Ty Magnin is the Director of Marketing, Content & Web at UiPath, a software automation company. That means he spends a lot of time building and maintaining website and digital content experiences for different audience segments.
Before UiPath, he grew Appcues on 95% organic inbound content as a member of the founding team. And before that, he was the first marketer at Work Market, where he helped the team scale to an acquisition by ADP. He loves building audiences—on Twitter, at a conference, for a blog—wherever.
There are many different ways to start a marketing career, from juggling multiple hats at a tiny startup to honing a specialty at a large company. Regardless of where you start, at some point you’ll start to think less about just getting by and more about what you want out of your career.
In this episode, Ty shares the advantages and disadvantages of startups versus established organizations, tips for building a content team, and the importance of finding a sense of purpose.
Check out UiPath
Listen to the podcast
Watch the video
10:11 – Enjoy higher engagement at a startup
Smaller startup companies and larger more established companies each have their pros and cons. Working in a smaller group can help to keep you engaged.
“Dare I say, it is harder to be as engaged at a larger company than I think at a smaller company. For better and for worse, when you’re in that entrepreneurship mode and you’re one important member of a small team, you have a lot more on your shoulders. You kind of do burn the midnight oil or work around the clock or put in a little bit more in order to make that successful. I find that I can’t say I struggled to be engaged in my current role. I’m pretty well engaged, but it’s not the same. I don’t think it’s quite at the same level as I was at Appcues.”
12:02 – Pursue different types of learning
When you’re looking to level up your knowledge, small and large companies each have something to offer. A small company gives you the chance to learn by doing, while larger companies have more mentors.
“I think that there’s a lot probably that has to do with being in a smaller company and having to level up all the time, especially as the company evolves. Moving from five people to 60 people or being the first marketer on the team to leading a small team, I don’t know, 8, 9, 10 when I left. Those were very different jobs. And I felt like I constantly had to network and hustle to figure out okay, how do you make a first good marketing hire? Okay. Now, how do I scale this thing into departments? Or into teams? How do you find the next channel for growth? Those challenges took a lot of learning and of conversations. I think at a big company, for me, I joined a big company, yes, to learn, because I wanted to work alongside as many CMOs as I could. And fortunately, at UiPath, all the marketing leaders there have been a CMO somewhere else before.”
22:08 – Hire content writers based on voice and tone
When hiring for content roles, a person’s ability to capture voice and tone in their writing is particularly important. More experienced writers are better able to do this than younger writers.
“So I think about maybe a few spectrums of talent. I think about how good is this person at writing for voice and tone and getting that brand sound. If it’s someone that’s writing blog articles or long-form content, I actually care a little less than if it’s someone that’s writing headlines and short-form content. I don’t know why, but, and I haven’t articulated this before, so bear with me, but I think when you’re doing long-form, as long as you don’t sound like a scientist writing an essay there’s just less opportunity for as much of a rich voice in tone. I’m sure someone will prove me wrong. But I think the short form stuff where you’re talking about homepage headlines is a real opportunity to come through with that voice in order to establish that relationship sooner. So that’s one spectrum that I think about with copywriting and how it aligns to position.”
26:32 – Figure out exactly what you need in a role
Before you start interviewing, take the time to figure out exactly what you need the person in that role to do. It will help you identify a good fit when they come along.
“Taking the time to write out what you’re looking for. What you really need this person to do, what you’re okay with them not being great at. Just holding this thing up and looking at it through all these different lenses and taking the time up front to do that will help the whole process go easier. I’ll be honest, sometimes I enter a hiring process and I’m not a hundred percent sure of what I want. For this web performance analyst, actually, Alex, I reached out to you in part to figure out who I’m looking for. To help me scope this role out, because I haven’t worked with one this closely before. I’ve had people that they’re good at analytics, that have owned analytics as part of what they do, but never someone full-time dedicated to it. Ideally you have all that work done up front, and then the process goes smoother. I definitely wasted some candidates’ time that were probably unqualified just because I wasn’t sure what I wanted.”
29:59 – Hire based on proven track record
The best way to hire someone that will deliver results is to find someone who has done it before.
