Leave a comment
Get the GH Bookmarklet

AMAs

Jessica Mendoza is a digital strategist and marketing expert. As the Senior Marketing Manager at The Associated Press, she led the website redesign and doubled online revenue growth within the first six months of the relaunch. When she is not in New York, she is in London working with the International team on global marketing strategies. She is known for her expertise on the intersection of marketing and technology, leading projects on data connectivity and growing the company’s online presence.

Previously, Jessica worked at media research company, Kantar Media. She was known for optimizing online and offline lead generation channels and increasing email engagement. Jessica also consulted for startups on brand awareness and conversion funnels. Jessica’s passion for learning has led her to join and be active at industry organizations, such as The Advertising Research Foundation, She Runs It, The Ellevate Network, New York Women in Communications and The CMO Council. She was a board member of The ARF Young Pros for three years where she launched a social media ambassador program and coordinated workshops for young professionals. She has published articles in Advertising Age and industry publications on marketing and career development and was a judge for the 2017 Webby Awards.

In 2015 she co-founded The Inspiration Alliance a community dedicated to inspire career-driven professionals to learn on personal and career advancement through a series of workshops, activities and speaking events hosted in New York City.

In her off hours, she runs The Modern Strategist; a weekly newsletter focused on the convergence of technology, design, marketing, and science. She enjoys geeking out on digital strategies at conferences. She is a sustainable fashion enthusiast and enjoys reading about behavioral economics and design.

You can follow her on Twitter: @JessicaGMendoza 

She will be live on Jan 30 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which she will answer as many questions as possible.

  • TW

    Tom Whatley

    almost 2 years ago #

    Thanks for joining us Jessica :).

    I have two questions, one at an organizational level and the other marketing strategy.

    1) Leading teams that are a thousand miles away can be tough. How do you bring everyone together at home and abroad to ensure internal relationships are fostered, kept strong, and that everyone is on the "same page" when executing an international marketing strategy?

    2) Leading the charge on a website redesign is no easy feat, not to mention the level of responsibility that comes with a brand like AP! I'd love to know how you prioritized elements of the website to include/ditch, and how you made sure you created something that provided not just a great user journey, but the right one.

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      1) Hi Tom - Thank you for being the first one to add these great questions on the AMA. It feels like you probably have some experience in the challenges of with teams that are miles away. It's tough indeed. Over the years we have united, and still, I think it could be stronger. Let me provide some context before I delve into this question. The marketing department at The Associated Press was almost non-existent five years ago. There was one marketing person in the U.S. and I believe two or three in the International office. When I came in nearly four years ago, I was one out of three team members in the U.S. We knew we could not work in isolation so we, from the start, liaised with our counterparts in London. That's when we started having video conferences and traveling on occasion for global marketing workshops and meetings.

      The teams have grown now, but we have remained relatively small. I think it was due to the interconnection of projects that we now feel more comfortable reaching out to our team members overseas. You can imagine at the beginning, we had that awkward stage of showcasing what we were doing in our respective regions, which is good to know but the teams work best together when they have a shared goal in common.

      Collaboration with another person sitting miles away does not come in easy either, even with collaboration tools available. I think it's essential to have leadership or project leads encourage cross-team collaboration in specific tasks/projects while at meetings to create a stronger sense of accountability and connectedness.

      We don't have a weekly global marketing meeting, but instead, we have project-centric weekly meetings where both parties are involved. When it comes to ideation, strategy development, and planning, we rely more heavily on video conferences and at times travel. I'm still learning and testing different ways to allow cross-team collaboration to evolve organically. We've used Slack, Asana, Basecamp, Salesforce, Smartsheet, Google Drive, Percolate, WebEx, Zoom and others for easier file sharing and planning. It's an ongoing learning process.

      3 Share
    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      2) I wanted to share as background and context for this question and the rest of the questions that AP is a not-for-profit cooperative. We had a limited budget for the redesign. Because of that, it felt like we were working in a startup within a large organization. Before embarking on the development of the project I went out to as many workshops and conferences, as I could, to learn. I took UX courses, design thinking classes, challenged speakers at conferences on SEO tactics, studied years of research that had been conducted about our audience and internal stakeholders needs, studied behavioral design and color psychology, brushed up my front-end coding skills and analyzed competitor websites. It was a time for full-on immersion because I wanted for this project to make a difference. Particularly because marketing was a new department and some people at the company were not aware that we existed.

