There’s a lot to celebrate this Women’s History Month.
From Meghan Markle’s Archetypes podcast championing “feminism for everybody”, to the incredible achievements of women of color in film, 2022 felt like a pivotal year for women all round.
And for women in content marketing, it’s no different.
With female representation standing almost a third higher in marketing than in other global roles (with 55% female CMOs), it’s clear to see the huge impact women are having.
Why? Because female marketers have a special superpower — each other.
In fact, recent studies show that women are not only known for their collaborative work, they actually do better because of it. Turns out there is power in the collective. 💪🏻
That’s why this Women’s History Month we want to shine a spotlight on some of the incredible female talent in the content marketing world.
Here are 16 must-know rules straight from some of the top content marketers in 2023, the lowdown on what it takes to become a powerful female leader, plus some of the women they look up to in the content world.
Here’s what we’ll cover
- Let data inform your creativity
- Reach out to your community
- Bring together empathy and data
- Be inquisitive
- Understand your company’s goals
- Don’t make assumptions about the customer
- Be flexible
- Know how to build a team
- Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes
- Strike a balance between strategy and execution
- Agility is key
- Build a strong network
- Harness the power of collaboration
- Prove you know the market
- Create a recognizable voice
- Have a multi-faceted approach
1. Let data inform your creativity
Brianna Doe is a marketing force to be reckoned with. Named one of LinkedIn’s Top 10 Career Content Creators and founder of inspirational creative platform what makes you tick, her goal is to empower and teach people how to advocate for themselves, market themselves effectively, and make intentional career moves.
As Director of Demand Generation & Content at Aion, it’s clear Brianna knows her stuff when it comes to being a powerful content marketer.
And she believes great marketing meets at the intersection of storytelling and data.
“You need to be creative, curious, and analytical. It’s not enough to just have a good idea. You need to let your data inform your creativity, so you can define success, know what’s working and what’s not, and iterate accordingly. A powerful content marketer needs to be a driven storyteller,” she says.
But it’s not only great storytelling that will take you all the way. According to Brianna, there’s one extra important ingredient: patience.
“Know how to create content that resonates with your audience, but be willing to play the long game,” she says.
Brianna’s content marketing heroes
“I could name dozens of people, but Jess Cook, Head of Content at LASSO and Erica Schneider, Head of Content at Grizzle.io inspire me. They are incredibly gifted content marketers and openly share what they’re learning along the way. They’re shaping the next generation of content marketers, and that’s so powerful.”
2. Reach out to your community
For some powerful women in content, success is a team game.
And thanks to her attitude of collaboration, marketing ace Laura Kluz has been creating community-driven content for years. Here’s what the Director of Content at ProductLed has to say about leadership in content marketing:
“The ability to make relationships and reach out to your community when you need them is key to becoming a powerful content marketer. Having a solid pool of experts you can easily reach out to at any time is incredible. It really helps create great content when you have the expertise of others who have ‘been there, done that’!”
Laura’s content marketing hero
“Hiba Amin is my content hero. Not only is she a great PLG content marketer/leader, but she’s always willing to chat and help other content folks out when asked.”
3. Bring together empathy and data
As Content Marketing Lead at Switchboard, marketing veteran Molly Talbert is a wealth of content marketing leadership insights, having been hands-on in the industry for almost a decade (and a former marketing ace at project management giant Asana 💪🏻).
For Molly, empathy is central to great content.
“The key to good content and marketing is to bring together empathy and data. To truly speak to your audience, you need to understand who they are, what motivates and excites them, what their pains are, and what makes them tick. In other words, you need to have empathy for them,” she says.
But that’s not all. Molly’s quick to point out the data side of the equation.
“However, that only gets you so far. Everything you do needs to be backed by data to ensure your content is resonating. If empathy tells you how to talk to your audience, data is the compass that keeps you on track.”
Molly’s content marketing heroes
“I’ve been lucky to have had some great female mentors in my marketing career. It has taken a while, but by maintaining friendships and relationships between jobs, I now have a whole cadre of women I can lean on for help with anything from reading over an updated resume to getting advice on SEO strategy.”
4. Be inquisitive
If you haven’t already heard of Nadine Leighton, it’s time you did.
It’s not just her role as Marketing Director at Metapraxis that sets her out as a powerful leader. Nadine is also mentor and Allyship Marketing Lead at Bloom — a professional network that champions the real voices of women to drive change in the communications industry. And if that’s not enough to inspire you, she also mentors at Lollipop, a mentoring platform that provides career guidance for Black women.
