Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with VeraContent’s Shaheen Samavati and Avinash Srivastava, product and content marketing specialist at HighRadius, on how to tell great marketing stories:

Shaheen Samavati 0:13
Hi everyone, I’m Shaheen from The Content Mix and I’m excited to be here with Avinash Srivastava, product and content marketing specialist from global fintech enterprise SaaS company HighRadius. If you’d like to connect with Avinash after this you can find him on LinkedIn, and yeah, just thanks for joining us Avinash.

Avinash Srivastava 0:30
Thank you, thank you so much for having me, Shaheen!

Shaheen Samavati 0:33
So I’m really excited to talk to you and learn more about what do you do. Could you just start off by just introducing yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

Avinash Srivastava 0:41
Yeah, sure. So my name is Avinash, I work as team lead for product marketing at HighRadius Corporation which is a global software as a service company. We are based out of houston but we have offices in southeast Asia, India where I’m based out of and then we have three offices in Europe, in London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. I have been at HighRadius for three years now and I started off with them in my final year of engineering then I went on to become, you know I went on to become a full time employee, like I started interning then I became a full time employee. I’ve been working more closely on the customer advocacy projects so I work closely with a lot of our clients and across both the markets North America and EMEA, sort of interview them try to understand their stories how is you know how are they working with our products what is it that they it helps them to and I build thought leadership content out of them to be promoted in the forms of blogs, webinars, ebooks everything and anything most of which you would see on the HighRadius website, so I have been, like I said here for three years. I started working with the EMEA clients a little over a year back right when i started I was doing more work on the North America side but yeah it has been a great journey the whole time and I’m very excited to be here today and talk a little bit more about it.

Shaheen Samavati 2:07
Excellent! So you’re based in India, which is where you’re from, right? And you’re working with clients all around the world but with some focus on European markets.

Avinash Srivastava 2:17
Right, yes. Exactly.

Shaheen Samavati 2:19
Okay excellent and can you talk about kind of the aspects of your job that relate to content marketing?

Avinash Srivastava 2:27
Yeah, sure. So like I said I am a product marketer but I was responsible for setting up and handling our global content marketing function, also 2020 right after COVID happened and we moved into the work from home atmosphere…it was, the initial few months were tricky because you know it involved onboarding a lot of people, a lot of new people into the content marketing function and then setting up that function right from the scratch in terms of how are we going to you know move to do more virtual events because field events were not in the picture anymore, you know and then what is our blog strategy because now it is you know especially in the last year there has been a lot of digital content being produced on the world wide web world wide web, right? So how are we going to write content that stands out in this in this domain that was what I was tasked with in the beginning of 2020 and I worked to set up a team of eight to 10 people actually who developed this content marketing function, helped them set up a playbook on how to do content marketing, how to like, what is the entire process of creating content? What should it involve? What are the best practices? And you know I wrapped it up by the end of the year it was a year long project. Then, I worked on and then I have moved into a more niche role right now where I’m sort of focused on building the content itself for a very specific industry within our target group. So now, you know, I have the high level process set up and I’m focusing more on setting that niche domain focused content. So yes, I started off with supporting people in creating content, then I went on to creating content for myself, then I went on to have other people develop content while you know working with me and now II’m sort of back again but with a different focus. So it has been, you know, a through in and through out journey with content itself for for the whole time that I’ve been here.

Shaheen Samavati 4:28
Yeah, wow. Sounds like a big task to set up the whole content team, but also and that you’ve like worn a lot of different hats in the entire process. Yeah, I was curious, I mean, did the company decide to put, because of COVID, like basically more of emphasis on digital content?

Avinash Srivastava 4:46
I mean I think it had to, right? Because when field events are not happening, right, and COVID like obviously disrupted the industry that we work with quite significantly. I work in the finance space and the impact of COVID on the economy is not unknown, right. So it by the very nature of the job, it became important to be a thought leader and help people that we work with, to sort of, you know, sort of help them through the problems. And the only way to do that was to produce more digital content, right, because we were not getting more, you know, as many one-on-one interactions or on field interactions as we’d like. So we really had to double down and say, you know, we need to do more stuff online. And then we need to experiment more with what we’re doing online, if you really want it to stand out with like, all the other things that are happening. So originally, we used to do more ebooks and blogs and stuff. But then we also started doing more panel discussions, more interviews, more interactive conversations, right? So the nature of the content itself also changed. And I think yes, the remote work, and all the other impacts on the business that had a lot of role to play on, you know, this shift in how people are looking at content marketing.

