get good style and good grammar and can tell a good story as well. It’s very well rounded as far as the three members of our team.
I think the other thing that really I get excited about when I talk about our team is how our entire marketing department gets involved in our content strategies. We’re constantly using resources, everybody from our Product Marketing Manager to somebody who handles our events to other members in our leadership team in our marketing team who can create content and who we can go to for answers to questions that we may have. We really want to make sure that the content that we create resonates with our audience like any good content marketer would want to do.
Kevin: Monetate is obviously a company that’s pretty well-established. You have a pretty significant content marketing effort. What would you recommend if you were advising a company that perhaps wasn’t so far along in their content marketing? What would be the one hire if they were just getting started that you think would be appropriate to set up a content marketing effort?
Rob: Kevin, that’s a great question. I think the first thing that I would do is look for somebody at the director level who can lead the content marketing program, somebody, again, who has experience in the industry that you’re in. That would be, I think, first and foremost. I also think somebody who has social media skills, SEO skills. I think they’re very, very important to the overall content marketing strategy. Social, because it’s a distribution channel for your content, and they also have to want to put their name and their personal brand behind the content that they create, and they should have that personal brand on a social network or more than one social network. Then I think the SEO value is critical. You want your content found and you want your content discovered.
In a lot of media companies, the journalists who I’ve interacted with don’t all have that skill set. You could find somebody who is extremely knowledgeable in the industry that you’re in, but they have no social media or no social network background or experience and no SEO background. You’re really going to be behind the 8-ball, so to speak, when you hire somebody who lacks those skill sets.
If you turn that around, you could hire somebody who is great at SEO and great at social, but they don’t have any knowledge of the industry that you’re in, and there’s going to be a significant learning curve to bring that person up to speed to make sure that they’re delivering content that is accurate and just consumable by your audience.
Kevin: Another option that you certainly have that we haven’t talked about yet is the potential of using freelancers rather than hiring people full time. What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of full-time hires versus freelancers?
Rob: I’ve seen a lot of content marketing programs and a lot of content publishing efforts use freelancers, and I won’t dismiss that as a viable options. At Monetate we don’t use a lot, because we’ve built out our team already. I think when a content publishing team, a content marketing team is starting, I think freelancers are definitely an opportunity, especially once you’ve gotten that director in place.
Thought leadership is critical throughout the entire content marketing program. So you always want somebody guest blogging and guest contributing and having advisors to make sure your content is accurate.
The freelance side of it is kind of an interesting opportunity, but it’s going to be, I think, challenging for some businesses. If you look at freelancers who create content, most of those freelancers are people who create content for media brands who are supposed to be unbiased. When you ask them to start creating content for a vendor, they, in my opinion and my experience, sometimes back away from it because they think that they’re contributing or endorsing a product. You have to kind of be careful with that. If you can convince them and make them understand what your content marketing program is all about and that you’re asking them to create a piece of content that could be published anywhere, not just for a vendor, I think you’ll be in a good place.
There are certainly opportunities to outsource your content. You just have to keep certain things in mind regarding it’s not always going to be as easy as you may think to do.
Kevin: One of the things that you talked about a little bit earlier was the importance of having a marketing team strategy integrated with your content marketing strategy. Where do you think that director level fits within a broader organization to make sure that you’re not only engaging with your own marketing team but with the broader organization to get those thought leaders and to really make sure that the content marketing is part of the DNA of the organization?
Rob: Another great question. I think first you need to get executive buy-in. We call it our leadership team. These are our executives. You need to have buy-in from them and get them to contribute. Let other people see that, and I think some things will naturally happen from there.
I also think at every organization there’s somebody, and probably more than one person, who wants to contribute, who wants to write a blog, and you just have to find who they are. You just have to uncover it and let them come out and shine, give them the opportunity.
What we’ve done and we’ve found very successful is just sit and do an interview. Monetate is a full-service software company. So we have a team of extremely talented people who are helping our clients every day with website optimization best practices. We’ll sit and we’ll interview somebody on what we call our client success team, our services team. We’ll interview them, just record a conversation with them, and we’ll transcribe it and create a blog for it and we’ll ghost it for them. They get a lot of joy out of seeing their byline in our blog getting comments, and then they interact with the people who are reading the blog post.
There are people out there who are going to absolutely volunteer to create content if you just ask them. Again, go back to the leadership team and get them involved, get the executives at your organization involved, and become their best friends. Make them see you. Make them see your successes, and don’t work behind an office door that stays shut every day. You should be able to get as many people within your organization as you want to involved in your content marketing.
Kevin: That’s great. I really appreciate you taking the time today, Rob. Before I let you go, can you just let our listeners know where they can follow you or get more information about you and Monetate?
Rob: Absolutely. You can follow Monetate at Monetate.com on the Web. We’re on Twitter, @monetate, Facebook, LinkedIn, Slideshare, all of the above. You can follow me @robyoegel on Twitter. Thanks, Kevin, for having me.