SIPA Member Profile: Mateus Finds Winning Strategies

Kim Mateus, Educational Services Director, Mequoda Group, LLC, Hopkinton, Mass.

What was your first job out of college and how did you get into this business?
All through college and a year beyond, I worked at a tuxedo shop. Jobs for communications graduates in Rhode Island were tough to come by in 2003. But thankfully, nine months after graduation, my journalism professor Ted Delaney connected me with a new member of the department, who in her spare time was helping an entrepreneur launch a business about “publishing and the Internet.” A week later I met with this entrepreneur—today he is my business partner Don Nicholas—and I haven’t stopped learning and evolving since.

Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road.
Luckily (I think), I still have 30 years to define moments, learn more lessons and cross additional paths. I am grateful though that my path so far has been one of continued change, challenge and growth. My many roles at Mequoda have provided me with a huge range of experiences and exposure that I could’ve only dreamed of achieving in this relatively short span of a career. Best of all, it’s been great fun.

In brief, describe your business/company?
Mequoda is in the business of providing digital strategy for publishers. We do this through a daily blog and email newsletter, webinars, live events and training, consulting and web development. Since day one, we’ve been tasked with observing, documenting, teaching and executing on a set of best practices in an industry that’s evolved, and continues to evolve, at an enormously fast rate.

What are two or three important concepts or rules that have helped you to succeed in business?
I’m a selective fan of rap music and believe it or not, can glean business wisdom from certain lyrics. Jay-Z, arguably the greatest rapper alive, is also the absolute epitome of entrepreneurialism. He famously says: “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” With a net worth of $450 million, Jay-Z can say this and actually mean it. The way I relate this to the rest of us is this: position yourself as being 100% integral to the success of your company. Believe you have the power to make an impact every day. View your services as an extension of yourself and only good can come of that.

What is the single-most successful thing that your company is doing now?
I’d have to take it back to the basics and say Mequoda Daily, which is our daily blog and email publishing operation. Over the years I’ve watched these daily publishing systems launch with varying levels of success. It always seemed the bigger the business the better it would fare at using a daily content model as its primary marketing engine. But as small in staff as we remain, Mequoda Daily continues to grow and bring in new prospects that convert to buyers. The system isn’t an immediate slam-dunk, but with continuous effort, experimentation and commitment, my staff and I have proven it can work.

Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2011?
Social media integration is definitely one. Some marketers are tempted to isolate social media as a solo operation to test if it works, but then back down when they realize it isn’t cost-effective or measurable enough. The truth is that social media is not a faith-based initiative. There’s real value that can be tracked in terms of visitors, email signups and sales. ROI is still a challenge due to required staff time, but we’ve found success by integrating social media into our editorial processes. It’s a very natural add-on to blogging and email.

What are the key benefits of SIPA membership for you and your team?
The friendships, camaraderie and open idea-sharing experienced at SIPA events and among SIPA members are truly and simply unmatched. It’s all about the people, and I’ve met some great ones thanks to this association.

Where did you grow up?
Fall River, Mass., or dare I say, FawRivah, MA. Yes, this is how it’s pronounced. Talk to me after a beer or two and the accent will inadvertently slip out. My parents immigrated to Fall River from the islands of the Azores, Portugal, making me proud to be a first generation American. Most of my friends and family, including my 90 and 92 year-old grandparents, still live there. I live just 10 miles away in lovely Portsmouth, R.I.

What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?
I graduated from Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., after getting my associate’s degree at a local community college. At RWU, I was a nontraditional commuter student, living at home and working 25-30 hours per week. The moments that stand out were during the fall semester of my 5th year when I studied abroad in Florence, Italy. I didn’t need the credits to graduate; I did it purely to live the college life for 107 days. With no class on Fridays, we traveled all over Italy and to other fabulous European cities. I couldn’t begin to explain the levels of fun I had.

Are you married? Do you have children?
Not yet married, no kids, no big rush. I happily share a life and home with my darling boyfriend Bob. SIPA actually played a huge role in our connection and for this, dear SIPA, I am forever in your debt.

What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?
I’ve been collecting gemstones, crystals and plain old rocks for years. I’m fascinated by their beauty and variation. I also just started exercising again after taking a 2½-year hiatus. I’m desperately hoping to turn it into more hobby, less the dreadful chore it is today. I love to cook, too. I learned in Italy, in an Italian woman’s home kitchen. It was true bliss.

Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?
Everyday I read “Notes from the Universe” (tut.com). These notes are often-humorous, always-inspiring reminders of life’s magic and our individual power to make things happen. The author’s mission is to make us realize that “Thoughts Become Things… Choose the Good Ones!”

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Join Kim on Sunday, June 5, as she leads the session,
How to Develop a Keyword Phrase Universe…and
Why it Matters, at the SIPA 2011 Annual Conference –
Cashing in on Content: Models for a New Decade.

June 5-7, Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C.
Register now to get the best rate!

Kim’s session is part of the Audience Generation
track, one of five tracks for the Conference.
Check out these tracks and sign up today!

Download a FREE copy of 7 Ways to Monetize your Portal Audience, and discover how today's top publishers are generating revenue through memberships, events, clubs, sponsorships, and more.

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