Writing Happily Ever After – My Story of Content Marketing (Guest Post)
I hadn’t even heard of content marketing until 2 years ago. My life was all planned out: finish Law School, become a prosecutor, do good. I had been attracted to journalism but it didn’t feel as important as managing justice for the greater good. Until my senior year, when my perspective shifted.
I did this exercise: If I were to wake up, 5 years from now, how would my day look like? Would I be happy doing what I do? The answer was no. So I took my beautiful new graduate diploma and gently placed it at the bottom of a drawer.
How I became Hppy
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t entirely faithful to Law School during our beautiful 4 years. I flirted with organizing and managing projects on the side, learning and creating communication strategies and even organizing some pretty successful events. Just something to pass the time in between courses and exams. I didn’t know I was falling for a completely different field of work.
Three months after graduating, I had my first interview for Hppy. They were looking for a Social Media manager and, as it happened, I was just starting to learn about inbound marketing and content strategy. After my first month we decided that Social Media wouldn’t be enough.
Even if we were just a startup, we had a whole digital marketing strategy to design and content creation would be our biggest challenge for the next months.
One of the first and most important job requirements – know and embrace happiness. If we were to build and market a product about workplace happiness, we had to understand and experience it.
I’m naturally an energetic and optimistic person. What I didn’t know is that in order to remain happy, I had to constantly recharge my batteries with positive emotions. And that’s when I knew that I had made the right career decision.
Getting started with relevant content writing
Being hired was the easy part. Then came content creation.
I never thought of myself as a creative person but it turns out creativity can be learned. And it doesn’t always manifest itself as we expect it to. For me, creative people were unfocused, artsy, with a distinctive haircut or outfit, sitting on a bean bag and throwing around ideas.
I’m a different type of creative. I make things happen. When there’s a list or a strategy, I make sure it’s done in time and with a personal touch. I think that’s how my creativity manifests itself. And the more I practice it, the more I get new ideas.
When I finished my content strategy I was very proud. And scared. I now had the list and it had to be done.
I thought I had to write about being happy at work. But that’s just the endnote of what my online content journey was about. As I plunged into the world of HR and tried to get to know my persona as best as possible, I found a technical field that required rigor, documentation and innovation.
So, no, I wasn’t just writing about happiness.
Writing about HR
I base most of my creativity on my ability to empathize. I care about making people comfortable and happy around me. That’s why I get subtitle social cues and fine behavioral indications that served as a great starting point to learning more about HR.
HR articles don’t write themselves. It takes a lot of documentation and even practical experience to write a qualitative piece of content. You also need data and trends monitoring.
When you’re writing for professionals, you have to meet both their expectations and your own standards. I could say “No pressure”, but that just wouldn’t be true.
I spend a lot of my time reading and learning from HR influencers who now have an established authority and who set future trends. I’m also constantly learning from the online communities that I’ve built around Hppy and from our clients, who are our best source of inspiration.
Writing, writing, writing
After the first hundred articles, you’d think the enthusiasm died down a bit. And it did. Some blog posts just refused to be written. A sudden attack of nervousness, combined with a total lack of inspiration and Voila! An empty page.
My way of dealing? Sometimes I shift the subject. I forget the angle I had planned on, I research new trends and ideas and I find a different angle – one that I really like. Other times, I just get a good cup of coffee and laugh it off with some coworkers until my inspiration returns.
It’s not always easy to write. And it’s increasingly hard when you’re targeting a niche audience. But the satisfaction of finishing a piece of content that I’m proud of boosts my energy for three more blog posts.
I remember my first white paper. The complete dread of “What if my audience won’t like it? What if they know it’s my first white paper? Could I have researched it more?”. It turned out to be a great first white paper. Sometimes you just have to do it and shut up those voices. Write it and then perfect it until you’re proud to send it into the world.