According to Nadine, powerful leadership takes a curious mind.
“To be a powerful marketer you have to be inquisitive. Being curious will help you better understand your solutions, industry, customers, how your internal teams work, and the challenges faced — all of this knowledge, and an ongoing willingness to learn, will help you gain trust and kudos and allow you to confidently share insights, research and knowledge to show your customer centricity. This will help you gain buy-in for your ideas and strategies and allow you to be an effective marketer,” she explains.
So, how do you do it?
“By getting out and speaking to customers, clients and prospects; spending time with your product, sales, account management and customer care teams; joining client meetings or sales pitches; spending a couple of hours listening in to calls or reading through emails that come in; and by listening to webinars, podcasts, attending in-person events and reading articles,” says Nadine.
Nadine’s content marketing heroes
“There isn’t a B2B female marketer that I look up to, there isn’t a male one either, and that’s because I personally believe marketing whether B2B or B2C or B2B2C is about marketing to individuals. But saying that, a couple of female marketing role models that come to mind are Bozoma Saint John and Kris Jenner. They are both representative of what I think B2B marketing needs more of — standing out from the crowd and not doing it the way everyone else has, they’re also excellent content creators.”
5. Understand your company’s goals
Business owner turned B2B marketer, Lisa Cox knows great marketing.
As Director of Marketing at Teak & Twine, Lisa has applied her business background to 4x growth in organic traffic and double conversions.
Need we say more?
When it comes to leadership in content marketing, Lisa says it’s all about tapping into your company’s wider goals to move the all-important revenue needle.
“Yes, a good content marketer should write well, understand SEO, and be creative. But a powerful content marketer will deeply understand the company’s goals. They should be able to articulate WHY they’re working on a piece of content and HOW it can affect revenue. These are the types of conversations that’ll help get access to more resources, time, and investment to grow.”
Lisa’s content marketing hero
“I’m a big fan of Jess Cook. She shares great tips on Linkedin. I especially love her because the tips are written so clearly, that they’re super easy to share with my team. She wrote a tip about starting with an outline or the ‘tent pole structure’ first, and our team still refers to the headings and subheadings as ‘tent poles’. The comparison made it super easy for everyone to understand.”
6. Don’t make assumptions about the customer
Jaclyn Mullen, Head of Marketing at TheLoops.io, is a content marketer with a jaw-dropping record.
The powerful content marketer has previously run her own business, spent four years at the Distinguished Faculty teaching Digital Marketing for General Assembly, and was even hand-chosen to participate in the Tory Burch Goldman Sachs 10,000 Businesses Program for female entrepreneurs in LA.
Impressed? Us too.
Here’s what Jaclyn has to say about leadership in content marketing:
“A powerful marketer has the courage and tenacity to try things (messaging/campaigns/new platforms/tactics), while embracing the results and learning, good and bad. It’s important to not make assumptions about the customer… or try to propose on the first date! It’s key to understand the customer from their pain points, needs and timeline — and remember, if a contact isn’t a good fit for a customer, that doesn’t mean they can’t refer you,” she says.
For Jaclyn, it’s important to keep things personal, no matter what.
“Every interaction is integral to either closing customers or connecting with champions. I keep this top of mind and really try to think about how I prefer to be marketed to when I am researching a new solution or tool for my organization.”
Jaclyn’s content marketing heroes
“My female role models in marketing are Gaby Israel Grinberg, Jess Cook, Anna Furmonov and Dara Treseder (she led Peloton as CMO in B2C and is now at Autodesk), I love how she is industry agnostic.”
7. Be flexible
Caroline Schreiber knows her stuff when it comes to evolving with the content industry.
Having moved from the arts and culture sector, she now works as Marketing Manager at Sideways 6, a SaaS startup working with global companies like Rio Tinto, Nestle and DxC.
For Caroline, the ability to change with the industry is key to hitting the big time.
“A powerful B2B marketer is able to flex to different contexts, industries and landscapes while continuing to tell impactful stories that are coherent with brand building and add value to their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). That flexibility is key,” she says.
So how does she do it? Here’s what Caroline has to say:
- It’s about constantly having our finger on the pulse to evolve plans, respond to prospects and clients’ pains and even anticipate them. To do that well, you need a deep understanding and interest in continuous research into ICPs to start with.
