Interviews with Marketers: Gina Orlando

Gina Orlando is a product marketer with 10 years of experience in the government technology sector. She has built public sector-focused marketing functions from the ground up at startups like Dataminr, Mark43, and goTenna. She currently works as a Product Marketing Manager for government and supply chain risk management solutions at BlueVoyant. 

As a product marketer, did you start your career with this goal in mind?

When I first started out as a marketer, my original role was “business analyst”. Before I even knew what product marketing was, the first startup I ever worked for did not have a marketing team. It was at an early stage, and they didn’t want to put the investment to create a true marketing budget, which is pretty common for early-stage companies.
But I was on a team that was supporting business development which, at the time, meant creating a lot of personalized materials for sales meetings. As the product became more sophisticated, I was given other projects – a one-pager on this new feature, or an email that’s describing how to use it for the current customers. So, my title of “business analyst” made no sense. 
It was an interesting journey to help my managers and the leadership at the time to understand that what I was actually doing was product marketing, not business analysis. After I left that company, I think after about three years, I looked specifically for “product marketing” job titles, knowing my entire resume was describing what that role was. 

What challenges do you have with the sales team and getting the product to market?

Pace of development and bandwidth can be the biggest challenges. The pace of development is usually not as fast as the sales team would like. The sales team is always looking for something new and interesting to say: here’s this new feature, here’s this new enhancement, here’s this new partnership, etc. And sometimes those things take time.

It can also be challenging to make sure everyone on the team has enough bandwidth to keep effectively pushing a project through all the stages. My focus has to be not only on my own bandwidth, but also the bandwidth of the subject matter experts within our company.

To preserve bandwidth, I try to find resources that can help multiply the team. Sometimes brining on freelancers and agencies can help you work a little bit faster, but that leads to a different challenge: trying to find the right mix of people in house and out of house that can help you scale up as quickly as you need to.

Is marketing at a startup different from marketing at an established company?

I’ve found this sweet spot of an early- to mid-stage startup. At this point a startup has product that’s in a solid spot, and usually a couple of marquee customers that use it and love it. At that point it’s time to scale up and ask, “How can we take this out to a broader market, you know, past our friends and family and the people that we know, well? And how do we attract new people?”
At that time a startup needs to establish their brand and showcase the product. For me, that’s always been the most exciting time to join a startup and the most beneficial to my career. I’m always most excited by the kind of growth that involves figuring out who a company is and introducing it to the larger market, and then coming up with a mix of brand creativity and a little bit of digital magic to kick it off. And that’s always been the most exciting thing for me.
I’m at a company now where in many ways I’m working at a startup within a startup because we’ve just brought a new subsidiary into the fold. They have a really great product and they have less than 10 customers, but they’re all solid. So, I’m in that sweet spot within the startup where it’s a different kind of growth that’s really exciting.better.

Is there anything in your MarTech stack that has become really useful to you?

LinkedIn has been a really great way to get to know people, and not only in the targeted aspect of being able to drill down into the data, but it’s also just been a way to get that “top of funnel” brand content out that we would have traditionally wanted to do through an email. 

One new feature on LinkedIn, for example, is the newsletter that can be provided on an ongoing basis, like a subscription. We’ve turned articles into subscription newsletters as another way to get in front of people.

Introducing HeadStart’s “Unlock Your Expertise” Package

What is the “Unlock your Expertise” package?

  • Many executives and subject matter experts do not have the time to express their thoughts in written form. However, their expertise is key to winning business.
  • This package showcases your executives’ and technical experts’ knowledge online with the help of our writers to “unlock” their thought leadership.

Why did we develop this package for companies?

  • Your customers want to hear from your executives and technical experts directly so that they can trust you online before they reach out to you. Building trust through individual thought leadership can reduce your sales cycle.
  • Executives (and the knowledge locked inside their heads) are key to winning ongoing and future business. Their knowledge and points of view will stand out from the flood of content being created by ChatGPT.
  • Your future and existing customers want to buy but not be sold… so it’s important to showcase individuals’ knowledge so they have someone to reach out to at your company (put a face to the name). Your own people can help answer questions in the first stage of the customer journey (and amplify your company reach with their own networks).
  • Executive and technical knowledge is more easily extracted by external, professional writers with a quality assurance team behind them to move all aspects forward. We can reduce your internal administrative tasks related to bookings and spend less time “chasing” them for interviews with a formalized process.

