Roundtable: A Look Behind the Scenes at McKinley Marketing Partners
Marketing colleagues dish about content, writing and hiring from within
McKinley Marketing Partners specializes in recruiting top-notch marketing and creative talent for businesses and nonprofits in Washington, D.C., Dallas, Houston and New York. The company experienced a three-year growth rate of 64 percent and was recently named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing privately held companies in the U.S.
While the marketing team knew they needed a content strategy in order to deliver targeted and engaging content on a consistent basis, it didn’t have the resources to make it happen. They turned to an outside creative agency for their needs but soon realized they could benefit from having someone in-house. Read on to learn how a consultant from their own roster turned their content marketing dreams into reality and how that consultant now fits into the entire process.
Marty: I’ve worked at McKinley for eight years and during that time our company has grown and our marketing needs have gotten more complex. Competition is fierce for staffing firms in the marketing and creative space, and we need to do all we can to keep our name out there and to keep acquiring new business. We also need to make sure we attract the best marketing consultants who can help ensure our reputation as a quality brand, and we do that by building relationships.
Sasha was hired a little more than a year ago and she was brought on to take our marketing to the next level. She oversees marketing strategy, works closely with sales and specializes in marketing automation. It’s a challenging role because we have two sides to our business: our talent community and our clients. The talent community needs to know about the jobs we have available – we also provide tips and resources for them as they seek new opportunities – and on the business side, we need to make sure marketing hiring managers know about us and about the unique service we provide.
Sasha: I was brought in from their roster, just like Vicki [our new content marketer]. I had applied online and created my profile and, long story short, they hired me full time. It’s a rewarding role and I’m excited for the changes ahead as we implement our lead lifecycle program through our marketing automation platform.
Marty: Without a designated content consultant in-house we started to feel like we were missing out on some great opportunities to help grow the business. We also had to decide if we needed someone full time or on a contract basis. We wondered if we’d be able to find someone with the skill set and experience we needed who was also within our budget. There was a lot to think about!
Sasha: And so much to do. We were facing immediate content demands from an impending service line launch and several massive nurture programs. We had to satisfy those needs before we could even start thinking about growing our content program.
Marty: And don’t forget whitepapers! Our Marketing Hiring Trends 2016 report was a big hit and we will be developing more pieces like this going forward.
Sasha: Right. We were using an outside agency for our social media and writing needs – mainly articles, press releases and blog posts – but we felt like there was something missing. We needed someone here who could sit in on meetings, learn the business inside and out, and who could act immediately on a trend or insight revealed by one of our recruiters or business development managers.
Marty: It’s been a long time coming. So, we started throwing around the idea of hiring our own content marketing consultant and thankfully upper management gave us the green light. They were marketers too, so they understand our needs and how marketing fits into overall business goals and objectives.
Sasha: All the while, Marty and I were weighing out different options and refining exactly what we were looking for. Then it dawned on us, we have all these talented marketers right at our fingertips, maybe the solution to our content problem was right here all along. We asked our recruiting team to work their magic and it wasn’t long before Vicki’s resume found its way to my desk. She had applied online and joined our talent community and lucky for us we hadn’t had a chance to place her yet. She’s a freelance writer with a diverse background in media, healthcare and business, and we thought she’d be a good fit. After making it through our rigorous interview process the team agreed and we offered her the content marketing consultant role.
Vicki: And here I am, nearly three months in. I’ve never worked in the staffing or recruitment industry before so there was a bit of a learning curve in that regard but my writing, communications and social media skills were transferable. I was able to make a smooth transition and felt like part of the team from day one. Regardless of the industry, the goals of content marketing and writing are the same: identify a need, address a problem, and offer a solution for a target market.
My background in web content creation, ghostwriting and marketing writing is helpful in this role. I’ve also been able to use WordPress and social media as I handle our content marketing and help develop our strategy.
Sasha: We’ve accomplished a lot in a short time. In addition to having fresh content more often, Vicki was able to fill gaps and handle things our creative agency used to handle such as social media, graphics creation and posting content on our website. She even developed an Editorial Calendar and vetting process, both of which are proving to be invaluable to our department.
Marty: Hiring one of our own marketing consultants turned out to be a great decision.
Vicki: I was a bit apprehensive at first because I only work 30 hours a week and don’t have any health benefits. But the schedule fits in with grad school and side projects, and I get benefits through the Exchange made possible by the Affordable Care Act. It’s a win-win situation. I’ll be graduating from Boston University in May with a Master of Science degree in Health Communication. While that is my specialty I haven’t felt limited in my capabilities here at McKinley.
Marty: Actually, Vicki’s experience helped seal the deal for us. Healthcare marketing is booming and we’ve been able to make inroads here and there but we’re hoping that by leveraging Vicki’s expertise we will be able to successfully position ourselves as marketing and staffing experts in that space.
Marty Hendershot is Director of Client Services. Sasha Cabell is Manager of Digital Marketing and Vicki VanArsdale is a writer and content marketing consultant.
Have a marketing need of your own? The knowledgeable team at McKinley Marketing Partners is here to find the perfect fit for your team.