We met with Evgeni Hristov, marketing and communications manager at Tradin Organic, to discuss his experience in the global content industry. Tradin Organic is an Amsterdam-based company that supplies organic ingredients to food producers worldwide. Evgeni shared his perspective on creating effective B2B content, adapting to different types of audiences and markets, and how to make the most of the challenges posed by a new way of working.

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, listen to the podcast on Apple and Spotify, and read an edited version of the transcript below.

Shaheen Samavati: Let’s jump right in. Could you explain what your day-to-day is like at Tradin Organic? How much of what you do is related to content and social media?

EH: I’m currently the marketing go-to person at Tradin Organic. I manage all the social media channels: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I take care of everything, from looking for content to writing the posts and selecting the visuals. I’m in constant contact with people at our sourcing locations around the world. I’ve been doing this for a year and four months now, but before that I worked mainly in social media for other companies.

SS: It sounds like even though it’s a general marketing role, content is a huge part of it. Is that in addition to other types of marketing?

EH: Yes, we also do email marketing and other kinds of content. Once I created a video at one of our projects in Serbia, and shared it on our YouTube channel. Sometimes I also take care of designs. For example, when we were attending trade shows, I would design the booths, the brochures and what we showed on our screens. 

I’m kind of on my own in this role, although of course I collaborate with my colleagues who develop events, to brainstorm ideas and visualize things. I have a very broad scope of responsibilities, but to be honest I enjoy social media the most.

SS: How did you initially break into this industry?

EH: When I was younger I wanted to be a journalist in Bulgaria, which is where I’m from. And then when I was applying to universities, I found a program in The Hague that had something similar to journalism, but also incorporated international communication, management and marketing. I thought it would be perfect, and decided to try it out.

As I was studying there, I actually became more interested in marketing, communications and targeting: how to convince people to buy your product and believe in your mission. I started out with some marketing internships, and my interests shifted toward that side of things. But I’m still passionate about journalism, and my dream is to one day work in journalism again.

SS: My background is in journalism as well, and of course, now I’m also working in content marketing. I think there’s really been a convergence of the field, and you’re seeing a lot of people with journalism backgrounds moving to marketing, because now there are more opportunities here. Every brand is “reporting,” in a way.

EH: Definitely. I think it’s very interesting to work in this field, because marketing never stops evolving. There are always new technologies, new challenges and new opportunities.

When you make a social media post, you can look at the analytics and think critically about what you’re doing and how people are reacting. Should you have changed the visual or written something else? How can you do better next time? You just try it out and learn by doing.

SS: Tradin Organic is a B2B company; you make ingredients, and then sell them to people who use them to create other products. I think every B2B content marketer faces the challenge of how to best use social media to connect with their audiences; it’s not as obvious as it is with B2C. What channels do you use, and what advice do you have for other people? 

EH: Well, when I worked in the B2C world we used Facebook and Instagram, but right now we’re focusing mainly on LinkedIn. I shifted to this platform because it’s the best place to connect with other people who work at companies that will buy our products and turn them into something else.

We also have a different tone of voice. We’re talking mostly about our projects and efforts to ensure organic integrity and sustainability. For B2C brands, there’s more of a focus on promotional messaging, whereas in B2B content marketing, it’s about storytelling.

SS: In terms of strategy, is there a particular campaign that you’d like to highlight, or something that you do differently than competitors, which works well for you?

EH: Last year we spent over a month promoting all of our ingredients that are suitable for vegan and plant-based foods. That was a very interesting campaign, because basically all of our ingredients meet those requirements. 

The vegan trend is huge, and has been growing for quite some time now. A lot of our customers were developing products for vegan and plant-based consumers, so we decided to highlight the fact that we have all the ingredients needed for that. And it was quite successful; we got a lot of new inquiries from that campaign.

SS: Your company is very international. Which markets do you operate in?

EH: We’re really a global company, so we operate in all markets. We have 13 offices worldwide, but for now the main markets are Europe and North America. Throughout my career, I’ve always worked for international brands, and that’s something I want to continue.

SS: People who have experience working in multiple markets are certainly in increasingly high demand. What do you see as the opportunities and challenges of working in the European market?

EH: Well, the European market is very different from the U.S. market. We have to really tailor the messages that we send to our target audience, because we can’t sell a product, or convince people to believe in what we’re doing, in the same way in different countries in Europe.

