Content Crafters is an interview series where we de-construct the tools, tips, and tactics that top bloggers use to get so much work done. you’ll walk away in mere minutes with actionable takeaways you can try out right away. Let’s dive in!
Meghan Horvath is a marketing content writer at tech-scale up Usabilla based in Amsterdam. A journalist by training, her humble passion for words blossomed into a full-fledged career in marketing.
In this blog, we’ll shed light on the necessary qualities of a content marketer, tips for best-in-class writing and how to ensure digital content stands out in the crowded B2B SaaS space.
How did you get into content marketing? What’s your origin story?
Funny enough, I initially studied to become a food scientist. One year in, I realized I was not cut out for life in a lab coat. As I’d always been great at writing and loved meeting people, I blazed a new trail: journalism.
Apart from catering and writing religiously for the school newspaper during college, I nailed an internship with Yelp. This is what set the path for marketing.
Is there anything particular to your background, personality or skill set that you believe makes you a great content marketer?
Content marketing requires two things: 1) stand-out writing skills and 2) a curiosity towards people.
More than simply writing, you must understand everything about the people you’re writing for and who you’re writing to. My background in journalism lends itself to this quality.
To succeed as a journalist, you must be a great listener, constantly tuning in and reading the subtleties, and not because you have to but because you want to. That’s also what makes a great content marketer.
How does a piece of content stand out in a crowded space (like B2B SaaS)? What does a holistic content strategy look like in a crowded space?
As a content writer, words and time are precious. Understanding who will read your piece and what you want them to do as a result is key. It’s clear when the author has thought beyond the blog and truly mapped out the entire journey.
Also, titles. I have a bit of a reputation for cheeky email subject lines. Life is too short to go unread.
What’s an irritating trend in content marketing that you wish could go away?
Overuse of acronyms and buzzwords.
Even I am guilty of this at times, but it’s no wonder your bounce rates are so high when every other sentence contains the word customer or customer experience. By reusing words, you devalue their meaning.
Think of it like charades or Taboo, if you know that game. Find alternatives or talk about the subject without explicitly repeating the word. That’s great writing.
Conversely, what’s an underrated tactic or something you’ve seen to be effective that hardly anyone else is doing yet?
Infuse some personality in your writing. While B2B SaaS is a bit more stuffy than B2C in terms of messaging, there is always room to be human.
With such a wealth of content in this space, it pays to stand out.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned in Journalism School that you still use today in your content career?
A professor once said that our role as journalists is to give voice to the voiceless. I live by this line. In fact, quoting it in my interview likely landed me my current role at Usabilla.
Usabilla is a Voice of Customer solution, gathering customer feedback and analyzing it so that something is done about it. This purpose is not much different to that of a journalist. For both marketing and journalism, you lift a message into the spotlight and in a way that is comprehensible.
How do you keep your skills sharp and continue learning? What’s your process for continual improvement with regard to writing, content marketing, SEO, or other digital topics?
Talk and listen, a lot.
Working on a team with a diverse skill set, from field marketers to digital experts to designers, is the recipe you need for continual improvement.
Bouncing ideas off peers and sharing struggles is always a win. With such different areas of expertise, you wouldn’t anticipate the wealth of knowledge the people around you can bring to the table.
What’s your advice for an ambitious junior content marketer looking to grow their career?
Write about topics that you enjoy, a product you believe in, and with a team you can stand behind.
While I can’t tell you that you’ll love every writing task you’re assigned, if you have some combination or, at best, all three of the above elements in your day job, you will find yourself writing great content.
If you weren’t doing content marketing, what would you be doing?
I’ve dreamed of becoming a food writer, and even more so of opening my own bakery. Perhaps one day. For now, my role suits me well.
Gimme three tips to improve my writing? Or rather, three tips anyone can use to write better.
Tip #1: Write often! The more that I write, regardless of what it’s about, the easier the words flow. Then when it’s crunch time and I need to create a blog, I know I can get the work done easily.
Tip #2: Research. Whether it’s asking people or exploring online, don’t be afraid to wait to write. It may feel as if you’re procrastinating the “real work,” but your writing will be much better if you give yourself the time to learn before diving in.
Tip #3: Diversify your diction. There is a time and place for the tactic of repetition, but making phrases dull by the time you reach the second paragraph is not so hot. With 171,476 words in the English dictionary and thesaurus.com a click away, you can do better.