Growth Hacking Interview Series #113: Matthew Yeoman

Matthew Yeoman currently writes social and online marketing articles for the Bytion family of websites, manages a successful online privacy and security website, and very bad fiction.

How did you start out as a marketer?

I started out in the very early days of SEO marketing. I was churning out some half-useful articles with WSI Consulting in order to gain backlinks. Some of the stuff was okay. Nothing like the kind of content I’m working on now though.

I supplemented that with some online courses, and built my career using Elance. I wound up working with a number of people in all sorts of industries. My most interesting clientele were involved in the auto industry, and …how to put this …the erotic massage industry. Ha ha ha!

Looking back, what was your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?

The hardest thing at first was learning how to talk to people through digital avenues. I could talk to anyone in person, flash a smile, be charming, and generally get across what I was looking for and see a desired result. Getting by on words and tone in email is quite a different thing, and it took me months of perfecting my approach to language to get it right.

How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?

The first client I ever got was through a friend, Kimberly Fowler. We had been friends since high school, and we had been discussing my writing over the last little while (I have a lot of unpublished fiction) before I was hired.

She recognized my desire to write, and brought me in with the company she was working for when they needed a freelance writer. This was about five years ago.

What do you find most rewarding about what you do?

I put a lot of effort into writing things which are useful and informative, but the most rewarding aspect is to do all that and make it entertaining. If I can make myself laugh, I am pretty sure I can make at least one other person laugh.

We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers. Aside from freelancing, how else can someone earn online, and what is your advice?

My only advice is to work. Create content. Perfect that content. I have absolutely no hacks. All that I have is five years of coming in, putting in work 40 hours a week, sometimes 50 or more, with no longer than a six day holiday in five years.

You can be smart within all of that and try to cast as wide a net as possible at first. I have worked in every field you can think of. I believe that where I have ultimately ended up, as the Managing Editor for the Devumi Social Media blog, has been strengthened by this wide amount of experience.

How is your typical work day structured?

I wake up at around 6:30am. I start checking my email at around 7, and then I get cracking on the work for the day. This usually involves checking in with the writers I manage, just to see what they have gotten up to while I was asleep. My goal is to publish at least one article a day, which is possible considering the team I work with.

The most important moment in my work day is my nap at around 12:30 PM. I don’t know how I would function without my nap. This is a need for my biphasic sleep cycle, I’m not that old yet…

Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?

I’d safely say that four years of slugging it out as a freelance writer to become a Managing Editor qualifies as ‘putting in significant effort’ to get success.

Can you tell us about a project you’re most proud of from your past work history?

Besides my ongoing work with Devumi over the last 4 years, being published by Moz was definitely a high point. It took many rejected pitches, and then a lot of editing closely with their team to make that happen.

I also enjoyed being hired by Social Media Today to work on their ongoing Content Marketing Minds column.

Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?

This is the case every week. Last week I was juggling:

  • A revamp of an existing product, which included new copy for it, and working up examples.
  • Contacts from outside needing some input from me.
  • Completing edits on articles, posting them, and then scheduling them on social media.
  • Editing an entire email project, which consisted of around a dozen different documents which needed changes grammatically and structurally.
  • Video and teleconferencing on two occasions.
  • Communicating via Slack with five other people on a coordinated project.
  • Completing an article to coordinate with an email marketing campaign’s publication date.

These all had rolling due dates throughout last week. I did not miss a single deadline on any of them.

What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?

I am so absolutely immersed in the online marketing world that I can’t help but stumble across them. It’s like asking me how I manage to take a breath each moment, it just keeps on happening …or I’m dead!

To be slightly less cheeky, I follow the major blogs when I can: Moz, Social Media Examiner, and AdWeek (who have published me a few times) are all favorites.

What advice would you share with other marketers who want to become more productive?

The first step is to close Facebook and get to work. Yes, I know this is hard…

The second step is that while you’re working, you have to find a way to amuse yourself with your work. If you don’t, you will burn out. As I said above, I have been at this for 5 years with a vacation of no longer than 6 days.

Fortunately, not only do I find my work amusing, but I also make sure to keep myself amused. I have not yet met the ideal of doing a job you love so much it doesn’t feel like work, but I am pretty close.

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