The deliverables for each executive or technical expert include:

  1. An updated or new bio for your website/their LinkedIn profile.
  1. A thought leadership blog on a topic of their/your choice (interview and revisions included, 1200-1500 words). 
  2. A LinkedIn post so they can share the blog. 

Turnaround times vary but we start work asap after the interview. We work with you on timelines using a benchmark of 10-15 business days.

Does this interest you for your team? Email Sue dot Varty at HeadStartCopywriting dot co.

Photocredit goes to Pixabay from

Interviews with Marketers: Tonya Cardinali

Tonya Cardinali has 19 years of experience leading marketing efforts for B2B companies focusing on strategy, demand generation, content, and sales enablement. 

She delivers results by being creative, adaptable, and agile. Partnering with Sales and connecting with clients to understand how to solve customer problems she delivers valuable, relevant content that drives engagement. She brings an integrated marketing approach to deliver qualified leads that contribute to achieving revenue goals. 

Outside of work, Tonya enjoys cycling, roller skating, standup paddleboarding, and pottery. She also has a neurotic Boston terrier/French bulldog mix named Crash whom she adores.

How important is it to understand user experience when creating content?

My focus is always looking through the customers’ eyes to see how a product or service can help them. I try to imagine the pain points my target market has and understand how they think about solving their problem. It’s easy to get lost in the creative process of discussing the product and how we’re marketing it and forget about the problem we’re trying to solve.
I always need to consider the user experience (UX), even if it’s walking through a landing page that was just created. I always make sure it’s easy to navigate and that the forms and links are set up properly. For an example of how I think about UX, I just took up pottery and am learning little by little how to do things better. And one of the first mugs I’ve made – it was the right size, the handle felt good. It looked great! But then I took a drink out of it, and the coffee just went right down the side of the mug. I do not want the people drinking out of my mugs to have a drippy coffee experience! I realized I had to make some changes so that my “mug users” would have a better experience. It was something I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t experienced it myself.

How do you stay on top of user experience?

I test everything from the user’s perspective. For example, I’ll navigate from a (test) email to each link or landing page to ensure the process is smooth and intuitive for our customers. I force myself to reread everything. You’d be surprised how many little opportunities you find to improve. I think about my goal – often times it is to generate engagement through a form fill. So, in that case, I’ll go through the process of navigating to the form and submitting it. Was it easy to find? How many clicks did it take? Did I receive a “thank you” message or an automated email that may have been attached to the form? And finally, did it register in my reporting? Then once I’ve made any necessary adjustments and the campaign is launched, I keep a close eye on the reporting. Data can tell you if something is going well or if something is wrong.

I say all this and it sounds like I’m a perfectionist. I am. That being said, I would rather get something done at 95% than hold onto it until it’s perfect. The cost of perfection is missed opportunity. 

What about inspiration? How is it possible to find and keep inspiration in marketing?

You’ve got to expose yourself to more than just one thing and adapt yourself to a constantly changing environment. New and exciting tools are becoming available all the time. That’s the beauty and fun of marketing. If you’re really focused on one area, then you’re not going to be able to see the bigger picture. But in learning (even just a little bit) about all the parts of that big picture, you can contribute in a more meaningful way. You may also find something that interests or inspires you that you may not have been exposed to. 
It also helps to surround yourself with people you’re inspired by. And people you can learn from, have fun with, and trust. People who are different than you. They’re likely better at something than you are – don’t be threatened by that – and they can probably can fill in a gap that makes whatever result you’re working toward better.

What’s your MarTech stack?

HubSpot, Pardot and Salesforce, ZoomInfo, Canva, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Salesloft, SEMRush, Gotowebinar. I’ve been experimenting with ChatGPT too. One of the simplest tools I have is an inventory of all my channels in an Excel spreadsheet. I refer to this almost like a checklist to maximize my exposure on each piece of content I create.

