How Ashley McGovern Creates Content at Realync
Find out how to get started in content marketing, content creation best practices, and what it takes to be a successful content marketer
At ease, Captain!
Welcome to a free edition of the Content Captains Newsletter where I answer your questions about creating content, generating traction, and becoming a full-stack content marketer.
Ashley McGovern is the Content Marketing Manager at Realync and the Co-Host of the 2 Pizza Marketing podcast.
For over 5 years, Ashley has worked within the public relations, corporate communications, and content marketing space. When asked about the main problem most B2B companies face when it comes to content, she said:
My biggest gripe with B2B companies is that they try to stuff too many product features and benefits into a pitch, a sentence, a story, a social post, or a deck. My recommendation is to think about the one takeaway you want to leave the reader with and double down on that message throughout the content asset.
In today’s interview, we cover how to get started in content marketing, content creation best practices, and the skills you need to be a successful content marketer.
1. How did you first get into content marketing? And how do you recommend others do the same?
I started my career in corporate communications as a Public Relations Coordinator after I graduated from college in 2017.
I worked on a small internal marketing team at an orthopedic hospital. I wrote blog articles about spinal fusion surgery, shoulder replacements, and scoliosis (gnarly stuff!). I developed the skill of learning how to take complex information and turn it into simple, digestible, and educational content assets.
But I learned the corporate grind was not my cup of tea. After three years, I left the orthopedic hospital to join a tech startup—Realync—as the first content hire. I’ve led Realync’s full-funnel content marketing strategy for almost three years.
If you’d like to get into content marketing, I’d suggest starting a side project.
A blog. A podcast. A LinkedIn series.
There are many ways to start gaining experience in writing content. I believe you need to get started by creating content publicly or privately. If you’re shy, write to yourself in a Google doc.
Books, podcasts, and newsletters can help you get started in excelling in a content marketing career.
Also, you should network, network, network.
If you can build your personal network, you will have mentors you can go to for support.
You will build partnerships that could turn into co-marketing opportunities. You can create a community of like-minded people that keep you motivated.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to network!
2. Talk to me about your time at Realync. What’s your content marketing process like?
During the early days at Realync, it was hectic. I looked like a chicken with its head cut off. Seriously. The fast-paced environment was new for me. As a company, we were growing headcount and revenue quickly. As a new tech marketer, I googled acronyms every day for the first six months. As I became more confident in my role, I proposed ideas and shared feedback.
For example, I felt we focused too much on SEO content. I voiced how we should prioritize quality content over quantity and reduce SEO blog articles. Plus, I felt there was an opportunity to repurpose content instead of reinventing the wheel and creating more work for our SMEs. As a result, I produced higher-performing blog articles with less work.
Something else I wanted to optimize was Realync’s newsletter. I created a proposal with my research on how to enhance the branding, messaging, and frequency of the email sends. The result? It’s my team’s #1 revenue driver from a marketing standpoint.
When it comes to creating content, I have a 3 P’s framework.
Preparation → Production → Promotion
I start by listening to internal team members and customers. What are the knowledge gaps? How could I support from a strategy standpoint? How could I turn their feedback into an asset?
I conduct keyword research, ideate on the distribution plan, work with SMEs, and create the asset.
I launch the asset, distribute it across channels, communicate and evangelize the asset internally, and create secondary resources to promote the primary asset.
3. What is the main problem you think most B2B companies face when it comes to content marketing? And how do you believe content supports business growth?
Let me start by saying I get it. I get why B2B companies do this thing I’m about to complain about (ha!). I’m guilty of doing it myself as a content writer.
My biggest gripe with B2B companies is that they try to stuff too many product features and benefits into a pitch, a sentence, a story, a social post, or a deck.
It confuses readers. It’s hard to digest. It leaves readers with the question: so what do they actually do? The brain can only process so much information at once. When you overload a content asset, your main message gets lost.
My recommendation is to think about the one takeaway you want to leave the reader with and double down on that message throughout the content asset. There will always be a chance to write content about a different feature of the product.
Caveat: Sometimes executives override content marketers and want to tout every benefit possible—try to push back (respectfully).
There are two main growth models in B2B: Sales-led and Product-led.
For sales-led growth models, I believe content marketing is imperative for the brand.
B2B companies need a strategic narrative, but internal evangelists must tell the story. They need to position their internal SMEs or founders as go-to experts in their solution’s niche. And the way to do this and stand out? Content marketing or the commonly used term thought leadership content.
For product-led growth models, I still believe content marketing is imperative but the product sells itself a bit more. So product positioning will need to be clear.
I’m biased, but I feel content marketers are vastly underrated. The role of a content marketer is to tell true stories well in a simplified, human-sounding way.
4. What are the top 3 skills every content marketer should master? And what’s your personal superpower?
Think of storytelling as the sidekick to your company's superhero, like Robin to Batman. (I love a good analogy…). Just as Robin complements Batman and enhances his abilities, storytelling plays a crucial role in helping companies secure new leads, seal deals, and keep existing customers satisfied. You will excel in your role if you can create human-sounding and customer-centric stories!
Executives, investors, and your leadership team care about the company's growth. If you understand this early on as a content marketer, you’ll recognize you need to tie your efforts to dollars. It can be tricky as some marketing efforts aren’t attributable (thanks, dark social!), but a revenue mindset will set you apart.
As a content marketer, it’s important to communicate your project statuses, blockers, and concerns with your manager. It can help pull out new ideas to push your content forward. If you’re a solo marketer, I still believe it’s important to communicate with the larger team as a whole. Get them excited about the assets they can use in sales outreach! Share anecdotal feedback about how you heard a customer say they loved that checklist you created (remember my attribution comment? Share that your content is working and providing value!).
My personal superpower is that I’m a dot-connector.
On an internal marketing team, I’m privy to conversations. Collaborating across functional teams, I pick up on various conversations. With these insights, I identify opportunities where I can integrate feedback into the content assets I'm developing. Content marketing is like solving a puzzle. It requires skill in making all the pieces come together!
5. Talk to me about 2 Pizza Marketing. What’s the podcast about? And what’s your mission?
Oh, my passion project! I’m glad you asked this question.
I co-host the B2B marketing podcast 2 Pizza Marketing with the lovely Melissa Moody.
The name comes from some famous guy—Jeff Bezos—who said the most agile effective team meetings are ones small enough to only need two pizzas for the team meeting. This translates to the podcast's premise: We discuss small-team marketing challenges at early-stage startups. We help solo marketers feel less lonely and more equipped to do their jobs well.
Melissa and I have been producing the podcast for roughly 1.5 years now, never missing a weekly episode drop.
We’re in the top 10% for popular marketing podcasts per ListenNotes!
Thank you, Ashley, for jumping aboard and sharing your story with us.
You can follow Ashley on LinkedIn for more content marketing, career, and self-growth tips.
Are you a small-team marketer? Listen to 2 Pizza Marketing to hear about the marvelous messes of working on small teams at early-stage startups.
Thanks for reading,