      When it came to prioritizing the elements of the website, www.ap.org, lead generation was at the top of my priorities. I was helping redesign the B2B website, which allows the user to browse our products and services. People outside of the media industry are not aware that we help other media companies and brands with their content needs, so we had to bring to the top of our prioritization list an element that would divert the people looking for news to the news site and those who are decision makers to stay. At that point, the website had two goals to achieve, reroute traffic and for those who stay make it easy for them to contact us. Aside from those two elements, for the remaining of the features, we used a feature prioritization model, where we calculated impact, cost, tech effort, operational effort, business vs. project priority. It was like a more robust ICE framework. Our initial user journeys included most of the feature mapping, and as we prioritized them based on the equation, we would get to the ones that were essential to have for this first launch phase.

      2 Share
  • GH

    Glen Harper

    almost 2 years ago #

    Thank you for joining us today, Jessica.

    AP just hired a new head of digital and visual journalism recently.
    How does your team work with this group?
    Given the level of content innovation that this group might come up with, how do you ensure you maximize the impact of that output?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      I know! It's super exciting to have more digital-savvy people join the team.

      While I'm on the business side I talk and collaborate with everybody. I don't really mind if they work on digital or not. When you are part of an organization this large you have the chance to get to know various people and stories or areas they focus on.

      He just started so I'm hoping to give him a couple of days to settle in before we collaborate with him. On a regular basis, we coordinate with strategy and digital teams on specific projects and initiatives. Before the start of each year, we review the initiatives/focus areas we are going to work on and then set the projects in motion. Much of our efforts can be seasonal, promoting our Elections coverage, Winter Olympics coverage, and the like, so in cases like that we have to stay nimble to quickly adapt or change our plans depending on results or events. And, we also have ongoing improvements to current initiatives and operations, for those we have a roadmap of activity and we pull various teams for ideation and execution. I think it's really about getting together at the beginning of the projects, defining our goals and KPIs and maintaining the cadence of check-ups thereafter to ensure our output has the impact we intended to have.

  • PH

    Pradyut Hande

    almost 2 years ago #

    Nice to have you here, Jessica!

    For a dynamic and ever-evolving platform such as The Associated Press, how do content marketing strategies differ for both B2B and B2C target markets? Also, if there are similarities with regards to the same, could you highlight them as well?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Hi Pradyut - B2C and B2B have very different strategies. Often I have to switch my hats depending on what we are looking to achieve. Most of my efforts focus on the B2B part, which caters to thought leaders, influencers, and decision-makers in any organization that creates content. B2C are our content consumers. There are few overlapping areas.

  • KP

    Kyle Pursell

    almost 2 years ago #

    Hi Jessica!

    At AP, are you noticing a trend away from written word where users are now preferring passive learning, like audio? If so, how is your team adjusting for this shift in consumer behavior and what platforms are you exploring? Thank you!

    Kyle
    Dir. of Growth Inman News

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Hi Kyle - Our B2C audience as a whole love AP's written word. AP style is one of the most recognized writing styles taught in universities and high schools across the U.S. And, most media companies prefer the written word even when other media types are rapidly emerging and growing.

      We recognize the shift in consumer behavior and technology advancements, so we partner with startups that provide us a platform to adapt our content to other media types. We've always had audio as a platform; the difference now is understanding how users are interacting with different devices to follow the same story, as opposed to one more than the other. There's a great short video clip and post that discusses how we take a look at the connected world to provide a multimedia experience of our content: https://insights.ap.org/industry-trends/e-book-how-to-build-a-content-strategy-for-the-internet-of-things

      To answer the second part of your question, we also continue to explore how to tell stories using VR and translate data into stories automatically. If you'd like to learn more about how we are combining our content with emerging technologies, this may be a good post for you to check out: https://insights.ap.org/industry-trends/master-class-are-you-ready-for-ai

      2 Share
  • MP

    Myk Pono

    almost 2 years ago #

    What experience do you have in PR industry?
    How PR industry is changing?
    What are the best way for journalists and companies to interact?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      I don't have a lot of experience in the PR industry. My involvement is limited to understanding the SEO advantages it brings when it is well-distributed and strategized.