Interviews with Marketers: Paris Palibroda

As a Senior Marketing Manager at Crowe Soberman, Paris develops strategic marketing plans and campaigns to elevate the firm’s brand and build client engagement. Before joining Crowe Soberman, Paris worked for a global accounting firm for nearly five years, where she honed in on her keen interest in the professional services industry.

With over ten years of marketing experience, Paris’ background spans across diverse industries including in real estate and the technology sector.

Paris strives to continuously adopt innovative marketing strategies and refine her craft in the digital space.

You’ve worked with smaller startups and larger corporations – Benevity, KPMG, and currently Crowe Soberman LLP. Did it benefit you to begin your career with a startup environment?

I started my career in the tech industry and had the pleasure of working for a fast-growing startup company early on in my career. Having the opportunity to take a grassroots marketing approach and getting a taste of scaling culture was a wonderful launching pad. There was a broad scope to my role at that time, which enabled me to become a Jack-of-all-trades and develop various transferable skills, including client management, creativity, collaboration, and a general comfort with chaos. This experience allowed me to become agile because I was able to touch so many areas of the business and become open to change. 
If you’re just beginning a career in marketing, my advice would be to strategically select a startup company that you see potential in and could develop a passion for. Working at a startup can be a great asset to your resume and offers you space to define the areas you’d like to grow in, which will allow you to discover your ideal work environment and culture.

You’ve developed a successful career in professional services. What would you advise new marketers who enter that field?

Professional services is a unique environment for marketers, and it can be challenging to maintain creative strategies in a dynamic B2B territory.  A lot of marketing in professional services is about building profiles for partners – who are essentially your clients – helping them shape and define their digital presence and profiles in their respective service areas. A major focus is creating strategic thought leadership that your partners can leverage with their current clients and help bring them to market in distinct ways. 
Professional services is also an environment where you can really push boundaries and use your expertise to position yourself as the service matter expert to let your partners know there’s a bigger and better way to do things. That can be very exciting and truly rewarding.

Collaborations are necessary to create really engaging content, but where does technology fit in for you?

 A return to familiar tools is always fantastic because you can see how those platforms have evolved in terms of what new features and functionality are available to us as marketers. Of course, we now have an influx of options we can rely on to create the perfect tech stack so it’s crucial that we remain open to learning about the latest and greatest digital marketing tools – and I think that’s what defines us as marketers, actually: we don’t stay in the confinement of our boxes – we’re continually growing and changing with the industry.
If you don’t keep up with those transformations, that’s to your detriment. ChatGPT springs to mind because it’s been easy to focus on the negative aspects – that it could take away our role as marketers and be particularly threatening for those in AdTech. But we, as marketers, must jump outside the box, learn to work with AI and to view it as an asset in creating a powerful marketing funnel. ChatGPT is useful for me as a launching pad for content creation because it serves as an excellent starting point. Its strong capacity for generating research and data can serve as a valuable tool in expediting processes, ultimately affording me more time.

Are there tools or technology you use that allow you to create stronger human connections?

I really like Mavenlink because of how it helps marketers with workflow and project management. It’s the key to running multifaceted campaigns and enables marketers to have everything in the pipeline before activating a campaign. It creates seamless collaborations by building connections between team members working on the same campaign – everyone has visibility into each task and update. It also supports consistency and transparency, so everyone stays on the same page, with fewer email trails along the way. 
You can also see historical projects that you’ve worked on and who was involved, which is critical in larger organizations because it brings everyone into the same room, so to speak. So, when working with a group of partners, marketers, graphic designers and people at all levels, you can connect the dots and gain insight as campaigns are rolled out. 

What are the most valuable tools in your MarTech stack?

  • Mavenlink
  • MailChimp
  • LinkedIn
  • ChatGPT
  • Semrush

Interviews with Marketers: Sarah Hurd

With a diverse career spanning from technology to sustainability, Sarah is a marketing and communications strategist driven by producing great content that delivers results. A strong believer in the power of curiosity, collaboration and asking the right questions, her career accomplishments range from industry-leading campaigns to global research. Sarah currently works at Snowflake as a Content Manager-Industries, developing a wide range of content, from thought leadership to videos, for the healthcare, life sciences, technology, media and entertainment, and telecommunications industries. Prior to Snowflake, she worked for Fortune 500 companies as well as several nonprofit organizations. She is also a Leadership Award recipient from the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame, founding member of the Silicon Valley chapter of Grapevine, a community-based philanthropic organization, and former board member of the Public Relations Society of America and Silicon Valley American Marketing Association.