- Strategies should include a mixture of proactive and reactive mechanisms and a very deeply rooted sense of prioritization.
- Create an environment where people understand where marketing fits in the lifecycle of the sales process and brand building.
- Link ICP knowledge, strategies and brand building to a strong content plan and understand what each channel brings to the marketing ecosystem.
- Analytics and data should be the backbone of marketing initiatives to continuously educate teams, measure performances and adapt plans.
- Softer skills are essential too: the ability to collaborate with others (with the age-old marketing-sales tumultuous relationship) to leverage the power of teams and expertise as well as aligning marketing efforts to business goals.
Caroline’s content marketing heroes
“Amrita Mathur (VP Marketing at Superside) is one of my female role models. She helped grow Superside from $0 to $30m ARR in three years by building a marketing strategy based on constant experimentation, getting things wrong and re-focusing efforts on quality leads. She’s a great example on how to build a narrative and even coined the phrase ‘Creative as a Service’ (CaaS). Also, Ann Lewnes Chief Marketing Officer at Adobe Systems. On top of being incredibly successful Ann Lewnes also built an incredible employer brand.”
8. Know how to build a team
You only have to check out Trina Moitra’s resume to understand why she made our list of powerful content marketers (and not for the first time).
The Head of Marketing at Convert.com has previously worked with Fortune 500 companies and Enterprise clients, and has helped Convert.com 2x website traffic and increase demos by 40%.
Marketing gold? We think so.
Here are Trina’s top three must-haves for powerful marketing:
- Patience: Marketing doesn’t work overnight. It is the art meets science of cultivating relationships within an ecosystem. Relationships take time.
- Strong grasp of growth levers: Viscerally understand how a business grows. The dynamics at play within each stage of acquisition-monetization-retention-expansion-evangelism. Full funnel marketing is the backbone of a robust B2B presence.
- Ability to build a team and streamline execution: Strategy is the blueprint or the map. Execution is the action. You need both to succeed. Powerful B2B marketing leaders know how to build teams where members excel at tactics, have the ‘everything is figureoutable’ attitude, and deep deep reverence for experimentation.
Trina’s content marketing heroes
“My content marketing role models are Elena Verna and Amanda Natividad. There’s no one better than Elena to take a leaf out of the growth book from. And Amanda is re-defining how content can be used as a powerful lever to exploit gaps in the industry, yet delight users at the same time (which to me is the combination that gets you rolling in the Awareness and Decision phases).
9. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes
As Vice President Marketing at SkillGigs.com, it’s clear Amanda Betts is a woman to watch when it comes to content marketing.
With nearly 15 years of strategic marketing experience with two of the largest global staffing companies, you’ll want to take note of what Amanda has to say about leadership:
“Remind yourself daily that you are also a consumer of products and goods for yourself, your team, your company, and community. Marketing can get tied up in analysis paralysis and lost in a sea of persona mapping. But at the end of the day, it’s about putting yourself back in the seat of the consumer to best understand consumption. When something catches your eye, taking a minute to understand why it did and how you can in turn spin it to your marketing benefit can be a powerful tool,” she says.
“Marketers are some of the harshest critics and if something can get us to stop and consider, then it’s good marketing,” explains Amanda.
Amanda’s content marketing heroes
“I’m a big follower of any female that leads with an authentic voice and uplifts the women around them. Authentic messaging and vulnerability is weaving its way more into the B2B content strategy as C-Suite tunes into their emotional IQ. And luckily, there’s many to choose from who are growing in this space.”
10. Strike a balance between strategy and execution
Former Head of Content at Instapage, Jes Kirkwood is a must-know marketing strategist with a decade of experience driving sustainable business growth for B2B SaaS startups including Metaplane, Contently and Segment.
And that’s not all. Jes has also worked with marketHER.org, a Canada-based organization helping women in tech grow their marketing careers — a role which landed her in the top 50 nominees for 2X Woman of the Year 2018. 💪🏻
When it comes to rocking the content marketing space, Jes says it like it is:
“To be a powerful marketer, you must strike a balance between strategy and execution, quality and speed. A consistent presence is key, but your creativity ultimately defines you.”
Jes’s content marketing heroes
“My top female role model is Clair Byrd, an alum of InVision and Twilio who recently joined Sauce Labs as Chief Marketing Officer. Leveraging her creativity and strategic prowess, she’s produced a lot of remarkable content throughout the course of her career. She’s also a past founder who leverages her talents to help startups, which is inspiring to me as an aspiring founder.”
