Some content marketers thrive on being a jack of all trades.
This is especially true of Camille Trent. Her background spans advertising to copywriting to product marketing, and she draws on all of those skills today as Head of Content at Dooly.
Startups are Camille’s current sweet spot, and she has a clear knack for getting inside the heads of others—whether that’s the sales team or her customers—in order to best understand how content should work from the inside out.
She told me why SEO isn’t the be-all, end-all of content marketing, how to thrive in a startup environment, and how “method marketing” can take your content operation to the next level.
Content marketing does not equal SEO
Camille’s seen a lot of content, and she even built a freelance business based on SEO optimization.
That said, she holds the belief that you can be a great content marketer without touching SEO.
Old concepts—like assuming blogs are mandatory—are no longer true in today’s content world.
“For a long time it’s been like content marketing equals long-form SEO writing. And if you can’t do that, you’re not going to do well,” Camille said.
If you’re a content leader today, put on your creative thinking cap.
“I think SEO is a good pillar, and I think it’s right for a lot of business businesses, especially SaaS. But I’ve realized that service-based businesses actually probably don’t always need any SEO, and there’s just other places that you can play,” Camille said.
Focusing on things like sales enablement and landing pages can be a killer strategy or for a content team. Don’t be bound by outdated rules as you set up your brand’s content for success.
Get exposure to top talent
The more exposure you have to talented individuals and innovative brands, the easier it will be to come up with those savvy new content ideas.
When you get to work with high-end designers and strategists, you start to understand what strong marketing looks like, as well as how your talents fit into that universe.
Camille was able to get this exposure while working at places like Adcetera as a copywriter and The Martin Agency as a creative intern.
“At the agency level, [it was] basically seeing what ‘good’ looks like. So for me, seeing what really good design looks like. Seeing what really good strategy decks look like. What really good pitches look like. You get exposed to everything that goes into content creation, even if it’s outside of your zone,” she said.
Over time, you start to absorb best practices by osmosis and gain confidence.
“Seeing that and being in a lot of brainstorms with other creatives and other marketers, and just seeing how they think and how you fit into that, and how you can best collaborate—it was a light bulb moment for me,” Camille said.
Once you learn what you’re good at, you can take the next step to being a content leader, which requires being the catalyst for your team.
Set goals based on priority
Camille admitted that she loved working for big “boring” businesses much more than she anticipated. But her real groove for the past few years has been startups.
Working for startups means going with the flow. For Camille, this included working with limited budgets and getting comfortable making decisions on the fly.
At first, it was a crash course on learning to cut what’s not working, and conserving limited budgets.
“If I wanted something, I’d have to cut something else. Or I’d have to make a really good case for why we need to invest in it. Bringing data into that was always helpful,” she said.
More than anything, it’s getting comfortable moving fast and setting short-term priorities.
In her current role, Camille checks in regularly with the VP of Marketing to confirm what the priorities are for a given week or month.
“You’re sort of like they say, building the rocket ship while you’re flying it. And so being able to just go, and not be too worried that things are broken still, and trying to fix it as you go,” she said.
Right now, the focus is driving signups. Next month, it could be something totally different.
“Even if some of that doesn’t totally fall under content, whatever I can do to support [the company],” she said. “So just aligning it back to whatever the north star is for the team, and focusing on it that way.”
Use “method marketing” to understand your customers
Camille is a fan of doing the marketing equivalent of method acting, in which you put yourself 100% in character.
This requires putting herself in the shoes of others in order to understand their mindset and challenges, whether that’s customers or the sales team.
“I was trying to figure out, what’s the type of content or the types of things that I need to learn to be able to educate salespeople effectively? That’s a hard gig, because I feel like I could just be making this up, but I think they don’t respect people as much if they haven’t been in the trenches,” she said.
That means she’s immersing herself completely in the world and strategies of outbound sales.
It’s all about finding the parallels in experience.
“What’s the overlap between my experiences and a sales person’s experiences? But also extending those, putting myself in uncomfortable situations so that I more feel the pain of a sales person,” she said.
She’s also busy doing things like signing up for Dooly’s own product and for Salesforce, and reading books that her customers would read.
Create a community-driven content flywheel
One tactic that’s worked well for Camille is tapping a business’s social media community for crowdsourced ideas, then letting them help spread the word once the content is complete.
Imagine that you were working on an article covering the top tools for social media marketing.
“We’d go to social media and just say, ‘Hey what are your favorite tools?’ and have three or four questions. And by the way, I’m going to pick the best ones to be featured in this article that I’m doing,” said Camille.
The result? Her audience was not now only aware that she was working on the article, but also personally invested in the process in the hopes of being featured.
“I found that to be a good repeatable motion of, how can we get people involved in the content so that A) it’s correct. It’s from the community. And then also just have them be excited about the content that you’re creating,” she said.
It all comes back to one of Camille’s favorite tips, which is to build in public whenever possible, whether it’s for your personal career on under the umbrella of your work for a brand.
Collaborate with sales and product
When you’re naturally interested in how things tick, the next natural step is pursuing a spirit of collaboration wherever you go.
For Camille, this has led to forging relationships between the sales team and product team.
One recent moment of collaboration came when Camille’s team undertook creating a matrix of user personas and the associated problems those user types currently face.
“I’m making a little matrix where I’m pulling things like from the positioning doc and the persona doc about the common problems that salespeople are facing, based on all these interviews,” she said.
When she met with Dooly’s sales team partner, he asked her: What are some of the common problems that Dooly users face?
“Coming up with that stuff from scratch is really hard. And so just being able to give him the matrix of: these are the main problems, these are how we solve it I think will be easier for him,” she said.
This type of work helps smooth the workflow between sales, product, and marketing.
Whether you’re coming up with content techniques, leading a team, or collaborating within your own company, putting yourself out of your comfort zone and into the shoes of others can take you far.