How does focusing on the intersection of human experience and the hard data of marketing make you a better marketer?

That’s the junction that really excites me: the need to have empathy, the need to be curious, the need to not assume, the need to put yourself in the customers’ shoes – constantly. Our brains are hardwired for story and connection. It’s also essential to meet people where they are (not where you want or wish they would be) and then combine that with market trends, hard data, and economic analysis.

To maintain that connection, you have to keep closely in touch with what’s happening in business and society and be sensitive and responsive to peoples’ experiences (challenges, emergencies, etc.) – especially given the far reach of social media and Google News. A seemingly innocent post could appear insensitive and tone-deaf – and damage your brand and reputation. For example, in the US, it’s common for major corporations to pause social media posts when a war breaks out outside of US soil.

It comes down to being a good human and helps position us as a trusted ally. And to really be an ally, you have to put yourself in their shoes. Yes, you want to sell them something, but you have to speak to what their experiences, challenges, and needs are right now to build that connection.

How do you apply that connection mindset to your current work?

For me, the overarching theme is to listen not only to your customers and those who are speaking with your customers, but to what’s being said in the news by reputable analysts, as well as by industry experts or thought leaders, both within and outside your company. Of course, quantitative SEO data and analytics information are critical, but so are the qualitative aspects of continual listening and learning.

There’s always that initial momentum and excitement about a product, right? But it’s hard to be successful if you lose sight of the fact you’re providing a worthwhile service. And you can only provide that valuable service – or product – if you’ve listened to what your customers say, think and feel so you can help them overcome their challenges and meet their goals.

Also, be thoughtful about peoples’ decreasing attention spans. For example, two minutes used to be an appropriate time for a video, but shorter videos are trending now. And because attention spans are shrinking, you must be extraordinarily choosy and strategic with the words you use. The best way to do that is to really listen to what your customers are saying – the words they’re using – and understand their experiences. This way you communicate to them in ways that are uniquely impactful for them.

Do you have any advice for marketers just starting out?

Be extraordinarily curious about the business. All of it. Engage with colleagues in departments across the organization to learn as much as you can about the “how” and the “why”. You will better know the words to use, you will know selling positions, and you’ll be able to create content from a place of power and strategy.

I’ve had conversations with recruiters, and they say it’s rare to find a marketer who dives into the business and really wants to learn. You can have excellent writing skills, but you also need to be curious to become genuinely informed – and stay informed – not just about the industry and all its facets but about your customers, too, and their goals, their challenges, and the market dynamics affecting their industry.

What are the most valuable tools in your MarTech stack?

  • Adobe products, generally, are tools I use all the time.
  • Heat map products are invaluable – a must have. They’re offered by a variety of companies.
  • Marketo – and if you can become an expert at using Marketo and really deep-diving into the wealth of data it provides, you can stand out and drive value for the business.

Interviews with Marketers: Liz Austin

Liz Austin joined Exos in 2022 as chief marketing officer, bringing over 20 years of experience across global marketing, communications, strategy, operations, and digital transformation. Liz leads the company’s marketing organization and is responsible for creating and implementing marketing strategies that drive brand awareness, revenue growth, and customer engagement. Prior to joining Exos, Liz previously held a range of marketing leadership roles at LEAP Legal Software, McGraw-Hill Education, Reed Elsevier, Complinet, Wolters Kluwer, Thomson Reuters, and Wiley. 

Outside of work, Liz spends her downtime doing yoga, travelling, attending live concerts and artistic performances, and relaxing at the beach.

As the CMO of Exos, a company that supports customers in health and wellness, how do you define a “pro-recovery culture” and why is it important?

