Musings from a Female Content Marketer | Outbrain Blog


Musings from a Female Content Marketer: My Career A-ha Moment and the Impact of Positive Role Models

| Shana Pilewski


Back in 2009, I started my career in digital just as social media began to bubble for businesses looking to tap into the unique power of Facebook and Twitter. I had performed as a strong writer throughout college but somehow ended up leaning on my tech savvy abilities, marketing many small, medium, and large companies on social media for the larger portion of my career after graduating.

Along the way, as most women in the workforce have experienced, I dealt with my fair share of naysayers and detractors. Oddly enough, the worst being many of my female cohorts.

Even as my skills expanded, I found myself pigeonholed into social media roles with little to no recognition for the value of my responsibilities. Without the support of strong managers or even knowledge of successful females in my industry that I could emulate, I lacked the guidance needed to discover what I could be doing to make an impact in my career. More importantly, what I was passionate about and would reflect in my work.

Because we all know, doing something well doesn’t always translate into passion.

That all changed a few years ago when I signed on to a small team which specialized in content curation via their SaaS platform, officially entering the “Content Marketing” world.

Albeit as a Social Media Manager, I discovered an industry where my digital marketing skills aligned, enabling a powerhouse opportunity for me to shine in what I did best: create content.

It wasn’t long before I started copywriting, creating landing pages, producing how-to videos, setting up email automation workflows, and (where I excelled the most) writing blog posts.

I had shrugged off my knack for storytelling and creative writing long ago, and would have continued to do so had my manager, an experienced female digital marketer with a wealth of knowledge in the space, not pushed me to further explore my talent.

You see, oftentimes, women in tech can squander and diminish their experience without strong role models and mentors. I was lucky enough to have met Elena Perez, who had already been volunteering with Girls Write Now (go figure), for she truly helped me better understand my skills and value in the workplace.

Even though it took me years to finally figure it out, I am indebted to her and the positivity she showed me, which has impacted not only my writing but professional demeanor and self-worth.

Today, I not only get to contribute my expertise to the Outbrain blog, an authority in the industry, but I’ve also been able to spread my wings and leverage my social experience in strategic ways, helping our global and regional teams find success in ways I never believed I could influence.

So, in honor of the Girls Write Now Awards, happening on May 17th, I dedicate this blog post to all of the women, and even men, who have helped women get up in their careers.

Be it the event honorees: Jenni Konner, Janet Mock, John Osborn, and Alicia Menendez, or those making an impact in content marketing: Tara Clapper, Kathleen Garvin, Joanna Wiebe, Shayla Price, Nadya Khoja, Teagan West, Brittany Berger, Ann Handley and many more, as well as the person near and dear to my heart, Elena Perez, I salute you.

Additionally, I’ll be at the event this coming Tuesday, so if you’d like to connect with me and share your own story, find me on Twitter.

Outbrain is a proud sponsor of the Girls Write Now Awards happening this Tuesday, May 17th from 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm at the Three Sixty° Tribeca.

Founded in 1998, Girls Write Now is New York’s first and only writing and mentoring organization for girls. Girls Write Now mentors the next generation of writers, and our honorees are revolutionaries who are evolving the narrative and igniting change for our girls. The 2016 Girls Write Now Awards helps support the rollout of a three-year strategic plan to double the number of girls we serve, and to enrich and extend our college prep and alumnae services.

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Shana Pilewski

Shana Pilewski

Shana is the content development strategist for the Outbrain Amplify customer acquisition team. With 5+ years of digital marketing experience... Read more

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  • Kathleen| May 12, 2016 at 1:13PM

    Shana, I am honored to be included on your list! It’s been a pleasure to connect with you in the digital marketing space.

    I’m happy to read you found a strong mentor in Elena. I, too, have been lucky to have such people in my life… those who know what I’m capable of before I sometimes do! And most of these figures have been men.

    Enjoy the event, if you’re attending — I love Jenni Konner and Lenny!

    • Shana Pilewski
      Shana Pilewski| May 12, 2016 at 1:13PM


      Appreciate the thoughtful note!

      Excited about being able to attend the event and am looking forward to hearing all of the presenters 🙂


      — Shana

  • Tara Clapper| May 12, 2016 at 2:14PM

    Thank you so much for including me on this list! I feel so honored. This is a topic that means so much to me.

    • Shana Pilewski
      Shana Pilewski| May 12, 2016 at 3:15PM


      Of course — you were top of mind!

      It should be a special topic for all of us, and I hope we can all band together and continue making waves in the community on behalf of women.

      Thanks for commenting.

  • BrandonCole| May 26, 2016 at 5:05AM

    Great article. Really wonderful presentation. I really loved the way you used to present the topic. Keep writing and sharing with us 🙂

  • annit| September 12, 2016 at 12:00AM

    good post


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