      From an outsider's point of view into the PR industry, I think content amplification and distribution platforms are closing the gap in the way companies and journalists interact. That is not to say that it is more efficient or replaces the reach that an exclusive PR play can bring.

  • SC

    Shana Carp

    almost 2 years ago #

    Given that AP's main site is non-subscription (aka ad only monetization), and given brands'/WPP's push for 100% viewability metrics, with all the consumate extra tech (and therefore, JS heavy ads)

    1)how do you optimize article display choices for enough high-quality inventory without getting pushback from editorial or loss of true unique pageviews
    2) How do you feel about the general drive towards 100% viewable inventory?
    3) How is verification technology, particularly from the bidders (not you carrying Moat) impacting revenue
    4) How are you dealing with verification technology and JS heavy ads causing growth in blockers from a designing towards revenue perspective?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Hi Shana - all great questions. There is limited information I can share about those because I don't oversee the advertising activity in our digital properties.

      When I work with the AP News product team on campaigns and enhancements for the digital properties, like APNews.com and AP News app, we always include people from the editorial teams from the start. It is a challenge working at a not-for-profit with limited resources to enhance our ad performance and pageviews, even when in 2016 we had 1.3+ billion pageviews, we are continuously looking to improve our numbers. Thus every time we look at a vendor, we may do potential business with we take a look at how much of a strategy and service-focused approach they offer.

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    almost 2 years ago #

    Hey Jessica - so cool to finally have you on!

    So when I hear about the AP, its when its reporting is being quoted by other news organizations.
    Is the AP looking to actively change that where its reporting goes more direct to consumer rather than via other sources?
    If yes, how are you'll going about that?
    If not, why not?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Hi Anuj - Great question. I think a lot of people who are not in the industry get confused by our business model. The majority of our workforce are journalists who are out on the field breaking news or helping companies create, deliver and distribute content (audio, photo, text, video, multiformat content). And we have collected content for more than 170 years, in regards to content and data we are in a great position because we can help inform other organizations in their decision-making, build their machine learning technology, and enhance their stories or products. We write 2,000 stories per day. More than half the world’s population sees content from The Associated Press every day. Either directly from us or from our clients. When you see a story start with AP followed by a dash, it's a story sourced from us.

      Our reporting has incredible reach not only built on the company's legacy but also unwavering reputation it has maintained throughout the years. We continue to work closely with our clients, new technologies and partners to tell accurate stories and provide engaging content.

      So to answer your question, we are the source, the place where the stories begin, and our reporting in 170+ years of history has found its way to the consumer through different channels. Our main focus is on the quality of our content and services, and chances are that you'll be getting our stories, content and services directly from us or through your favorite go-to site, publication or app in the future.

  • JP

    John Phamvan

    almost 2 years ago #

    Hi Jessica

    a. What tools are you using at AP for experimentation & analytics right now?
    Have you added any tool(s) to the stack recently? If yes, why?

    b. Where does your data live, ie what is the "source of truth"?

    c. What collaboration tools does the team use ?

    Thanks!
    John

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Hi John -

      a) I wish we had more tools to test everything with. We rely on Google Analytics, Branch, Carnival (Sailthru), Pardot, our CMS' and their testing tools, Salesforce, Socialflow, and I'm sure I'm blanking on more. Have not added many new tools to the stack recently but we are looking at a couple that may help us with a large data project.

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      b) We have internal databases and an entire team of technologists upkeeping the databases.

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      c) Collaboration: Slack especially to connect and chat with people in editorial across the business. Other than that, Zoom, Asana, Basecamp, Google.

      I love testing and tweaking and learning. And use far more tools for when I consult with small businesses.

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    almost 2 years ago #

    So excited to have you here Jessica!

    Can you talk about one international strategy that you think was really well executed?
    What have you learned about coordinating campaigns that span geographies?
    Anything about doing this/any obvious gotchas that have led to changes in processes etc?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Hi Dani - Our international strategies encompass more larger projects than specific campaigns, because we localize the content, otherwise it does not resonate as well in that market.

      For example, we partner with a company called Newswhip (a social media listening tool), Newswhip is based in Ireland and has a small team in NYC, and we wanted to promote our joint efforts in LATAM. So Newswhip, AP's LatAm team and us (marketing) came together to plan how we would go about it. We divided the content that needed to be created, collected email lists that would go to the target audience, and we used both NewsWhip and AP staff to translate the content into Portuguese and Spanish. We also planned the follow-up approach from the regional sales teams and pressed send. That campaign gave us a good boost in awareness and leads because it was highly targeted, we had our companies aligned to follow through the process, and the content was translated (everything was, including landing pages).

