Career Path: Rohma Abbas, Content Marketing Manager at 6 River Systems
What do the career path and day-in-the-life look like for a Content Marketing Manager at 6 River Systems?
We connected with Rohma Abbas to find out!
Where did you grow up? What did your parents do for work?
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and was raised by two hardworking Pakistani-American immigrant parents. They built and ran small businesses when they arrived in the U.S.: two delis, a construction company, and a laundromat. They’ve recently switched careers, setting sights on becoming educators. My mother is currently pursuing a master’s in teaching while working fulltime as a teaching assistant. My father is currently a substitute teacher in New York City schools.
Where did you go to college? What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?
I went to Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY and graduated from their School of Journalism. After college, I worked as a journalist for a chain of award-winning weekly newspapers on Long Island, covering the famously affluent Hamptons. I worked at three papers within the company and got an enormous education in civics. I learned about different towns and their unique issues, and how varying layers of government work with (and against) each other. I covered stories about politics, elections, schools, crime, features, hard news and the environment.
Eventually, I found my way to Massachusetts and became the editor of one of the oldest newspapers in the country—The Barnstable Patriot in Cape Cod. Living on the Cape was beautiful, but I had my heart set on moving to the big city - Boston. I switched careers from journalism to content marketing after accepting a job as an editor at a tech startup in Boston. I was fortunate enough to become the team’s content marketing manager and then left to accept what is now my current job: content marketing manager at 6 River Systems.
How did you make the career switch from journalism to marketing? What motivated the move?
I had strongly identified as a journalist, so leaving the field was one of the biggest, toughest decisions of my life. But around me, I saw newspapers continuing to downsize staff, and the resources for good journalism dry up. Meanwhile, the expectation remained that news, especially on the internet, should always be “free.” Journalism needed a better business model.
Ironically, I went from running one of the oldest printed newspapers in the country to working at a tech-forward startup, where software - something you couldn’t “touch”- was the product. I now find myself at a company that marries the “physical” with the intangible (collaborative mobile robots and cloud-based software). It’s a nice balance.
It wasn’t hard to make the switch from journalism to content marketing, because both require similar skill sets. Good marketers, just like good journalists, tell stories, and are skilled at empathizing with different audiences. They understand nuances and work feverishly to communicate them.
What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?
A lot of hard work, a little bit of luck, but most importantly, great mentors, family members, and friends who believed in me and cut me some slack. I am so thankful for them all.
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Content Marketing Manager at 6 River Systems?
At a high-level, I help shape all the messaging of our company and product. From our website content, to print ads and banners, to social media, case studies, videos, webinars, customer marketing, and internal product and sales messaging, I am responsible for explaining and promoting 6 River Systems on all levels. I also identify opportunities to promote our company’s employees, through awards and media features.
Any tips for someone considering a career in Content Marketing?
Sign up to write about anything. Build a portfolio that looks like a rainbow. Don’t be afraid to be part-journalist, part “Mad Men”, part- product marketer, part-videographer, part-salesperson, part-PR person. Content marketing, especially at a fast-growing startup, can mean all these things and that’s why it’s so exciting.
Day in the Life
Coffee, tea, or nothing?
Longtime coffee drinker, but slowly making the switch to green tea.
What time do you get into the office?
Usually, around 9 AM or a few minutes thereafter.
What are three things that motivate you in your role?
Helping my fellow teammates with writing and editing support (emails and subject lines for example).
Pulling together excellent content that helps us advance conversations and close deals.
Building something really cool from nothing at all, which is a regular occurrence at a startup like ours! Nothing feels more rewarding than this.
Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?
Usually a mix of working on big, medium, small and experimental projects. This might be, for example, an upcoming product launch, whitepapers, email templates, pitching our company & individuals in award applications, editing blogs, taking photos, setting up social media, coordinating customer marketing, shooting video — and sometimes acting!
What time do you head out of the office?
Around 5:30-6:30, depending on the day’s workload and the week’s deadlines.
Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?
I’m addicted to Slack, so yes I always do a cursory check in the late PM, but I don’t usually respond unless it’s an emergency.
Any productivity hacks?
I’ve tried it all, from to do list apps, to the Pomodoro technique to paper to-do lists, to calendar apps like Asana. All of them are fine techniques. The biggest hack of them all is to just pick one and stick with it.
What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?
What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?
Helping our company hire amazing marketing staff. They are all so skilled and passionate, and I’m honored to work with them all.
Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?
Cherone Duggan, my former boss. She has inspired me to be a better version of myself on many fronts: writer, editor, marketer, and friend.
Images courtesy of Rohma Abbas and 6 River Systems