Two headshots: on the left is Jessica Bergmann, and on the right is Amanda-Todorovich.
Editorial

A Tale of 2 Pioneering Women in the Content Marketing Space

6 minute read
Dennis Shiao avatar
We know inequality for women in the workplace needs to change. Which industries are making a difference? Content marketing, for one.

According to the Women in the Workplace study from McKinsey, women hold just 38% of manager-level positions, while men hold 62%. In addition, the study found that “for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 85 women were promoted — and this gap was even larger for some women: only 58 Black women and 71 Latinas were promoted.”

In addition to receiving fewer promotions, women are paid less and have less representation on corporate boards. While most would agree that this needs to change, which industries are making a difference?

Look no further than the content marketing industry.

Revelations at Content Marketing World

Earlier this month, I attended Content Marketing World 2022 in Cleveland. Hosted by Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the conference is now in its 12th year. CMI is led by General Manager Stephanie Stahl and women hold key roles in the organization: operations, marketing, editorial and sales.

The conference had keynote presentations at the beginning and end of each day, with breakout sessions in between. The opening party was set to take place at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame after the keynotes, so it was fitting that two marketing rockstars closed out Day One:

  • Amanda Todorovich, executive director, content marketing, Cleveland Clinic (right on the featured photo for this article).
  • Jessica Bergmann, VP, content strategy & customer marketing, Salesforce (left on the featured photo for this article).

Amanda and Jessica are recipients of CMI’s Content Marketer of the Year Award. Amanda won the award in 2016 and Jessica in 2021. In this article, I’ll share key points from Amanda and Jessica’s keynote presentations.

Related Article: Deepening Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Marketing

The Business Model of Content at Cleveland Clinic

In a session titled “Running the Content Marketing Marathon: Lessons from a Decade-Long Journey,” Todorovich shared a deeply personal story of her content marketing journey at Cleveland Clinic. 

Amanda’s first title was digital engagement manager, and she had three people reporting to her. Over the years, she was promoted to director titles and grew the team to 20+ full-time equivalents (FTEs). Today, Todorovich is executive director, content marketing, with 80+ FTEs and a directive from her boss to become the leading health destination on the planet.

While I’m sure Todorovich was faced with sophisticated and complex scenarios to sort through, I like how she used simplicity to find success. The first was to define a mission statement that the entire team bought into:

“Engage users in daily conversation using health, wellness and clinical content that is unique to Cleveland Clinic.”

Next, Todorovich took the elaborate spreadsheet that detailed organization-wide content ideas and threw it away. Seems surprising, right? Not to Todorovich. That’s because requests from people inside the organization are based on what they want, not what the audience wants. 

According to Todorovich, “We don’t care what people internally want. We only care about what helps our audience.” It’s this intense focus on the audience that helped Cleveland Clinic’s Health Essentials site skyrocket in traffic and engagement. 

The website grew from 50 million visits in 2012 to 256 million visits in 2020. That number grew to 427 million in 2021.

“Be useful, helpful and hyper-relevant, especially in those moments of need,” said Todorovich. Content marketing at Cleveland Clinic has grown so much that it’s no longer a cost center, it’s a profit center. In a subsequent keynote, CMI founder Joe Pulizzi featured this quote from Todorovich:

“For Cleveland Clinic, content is a business. It's not just another mechanism for promotion or leads. The content we create is treated like products that we invest in and generate direct revenue from, which I think is rare. Content marketing is not a marketing tactic for us. We've built an entirely dedicated department that operates like a business unit.”

Related Article: How to Use Content Marketing to Your Advantage

Learning Opportunities

Inside Look: The Game Plan for Salesforce+

During the early days of the pandemic, Jessica Bergmann and her team at Salesforce responded quickly to changing conditions with a "Leading Through Change" content initiative. The program launched on March 17, 2020, before California and the rest of the nation issued shelter-in-place orders.

In recognition of the team's efforts, Leading Through Change won the Content Marketing Award for 2021 Project of the Year and Bergmann, the driver behind the team's content strategy, was awarded the 2021 B2B Content Marketer of the Year.

Later that same year, Salesforce unveiled Salesforce+, a streaming-oriented content experience that features episodes, original series and sessions from their annual Dreamforce conference. Salesforce+ launched at Dreamforce in 2021, which means that it celebrated its first anniversary this month.

In a 2021 exclusive article about the launch, Axios reported that “the company has hired around 50 editorial leads to help launch the service, including script writers and broadcast producers.” The article noted that hundreds of people are involved across marketing, product and digital, and that Salesforce built an in-house studio to film and produce content for the service.

Bergmann gave a keynote presentation titled "Teaming, Scheming, Streaming: Inside our Game Plan to Salesforce+." Bergmann shared a “team truth” that guides the content team’s activities: “Don't mistake activity for achievement.”

She also defined a few simple-to-follow guidelines for the team:

  • No random acts of content
  • Avoid a mountain of "meh"
  • Bigger, better. Fewer, further.

In the Axios article at launch, Sarah Franklin, chief marketing officer at Salesforce, said, “We'll measure success by free subscribers and viewership.” Bergmann noted in her keynote that Salesforce+ needs to hold content performance to clear standards.

Their standards are:

  • Build: Did we attract new audiences?
  • Engage: Did we keep the audience engaged?
  • Move: Did we move them to a next step?

Related Article: How to Find Content Marketing Success Through Any Budget

Other Elements of Diversity

Congrats to Amanda and Jessica, women who lead two of the most successful content teams in the industry. And bravo to Content Marketing World for letting their success stories come to life. 

Let’s acknowledge that there are additional elements to diversity that we should be thinking about. We also need greater representation and recognition for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), people who are non-binary or genderqueer, and other groups of people who are underrepresented or marginalized.

About the author

Dennis Shiao

Dennis is founder of B2B marketing agency Attention Retention, where he works with clients on content marketing, product marketing and social media marketing. Formerly, Dennis led the content marketing function at DNN Software.

About CMSWire

For nearly two decades CMSWire, produced by Simpler Media Group, has been the world's leading community of customer experience professionals.

.

Today the CMSWire community consists of over 5 million influential customer experience, digital experience and customer service leaders, the majority of whom are based in North America and employed by medium to large organizations. Our sister community, Reworked gathers the world's leading employee experience and digital workplace professionals.

Join the Community

Get the CMSWire Mobile App

Download App Store
Download google play