Shaheen Samavati 6:00
And I mean, do you have any tips on or how did you manage to make your content stand out?

Avinash Srivastava 6:07
I think a lot of it is analysis for me, right? Personally, I feel because I consume content a lot, right? I’m one of those people. And and there’s a reason why I’m actually a lot more active on LinkedIn since lockdown started, because originally, I had this amazing team of other content product marketers that I used to work with. And we used to brainstorm ideas off of each other all the time. But when this lockdown happened, and I was not getting to meet them so much, I started going on LinkedIn, and I consumed content thoroughly myself, you know, and I read about marketing content, obviously. But then I tried to take inference. When I did an amazing, you know, blog on how to do better marketing, I sort of tried to put myself in the shoes that if I write this for a finance professional or for a PR professional, which is the sub domain within finance that I work with, how do I translate this exact thing into their words, and you know, that sort of thing to a goal that’s important to them. So that analysis, like just reading a piece, and then in the background, just thinking about how you can translate it into, you know, something that your audience would find useful, that’s very important, I think relatability is the highest, you know, and the most important factor, basically, when you’re creating any content, right? So, I started thinking a little bit more about the tone in which we were talking, I told my team to write more in second person, I think that’s, that’s really come to me a lot, right? That when you’re writing “you,”… you know, you’re that that just strikes a chord way more than “we” and the other person, the third person. So, you know, analysis, I think that’s really where I feel that you know, it really gave me the direction, then you need to have execution, right? Once you have the analysis, you’ve identified the goals, you really need to, like, communicate that properly, especially when you’re setting up a new team, you really need to tell people that, hey, this is what I am expecting. And then, you know, hopefully, they’ll try to do this same thing, when they’re writing something, they’ll try to put them in the, you know, put themselves in the position of who they’re writing it for. And, you know, you have a conversation or two about it. And I think it does the job. We were working 12 hours a day when when COVID first happened, right, because we had to really understand how it’s impacting the people that we work with. But more than that, you know, we wanted to be cautious about not to use it in the wrong manner, not to, you know, not for it to impact our messaging in the wrong manner. So it was a tough job at the very beginning. But then over a period of time, it got simplified and now we’re just looking at the next steps on how we can improve forward.

Shaheen Samavati 8:57
And so you’ve been responsible for global content marketing, creating content for North America, and also for EMEA. How would you like compare and contrast the two region? What’s your approach been in the different regions?

Avinash Srivastava 9:09
Right. So that’s a great question. And I think everybody who’s working in these two industries might have a different response, right based on how it has been for them. Like I said, I started working in North America earlier, way before then I started working in EMEA. So you know, I’m just going to answer with what I have observed, right? For me, I think and this is actually before even going into content marketing, just from a marketing perspective, the most important thing is the familiarity, or you know, how well you are established within a particular region as a you know, as a company, right? If both the markets, you know, are the same way and to the same extent, that’s great. But if you are more popular in North America, like more people you know or more of your clients are based is in North America, then you really want to, you know, have that in mind, because then people in North America are more likely to be able to follow you when you when you say something versus if you’re, you know, if you’re in EMEA for instance, they don’t know you that much, right, then you want to take the time to build a relationship, you want to take the time to build your credibility, you want to change your tone and your message, right, according to what how much they know you. So I think that level of familiarity is the most important factor. The other is definitely culture and the use of language. Like I told you before, I follow that a lot, I following the content to sort of you know take that insights a little bit, but when I am interviewing my speakers or my partners in these two different geographies, I try to pick up idioms and phrases which they use in the way they talk because if my content is not reflecting that then it sort of loses the credibility that is coming from a native audience, right? And it is coming from a native audience, I’m just writing what they’re saying in a more marketable manner. So using the words, the the the phrases, the, you know, the way they say things, that’s very, very important. Grammar obviously, right? I mean the conversations that really happen in my like team meetings a lot, right, where where I’m just reviewing something, I’m like, you know, “Just take this and this”…it’s just because the words are not used in the right way, the spelling’s are not right, so you have to sort of look into that, but the biggest difference comes from—in addition to obviously the content—it comes from the behavior of the people who are consuming the content, right? And that is something you need to spend some time figuring out, right? For example—and I think it will tie back to a lot of those things, the level of familiarity that I talked about—but like do they prefer getting a direct offer in their inbox or do they prefer maybe going through a journey before, you know, you start sending them something on their email, right? So if you have a competition relatively known that is you know operating in both of these geographies, how is their messaging sort of you know different for these two regions? Because I think content creation is a job that requires continuous learning, right? You can’t say that you know I got 100% of it! So for that, you need to have these things you need to constantly experiment with these things and learn about these things and understand that behavior, only then your content will create the value that it’s supposed to create. Otherwise it would be a great piece and people will not act on it.