Exos started out supporting professional athletes. In our 20+ years of working with elite athletes, we know that when they prepare for their big moments – they’re very purposeful about it. They continually build in the proper recovery time in order to achieve sustainable high performance. We realized this focus is important for the rest of us too and can have real benefits. As corporate professionals, we run a very long marathon for 40 years of our career and most of us don’t give ourselves enough space to recover properly.
We do things the wrong way by pushing too hard, creating an epidemic of burnout and bad habits. But honestly, the moments where I’ve been the most creative and most effective are where I’ve also given myself space to take time for things like daily meditation and movement and focusing on things I enjoy outside of work. These are some of the ways I recover, and in the long run, this is what helps to level up my performance. For this reason, Exos culture supports conscious downtime, which is often missing from the corporate sector.

How does the pro-recovery culture at Exos allow your own marketing team to perform at their best?

Marketing is a highly executional sport. It really is. You don’t win in marketing without doing, but you can easily get caught between managing deadlines and constant doing – so we need to plan and work in recovery time, too. All the things that make marketing exciting can also be extremely stressful, so you need a very strong toolkit of ways to manage and balance your time.
 As a marketer, you must stay focused but also make space to be creative and craft winning strategies. Instead of constantly executing and doing, you need that time to think strategically and to allow for those “aha!” moments. It’s important to build a gameplan that aligns with the goals of the business. The best way to do this is to make sure the team is involved and aware of what we need to do to win. A strategic plan allows the team to stay focused because, in marketing, it can be very easy to get distracted on shiny objects and ad-hoc requests. At the same time, I want the team to understand the importance of giving themselves downtime and the ability to be inventive and brainstorm ideas, so work your plan but always make space for new and disruptive ideas. And, most importantly you must also take time for yourself. In my experience, making space and time for yourself will always help lead you to those breakthrough ideas.

Do you have any advice for marketers just starting out?

Make purposeful career choices. It’s important to have a vision of where you want to head and to make choices that help you move in that direction. But it’s also important to be flexible and open because career progression isn’t always linear, and career moves don’t always have to be upward. Making a lateral choice that gives you a new skill set is often worthwhile, and you will eventually gain skills across the full range of marketing functions. Early on, it’s wise to be a generalist and learn as much as you can – but making strategic career moves to learn key specializations can be indispensable – especially if your goal is to end up in leadership. 
As well, build strong relationships with the teams outside of marketing and know how to speak their language. Create relationships with the finance, sales, product, and tech teams – and understand their perspective and their function. Often, early in your career, you don’t realize that career opportunities aren’t just influenced by your boss, it’s these other stakeholders, and how they view you, that can have meaningful influence too! 

What are the most valuable tools in your MarTech stack?

  • HubSpot 
  • Iterable 
  • Slack 
  • Airtable 
  • Google Analytics 
  • Canva
  • Storyblok 

Interviews with Marketers: Liridona Lily Malota

Lily Malota, a results-oriented content marketing expert, specializes in developing engaging content and campaigns while refining processes to maximize engagement and operational efficiency. With over a decade of experience across diverse industries, such as energy, project management, and online education, Lily has proven her expertise in employer branding, content, social media strategies, and executive communications. Her talent for crafting persuasive brand narratives, launching high-profile products, and devising innovative content strategies has consistently elevated brand awareness and driven business growth.

How do you avoid white-noise and create content that is unique for your customers?

My focus is on serving the customers, so respect for their time underpins all my marketing content. I liase with our sales department to figure out how to answer those customer questions and ensure the content we’re putting out here isn’t just “content for the sake of content.” So, a lot of the content we release is education focused: I want my customers to make educated decisions, but I don’t want to push them too hard to make them. 

How does this approach improve relationships with your customers?

Our customers look to us for solutions because they trust us. Cookie-cutter content doesn’t help build that sense of trust. In that case, you’re no longer a trusted authority figure or a subject matter expert; you’re making a sale. 
The other piece is that we’re all being more careful in how we allocate our time, especially post-pandemic, so it’s important that the content customers receive is the content they want to see. Providing that for our customers shows that we value their time.

Do you think there is value in becoming a specialist rather than a generalist?

There is a place for both. Right now, we have this focused approach to niche marketing and it’s important to have your hand in a little area of marketing and know it well. But I came from a general marketing background, so I think it’s also important to know a little bit about everything, especially as you grow in your career. It makes it easier for you to grow as a leader in marketing.
My advice would be that even if you are specializing, sit in on some of your colleague’s monthly or biweekly meetings and learn a little more about the company lifecycle. This will make you a better leader in the future because you’ll be able to oversee a team that specializes in these different niches, big or small.

