Tricia Gardiner, Account Director at Brafton, has a unique view of the content marketing process.
She delves deep into clients’ strategies, running the data on search engine optimization and performance. She uses the resulting insights to forge lasting relationships between agency and brand. This means working closely with a wide variety of companies across every industry and field imaginable, but that’s not a drawback – to Tricia, that’s one of the best parts of the job.
“I like that I get to dip my feet into many different organizations,” she said.
An inside view of the account director role
Working in content marketing is about more than just writing articles, shooting videos and designing visual pieces. A lot of research goes into ensuring the content produced for each brand is exactly right for its message and audience. This is where Tricia and her fellow members of the account management team make their mark.
Tricia’s day-to-day work following up on client needs means she spends a good portion of the day on the phone, taking meetings with a long list of companies. These frequent calls are essential discussions of past performance and future strategy. While prepping for these conversations, Tricia also spends plenty of time meeting with project management and creative teams.
Between those external calls and internal meetings, that seems like a full workday. But there’s another extremely important component to Tricia’s days – research, and lots of it. Studying keyword reports and performing SEO research lets her come up with the building blocks for in-depth performance reports and optimization strategies for clients.
“I am on calls almost all day long and when I am not speaking with clients or working on projects with internal team members I am deep into analytics pulling data for clients, doing keyword research and building out performance reports and optimization strategies.”
Creating these informative reports is one way to become indispensable to clients. Ideally, they realize where they should take their content marketing strategies next and sign up to keep seeing great results.
Tricia’s greatest pride in her Brafton work comes from the way she’s been able to hit her sales quotas, build relationships with her clients and help her teammates. These three things go together. A well-designed content plan will set every member of the team up for success, while pushing the client toward their goals.
Account management today: Practices that work
There are two sides to a client-agency relationship in today’s marketing climate.
First, there’s the data-driven side of calculating the ideal piece of content for a given situation. Then there’s also the very human act of conversing with the company’s representatives and discovering what those individuals want and need, how they envision the campaign playing out.
Tricia understands that the ideal account manager will find the middle between these two poles, creating a strategy that reflects the cutting edge of SEO but fits into what a company’s leaders and decision-makers value.
When it comes to practices that will help the next generation of content marketers succeed, Tricia recommends experiences like the kind she has had: working with a number of different accounts at once rather than marketing for a single business. People who want to see everything the content marketing world has to offer will learn – and quickly – when they have to split their attention between numerous accounts at any given time.
“Get experience in an agency setting! You learn to become agile and get exposure into a lot of different industries.”
Getting the most out of Boston
Coming to the city and making it home was a natural move for Tricia, who was already forging a career in account management. Her previous workplace was in Connecticut, where she was an account supervisor focusing on strategy and account management.
She came to Brafton just over two years ago as a content marketing strategist and rose through the ranks, first to senior content marketing strategist and then up to account director.
While her days at Brafton are packed with things to do, Tricia finds time to relax when she’s off the clock. She favors the great outdoors especially, going on hikes and taking trips to the beach. Her ideal beach day involves a few friends, a well-stocked cooler of food and a book to read.
When out with friends, Tricia also loves to visit all the breweries, wineries and restaurants the city has to offer. In the summer, live music and Red Sox games are always on the agenda. Tricia also makes sure to spend plenty of time with her family. With a Brady Bunch-sized contingent of three brothers and three sisters, every time they get together it feels like a holiday.
In the end, it’s all about priorities, whether that means scheduling time to reconnect with those closest to her or creating a perfectly balanced strategy for a client.