Shaheen Samavati 12:44
Yeah, absolutely. That’s a good point. Could you tell us a little bit more about—for those who don’t know—what HighRadius does and also who your target audience is?

Avinash Srivastava 12:55
Right. So, HighRadius, like I said, is a fintech software as a service company. we have two lines of business—we work with the finance professionals but we have two lines of business which entail a sub process within finance, which is audit to cash. We work with—we have two…we have an integrated receivables platform which helps companies automate their receivables processes and we have a treasury platform that helps them improve their cash forecasting and just you know their financial health, keep a close eye on it. The audience that I work with most are you know the executors, which is like a director or a VP+ kind of an audience, most primarily like I said based out of North America and then to different regions within EMEA that we are targeting. So that’s really where I work with. I don’t work with clients in the APAC region within which is EMEA—that’s not the region where we operate in, so that’s just where our target audience is and that’s where we watching.

Shaheen Samavati 13:55
I see. Do you find it like challenging like not being in the markets that you’re actually marketing to? And how do you like keep yourself informed of what’s going on in those markets?

Avinash Srivastava 14:05
I do. You know, I think that’s very, very common, right? I mean it’s very easy to happen because a lot of times there are things that you know the Indian system has a different way of writing, right? And there are words off the top of my head that I’m not sure if a lot of the people who are listening into this will follow. Indians have this grievance redressal mechanism which is just not a common term outside of India, right? And a lot of time when you’re writing and you’re really being creative, you forget that you know you’re writing for another person and you take out your best work and you write that and then you know you see when you proofread or you receive feedback from somebody in that region, they’re like okay I don’t follow what this is. So you know it is obviously difficult and I think the only way to sort of solve that is really talk to more people within that geography, right? Which is why I prefer doing as many internal and external interviews as I possibly can before I even put pen to paper, even if it’s just to write a blog piece, right? And then I tried to get it reviewed, at least with my marketing team there and tell them that, “Hey, you know, is this resonating? Because this is what I’m trying to say, if this is not coming out, then you know, we need to fix this.” Very recently, I started doing this, I started watching movies in these two different geographies, especially. And I mean, obviously, everybody watches more of Hollywood movies, but I’ve started watching a lot of British movies and, you know, sort of seeing how the way people talk is different. And that helps a lot. You know, I’d like to make a example. Emma Thompson did this video where she was talking about, you know, how, how the British English is different and how, if you say something differently, it can be taken into something differently. I think my in my social life as well, I’ve started reaching out into that space, and figure out, “Okay, how are people talking in that, you know, in that language? And then constantly use that when I’m trying to write and I share that with my team as well? Because, right, it’s not me who is writing for HighRadius, like a couple of people who are doing the same job. So every time I come across something, which I feel “Oh, this is a good, good bit of information.” I pass that along. So you know, you set the you set that tone, you set those processes.

Shaheen Samavati 16:27
Oh, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So I wanted to go back to your personal story, just about how did you get into marketing in the first place?