What are the most valuable tools in your MarTech stack?

I utilize Semrush and AlphaSights for generating content ideas and tracking trends. AlphaSights is an effective tool for B2B companies as it establishes connections with industry experts and I gather content inspiration from listening to their calls. I also use Hubspot, 6sense, and Amplitude for reporting and lead generation.

Interviews with Marketers: Jake Freivald

Jake Freivald’s 25-year career includes product marketing for software related to data collection and management, reporting, and analytics for a variety of industries and use cases. He has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and lives on Long Island, NY with his wife, their eleven children (not a typo), two dogs, and two cats.

Your company is all about automation. Where do you see GPT making our lives easier as it grows with us in the marketing world?

The potential is there. Right now, AI is offering us a big open promise that it won’t take our jobs but perhaps change them into something focused much more on creativity, something more dynamic, and maybe more exciting. AI understands the stuff we’ve already done, the stuff it has been trained on, while the best marketing work takes all that as background and synthesizes from it brand new things that we’ve never thought of yet.

AI is also likely to be able to help get that idea out, that first draft, which can result in significant increases in productivity. I’ve used it that way myself. I recently told ChatGPT to write a casual email for me, and when I got it back, I only had to say “Not that casual” to get a much better draft. Being able to see different versions of a first draft in a matter of moments can help eliminate the “blank page” problem and might help us see different creative angles we can pursue – things that the AI isn’t going to pick up on and synthesize, but that we can see, understand, and relate to faster because we don’t have to go through the mechanical process of getting initial thoughts on paper.

How important is the creativity aspect to marketing?

Extremely. It’s important both for our own job satisfaction and for the effectiveness of our work.

Creativity is often the thing that most makes work interesting. It’s not hard to feel hemmed in by the constraints on our creativity: where we are, what we’re trying to market, who we have around us, that sort of thing. Also, some markets take themselves very seriously – safety professionals tend not to be flippant about safety, for instance, and frankly I approve of their seriousness – so one’s instinct to get a little “out there” has to be exercised in a way that’s entertaining and interesting without being perceived as derisive. But if we don’t satisfy that creative itch, most of us probably won’t feel fulfilled about what we’re doing.

And that’s important because if we’re not having fun, our audience knows it. If we’re bored when writing a blog post, it becomes a boring blog post. Don’t get me wrong, there’s value in having a method. There are marketers who have a formula, and they use the formula, and that’s that. Their marketing is typically okay: It communicates a message, and that’s an important part of what marketing does. But when there’s a spark, our audience can feel it and come along for the ride. They get invested in fanning the spark into something bigger – and that’s an essential part of doing marketing really well.

What advice do you have for marketers who want to get ahead?

Stay focused on and interested in in the kinds of problems your product solves. (Yes, I’m currently a product marketer, but I think this is true for all sales and marketing professionals.) The intellectual interest generated by solving problems will stimulate new ways to think about your product’s value. Instead of saying my product does this or my product has that, you’ll find yourself saying you can do this really cool thing with my product that’s going to make your life a lot better. The first two might be interesting, but the third makes people want what you’re offering.

Can you expand on that pragmatically?

Your audience doesn’t really care so much about what your product does as what it does for them. When you start to think in their terms, your communication becomes more immediate and personal for them. For example, a set of fixed-size wrenches and a single adjustable wrench “work” – they both solve the same type of problem, since they both fit different-sized nuts we need to turn – but do so in entirely different ways. To reach your consumer, you need to know that your fixed-size wrenches provide precision that reduces slippage (if that’s what’s important to them) or that your adjustable wrench reduces the number of tools you have to carry (if that’s what’s important to them). What they do is the same; what’s important to the target audience is not.

A lot of marketers, and product marketers in particular, focus on the “what the product does” and even the “how the product does it,” but to be good at creating brand-and-demand for our products we need to focus on the “what the product does for me.” We need to feel it in our bones. Persona development is one way we kick-start that understanding, but it really helps to listen to clients directly. If we know what our audience thinks and how they feel, we’ll relate to them as people and not just as personas, which will naturally help us communicate with them more effectively. 

