The content marketing industry is rapidly evolving, and women are at the forefront of some of the most innovative and exciting work that's propelling our industry forward.

However, women aren't often recognized for their leadership, creativity, and ingenuity in this space. And as one of the co-founders of Masthead Media--a content marketing company created and led by women--this is a topic that's very close to my heart. 

Because nothing else like it existed, my team and I felt compelled to create the Women in Content Marketing Awards (WICMAs). We wanted these awards to focus not only on the creative and professional achievements of women in content marketing, but also to celebrate leadership, mentorship, and community involvement. 

After the Masthead team (along with an all-star team of judges with serious content cred!) read through the submissions, we identified ten top marketers who are driving what's next in the world of content--and simultaneously elevating the careers of other women around them.

Even if this is the first time you're hearing about these incredible women in content, I can guarantee--it won't be the last! Read about their careers, and join us to hear them speak on the future of content at Advertising Week New York next month.

General Excellence: Charity Stebbins

Senior Director, Brand and Communications, Conductor

Charity Stebbins is truly a pioneer in content marketing. As the head of content and communications at Conductor, a search and content intelligence platform for marketers, she's creatively leveraging data to demonstrate the power of content marketing, and elevating the entire industry. "In my work, I want to present the story that there is no difference between being a woman or a man when you are a leader in marketing," Charity said. "That's a world we can all live in."

Her content marketing career path

Charity's career in content marketing began with her role as a writer for Shmoop, a digital publishing company in the education space. From there, she moved to New York City to work as a content manager for Smart Sign, where she oversaw multiple web properties and managed the editorial process for the brand. 

For the past five years, Charity has worked at Conductor in a variety of content-focused roles, starting out as a content and social media strategist and rising through the ranks to her current position as Senior Director of Brand and Communications. In this role, she oversees everything from public relations and content marketing to SEO and internal communications.

What sets her apart

Charity recognized that there was a need for research that demonstrated the value of content marketing and its ability to produce meaningful ROI for companies and brands. With this in mind, she led an academic study centered around the effect that content can have on customers' purchase decisions and brand affinity. She even partnered with an academic researcher from Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society to perform the study with 1,000 customers. 

The results of the study provided countless valuable insights, including one finding that shows that content makes consumers 131% more likely to buy from a brand. The data from Charity's study has helped content marketers across the industry strategically build their teams and set goals for their content marketing efforts. 

Industry Leader: Stacy Minero

Global Head of Twitter ArtHouse

Before transitioning to her new role as the Global Head of Twitter Arthouse, Stacy Minero led Twitter's Content Creation team, which helps brands earn attention and build credibility through premium content on the site. "I've always tried to put the consumer in the center of the brand experience," Stacy said. "At the core, my work has been inspired by the people, for the people, and that is what I aim to achieve through everything I do."  

Her content marketing career path

Throughout her 12 years as a content marketer, Stacy has been a creative force who pushes the envelope for what brands can do to engage with their audiences. She began her career in communication planning within agencies, working with brands like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola to help leverage media to drive their marketing goals forward. When she transitioned to working on American Express's account, she developed unique programs for cardmembers that were centered around content and tied to shows like Project Runway and 30 Rock. 

Stacy joined Twitter in 2014 to lead the newly formed Content Planning team, partnering with brands to help them create engaging content for the Twitter feed. In 2017, she helped launch a creative service offering that's focused on optimizing video for brands and connecting them with post-production support. Through all of this, Stacy and her team continue to prioritize research to help demonstrate how content can move and motivate consumers.

What sets her apart

Stacy is a respected voice in the content marketing industry, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and events like Advertising Week, Cannes, and Digital Summit. Among many other industry awards, Stacy was named a Media All-Star by Adweek in 2013, and she was a Campaign US Female Frontier 2019 honoree.

In 2018, Stacy spearheaded efforts to launch a strategic framework for clients and agencies related to purpose-driven brand efforts. Marketers at Twitter and industry leaders around the world have embraced this strategy, thanks to Stacy's efforts. Stacy is able to share her storytelling prowess and content marketing expertise as a prominent speaker on behalf of Twitter, and is an excellent example of a leader who successfully made the leap from the agency world to a technology startup, while keeping brand purpose at the forefront of her work.

Mentor: Erika Heeren

President and Owner, Heeren Content & Strategy

As a skilled business owner, a talented marketer, and an outspoken advocate, Erika Heeren is a respected role model in the industry and in her community. As the founder of Heeren Content & Strategy, Erika works with small businesses and non-profit organizations to offer content development, marketing, and public relations services. 