Avinash Srivastava 16:37
Oh, that is interesting. So I finally, I mean, I am a mechanical engineering graduate, I was a science tech student all through my academic life. And I, you know, I thought that was where I was going to be making my career. And I was doing it, I was doing a good job at it. But I just, you know, I just didn’t feel that I was great at it. And I really wanted to be great at what I ended up doing. And that’s when, you know, HighRadius presented itself as an opportunity. I went there and I said that, you know, I want to apply for marketing and obviously, I had no background. So then, you know, then it came into, okay, “Why? Why does it make sense?” So I think for me, it made sense. because marketing primarily is about two things. It’s listening to stories, and telling stories, right? And I feel I’m good at both of them. I define myself, when if you know, people ask you, how do you define yourself in a word, I say I’m a people’s person. I love talking to people, I love interviewing people. And if you’re not doing listening, or telling, right, I don’t think you can do marketing, right? Because if you’re not listening, your stories would not be credible. And if you’re not telling them right, then obviously people would not be able to follow them. Right? So that’s just what was my understanding. And I went with this understanding, and I said that, you know, I can listen, the story, right, I can tell the story, right? I think, you know, I can write better than, you know, I think a lot of people so that and, and if I, if I’m given an opportunity, I would really want to, you know, learn all the technical sides of it. Because like I said, marketing, content marketing is not just content creation, there’s performance tracking it involved in it, right. So I said that, you know, if I’m given an opportunity, I would learn that part of the job. And I know some part of it, I learn some other part of it, and I think it would work out. And then I got it. I’ve been doing it for three years. It changes every six months, I’m doing something new, something different, which is very, very exciting. I’ve learnt a lot of things which I did not know, back then. Right. So yeah, that that that all worked out well, yeah.

Shaheen Samavati 18:49
And do you think your background in engineering has like helped you in your marketing career?

Avinash Srivastava 18:54
It does, right? It does! I think, again, and this is, again, my personal understanding but when you are a tech person, or when you’re an engineering person, you are expected to have a very logical understanding of everything, right? Because they don’t expect you to write, they expect you to solve problems, right? That’s the way the curriculum is designed. And I think marketers also are not even content marketers, right? We are not writing, we are solving a problem, we identify a problem with our target audience. And we are saying x, y, z are the different ways in which you can go ahead and solve those problems, right. So that logical thinking really, really helps them. And then I am currently working on a more you know, on a more niche campaign that I was telling you about, right? Where the people that I’m working with, and then nature of business sort of ties back to what I did my with my engineerinig when I was a mechanical engineering graduate, so those conversations are my favorite, right? Because I go in and and I’m asking questions and you know, everybody’s like, “Oh my god, am I getting too technical for you?” and I think “No, no, no, I know this! I know thiss stuff because I’ve studied this!” So that’s really cool. So yes, definitely the background does help. But then you really have to strive hard, because content marketing needs a lot more of the stuff that you might have taken for granted when you are doing your engineering, right? Especially maybe writing full sentences with proper grammar. I think that’s very difficult to pick up if you have sort of lost control on it for some time. So yeah, it does help. And there’s lots more to explore.

Shaheen Samavati 20:31
So you don’t regret studying engineering even though it didn’t end up being your path?

Avinash Srivastava 20:37
No, no. If I did not get into a career in content marketing, and if I was doing their job, and I felt, you know, like, trapped, or I was not getting what I wanted, then I might have. But now, right, even this opportunity presented itself while I was pursuing my engineering, so I, you know, that way I don’t. And then like I said, it does help me with sort of, you know, a lot of things. And the best part is that my boss, the VP, who I report to, comes from a very similar background, so I can always see him and I can go, you know, this makes sense. I am on the right track.

Shaheen Samavati 21:15
Awesome. So could you tell us like, what’s a typical day at work for you like now?