How can that passion translate into career success?

It seems almost too obvious to say, but marketers have to harness their passion and interest to drive value for the company. Every business has cool stuff about it – even mundane businesses – but it’s our job as marketers to avoid focusing on stuff just because we happen to think it’s cool. Among other things, we have to translate our interest into creative campaigns that relate our products to issues that matter to our audience. So our interest drives creativity, which gets applied to specific requirements that drive brand and demand. And passion translates into career success because all of that becomes a lot easier when you’re passionate about how your company solves problems for its customers.

Key Takeaways from our Chat about Divergent Social Communities


Are you looking for ways to reach a broader online audience? Do you get the most out of every possible channel? Here are ten top tips shared by Kelly Stewart, Content Marketing Director at Apprentice, during our virtual event on March 23, 2023:

  1. Relevance beats cleverness.

    It doesn’t matter how much effort you put into making a post polished and clever – if it’s not interesting, people won’t read it. Want a quick win that’s also easy to achieve? Post about something that your audience already cares about.

  2. Research your audience.

    Do you use buyer personas? If not, you’re probably not getting the most out of your marketing. In fact, research shows that targeting a cold lead with persona-based content is significantly more effective than targeting a warm lead without persona-based content (58% vs 45%).

Once you know who your core buyers are, you can figure out how they’re likely to think and what they’ll care about. This knowledge helps you create compelling messaging strategies that are nuanced, personable, and deliver ROI. Not sure where to start? Check out HubSpot’s free persona generator for an easy way to get started.

  1. Comments beat reshares.

    Learn how different platforms score content within their algorithm. On LinkedIn, comments are more valuable than likes or shares, and quick comments (within an hour after posting) are worth even more. Want to make it easier for your team to join the conversation? Draft some response blurbs in advance and remember that Q&A-style posts give readers a low-effort way to comment.

  2. Quality beats quantity.

    Avoid random acts of content. Strategic and relevant content will speak directly to your readers’ needs or interests. Posting high-quality content is preferable to posting on a fixed schedule.

  3. Test and track your results.

    Use data and analytics to assess how your posts perform, then adjust and make improvements. Got a post that generates lots of traffic? Consider strengthening your message. And if some content consistently shows high time on the page, that’s ideal for repurposing. Conversely, a high bounce rate suggests that more focus on hero messaging is needed, and if you’ve got a post that gets low traffic, either refresh or retire the content.

  4. Shorter is better.

    Did you know that most people only read 28% of the words on a screen? Or that most readers scan digital copy quickly in an “F” pattern? We didn’t either! To make sure your message gets the most traction, put key ideas in the headline or at the start of a sentence.

  5. Write like a person.

    If you’re struggling with getting your ideas down on paper, try this: say what you’re trying to explain out loud, in the simplest way possible. Once you’ve got a basic idea that makes sense, write it down.

    Don’t worry too much about revisions until you’ve got a complete text that expresses your core ideas, and even then, remember that simple is almost always better. But do pay attention to sentence length! Variety can go a long way in keeping readers interested and engaged.

  6. Use your thumbnails.

    Create custom and unique social sharing thumbnails or write unique calls to action that showcase the value of what’s offered. Incorporate pull quotes from long-form content to highlight the thought leadership behind the click.

  7. Get emotional.

    Even though you’re marketing to a business, all your copy is being read (and acted upon!) by people, so helping B2B buyers feel connected to your brand is a key step in building sales. You can foster a buyer’s ambition by speaking to their social and professional goals or generate excitement by casting the buyer as a hero, using your product as their sword.

  8. Be accessible and inclusive.

    To reach the widest possible audience, structure your content logically: screen readers work from top to bottom and left to right, and they do better job with hashtags when you use #CamelCase. Be concise, focus on being clear rather than being clever, and always include alt text for images.

Above all, your writing should be inclusive: always use words that are gender neutral, race neutral, and age neutral. Avoid biased idioms or metaphors that equate white/light with “good” and black/dark with “bad,” and remove any metaphorical references to disability (“blind” or “crazy”).