      From coordinating campaigns across geographies, I've learned to double check with people in the region to make sure it makes sense and it resonates, the images and even colors used on those campaigns are customized for that audience.
      Another thing I've learned is that video conferences and seeing faces makes a big difference during meetings.

      Obvious gotchas:
      * streamline reply-backs and follow-backs with people on the same time zone
      ** check over an over again that the content resonates with the local audience including images
      *** pay attention to local dates (aka don't send during a holiday or leading to a holiday that that country celebrates)
      **** check local/regional news to see if there's something you can use to bump up the relevance

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    almost 2 years ago #

    Hi Jessica

    What would you say is the AP's biggest marketing (and/or growth) challenge right now?
    How are you tacking it?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Customer journey across platforms. I think a lot of organizations are facing that challenge of getting and connecting the dots across the customer's journey when they jump from platform to platform. It's easy to identify and link up in startups, but in organization with legacy systems and a multitude of platforms, it is a challenge to connect the dots seamlessly.

      Currently, I'm tackling it by diving deep into data and data systems. It is not sexy or glamorous, and it may be the blurry line of where I become more of a technologist than a marketer. But even taking a look at the organization of the data schemas and tech stacks is key to have a seamless flow and view of the customer's journey.

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    almost 2 years ago #

    Hey Jessica,

    I was actually surprised to see that the AP has its own blog.
    How does the blog fit in with all of the other marketing initiatives and how do you measure its ROI?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Hi Mark - Our blog is part of every strategy. Ok, maybe not every, but many.
      Some of the blog content is top of the funnel content and some other content is middle of the funnel.

      We draft the journey so the top of the funnel content generates initial awareness, so the metric there would be engagement, time on page and pageviews. And, for the middle of the funnel leading to conversion, would be downloads, clicks, and inquiries.

      To optimize the journey for better conversions we have a variety of funnels in different pieces of content - they vary depending on the content, which allows the visitor to get more information, interact with us via chatbots or schedule a call. ROI ultimately is revenue generated, but the fun part to get there is optimizing and testing various touchpoints.

      3 Share
  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    almost 2 years ago #

    Hola Jessica

    Hopefully this is not an overly political question.
    In the era of "fake news" and misinformation, how does AP fight to ensure that its reporting makes it way through the noise on a consistent basis?
    I suspect there are lessons that marketers could learn about how to stand out from their competition from your experience.

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      It's a fair question.

      We pride ourselves on our unbiased and accurate journalism. We have been the source of news for 170+ years, and we have systems in place, checks and balances, to make sure that what goes out to the public has been verified and abides by our ethics and standards. It's a tough job that our journalists have but working in an organization that has a purpose larger than itself motivates us to keep high standards with our stories.

      A couple of things I've learned from our journalists is to triple check everything, have the courage to run and dig into the mess instead of running away from it, and that my job is not just a job, my job is to help inform the world about what's happening in it.

      Thus, the impact we have in marketing and as an organization is far more significant than the numbers I get from analytics.

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    almost 2 years ago #

    Hi Jessica

    While AP is clearly a big organization, its still a non-profit.
    What are the top 3 biggest challenges of doing marketing at a non-profit, irrespective of its size?

  • WR

    Will Robins

    almost 2 years ago #

    If you had focused down on topics and really want to deliver specific information (that is good stuff) to a targeted audience, How would you begin attracting an audience?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Hi Will -

      Create high-quality content that resonates with your audience and publish via channels to publications, groups, pages, events your audience frequents/follows.

  • JM

    Jessica Mendoza

    almost 2 years ago #

    Hi all - I'm going to continue answering questions at a later time. Thank you all for participating - great questions!

  • PM

    Pierre Martinow

    almost 2 years ago #

    Thank you for doing this AMA, I was wondering how you designed the website to increase revenue?
    How did you optimize online and offline lead gen and increased email engagements?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Hi Pierre - Studying design of websites that convert and adding your primary call to action and all user journeys to the main CTA.