Avinash Srivastava 21:21
Yeah, sure. And I think I think all product/content marketers do the same four things that I will talk the most about, right? The proportions might vary. The one thing that I do the most is having, you know, customer conversations. I set up a lot of interviews, and I’m talking to partners and customers and everybody just like, you know, getting stuff, right. So that is one. I write a lot, right? I am writing blogs, e-books, and reviewing blogs, and e-books written by the people on my team who are in our reporting to me. I spend a lot of my time doing research. So because especially when you are in a, you know, in your if you’re in a technical finance domain, you really, really need to get your concepts right all the time, right. So I spend a lot of time doing my domain research and then I dedicate time to program management, making sure that the deliverables are on point, that with my team, right, everything is on track, they are not falling behind. They know what the goals are. So right now, I think I’m dedicating, at the current day and time, I’m dedicating the most amount of time to, you know, doing and writing stuff as well as researching stuff, right. In the past, I would say, during especially during COVID, I was spending the most time interviewing people, because I was trying to figure out how the situation has changed for everybody. So it varies between these four things. But research iis I think always number one, right? If you’re not reading enough, you’re not writing well. Well, that’s my philosophy.

Shaheen Samavati 22:56
Yeah, absolutely. And so what’s your favorite part of your job?

Avinash Srivastava 23:01
My favorite part of my job definitely has to… it’s a tie. I don’t think you know, I can say one of the two. It’s interacting with new clients. So I mean, talking, I’m talking to a lot of, you know, these customers, and I’m talking to a lot of people right, within the marketing network as well, with just my customers, including this conversation with you. And I’m getting to do and because we have a common thing to talk about, which is marketing. So I absolutely love talking to new people. I’m a conversationalist. And then the time that I spend with my team, that’s like really the second closest thing. And I mean, it’s actually a tie, like I said. It’s a very new team, they are you know, they’re very young people, they’re right out of college. And I mean, I’m not that old, I’m making it sound like, ages apart, but I’m not. But you know, but I can see myself in that position because I was there not a very long time ago. So working with them sort of helping them understand that one blog is not one blog, it’s, you know, it’s a piece of document and puts highways out there in front of you don’t know how many people depending on its reach, helping them see the larger picture and helping them get inspired enough to create stories of their own. So you know, I spend a lot of time one-on-one with my team sort of having these conversations and I think those both those things, is a favorite part of my job. And I think talking is at the base of it. So probably conversations.

Shaheen Samavati 24:28
Yeah, so speaking of that, like what tips or advice would you have for someone who’s just thinking of entering a career in content marketing?

Avinash Srivastava 24:36
Tips and advice? I think first things first, there are things that I would like people to know if they are considering a content marketing career. And I say this with, you know, a lot of respect. I don’t mean to you know, I don’t in any way I don’t mean to say that, you know, this is wrong, but the first thing that I want people to know is content marketing is a tough job, and I’m saying this because I know a lot of people personally that I’ve spoken to who are like, You know, it’s writing!” And I mean, I can write well, I can do you know, I write…and I was there. Like I said, right, I went there, and I said, I write well, so I think I’m a good fit. But it’s not…content Marketing is not content creation, right? You have to think about user experience. If you have to think about design and how that complements your content, you have to think about performance tracking, how is a blog performing? How is an e-book performing. So know that there is a lot more to it than just content creation, and know that it’s a tough job, ideas don’t always come to you, and that’s fine. Creative block is a very, very real thing, right? People just cannot think of new things to say, and that’s completely okay. Right? As long as you’re willing to sort of work towards it and say that, you know, I’m gonna speak with 10 more people if I need to come up with a good new good idea, right? You do that. Then I think the other thing I would say is find your niche, especially if you are in, you know, in the very early stages of your career. Because I think content is diversified, right? You write something that’s content, you make a video, that’s content, you design the infographic, that’s also content. And it’s very rare for the same person to be brilliant at all of those three things. There are people, I know personally people who are great at all of those things, but it’s rare, right? If you know that you are great at one of these, and that’s your niche, sure, pursue it and make sure that you are the best person for the job. And then don’t take the other two for granted. Make sure that you have a good working knowledge of the other two, right? Because content, like written content doesn’t go without design. If I’m writing an ebook, where like there’s tons and tons of text, and then one picture just comes at the bottom of it, it’s not good experience, right? And experience is what we’re trying to build, right? So make sure that you have a good working knowledge of the other aspects. But you have a niche that you really can say, Oh, this is what I’m the best at and this is why I’m a content marketer. I think that’s very important.