She specializes in strategy development, policy documentation, and internal training of small businesses, and consistently makes giving back to the community a core tenet of her work. "In my agency, my goal has always been to help local small businesses generate enough revenue to employ qualified marketers. Throughout my career, I have come to the understanding that a student mentality is a key to success," Erika explains. "To this end, in 2019, five percent of the profits earned through Heeren Content & Strategy will be used for scholarships for the continuing education of aspiring veteran and military spouse marketing professionals."

Her content marketing career path

Erika has been working in content marketing for more than 15 years, and developed her interest in storytelling through roles as a features reporter at the Mat-Su Frontiersman in Palmer, Alaska, and as an Account Executive at BuzzBizz Creative in Anchorage. At that agency, in addition to leading a cross-functional creative team, she also spearheaded the opening of a second studio in Boise, Idaho, and earned the award for Employee of the Year.

In 2014, Erika transitioned to a role in the government information technology sector of CRI Advantage, Inc., where she was responsible for marketing to government agencies including the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense. 

At her own agency, Heeren Content & Strategy, Erika elevates small businesses' content strategies through creative approaches and coaching practices. 

What sets her apart

Not only is Erika committed to amplifying small businesses through her marketing expertise, she's also an outspoken advocate and champion for veteran and military spouse education, employment, and entrepreneurship. A military spouse herself, Erika actively hires veterans and spouses of active duty military personnel, and promotes livable and scalable rates for her contractors and employees. 

She also created a scholarship program for her team to enable them to attend industry conferences and grow their skills through certifications and continued education. Erika volunteers with the Military Entrepreneur Program through the Institute for Veterans and Military Families as a mentor for military-affiliated entrepreneurs. Erika is also an award-winning writer and 2019 Idaho Business Review Women of the Year honoree.

Rising Star: Rayanne Piaña

Associate Manager of Content Marketing, Ingenio

In just under three years in the content marketing space, Rayanne Piaña has already established herself as a skilled and reliable marketer and leader. As Associate Manager of Content Marketing at Ingenio, a knowledge-commerce platform, she focuses on the Keen.com brand, overseeing content marketing efforts including strategy, SEO, copywriting, public relations, and branding. Thanks to Rayanne's efforts, Keen.com's main social platforms saw engagement increase by 469% year-over-year.

Rayanne's diverse background in journalism, media, and public relations has given her an edge as a content marketer, empowering her to create compelling stories with a data-driven approach.

Her content marketing career path

Rayanne has honed her skills through years of editorial experience, working as a journalist and editorial assistant for Bay Area-based publications like East Bay Express, 7x7 Magazine, and Maganda Magazine, the longest-running Filipino-American literary magazine in the country.

She also immersed herself in the marketing space through roles at MTV, North Atlantic Books, and URBAN x INDIGENOUS. 

Shortly after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Media Studies and Creative Writing, Rayanne joined Ingenio and quickly transformed their content strategy. Since she started, the company's articles section has grown 30% year-over-year. She also launched Keen.com's Advisor Content Network, and has implemented stronger analytics and tracking to show the impact of content across the site.

What sets her apart

Rayanne is not only a talented and innovative content marketer, but she's also a journalist, screenwriter, and playwright. Because of this, she's uniquely positioned to understand what resonates with audiences, and incorporates creative thinking across her work at Ingenio and her artistic endeavors.

In just a few short years, Rayanne's keen eye for content strategy has helped to bring a twenty-year-old company like Ingenio to a fresh audience, while dramatically improving engagement and expanding the site's content offerings. 

Top Women in Content: Honorees

We were so inspired by the careers and achievements of our WICMA applicants, that we couldn't name just four winners. We also wanted to celebrate the outstanding contributions of these inspiring women in content. Meet our honorees:

Alli Berry, Editorial & SEO Lead at The Ascent by The Motley Fool

Beth Traglia, Director, Content Marketing and Social Media, Farmers Insurance

Angela Matusik, Head of Brand Journalism, HP

Stephanie Stahl, General Manager, Content Marketing Institute, UBM

Brittany Dandy, Digital Content Producer, Journalist, Marketer

Kristen Johnson, Manager, Seasonal Planning & Content Strategy, Converse 

The Future of Content (As Predicted by Women)

Want to learn more about--and learn from--these incredible women? Masthead Media is hosting a panel at Advertising Week New York on September 26th with some of our winners, honorees, judges--and other exceptional women in content. Please join us for our session on the Future of Content Marketing: Industry Trends & Predictions from Top Women in the Field.
 


 

Published on: Aug 8, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.