Patrick Whatman is Head of Content at Mention, where he helps the marketing team spread the word and find new customers. We recently caught up with Patrick to hear about his experience moving to a faraway country to start his career, and how social media and web content helps shape someone’s personal brand.
Tell us a little bit about why media monitoring appeals to you.
Media monitoring is a very interesting space to be in at the moment. There’s so much data all over the web, and businesses need more and more to be able to capture it. They want information about their customers, their competitors, and their industry. There are a massive number of potential customers to market to, and we need to be as creative as possible to reach them. We also have plenty of competitors, and we’re working hard to create the best product and produce the best marketing to support it.
Since you went to university in New Zealand but now work in France, could you tell us why you decided to take a job in another country?
Truly, this all happened by chance. I studied law in New Zealand, and just as it was time to start making serious career decisions, my partner got a job in Paris. That was supposed to be only for one year. Three years later, we’re still here.
When we arrived, I wanted to find work mostly to meet people and have a reason to leave the house every day. I couldn’t work as a lawyer here because the system is different (and I was never really suited to it anyway). So I used my experience in content to find work. Luckily, there are a lot of growing companies in Paris that need English content, so finding work wasn’t as hard as expected.
The biggest surprise was transitioning from “blogging” to “marketing.” Initially, I thought I was hired to be a writer. While that’s still true, I spend a lot of my time working with and learning from the sales team, the automation experts, and the product developers. It’s technical, strategic marketing fueled by the content. I love the fact that everything we write has a purpose and contributes to our overall business goals.
Finish this sentence: “Looking back, the one thing that I would have done differently as I was transitioning to work and live in another country was…”
…to work a little harder during the visa process. No matter what you do, the process is unpleasant. But I waited to learn this the hard way, and I had my visa declined after the first year. It all worked out in the end, but I wasted unnecessary time and money just to stay here.
What advantages does a person gain by engaging in real-time media monitoring of their personal brand?
There are so many conversations happening all over the internet (and social media) all at once. Real-time monitoring lets you track these conversations, filter out the most important ones for your brand, and make quick decisions based on this new information. If it’s not in real time, you’re constantly leaving opportunities to engage with potential customers and influencers on the table.
When it comes to sharing or posting on social media, what are some potential red flags for employers that job seekers may not be aware of?
If I’m looking at a candidate’s social profiles, I want to know that this person understands what they’re putting out there in the world – in other words, a sense of self-awareness. So maybe your Facebook or Instagram posts are all selfies or party photos and a little embarrassing. That’s normal. But if your Twitter and LinkedIn are the same as well, then perhaps you don’t have any other gear. And that might be a problem.
If you can show that you understand how to engage in different social environments, then we can probably assume you know how to interact socially. You can still have fun and be yourself on social, but it’s nice to see that someone understands “time and place” online.
What advice would you give someone as far as negotiating salary, benefits, job duties, or other perks upon receiving a job offer?
Just remember that nobody enjoys the hiring process. Your interviewers probably have work they’d rather be doing, and they don’t want to interview hundreds of candidates. So if you’re good, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for things. If you’re at the negotiating phase, they don’t really want to take two steps back and look for other people.
Having said that, office culture is a major driver for many companies, especially the smaller ones. So if you plan to negotiate, you need to keep it respectful. Be clear, but not arrogant.
How do you assess your own personal brand right now? How do you hope to alter or augment it in the future?
Honestly, I don’t think about it. I just keep trying to create content that I can be proud of, and that contributes to our goals as a company. Hopefully, that comes through in the work.
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