Shaheen Samavati 27:08
Yeah, absolutely. Very good tips. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit asked you about a any tips you have from working from home and any habits maybe you have that you’d attribute to your success?

Avinash Srivastava 27:23
Right? I want to say calendar management, I think, you know, especially a lot of people in the younger generation, my generation, I feel we are not not great at it, at least I feel so right. I am always a person, I have my to do list, even when I was working in office, I was like a sticky notes person I had, you know, x this at x time, I’m going to do this, right? And I’m going to do this. But with working from home calendar management is super, super critical, right? You have time blocks for everything, your morning, coffee, your evening coffee, your lunch, your dinner, right and make sure that you stick to those time blocks. Especially why I’m saying this for, you know, for my generation, and I include myself in this, I work for 10 to 12 hours a day on my laptop, then, you know, I’m using social media on my phone, and I’m you know, I’m watching something…I’m watching Netflix on my phone, a pop up appears, somebody texted on my work chat system, it’s I have an application on my phone, obviously, that pops up and you know, I’m certain like, “Well, I think I should just reply to it.” Because, you know, I mean, if I don’t, then I reply next morning, my time, which is the night their time and, you know, we obviously delayed for 24 hours. And you know, you might just want to do that, but you want to always say okay, is this as critical to you know, sort of for me to take the time out that I’ve assigned to myself and you know, answer this? Because if it’s not, then don’t do it, because it’s not. I mean, I don’t know how long we will be working from home. We have been working from home for 12 months now, right? So you need to give yourself that time. The other thing is, if you have given time to something then don’t procrastinate, right. I mean, like I do calendar management. So you know, I have something set up for a week in advance. I say next week, I’m going to, you know, read this, and I’m going to write a sketch or an outline for this piece. And, you know, then you come today, suddenly, you know, it became a very hectic day, right? That might happen and then don’t go “Okay. Now since it’s a very hectic day, I’m not going to, you know, do this, I’m going to push this…’ because then you will never stick to your, you know, your time blocks. So make sure even if it’s a hectic day, if you can get it done, get it done, right? So I think that is very, very important. The second is network with people. If you’re a content marketing person, if you’re a marketing person in general, like I already said, you have to tell stories. And the best stories come from other people, right? So make sure that you network, right? Use LinkedIn or use any other tools. Join content marketing groups, speak with people have the same domain as you, but network to get new stories, new ideas network with your target audience your customers to get ideas about the content and the last is speak more with your team and I mean I am sure everybody is probably doing a daily catch up or a weekly catch up or some form of a catch up at some frequency, but what we need to understand from a work perspective is that our colleagues especially ones in our team are the only ones who understand the boat that we are in. You have your parents you have other people in your family who absolutely love you but they don’t know what you’re doing when you’re working. Your colleague knows, right? So there’s always that sense of relatability and it’s very easy to do that in office, right? You can just walk up to them and say, “Hey can we call for a cup of coffee?” and then you can go and vent about something. Make sure that you know your opening, like you’re letting that happen during work from home as well. Now it might not happen on a daily basis or at a frequency that you would like, but make sure that you know you’re not not doing it for like months, right? Because then that…then you’re just like blocking ideas from being passed between the two of you, which I don’t think is great. So, network, make sure that you are speaking with your team, and yeah that’s…I think those are the things that I would really advice, oh and calendar management! Yes, those are the things that i think are the most important.

Shaheen Samavati 31:29
Yeah, definitely. And when it comes to networking, though, like how do you… any tips for like how you manage to keep your network thriving while you’re while you’re at home? How do you network with people when you’re not seeing them in person, right?

