As part of our Digital Heroines series, we’re interviewing Erika Voeller, a copywriter and content strategist at Olive & Company in Minneapolis, MN. She works with clients to identify and maintain their brand’s voice across their digital marketing content and writes blog posts that align with their audience personas. She’s known for being talkative, but loves using her voice to create something good. Her ability to share stories that get results is part of what makes her a true Digital Heroine.
How did you end up in digital?
I went to school for general advertising/marketing, and I started talking to professors and doing informational interviews with professionals in the industry. Everyone said “digital is here and will only continue to grow, and you’ve got to get on board.” That sounded like a smart move, so I continued to look for roles after I graduated that involved digital of some sort. A lot of the early work I did happened to be content marketing, blogging, websites…I was fortunate to get that digital experience right off the bat.
What do you wish you’d known starting out?
I wish I would’ve known that nobody really knows what they’re doing and everyone is trying to figure it out. That applies to all fields, but in digital there are a lot of elements that sound complex: SEO, CRM, keywords. When I was first starting out, I should’ve been more open to asking questions and what terms mean instead of pretending like I knew.
I had a mentor once say “Minneapolis is not a very big city, don’t burn any bridges, chances are you’ll run into the same people again.” That could apply to any city. It’s not worth it to burn bridges in your career. It’s best just to treat everyone with respect.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing women today?
The constant struggle to be taken seriously. Women used to say “give us a voice, give us a place at the table,” but now that we’re at the table, our message can get flipped. Some people see us as being over-the-top radical feminists. They ask when we’ll stop or tell us that we have equality and to settle down. When those are comments that we hear, it seems that no matter what side of the argument we’re on, we still won’t be taken seriously.
How do you think we can overcome that challenge?
We need to continue having these important conversations; that’s why I’m part of Women in Digital. Also, it’s great to educate and inform women, but we need to include men in the conversation and say “hey, this is what we’re experiencing in the workplace and we don’t have all the tools to get what we need…can you back us up, can you vouch for us?” Men have a lot of pull, and we need them on our side.
What’s your latest side hustle or passion project?
When I’m not at work, I spend most of my time at a local yoga studio. In the fall, I’m training to become a certified yoga teacher, and I’ve gotten the opportunity to incorporate digital into that passion of mine because I’m helping the studio with their content strategy and social media.
Tell me about a time when you experienced failure and what you learned from that.
I’ve always been outgoing and unafraid to speak my mind, which has come back to bite me on a few occasions. One particular time we were reviewing work as a team, and it was one of the rare times when a partner at our agency was in the room. I wasn’t used to that – they don’t come in often to review work, so usually the space is more laid back and casual – but that’s not an excuse. He started picking apart my copy and I got defensive and made a retort. The minute I said it, I realized I shouldn’t have and ate my words. Luckily he brushed it off because they know I have a strong personality, but I felt disappointed in myself because it wasn’t professional. I learned to always think before you speak, especially in the workplace.
The nationwide theme of August’s Women in Digital meetups is UX & conversion optimization. As a content marketer, what’s your best advice for driving conversions?
First, quality over quantity, always. And second, stick it out for the long haul. Content marketing works and pays off for most clients, but you don’t always see results immediately. When you put content onto the web, it may take several months to gain authority and start ranking before you see those conversions happen. Some people get frustrated right away, but you have to stick it out and be patient. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The conversions will come!
Why do you love digital?
I love digital because it’s always changing. There’s always something new to learn, and because of that I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the field. I won’t come into work every day for the next 25 years and do the exact same thing. Even in the few years I’ve been working in the industry, things have changed so dramatically. I love learning and anticipating what the next big thing could be.
Interview edited for clarity and length.
One of Hero’s values is diversity & inclusion, especially for women in tech. We’re proud to be a partner of Women in Digital, an organization focused on the advancement and growth of women in digital creative fields by uniting them together.
Want more advice from women in digital fields? Read Digital Heroine and Hero VP of Employee Experience Katherine Owen discuss working in HR in the era of #MeToo.