Erica Ylimäki Takes Us Inside the Mind of a Marketer

Erica Ylimäki Takes Us Inside the Mind of a Marketer

We’re back with another interview in our Dumb Questions for Brilliant Marketers series. This time, nDash’s Managing Editor, Jenn Greenleaf, talks to growth marketer Erica Ylimäki about SEO and more!

Background: The Highlights

Erica Ylimäki is a Growth Marketer at Trustmary, where she leverages her expertise in SEO strategies to drive organic traffic and enhance business growth. Over the past two years, Erica’s role has evolved from writing and editing content to a more SEO-focused approach, utilizing reviews across various CMS and platforms to maximize impact.

In the following interview, Erica shares her dedication to learning and adapting has been instrumental in her professional development. Her work in a fast-paced environment has allowed her to grow professionally, continuously pushing the boundaries of her knowledge and adapting to new technologies and trends.

nDash’s Interview With Erica

Jenn: Can you tell us about your journey into marketing and what drew you to this field?

Erica Ylimäki quote 1Erica: Well, it was an accident that I ended up at this company. I was studying to become a German and English teacher, and at the end of my studies, I needed a job while writing my master’s thesis. I found this company that was looking for someone to interview people in German for a testimonial video. They hired me for this one-time job, and they liked me so much that they kept me on. Within three months, they hired me full-time and created a job for me.

Over time, I became responsible for managing a videographer network globally and producing content in three languages: German, Finnish, and English. When COVID-19 happened, we transitioned from a project business to a software-as-a-service company. Since I was already creating content, I became the content writer and eventually the Content Editor, responsible for our content strategy and team. It was a fortunate accident that led me here, and I love people and writing. Since I’m currently doing everything related to boosting our organic growth, my title was changed from content editor to growth marketer to match my current job.

Jenn: What’s your approach to SEO, and how has it evolved over the years?

Erica: When I started as a marketer in 2021, I had no idea what SEO was. I learned how to do keyword research and developed a content strategy. Over the years, I’ve gotten used to the constant changes in SEO. Unlike those with long-term experience, I don’t have any nostalgia for the old ways. I think my adaptability is an advantage because I’m used to learning and changing with the industry. Even within the short span of my career, I’ve seen many changes in what works and what doesn’t in SEO.

Jenn: As a marketer, how do you identify and use low-volume, bottom-of-the-funnel keywords?

Erica: We try to identify purchase intent keywords at the bottom of the funnel. When doing keyword research, I consider if someone would use a particular keyword when looking for a product. We don’t skip low-volume keywords; instead, we include them in our content strategy. This approach has driven our global growth in SaaS. We translate content into different languages, which has helped us gain traction in various markets, even before full localization.

Jenn: How do your multilingual skills benefit your role as a content producer and marketer?

Erica: Knowing multiple languages helps me understand different cultures and how they think. This understanding is crucial for localizing content and planning our next steps. It’s more than just knowing the language; it’s about knowing the cultural nuances and how to approach different audiences effectively. For instance, my experience in Germany has given me insights into how to localize content for that market.

Jenn: Can you tell us about the importance of video testimonials in marketing and how they influence decisions?

Erica: The best video testimonials come from people who are genuinely excited about the product. To convert viewers, these testimonials need to be relatable and believable. Including elements that the ideal customer profile can identify with, such as similar life situations or interests, makes these videos more effective. Video testimonials are versatile and can be used in various marketing channels, like social media, paid ads, and landing pages.

Jenn: Can video testimonials be repurposed into other content?

Erica: Yes, we used all types of videos in various ways, such as social media clips, directing viewers to full stories, or using them in paid ads. We have used this strategy in the past but don’t currently focus on getting new video testimonials. Video testimonials, especially user-generated ones, add credibility because they feel more genuine. Our software also enables collecting video testimonials, making them accessible and useful for different marketing channels. These user-generated videos might be lower quality, but that can even add to their credibility because they feel more authentic.

Jenn: As a marketer, how has AI changed your approach to SEO and marketing?

Erica Ylimäki quote 2Erica: Being based in Europe, we don’t have the AI overview yet, but we need to understand it for our US business. It’s another adaptation challenge. We experimented with VPNs to see how our keywords perform in AI overviews and adjusted our strategy accordingly. It’s a learning process with a bit of luck involved. We need to figure out how to get ourselves into the AI overview to get clicks and brand recognition.

Jenn: What are your views on using AI tools to streamline workflows?

Erica: AI tools are excellent for speeding up tasks like grammar checks, summaries, and generating content ideas. I use AI to create initial drafts, which makes it easier to start editing. It’s a great tool for content creation and proofreading but not for bulk content production. For example, I use AI to generate ideas and get different perspectives, and then I edit and refine the content. It’s also helpful for proofreading and checking for unnecessary repetition.

Jenn: How do you ensure AI-generated content doesn’t come out too formulaic?

Erica: We avoid using specific templates for all articles. Instead, we write text that we find easy to read and give each other feedback. This approach keeps our content varied and engaging. We don’t have a fixed layout for every article, which helps maintain a fresh and natural feel. We focus on what reads well and flows naturally rather than sticking to a rigid structure.

Jenn: Do you provide freelancers with a template or let them create their own outlines?

Erica: When working with freelancers, I provide a basic structure based on keyword research but allow them to suggest changes with good reasons. Currently, with in-house writers, we create content collaboratively without strict templates. If we were to work with freelancers again, I would probably create a template to get them started but give them the freedom to adjust it as needed, provided they can justify their changes.

Jenn: Do you rely on subject matter experts for interviews or data?

Erica: We use data from our software and quotes from colleagues. We also include case stories and use platforms like Help a B2B Writer for expert quotes, though it’s not always easy. Pulling data from our own software helps us provide relevant and accurate information, and using case stories adds credibility and real-world examples to our content.

Jenn: What were the challenges you faced as a content editor?

Erica: Giving feedback was challenging because it takes time. I tried to provide constructive feedback, marking both good and bad parts. Managing the process with high volumes of content was also chaotic.

Now, with a smaller team, it’s easier to ensure quality without extensive editing. The volume of content was high, and even though I’m a fast reader, it was a lot to manage. I had to ensure the content was good enough to publish and decide the next steps for each writer.

Jenn: Did you find it challenging to return revision requests in a timely manner?

Erica: Not really. I aimed to give feedback quickly while the content was still fresh in the writer’s mind. I scheduled time for reviewing and providing feedback promptly. I always tried to return feedback as soon as possible because it’s easier for writers to revise when the content is still fresh.

Jenn: As a marketer, what advice would you give to someone starting in your shoes today?

Erica: Trust yourself and your intuition. Successful marketers sense changes and adapt their strategies accordingly. Be confident in your abilities, and when you don’t know something, work hard and stay enthusiastic. If you trust yourself, others will, too. It’s important to be confident in what you know and what you can do. When you’re unsure, enthusiasm and hard work can make a big difference.

Erica Ylimäki

Want to learn more about Erica and her experience as a Growth Marketer? Check out her profile on LinkedIn: Erica Ylimäki.