Avinash Srivastava 31:43
So, I mean I’m a very bad person for playing virtual games, right. When I first started doing networking exercises in my teams there were these tons of ideas about games that you can play on Zoom and I was like no I don’t think I can do that in because my laptop just hangs or some internet connectivity problem happens and I’m like II’m gonna lose and I don’t like that! But I do make sure to make it a point especially with people I know, you know, that I’m catching up with them on almost on a weekly basis, if not more, right? And with more closer friends, I’m giving them calls from time to time. With my team I have a daily at least a morning catch up and an evening catch up and I tried to make sure that we at least do one if you’re not able to do both, right. I have a certain frequency of communication with my with my leadership which is very important. I think communicating up is as important as communicating with the people at your level and below, right. But the best form of networking I think is outside and that’s where you know LinkedIn comes in for me and I’ve become really, really active on the platformt, right? And we connected there that’s a great example, right, because they are talking about the same problem as you you wouldn’t believe just yesterday I read or somebody in my network posted an article about you know how you are better than a lot of content marketers if you are a great copywriter, okay? And this was the the summary of what they said. I had the same conversation with my manager like a few hours back for a work related thing, right, and we were talking about something. So you would see that as a marketeer all of these things are connected around you and when you’re networking you are you know you’re getting it right. So make as many LinkedIn connections, follow up with people send personalized notes, comment when you like something, comment when you feel that something resonates with you… I think LinkedIn as a platform that is very open, right? You can get comment and you can get to work more openly than other social media platforms. So make sure that you make the right use of it and I think again follow as many people as you can, right? I mean, sure you want to put content on LinkedIn and build your net build your personal brand—I know a lot of people want to do that—but as long as you…if you don’t feel ready enough for it, at least you know, read what others have to offer and see where you can utilize that. So I think that’s really where it all comes together for me.

Shaheen Samavati 31:49
Definitely and I’ll make a shameless plug at The Content Mix we do a bi-monthly virtual speed networking online event. So, and it’s a chance to like randomly meet other people and people get matched together and breakout rooms so it’s pretty fun way to meet people in content marketing. So anyways, I just next, I just wanted to ask if you have any source of inspiration or a role model that you could share?

Avinash Srivastava 34:42
Not one person—I don’t have like this one person that I say “Okay, this person is my role model!’ and a lot of it stems from the fact that you know I was not following a lot of marketing people when I was actually studying and then when I became a marketer I had a lot of real people to take inspiration from. So, my VP, who I worked very closely with now, my former manager—she’s she has been the best friend and manager—and I had a buddy, mentor, when I started interning at HighRadius. I think everybody gives you the best advice that they can, right? If somebody comes to me for advice, I’d give them the best advice, right? And then I try to take the best advice from all of them and sort of make decisions like that, so that I can come back, go back to them and say that, “Hey, you told me this, like, a couple of months back—I did this today!” Right? As long as you’re happy, and you’re sort of taking inspiration from everyone, then you know, then that is great. And, you know, that’s what I recommend. I have people on my LinkedIn, who I really, really follow, right? Very recently, I had, you know, I followed a few people—they come from a journalism background, and you know, and they, they are into content marketing. So, yes, I get inspirations, like in bits and pieces from a lot of people, but I don’t have you know, like one person who I’m gonna say, “Oh, this is the person I want to be like.”

Shaheen Samavati 36:06
Okay. Makes sense. And then it do you have any, like, recommendations for resources for marketers, whether it’s like an app, a tool, platform book, or any resources for keeping up to date on trends and things?