11. Agility is key
For some powerful women in marketing, success is about having a wide range of skills to call on.
And as Content Marketing Strategist at Redfox Visual, Rachel Macfarlane knows what it takes.
“To be a successful female B2B marketer requires a diverse set of skills beyond the ones traditionally found in B2C marketing — such as understanding technical complexities, crunching large amounts of data, and building relationships with key decision makers,” she explains.
But that’s not all.
“Having strong interpersonal skills is essential — being able to effectively communicate and collaborate with colleagues, understand individual customer needs, and deliver personalized solutions is paramount,” she adds.
For Rachel, the cherry on top is strategy.
“B2B marketers must also have an analytical mind, great strategizing abilities and know how to leverage powerful digital tools for maximum effectiveness. It’s essential to be an agile thinker who can quickly adapt to the changing landscape of the industry and rapidly create content tailored for each target audience. Remaining calm under pressure to deliver quality projects on time is also super important.”
Rachel’s content marketing heroes
“Ann Handley is an inspiration in the content marketing industry. As the first ever Chief Content Officer, she has helped to revolutionize strategies in the field and knowledge of how to create great content. Her book, ‘Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content’ is a must-have for any content marketing professionals looking to brush up on their skill set.”
12. Build a strong network
When we asked Founder, CEO and Editor-In-Chief at RETAILBOSS Jeanel Alvarado her take, she was quick to point out the importance of a solid network.
“Your network determines your net worth when it comes to B2B marketing. The more connected you are within your industry, the more valuable you will be when it comes to gaining credibility for your products or services, or that of your clients. For myself, I have been able to leverage my network across the retail industry, in particular to cover exciting news, trends and insights across the industry,” she says.
With an Instagram account boasting 65K followers, it’s clear Jeanel knows a thing or two about building a successful network. But it’s not just a strong community that she feels is important — Jeanel also believes in the power of credibility.
“When it comes to B2B, the writer, editor or author credibility is of the utmost importance, as often it’s larger retailers and enterprises who are looking for solutions to grow and expand their business, from new technology solution to popular brands to stock in nationwide stores, and what trade show(s) to spend their B2B marketing budgets on for the calendar year,” she says.
Jeanel’s content marketing heroes
“In the B2B marketing space, there aren’t too many well-known women who run or operate their own media platforms with primarily business content. I would love to see more women come into the B2B content marketing space, as there needs to be a wider range of diversity to better inform readers in the industry on new and exciting stories and innovations. With that being said, I do admire the work of Diane J. Brisebois, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Retail Council of Canada (RCC). I met Diane back when I was still in University, when we honored her as a Thought Leadership recipient at the School of Retailing, Alberta School of Business.”
13. Harness the power of collaboration
If you know great content, you know Databox.
And as Content Marketing Coordinator at the business analytics platform, Spela Mlekuz is the go-to for everything content related.
Here’s what Spela says about powerful content marketing:
“For me, strong technical, project management and interpersonal skills changed the way my career evolved. A collaborative approach and great project management skills helped whenever we scaled content output on various channels. When I say collaborative approach this involves collaborating internally with the team and externally — not only with professionals that are experts on more complex topics but also partnering with other SaaS companies,” she explains.
Because for Spela, collaboration is everything. Here’s how she harnesses different partnerships in her work:
- “Working closely with your own marketing team matters because you need to make sure to align content with sales goals and marketing goals, and tie it back to the bigger picture v the company’s OKRs. Every content piece or social post counts toward where we want to finish each quarter.
- Then there is external collaboration, which helped us to create thousands of pieces of content. Thanks to our amazing team these are evergreen, helpful and (important for every content marketer) they rank high in SERP.”
Put simply, “If I needed to distill it down to one sole superpower of every great content marketer, it would be the power of collaboration,” she says.
Spela’s content marketing heroes
- Tamara Omerović, my team lead and amazing content marketer.
- Tammy Duggan-Herd, Ph.D., Senior marketing manager at Hubspot, very smart woman. Her dedication to marketing was very impressive and inspiring for me in the early days of my content marketing career.
- Emilia Korczynska, Head of Marketing at Userpilot. Another smart lady.
- Ann Handley, MarketingProfs. We all admire how she writes everything with such ease, don’t we?
