Mischa Vaughn

Head of Content, Felicis

Defining the Flywheel of Content Marketing with Mischa Vaughn from Felicis 

There is an enormous variety of content available online, and pleasing the consumer with words is no longer an easy task. Content marketers are always debating how to boost web traffic and garner more online and offline consumers. This has given rise to an important and never-ending debate about quality and quantity. 

Anirudh Singla, Founder & CEO of Pepper Content, chats with Mischa Vaughn, the Head of Content at Felicis, about all this and more…

1. Please tell us more about your journey. How have your experiences been, and what got you into content marketing? 

I came to content through the media space. I was an early employee at Twitter and then went on to work for a media company. And then went on to do consulting around media, which includes content and social media. I've worked in the content space for different companies since 2000. And early on, I got a little disenchanted with media companies and understood that companies would have to produce their own content, and there would be an opportunity there. 

2. Most people don't have the ambition to create editorial-quality content. What's your thought process and methodology behind building these properties or investing in building large structures in content? 

You need to have a team that can focus completely on content. There should be an innate understanding of what they are doing and building. Having a clear mandate for resources is also really important. Also, understand how the different parts of your content strategy connect. 

To me, social relates to brand awareness, whereas the blog more clearly relates to growth. E-books and stuff relate more to demand generation. Our newsletter helps with conversion, where we optimize the newsletter so that people would want to open it regardless of whether they use our product or not.

3. How big was your team at Webflow? How did you go about structuring it?

It had ten people, including myself. 

Your team structure should depend on your business and audiences. Like we had service providers who would sign up for Webflow and build websites on behalf of other people.

We had enterprise clients as well who used Webflow directly in-house. So we could choose to divide our content team that way. So distinct people are serving those distinct audiences. Or we could divide it more by function, where there is an editorial, social team, video team, etc. And then, sometimes, within those functions, we'll also have audience divisions. So within the editorial team, there will be people who focus on enterprise content, service provider content, and so on.

4. What's your perspective on the quality versus quantity debate in content marketing? 

It has to be a mixture of both, depending on the different phases your company is in and its needs. For example, a startup's content needs will differ from a growth phase or established company. 

I subscribe to the hourglass way of thinking about quality content when you're starting a team from scratch.

If you're more established, you focus a little bit more on quality and brand building where you're playing that SEO game, but you're also creating quality content. 

There's going to be a long time when your content is not the quality you want. So you have to get through your quantity to get to the quality. 

5. What do you think about building external, on-demand, or freelance teams vs. doing things in-house?

Again, it's important to have a mix. It's highly unlikely you will hire enough people to be experts at everything. So it's good to have a mix of freelancers to bring expertise on a particular topic. Agency support is also important because that can be a consistent way to get quality writing that's well-researched out there.

6. For all content marketers, what's the toughest part about managing content at scale? 

The toughest thing about managing content at scale is meeting this constant need to ideate and create cohesive themes across all the content properties and then communicating that. 

Also, this forms a cycle of what we're going to do, how we're going to do it, and how we're doing it. This cycle is always moving for different audiences at different times, and sometimes they overlap. 

One more thing that concerns me the most is related to the team and ensuring they are motivated, challenged, and fulfilled by what they're doing. They also need to be aware of how their work contributes to the greater business.

7. What would be the one message you would probably want to give an aspiring content marketer who's just starting? 

Focus on what you shouldn't be doing. I mean, don't try to figure it all out yourself. Effective content is about collaboration; you must collaborate with everyone, from product marketing to customer marketing.

This needs to be synthesized into a cohesive strategy and narrative that makes sense for the company or product you are working on.

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