Avinash Srivastava 36:21
Yeah, right. It might sound like I’m endorsing LinkedIn, but I’m not! But you definitely want to check out, you know, a lot of content marketers…I was not even aware of the, you know, the wide pool of knowledge that’s available on the platform. And it’s available for free, right? People are just putting it up on their feeds and all you have to do is read and consume it. So make sure that you are making the right use of that. And then there’s LinkedIn Learning, which is then an infinite pool of learning of itself. So please, that’s my step one—do that. The other is, I think HubSpot is a great tool. And I know we use it at HighRadius. But, you know, I’m not very involved in that side. But I have actively done courses on HubSpot Academy—I think it’s a great learning platform. You know, they really take things from the scratch and deep dive into it as much as it’s needed. So you know, those are, that’s a great platform to do some learning. In terms of books, I want to be honest, I don’t read a lot of marketing books. And I know I said before that you have to read. I read—I don’t read a lot of marketing books. Because I am a fiction…I like reading fiction more when I’m reading. But I do read a lot of e-books on marketing. And I could get those mostly online, right. Very recently, I read this book on how to come up or build a messaging strategy by Emma Stratton, somebody I had built a connection with on LinkedIn. And then there is Richard King, who, from Product Marketing Alliance, who published his book on product marketing OKRs objectives and key responsibilities. And that was a great piece, I actually even circulated it within my team, I was like, “You know, this is great!” If you ever feel confused about what you want to do, or what you’re here to do, just you know, this is this is a great piece to go back to. So again, I found these people on LinkedIn, the content is available on LinkedIn to, you know, to download and access for free. So yeah, this is, you know, those are some of the people and some of the places where I read and I have to, again, call out, you know, the VeraContent platform, because like I said, only last week, I was having a conversation with my team, which was around how to build content for a different marketing mix, or North American market and other markets which are substantially different, which is the German market. And I read a piece—it came on to my feed, I was searching on Google—and I was absolutely, you know, impressed by it. And I again, I passed it along to my team. Yeah, you if people are listening into this, I think we have a great, you know, tool at their hand that they use when they want to go in and learn more about content marketing.

Shaheen Samavati 39:03
Yeah. Awesome. I really appreciate that endorsement. Glad to know that we had some relevant content that was useful to you.

Avinash Srivastava 39:10
Yeah, no, definitely!

Shaheen Samavati 39:13
Well, we’re reaching the end of the interviews. I just wanted to ask, do you have any final takeaways or parting advice for audience of content marketers?

Avinash Srivastava 39:21
Right, I think, yes, the biggest one is, obviously understand that content marketing is a fun job, right? It is fun, you get to do a lot of creative work, right? And that’s exciting, right? Every day you’re doing something new. So make sure that you know that it’s a fun job. And when it’s not feeling like fun, maybe it’s time that you stop and you say okay, why is this not fun anymore? You know, am I doing something wrong, which is not really you know, is taking the fun out of it. At the same time, experiment, yes, definitely. But don’t think that it’s experiment is just what content marketing is about, right? So, center playbooks, set up processes, establish a content marketing function, especially if you are a business within a scale of growth, right? Make sure that you are you’re setting up a content marketing process where you can go off the track a couple of times and experiment with a new headline or with a new idea, but you shouldn’t experiment with the base of how you’re creating content. I don’t think…I don’t think that’s right. And the last one is network network. And, you know, find as many stories as you can, that way you can tell as many stories as you can.

Shaheen Samavati 40:39
Excellent. Well, that’s a great note to end on. Thank you so much, Avinash, for sharing your insights with us. For people who like to get in touch, what’s the best way to reach you?

Avinash Srivastava 40:50
Like I said, I’m actually active everywhere. I mean, I have to be because, you know, I’m a very socially active person. So I’m available everywhere on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, as well. But I think LinkedIn would be the best place to reach me, especially if it’s in terms of something more professional. I’m very diligent with responding to my LinkedIn text, right? I’m very active—connection request, texts everything. And I am very open to sort of learning, at least right with with a community, so if you if you want to talk about the community, a place where I can learn about content, marketing, public relations, that’s like just a new form of new area within marketing that I’ve certainly gotten excited about. So LinkedIn is the best place to reach out to me for and then I can maybe join a community where I get to interact with all of these people. who are reaching out to me.

Shaheen Samavati 41:41
Excellent. Well, well, thank you so much again, Avinash, for being on the podcast.

Avinash Srivastava 41:47
Thank you. Thank you so much for having me, Shaheen. This was a really, really great conversation. Thanks a lot.

Shaheen Samavati 41:52
Yeah, I really enjoyed it as well. It’s been a pleasure. And thanks to everyone else for listening in. For more perspectives on content marketing, check out, and keep tuning into the podcast for more interviews with content experts. See you next time. Bye

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