As many of our loyal readers know, we syndicate one Buffer blog post per week. We love the folks over at Buffer and I reached out to Courtney Seiter, Buffer’s new head of content marketing, about her experiences with Buffer so far and what else is going on with one of the most talked-about social media companies online today.
You are fairly new to the Buffer team; what was your hiring journey and how did you decide Buffer was the team for you?
I have long been a Buffer fan and customer – even when I was working for a company that made its own social media tools! I loved the simplicity of Buffer and that it solved problems for me so perfectly. Knowing the number of applications Buffer gets, I figured it would be a long shot to join the team (here’s what the volume looked like the month I was hired) so I was quite surprised to be chatting with Leo and Joel soon after. I came on for Buffer’s 45-day bootcamp in February and at the end we all decided to keep going. I still sometimes can’t believe I get to work at Buffer!
What does your new job at Buffer entail?
It really depends on the day! Generally speaking, I oversee the direction of our content marketing efforts, which include our blogs (yes, that’s blogs plural), newsletters, webinars, social media posts, content suggestions, in-app copy, and whatever else we’re dreaming up or experimenting with on any given day! I also try to write a little when I can.
What has been your 3 favorite things about your job so far?
The awesome team I work with is my number one favorite thing by far. The way we hire for our unique values means everyone on the team is striving to live positively, improve their lives every day, and generally be happy. (I guess that means that Buffer’s culture is number two!) Initially I thought all that might be too good to be true, but I can now report that it’s totally how we roll! 🙂 The exciting daily challenges that come with working at a VERY fast-paced start-up are a third thing I really love. I’m never, ever bored!
What is something about the social media/content/marketing industry that you think several organizations struggle with, that you think could be done better?
Hmm, I can tell you one thing we’ve been challenged by at Buffer that might be the case for others as well. My fellow Content Crafter Kevan Lee and I are both decidedly “word people” at a time when social media marketing and content marketing are becoming more and more focused on visuals. We have ZERO graphics training but every day we’re doing these elaborate mini-infographics for every post. It’s been a lot of fun to try to become semi-competent at design!
What makes Buffer content stand out among the crowd?
There are a few key elements that we focus on to make our content “Buffery,” as we say. First, we always want to hew to our Buffer values and make sure everything on our site makes readers feel great when they read it. Second, our goal is to create content that’s as useful and helpful as possible, so there’s a big focus on data, research, and actionable tips. Finally, one of the phrases we keep in mind is, “Will someone want to email this to a friend?” If it can pass that test, then it’s likely to be thorough and helpful enough to be a hit with our readers.
How has content changed over the past year?
The biggest change I’ve seen is that the content landscape has become much more crowded lately as more brands and individuals begin to discover how powerful content marketing can be. A really cool consequence of this is that the game is sort of upped for everyone at this point. A blog post or video or infographic really has to be amazingly thorough or interesting or unique to get noticed and shared now, which is pushing all of us and leading to better and better work.
What additional ways are there for pushing content?
Like pretty much everyone else who’s marketing with content right now, we have finite resources. So we try a lot of different experiments to stretch our content further and repurpose posts in new and different ways. Some unique ways that have worked for us at Buffer are content syndication and creating original visuals (We find they work best when they can almost stand alone as mini-stories). We’re also starting to focus more on Slideshare as a strategy for repurposing all our facts and stats and getting more eyes on our content.
Buffer just announced Buffer Feeds, which allows users to add their favorite blog RSS feeds directly into Buffer, which they can then scan to add content to their queue. How did the Buffer team come up with such a great idea?
Like so many of the great ideas that drive Buffer, it came from our awesome customers! It makes so much sense – now that we’ve added Feeds, it feels like they were always there. We hope it makes social media sharing even simpler and an all-around great experience.
Besides Buffer’s blogs, what are some of your favorite RSS feeds currently that the SEJ audience might enjoy?
Buffer is big about providing an open culture that allows employees to further their own interests. What are some of your interests outside of content and marketing?
I hesitate to call myself a “cyclist” because that sounds so professional, but I try to ride my bike most days. Having not only the freedom but also the genuine encouragement at a job to go be healthy, de-stress, and get exercise every day has been extremely motivational! (Everyone at Buffer gets a free Jawbone UP, so there’s a lot of cheering one another on.) I also spend a lot of time gardening, which seems to be a hobby that supports creativity for me. A lot of folks at Buffer swear by the power of meditation, so I’ve been exploring that as well. Oh, and watching cute animal YouTube videos. 🙂
Bonus Question: What was the last great book you read?
I just finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, who recently won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. I tend to agree with the Pulitzer committee; it’s a sprawling, beautiful book that explores some of life’s “big questions” in an unorthodox way. Great question!