      We put the Contact Us options in most of the web pages including the homepage. We also share great content via our blog and website (ebooks, webinars, event promotions) and we add them to an email nurturing campaign to filter the leads that are qualified from the ones that need more time to nurture.

      We have a variety of funnels to re-engage people, to send them more relevant or related information, subscribe them to our newsletter. Based on the insights we get from it we are able to best cater our communications, engagement, which then boosts our rev. It's mostly about creating healthy and relevant realtionships with our prospects via our website, campaigns, content and emails.

  • JN

    Jason Ng

    almost 2 years ago #

    Hi Jessica,

    What's your approach in measuring the success or progress of a brand awareness campaign? What are some key KPIs you look for?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Brand awareness is a tough one to easily measure.

      Depends on who you are targeting and how you are exposing the brand.
      Is it going to be visits, downloads, referral traffic, traffic from a specific region, location? I think brand awareness as a whole is too much or a blanket term to easily track.

      Having a specific goal helps you pinpoint what the KPI may be.

  • JD

    James Dunn

    almost 2 years ago #

    Hey Jessica

    So where do you see AP evolving to as it tries to be on the cutting edge of content?
    How do you see marketing and what you and your team does as part of this evolution?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Hi James - Since we are a newish department, all eyes are on us on how we are changing legacy structures and how we are generating revenue through the channels the company has, mobile, social, web.

      In terms of content, we are always exploring new ways to present content or experiment with new technology. Because of that, we are able to use some of the tools that the editorial team uses, like Newswhip and Samdesk.

  • SK

    S Kodial

    almost 2 years ago #

    From your experience consulting with startups on brand awareness, what are the biggest mistakes you've seen startups make with getting the word out?
    Also, from the perspective of very early startups (assume they're at the landing page and MVP mockups stage), what branding advice would you give such startups?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Hi S. - I love this question.

      On startup mistakes:
      1) Timing
      2) Not knowing your customer
      3) Not knowing your brand voice
      4) Not defining KPIs

      In terms of branding:
      1) Test
      2) Test
      3) Test

      ^You are not going to know what's going to work unless you test it. Especially if you don't have research or analytics to base your decisions on.

      If you already have a landing page I'm assuming you got to design it a certain way because of some previous knowledge. If you don't feel comfortable with it, don't have the budget to hire a consultant or agency, and don't have time to do the research yourself. Then, put it out and test.

  • PS

    Peter Skuta

    almost 2 years ago #

    Dear Jessica, thanks for being on this AMA!

    My question is: How do you use Growth Hacks for AP and what kind of Growth Hacks you use to get additional readership and revenue?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      To improve conversion funnels.

      My focus is on revenue generation, we, the marketing team sit under the revenue team. So the stakes are always high and a couple of thousand dollars is not enough.

      Growth hacks range from asking questions in subject lines, personalizing as much as we can with the tools we have to make the content relevant, using BOB (big orange button), creating chatbots to engage people through social, we do sometimes have clickbait subject lines, animation/photos/gifs above the fold based on news that are breaking or recent, lead scoring and nurturing programs, and many more.

  • AR

    Adam Rawlings

    almost 2 years ago #

    Hi, Jessica, thank you for your time on this AMA.

    You mentioned KPIs, which is something I just brought up with my supervisor yesterday. We're a small nonprofit that has been tracking a few KPIs as defined by our parent organization, but we'd like to have some better metrics for looking at our weekly, rather than just quarterly performance. We want to choose some KPIs that are meaningful and actionable, but I don't want us to get too focused on quantity at the expense of quality.

    What's your advice on choosing KPIs and/or iterating on a a set of KPIs without losing focus on what's really important?

    • JM

      Jessica Mendoza

      almost 2 years ago #

      Hi Adam -

      I think you are answering your question.

      >> How to choose KPIs without losing focus of what's really important <<

      a) This makes me believe that there is evergreen/long-term KPIs that you are looking to monitor

      b) AND there are project or experimental areas where you may want to have other set of KPIs

      ^ I would do just that.

      Overall performance KPIs and KPIs you can track to test the performance of something (content, copy tweaks, color, layout, conversions, downloads). Whatever that you want to focus on and improve on. Or, that you have more flexibility to modify/test yourself so then you can track it.

Join over 70,000 growth pros from companies like Uber, Pinterest & Twitter

Get Weekly Top Posts
High five! You’re in.
SHARE
45
45