Meredith Metsker started her career as a journalist but learned quickly that the industry was a quick path to burnout. She pivoted, finding that her journalistic training and experience translated quite well to the world of marketing. Today, she’s content marketing manager at uConnect and wants other journalists to know that they, too, can make the leap.
“Journalists know how to ask great questions and find the best story,” she explains. “We can interview (on camera and off), research and write in a succinct and clear way with the most important information up top.
“We know how to put ourselves in the shoes of the reader and tell stories they want to hear, rather than the product-focused stories companies often want to tell,” Meredith continues. “And perhaps most importantly, we can sniff out bullshit a mile away.”
Cutting the BS Meant Saying No to Burnout
While Meredith loved her career in journalism and the adrenaline of serving up breaking news stories, she burned out after a year of full-time work. Though she’d long dreamed of working in the “big leagues” of journalism and seeing a byline at somewhere like The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, she recognized that path — the stress, low pay and constant feeling of being on call — was unsustainable.
Her search for a career with better balance and pay led to marketing. She took a job at Washington State University, where she learned to adapt her journalistic style to fit a brand.
Then, she worked as a data journalist for Lightcast (formerly Emsi), a labor market analytics company, where she honed her data storytelling skills. This experience helped her discover how to communicate dense, complex topics in a “compelling, understandable way.”
Her next role happened while most people were staying put — in fall 2020 during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. She joined the tech startup Stonly, which also happened to be her first remote job working with an international team. There, she built a podcast from the ground up and produced more than 20 episodes.
In January 2022, she returned to the world of higher education by joining uConnect, a virtual career center platform for colleges and universities. The company helps college students and recent graduates build meaningful careers.
“My Work Has a Very Real Impact on Real People — the Stakes Are Higher”
Working for a mission-driven company like uConnect has shifted Meredith’s approach and purpose. She fully supports the company’s mission to make career resources, data and opportunities more accessible to everyone. “It’s about improving access and equity, particularly for underrepresented students,” she says.
The mission of uConnect stands out among a sea of companies doing basic B2B software. “Knowing the product I’m marketing and the content I’m creating can help real people with such a monumental, life-affecting thing like building a career. … That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. That’s what keeps me engaged and inspired,” Meredith says.
Continued Learning and Networking as a Professional With ADHD
Meredith is candid about having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and how staying organized can be a struggle. At work, the uConnect team works in sprints, which can be helpful. Meredith also relies on tools like Asana and the Momentum Google Chrome extension to create to-do lists. She also blocks out time in her calendar and Slack for periods of “deep focus.”
“Right now, I only block off a few hours on Wednesday afternoons, but I may expand to other days if it works well,” Meredith explains. “Like many folks with ADHD, it’s hard to get into focus mode in the first place, and when I’m interrupted, it takes a long time to get back to that headspace. I’m hoping this calendar blocking will help with that!”
After starting and dropping out of two graduate school programs, Meredith has also learned that she learns better with bite-sized bits of timely information delivered in a personal manner. That’s why she relies on LinkedIn to grow her network and expand her knowledge.
“LinkedIn is like a daily masterclass in marketing, branding, copywriting, entrepreneurship, leadership and more — for free!” she says. “Plus, I like that I’m not just learning about marketing strategies and tactics on that platform. I’m also learning about the people behind them. I regularly have conversations in DMs or virtual coffee chats with fellow content marketers I’ve met on LinkedIn. And the knowledge I gain from those interactions is invaluable.”
Podcasts as a Surefire Path to Content
Building on her previous podcast experience, Meredith successfully pitched a podcast at uConnect as a way to scale up content with a small team — she’s the only content marketer on a team of three.
She knew that the company needed a content strategy that would offer the highest return on investment, harness the target audience’s subject matter expertise, build brand awareness and affinity, and give uConnect a repeatable way to produce a lot of multimedia content.
Podcasts also are a natural fit for Meredith’s skill set. “Podcasting is probably the content format that uses the most of my journalism skills all at once, including researching, interviewing, writing, audio/video editing, social media and more.”
uConnect will be producing audio and video podcasts. Every episode will feature an interview with a career services leader (the uConnect target audience) about a timely, relevant topic.
Each production cycle will also include many other content assets, including show notes and a transcript, a blog article based on the episode topic, video clips and audiograms, and social media and email copy.
The best part of this model is that the topics are guaranteed to be relevant to uConnect’s audience.
“As a journalist might say, we’re going directly to the source,” Meredith says. “Plus, a well-produced video podcast will make our guests feel like rock stars! And they deserve that. Career services teams don’t often get the attention and credit they deserve, and they provide such a vital service to students.”
Interested in learning more about Meredith’s experience or approach? You can connect with her on LinkedIn.