Let’s take a pair of shoes, for example. Maybe a consumer in Finland is more oriented toward luxury, whereas a consumer in Spain just wants the product to be practical, and in Germany they prefer alternative brands and styles. You have to analyze the markets, and really understand the different cultures, in order to get the right message across.

Marketing in Europe means tailoring our messages. We can’t convince people to believe in what we’re doing, in the way in different countries.

SS: In your current role, how much of what you do needs to be adapted to different markets, and how do you manage that?

EH: We’re currently translating our newsletters for the German market. Here in the Netherlands and in Belgium, more people speak English, so we usually send the messages to these regions in English. 

But in Germany, Spain and Italy, for example, we translate the text and sometimes the visuals into the local languages. Most of this is done in-house, since we have offices in each of these countries. And I manage this whole process.

SS: Of course we’re in a very unique situation right now, in the middle of a global pandemic. How has that impacted your marketing plans, your job and your day-to-day life?

EH: All of our events and trade shows have been postponed or canceled, which is very unfortunate. But the positive side is that it’s inspired digital innovation; we’re using more digital tools to connect with our customers, and also our colleagues. I’ve never had so many calls before! It’s challenging, but we’ve adapted very well. Although to be honest, I’m looking forward to things going back to normal.

SS: So right now you’re working from home, I imagine?

EH: I am, but we’re almost at the end of our “lockdown” here in the Netherlands—we took a more relaxed approach here. I’m going back to the office next week, but it won’t be used at full capacity. We have schedules for different teams to go at different times. We’re also being asked to use our bikes to get there.

I’ve been working from home for almost two months now. In the beginning, it was a little bit lonely, because I really like to socialize with my colleagues and ask for their opinions. But now I’m actually enjoying working from home. I get to listen to my own music and structure my day however I want, and there are less distractions. It provides a certain level of comfort.

I do miss the social contact, like going out for drinks and getting to know your colleagues in a different way. But I think that from the perspective of COVID-19, in the future more people will be working remotely. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

See also: 15 expert tips for making remote-work life enjoyable and effective

SS: I’d like to do some rapid-fire questions. First, what’s a lesser-known app or tool that you can’t work without?

EH: The one that comes to mind isn’t clearly connected to marketing, but it offers interesting insights. It’s an app called Monocle 24, and it’s part of Monocle Magazine. I like to listen to the podcast while I’m working. It covers all kinds of things: business, marketing, events, travel… 

Another app that I’m excited about is Procreate. It’s a digital illustration tool for iPads. I really like photo editing and taking pictures, so I’m using it for that.

See also: Top 10 apps for content and marketing professionals

SS: Do you follow any marketing influencers in Europe?

EH: I don’t know if she counts as an influencer, but I follow Virginia Yanquilevich, who’s the CEO of Dopper. She shares very interesting content. I really like the brand, and how they’re approaching sustainability.

SS: Lastly, is there a particular event or industry organization that you like?

EH: I really like The Next Web, because I’m a bit of a tech geek. They’re based here in Amsterdam, and they share news about technology and marketing. They organize a yearly conference that I’ve attended twice. I was looking forward to this year, but for now it’s postponed, of course.

I also really like Wired Magazine and their website, to stay informed on technology. And I’m an aviation geek, so I follow a lot of news about the aviation industry, which is being hit really hard right now.

SS: Do you have any parting advice for other marketers or communication professionals?

EH: Try to focus and adapt, even though it can be difficult when you’re stuck at home. Surround yourself with new tools and training, and take advantage of this opportunity to learn in your spare time.

I’ve been learning a lot about marketing automation; I’m getting to know a platform called HubSpot. I finished the basic training, but now I’m doing extra because I’ll probably be using it more and more for my work.

Check out our interview with HubSpots’ EMEA marketing director, Inken Kuhlmann-Rhinow

SS: Thank you so much for joining us, and for all your tips and insights. 

EH: Thanks so much for having me!

Connect with Evgeni and Shaheen on LinkedIn.

This post was edited by Melissa Haun, a freelance content creator based in Lisbon.

For more insights into B2B content marketing:

If you’re not online, you’re not visible – Kate Busby, global social media manager at IWG

Social media is for everyone – Gareth Crew, EMEA social media manager

Forget the fluff – Sara Lesina, global marketing lead at Lonza