“One thing that I wish I’d done earlier in my hiring would be, and I do it now consistently, would be to basically evaluate someone based only on their experience, not on what they say. So you really have to dig into, okay, what was your last role, Alex? What’d you do at HubSpot? I did this and this and this. Okay. How are you measured? How is your performance actually measured? And how did you do against that performance? And basically you’re hiring someone that is able to consistently overachieve on their goals. You have to kind of back-check and do the referrals a bit in order to make sure that person’s not just BS-ing. I think that where I’ve made some hires that were not a great fit is where I sort of hired someone based on what they said on how interested they were in the role, on how good of a culture fit they were, not based on previous success in a similar role.”
32:31 – Look for hunger if you can’t afford experience
Startups and smaller companies often don’t have the budget to hire someone with rich experience. In that case, look for a candidate with the hunger to achieve.
“I think if you’re at a young company and budget is a constraint and the risk factor’s really high, you can sometimes hire for potential. I think that’s part of why I was hired way back when in my first startup. Why would you hire a film kid into this kind of role? I don’t know. He seems like he’s hungry and wants it. I think hunger is a really good sign of that. The people that are like, ‘Hey, I’m willing to sleep on a street in order to get a spot at this company’ or whatever it is often are the people that will just do whatever it takes and flex themselves into whatever role they think they can have the most impact. So I think you kind of have to look for that scary level of hunger.”
38:38 – Go fast when you’re just starting out so you can slow down later
Ty put in a lot of long hours at work and spent time learning and reading about marketing in his first years, but now he’s looking to transition into a slower pace at this point in his career.
“I’ve been thinking back on that sort of trajectory that I think I put myself on to some degree. I’m by no means ahead of my peers by too much of a measure of a margin or any measure of a margin, some metrics. But, I look back now and I’m like, well, shit. What did I give up for that? And what am I interested in now, as I sort of find myself having a little more time not working every weekend. I’m on this new journey to find meaning, to find purpose, to remember what my interests and hobbies are, and then start bringing those back in so that I can find that hopefully better balance through the rest of my thirties.”
42:29 – Optimize yourself
Ty is approaching this next phase of his career as a chance to improve himself across his life, not just in his work.
“It’s insanely privileged, my current position and lifestyle. But yeah, there’s absolutely a void. And it’s just that next level of meaning. It’s food, shelter, whatever else, and then it’s purpose. And so I’ve just kind of started this purpose journey. I’m rereading Man’s Search for Meaning right now. I’ve contracted a life coach. So working with him on the same exact thing, just getting started on this stuff. And I don’t know, I think it’s going to be a lifelong journey. It should be. But yeah, that’s how I want to spend my spare time instead of putting it back into work. I want to put it into being a better human and sort of optimizing me. And I think that sure, maybe it will help pay dividends and bring me to the next level of my career. I hope I’ll become someone that people enjoy working with that much more.”
51:02 – Approach leadership as a journey
Try to become the most effective and authentic version of yourself when building your leadership skills.
“You need to have these decision-making frameworks and be effective in that way. You need to be a great communicator. You need to understand some of these concepts around radical candor, all sort of the typical business management concepts. So I think all that is important and foundational, but at the end of the day, I think that when I consider my leadership journey, I’m thinking more about how can I evolve myself to be someone that is more kind of sticky, attractive, effective in a business environment.”
01:04 – Decentralize content
Ty believes that content ideas need to come from many different sources within a company in order to fully capture everything the company does and what the customers need to hear.
“The point I was trying to make is that ideas should be coming from all over. Because it is hard when you centralize content too much to keep a pulse on all the parts of the business, on all the sort of deepest tentacles that the company is reaching into. It’s hard for the content person to have a pulse on what partners are thinking about right now or what this kind of prospect in this kind of region is thinking about, or this big customer that’s global. They’re so vast. So I think creating this sort of inbound engine for content ideas is really important when you have a big org and content production, or at least the process and strategy is centralized. The bit about having different voices is interesting too. It’s like, how much do you want to fit the mold? And what is that mold, versus letting the writers have some freedom of expression?”
Connect with Omniscient Digital on social:
Linkedin: Be Omniscient
Listen to more episodes of The Long Game podcast here: https://beomniscient.com/podcast/