The growth of a company is measured in a variety of ways, from the number of loyal customers earned to the amount of revenue gained. The most important measurement, however, has to do with a company’s employees. Not just how many are brought on board, but how much they’re able and encouraged to evolve.
As Inbound Marketing Coordinator at Terakeet, RJ Licata emulates and embodies this kind of growth that our company values and relies so heavily on. After building a devoted online community around Syracuse football, RJ came to Terakeet to do the same. His favorite tool to use to connect and develop relationships with people? The written word. From writing daily social media messages to publishing his own book, Lessons for Joey: 100 Things I Can’t Wait to Teach My Son, RJ is constantly working to grow as a marketer, communicator, leader, and father.
How would you describe your role at Terakeet?
My overall responsibility is to help establish the Terakeet brand as a leader in engagement marketing technologies. Some of my daily activities include overseeing content development for our website, promoting that content, creating and implementing our social media strategy, and tracking and analyzing overall marketing metrics in order to identify areas of success, weakness and opportunities for improvement. Digital marketing is a dynamic industry and my job is constantly evolving. No two days are the same.
Before joining Terakeet, you worked in a similar capacity for Syracuse football. Tell us about your experiences there.
I was hired full-time as Assistant Video Coordinator after working as a video intern. I did that for about eight years, during which time I wrote a proposal focused on bringing the football program into the digital and social media world. The administration liked the idea and I was named Director of New Media and Web Strategy, where I put the plan into action.
We built a recruiting-focused digital presence (complete with a website and social profiles) from the ground up. Our strategy was to connect with fans and potential recruits by providing them access to parts of the program they weren’t normally able to see. Opening those lines of communication helped make them feel closer — and more loyal — to the players, coaches, and the program in general. I’m really proud of the community we created and the engagement we received.
Shifting back to your position here, writing is a common theme in many of your responsibilities. Where does your interest in writing come from?
I’ve always loved the written word, whether I was doing the writing or reading the writing of others. Writing came naturally when I was young and I would mess around with short stories and poetry. It was only recently, though, that I started to take it more seriously by writing and publishing my own book. As a new dad, I wanted something to chronicle this time in my life, both for posterity and as a legacy to pass along to my kids when they grow up. That’s what has inspired me on a personal level.
Professionally, as my career has progressed, it’s become more and more evident how important it is to be able to write clearly and confidently. So much of our daily communication occurs through some type of writing that it’s in our best interest to develop those skills. I think that’s true regardless of your profession, but for someone in marketing it’s especially important.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of writing?
Stephen King once said, “I write to find out what I’m thinking.” That really resonates with me because I think writing allows you to get deep into your mind in a way that you can’t otherwise. Even if you never show it to anyone else, writing down your thoughts on a particular topic or problem can be really helpful, therapeutic even.
You might begin with boring, simple ideas at first — things you come up with off the top of your head — but if you continue past those initial thoughts, you’ll start to see your true feelings come through. I think that’s why authors are sometimes (read: always) nervous to share their writing with others. If you’re being honest with yourself, you’re revealing your soul in a way, which can be pretty intimidating.
Taking that a step further, though, writing is just another way to communicate, to connect with people. In the case of my book, it’s about connecting with other parents or mentors. In my work at Terakeet, it’s an opportunity to connect with brands, organizations and individuals whom we believe will really benefit from our product and solutions. For both, I think the key is authenticity. People relate to others when the message being shared is real and honest.
How does your passion for writing impact your life as a dad and your work at Terakeet?
My job allows me to be involved in some type of writing every day. Whether it’s in an email, copy for a Facebook post or Tweet, or helping with an article for the Terakeet blog, I am fortunate to be able to do what I love on a daily basis. That passion impacts my work in other ways, too.
Writing about observations I have as a dad has opened me up to different ways of thinking and has forced me to evaluate my own life. Things like empathy, patience, and understanding are qualities I think every parent has no choice but to embrace and develop. Writing helped me to realize that I needed those traits in my own parenting arsenal, and I try to carry them over into my approach toward teamwork and leadership at Terakeet.
My children are young, so if I want to get through to them, I have to be very specific, very concise. One wrong word could be (and often is) held against me. In a way, I need to uphold that same standard as a marketer — one wrong word, one misunderstanding could send an entirely different message. All of this has taught me whether you’re connecting with kids or an audience online, relaying a strong, accurate message — one that you believe in — is a crucial step in successful communication.