That’s a wrap on Kelly’s top 10 tips for reaching divergent social communities in B2B marketing! Get notified about our next webinar by signing up for HeadStart’s mailing list

Key Takeaways from our Chat about ChatGPT for B2B Marketers


Want to get the most out of ChatGPT and didn’t have a chance to attend our online event? Here are some key takeaways and best practices shared by Marc Cousineau, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Fiix and our participants on February 23, 2023:

Think Beyond Writing

For Marc, the writing is not good enough yet. ChatGPT can’t plan, it doesn’t speak with a brand voice, and it’s not really conversational. What does it offer? Amazing draft functionality as an idea and discovery engine.

It’s a great sounding board, a place to collect different ideas and points of view. It works well to bounce ideas around. It’s also great for generating options. It can spit out multiple versions of a text, all with slightly different tones and approaches, ideal when you need to finalize a draft.

One participant shared a cooking analogy: ChatGPT is like using canned diced tomatoes, instead of growing your own tomatoes, peeling them, then cooking them yourself. It’s great for when you’re at a loss for words, or if you know what you want to say but you’re not happy with how you’ve said it. It’s like your shortcut to get dinner on the table quickly. You still need to add the spices – but it gets you to the finish line much faster and it saves your creative energy for other tasks.

Get More from your Prompts

If you’ve had good results in the past from specific prompts, keep using them! There’s an art to prompting ChatGPT to get what you need out of it. Crowdsourcing prompts is a good way to disperse some creativity. It’s also worth remembering that the best content shares expertise, so use ChatGPT to identify experts and track down quotes. Here are some strategies with prompts that can get you started:

  • Identify the information you’re looking for. Be as specific as possible.
  • Think about tone, and make sure the prompt matches what you’re looking for in the finished piece.
  • Create the initial prompt. Keep it clear and focused and avoid open-ended questions.
  • Refine your prompts as needed. Depending on the results you get, you might want to try shorter or longer prompts, add or remove detail, or change up the phrasing.

Conceptualizing Intent

ChatGPT also excels at taking one topic and identifying different viewpoints about that topic. Let’s say you’re writing an article about gating content. You might ask ChatGPT, “Give me different opinions about whether B2B content should be gated, with sources to go with each point of view.” You can also ask it to identify several different viewpoints on gating content, along with recommending a (human) expert for each one. Used for research in this way, ChatGPT can help you come up with different angles or approaches that might not have been done before – essential when you’re competing for eyes and attention.


Marc let everyone know that informal testing suggests that ChatGPT has stronger translation abilities than Google Translate for German and Spanish. It also seems to do a good job at localizing the translation, generating different versions of Spanish for Latin American and European audiences.  Tests produced relatively clean translations, with few revisions needed.

Duplicate Content and SEO

If different brands use ChatGPT to generate marketing content, it’s highly likely that the pieces are going to sound the same. Marc recommends having a documented and strong understanding of your brand voice. In addition, your point of view on any given topic will be essential if you want to differentiate this content from what your competitors produce.

Google and SEO probably aren’t going away anytime soon, but in a few years, it’s likely that page one results won’t be nearly as important as they are today. Besides, ChatGPT, TikTok, YouTube and Instagram are all essentially search and “discovery” engines. Since SEO doesn’t play as big a role on many platforms, we might start to see a new strategy replacing page one results.

Establish Guidelines

Guidelines are important to put into place so that your team knows when they can use ChatGPT, and when they shouldn’t. Will they use it to do research, to find quotes, or to produce content? How will you check that the content it produces is accurate, and that it matches your brand guide? Rewriting AI-generated output so that it matches your tone and style is going to be an essential step for every marketer.

And remember, while ChatGPT is great at answering questions, it doesn’t always answer them correctly. If you’re using the AI to find expert quotes, always check the credentials of the experts it identifies!

As Marc Cousineau points out, what’s cool about this next chapter of AI and automation tools for content is that we’re just at the beginning, at the edge of exploration. Over the next few years, AI will likely show up in many more systems. But while bots might excel at following a customer service script, they’re not so great at having real conversations, asking the questions that generate new insights and compelling stories.


Looking to work with a writer? Consider HeadStart Copywriting. Real people, real voices. Unlimited writing by subscription. We can help you plan your budget in advance, keep your in-house team focused on key pieces, and ramp up what you need. Contact us.

Photo source: Tara Winstead