How do you go about marketing to everyone?
Well that’s one of the challenges career site Monster has to tackle. I caught up with Margaret Magnarelli, managing editor and senior director of marketing at Monster, to uncover some fascinating insights into how a global brand retains its position of being truly relevant to its broad audience.
One overarching theme: Passion plays an integral role in the success of the Monster brand. Given that Monster is a brand with a purpose – connecting jobs to people – it’s clear how and why passion is so important at the company. Digital, and content marketing in particular, plays a central role by providing a platform to engage job seekers across the digital marketing mix.
Margaret also has some very handy advice for any aspiring digital marketers who are looking to build their personal brand and stand out from the competition!
Can you tell us a little about Margaret? Your career and your role at Monster.com?
Sure! At Monster, I head up a team that produces B2C content, which basically means any articles, videos, infographics or other informational assets aimed at job seekers for our Career Advice landing page.
My role is all about helping other people find jobs, which is a pretty incredible professional purpose to have. My team and I take this mission very seriously—we really embrace Monster’s tagline “find better” as the mission for how we’re serving our audience.
I’ve been here for almost two years, and before that I came from the magazine industry. Most recently, I was executive editor at Money magazine and Money.com. I’ve previously worked as an editor at Good Housekeeping and Seventeen.
You might think taking my job at Monster was a career 180o to content marketing, but these fields are more similar than they seem. Content marketing and magazine publishing are both audience-centric and largely utility-focused.
Monster continues to be a market leading careers platform. What has been the secret ingredient that has helped retain the Monster Relevancy in such a crowded market place?
It’s not only my team that takes the mission of our company seriously. That passion exists throughout the company, and I think is the secret sauce in our sustainability.
At its launch in 1994—Monster was the 454th commercial site registered on the web!—this company was built as a purpose-driven enterprise, and that legacy lives on. Everything we do, from content to product development, can be traced back to our mission of connecting jobs and people. This brings a humanity to what we offer that I believe continues to attract businesses and job seekers.
Having some 5 million job listings doesn’t hurt either!
With a job site such as Monster attracting such a wide audience, how do you go about segmenting your audiences to better understand who you’re targeting?
That’s definitely a challenge—especially when, as we say, Monster has all the jobs for all the people! That’s a lot of jobs, and a lot of people to be targeting.
So at the top level, we create some content that will appeal to all audiences. And then we also segment out some content by career level and stage of the candidate journey. Plus, we pick a few industries that are key to our business, like technology and health care. Basically, we have to align to both the needs of our audience and the priorities of the business.
Have you seen a shift in how employers and job seekers have changed their habits and requirements of how they interact with Job sites such as Monster? E.g. the growth in the gig economy
Yes and no. Of course, it’s critical that we at Monster keep a pulse on trends that are transforming recruiting and the workplace, including the undeniable growth of the gig economy.
But we also have to dig deeper into the job seekers’ motivations, in order to understand how we can best support them in reaching their career goals. And in assessing the gig economy, we recognize that there are various degrees to which people are participating and various reasons for doing so. Some people are simply looking for gigs as an additional source of income to another salary.
Others feel they can’t find the necessary degree of flexibility in a traditional full-time position. From a content perspective, we want to provide the pathways and information that will help each job seeker find the right fit for his or her needs, whether that’s freelance work, full-time work or a mix of both. But we do this as part of a larger balanced message that provides informed advice for all kinds of job seekers.
We hear a lot about the decline in company loyalty and the frequency in employees jumping from one job to the next – Is this a concern for organisations and what could they be doing to drive staff retention in a digital first economy?
Though many employees haven’t necessarily felt it in the last few years, it has been a job seeker’s market – as of January, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is at 4.8%, having inched up just a bit from the lowest rate we’d seen since 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So workers do have the upper hand. This is especially true in certain high-skill fields like tech and healthcare, where there are more jobs than talent to fill them.
Employers could benefit from doing what we tell job seekers to do: Read employer reviews. (You can do this on Monster via our alliance with kununu.) Check out what current and former employees of your own company, those of your competitors and those of top-rank companies within your field are saying.
Smart companies are waking up to the fact that they don’t have just a consumer or B2B brand, but also a brand for how they are perceived as a place to work.
Content Strategy must play a significant role for the Monster brand – How do you go about building a company-wide content strategy?
Content plays a huge role at Monster because it’s a key tactic for bringing new users to the site, and reminding past users that we’re still here for them when they’re ready to look for their next position. They may come in for our content—whether through search, social, syndication, PR or email—but we hope they stay for our jobs.
I’ve made it my mission to develop relationships with all the company leaders who intersect with the job seeker experience to make sure our work is aligned.
For example, understanding our product roadmap is essential to my work, as it affects the CTAs we use in our content. Similarly, getting the voice the same in both on-site experience and content is also key, so I’ve volunteered our team for writing site copy for product pages, including the Monster homepage. Relationship building is critical, and I think the key to this is solving problems for people.
There has been quite a bit of debate recently on brands jumping into the tactical elements of digital marketing – what are your views in aligning the brand to the more tactical elements of digital?
I absolutely believe you need to figure out your strategic aims before you start making tactical moves.
You have to know what your primary objectives for content are and establish priorities for the ways you will do it. The reason to do content is not just for navel-gazing or as a corporate brand-building indulgence, but to provide top-of-funnel awareness, and over the longer term, drive business results. You must have a plan in place to accomplish these things effectively and with high R.O.I.
Many companies struggle to understand how “digital” is or should be structured within their organisations and operate as a silo operation – what words of wisdom would you provide an organisation that is grappling with how to position their digital activities?
It’s such a common challenge. I believe it matters less where content sits in the organization—and we know it can live in so many different departments. The prospect for success is more about how the executive team empowers content to work cross-functionally within the organization, and about how the head of content forges relationships across those teams. To deliver true business results, content needs to align with product, sales, brand advertising, email, lead gen, UX, design, and more.
For anyone starting their digital marketing career, do you have any advice should they be wanting to build their personal brand and create a CV to stand out from the crowd on Monster?
I think there are two possible paths you could go down:
- One, start your career with a big company that is best-in-class when it comes to digital marketing so that you can learn a specific skillset (e.g. B2B lead gen) and learn it from the best.
- Two, start with a small company (or at least on a small team), where you’ll get a lot of hands-on experience. This way you’ll learn by doing, you’ll get a good background in a lot of different disciplines of marketing and may be able to move up the ladder faster.
Wherever you end up, make sure you keep getting job alerts even when you’re not actively looking. Not only do you never know when the next better opportunity will arise, you also want to know how jobs in your specialty are being advertised so that you know which keywords to include in your resume.
And when you are ready to look again, remember we’ll be here for you with those 5 million jobs. (Sorry, I’m a content marketer—couldn’t help ending on a CTA!)