14. Prove you know the market
With over 20 years working with B2B brands, Simona Georgescu is the go-to marketer in the B2B communications space.
As President & Founder at boutique agency Adduco Communications, Simona has worked with big brand names like Mitsubishi and Sun Automation.
So, when it comes to leading in content marketing, it’s clear Simona knows her stuff.
“It takes a little bit of gumption and tenacity to be a female B2B marketer because we’re still in an age where, as a woman, you’re providing your knowledge in a space that’s dominated by men. B2B implies that you’re coming from a technical or industrial space, so you have to prove that you know the products and the market,” she says.
Simona’s content marketing heroes
“While it’s important to have role models, women in business have a hard time being their own cheerleaders. I think we could all focus on admiring ourselves more and recognizing how much it took for us to get where we are. My colleagues at Adduco Communication remind me of this because of the leadership they bring to our company in the B2B market every day.”
15. Create a recognizable voice
Having left a successful marketing career in Brazil, emigrated to Ireland, learnt an entirely new language and managed to not only survive in marketing but totally thrive, there is more than one reason to follow Paula Napolitano.
The Product Sales and Marketing Manager at Wisetek is known for her strength and tenacity when it comes to her leadership style.
And that’s exactly why we wanted to know her thoughts on what it takes to become a powerful content marketer.
“Knowing your audience is key. So many B2B content writers stick to the same material and forget that they’re marketing to people as well as organizations,” she says.
But it’s not just about knowing your audience. For Paula, having fun is also crucial.
“There is room for creativity and experimentation when designing B2B content. Once you establish your niche and gain credibility and awareness with your audience, you can really start to have fun creating content. Before you can get to this point, you really need to put in the time to consistently make recognizable content,” she continues.
And there’s more. She believes standing out from the crowd is essential to success.
“Creating a specific voice for your brand helps make the content recognizable and stand out from the crowd. I’m in the tech industry, and the amount of information that is available can make it difficult to break through. So, it’s important to remember to have patience, especially in the beginning. It can be difficult to predict what digital content will take off, and it can be disheartening when content you put a lot of effort into doesn’t perform as you expect. To be a powerful marketer isn’t about fancy tools and big budgets, but rather getting the marketing fundamentals right and finding what works for you.”
Paula’s content marketing heroes
“Janine Pelosi, Head of Marketing and Online Business at Zoom has a great approach to marketing. Her team really puts people and connections at the forefront of their marketing activities. Her initiatives have helped Zoom stay ahead of the competition and make them a household name. She speaks on how in her early days at Zoom, it was all about customer acquisition, and they approached it with a ‘one foot in front of the other’ attitude and a ‘testing and trialing’ attitude. I think this can hold true for any B2B company. You need to find what works best for you and then double down on what works.”
16. Have a multi-faceted approach
As Marketing Manager at Accountant Online, Kelly Chan leads the way with great content marketing.
And when it comes to powerful leadership, she believes in a smorgasbord of skills to help blaze a trail.
“You must have a unique set of skills, strategies and characteristics,” she says.
According to Kelly, here’s what it takes:
- Strong communication skills and the ability to effectively communicate your message to your target audience while also collaborating with other teams within your organization.
- A result-oriented mindset, which means being focused on achieving measurable results and being willing to experiment and take calculated risks to do so.
- To stand out from your competitors and capture your audience’s attention, you must be creative and come up with innovative ideas to experiment.
- Because B2B marketing is always evolving, you must be willing to learn and adapt to new technologies, strategies, and trends.
Kelly’s content marketing heroes
“My two role models are Carla Johnson, whose YouTube channel is a constant source of inspiration, and Ann Handley, whose book and TED talk ‘Everybody Writes’ had a huge impact on me.”
Lead the way in content marketing
With so much incredible female talent changing the game in content marketing, there’s clearly a lot to celebrate this Women’s History Month.
For female content marketers looking to lead the way, our 16 experts show that not only is it possible to hone your skills to become a powerful leader, you can also connect in a BIG way while you do it — because this content marketing community is all about supporting each other along the way.
Maddy Bartlett is a freelance B2B copywriter and content specialist. As a former environmental communicator, she believes in working with socially conscious brands to create an impact beyond words. She recently moved to the English outback to focus on what she loves best: growing food, writing and hiking the Dartmoor Way. Find her on LinkedIn.