Brafton Director of Content Marketing Katelynn Conlon is often seen running around the company’s Boston office, laptop in hand, rushing to her next meeting. Maybe she’s going to help one of her strategists solve a complex client issue, or maybe she’s headed to train someone on Google Analytics and its many intricacies.
Whatever she’s doing, one thing is for sure: She’s always got a smile on her face.
It’s clear that Katelynn loves her job, and it’s also clear that she’s great at it. Since taking the helm of the small business marketing strategy team a few years ago, she has turned it into an efficient, well-oiled, strategizing machine.
In her current role, she is responsible for recruiting, training and managing her team of strategists to create content marketing initiatives that achieve the best demonstrable ROI for clients. She also collaborates with the company’s various other departments to maximize Brafton’s ability to retain business and evolve to the changing requirements of the content marketing industry.
An aspiring ballerina in her younger years, Katelynn earned her bachelor’s in business management with a focus in marketing and economics. But content marketing is not her only passion: She also loves to try new cooking and baking recipes, and then burn them off by attending new workout classes. You might also find her dabbling in interior design – one of her favorite shows is “Fixer Upper,” and she admires Joanna Gaines’ ability to make people’s decorating dreams come true.
I wanted to learn more about Katelynn’s superb skills and knowledge in content marketing, so I asked her about her thoughts on the industry, what brands need to know, and what drew her to this profession.
Tell me a bit about your history with Brafton.
I started at ContentLEAD (a former division of Brafton that served small businesses) in November 2012 as a Content Marketing Strategist. In that role, I managed a portfolio of 45 small business accounts with content-only strategies. In 2013, I was promoted to Content Marketing Executive, which expanded my responsibilities to Google Analytics training and onboarding all new Content Marketing Strategists for ContentLEAD. In December 2014, I was promoted to Director of Content Marketing, and in this role I’ve managed the small business team through lots of changes, from the merger of ContentLEAD and Brafton to introducing new company product lines.
What drew you to content marketing?
I grew up with a very creative family – my father (painter) and my sister (sculptor) are artists – so even though I’m not an artist, I’m big into visuals. With marketing, I love how brands use visuals to communicate with their customers and I love learning and seeing how receptive people are to different marketing mediums. There is an art to creative content marketing.
What do you like most about working on the Account Management team?
I love being the face of Brafton to our clients. I love hearing their feedback and using it to shape the business – for example, learning what services are in demand and how we can provide them. You get to be the glue between client needs and the creative department’s execution.
As Director of Content Marketing, what’s your typical day-to-day like?
I meet with strategists on their accounts to find growth opportunities (I might help them put together an ROI deck or strategy proposal) and prevent risk (help the strategist run a call or do research). I also meet with other managers and executives to help improve our product line or process to deliver the best services.
What are some of the hurdles Content Marketing Strategists face, especially with content marketing changing as quickly as it does?
One big challenge is educating clients on what is achievable and when. We have to set realistic expectations on what can be accomplished within what timeframe and within what budget.
What is one thing clients frequently request for their strategy but you advise against?
Gating case studies. I think you should never gate a case study – you should instead show off your great work and have it easily accessible for prospects. Also, don’t buy email lists. It’s not a good practice.
What about new trends on the horizon that you think companies should implement?
The first is mobile strategies. People are using their iPhones to do so much more than text and call. They are using these devices to interact with social media, check their email, surf the web – so we need to think about content marketing in a mobile way.
The second is influencer marketing. In a space with a lot of noise, it’s smart to take advantage of those who already have the attention. Who is the guru in your space? How can you use their reach to help your brand?
How about some older practices that you think should be faded out?
Posting lots of short and fluffy blogs. If you want quick content, forget those 300-word blogs. Instead, look to videos, GIFs or Snapchat to engage your audience.
In your opinion, what are the required skills someone needs to have to succeed as a Content Marketing Strategist?
Be creative and think outside the box – in ideation, creation and execution. Even if you think we can’t do it, we probably can – you just have to be creative. Also, set the right expectations – what is the client trying to achieve in this scope and how are we measuring success?
Additionally, you need to stay in the loop with everything content marketing, SEO, social media – it’s all changing fast. So you have to be driven to want to constantly learn about our industry.
What’s the accomplishment you’re most proud of during your time at Brafton?
That’s hard. I have two: Expanding my digital marketing knowledge. I’m proud of getting Google Analytics and AdWords certified while at Brafton. And leading an entire team from the growth of four people, all the way up to 11 direct reports. I’ve mentored and managed incredible people and got to see them grow in their positions.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Brafton?
The people! You are surrounded by amazing mentors and fun co-workers.