Sweet Emotion: How Hawke Media's content team creates stories that stick

At Hawke Media, quality content isn't just about the clicks, it's about what it makes the consumers feel. As the content marketing team scales, it uses a mixture of data insights and creativity to create content that sticks. We spoke with four members of the team to learn more. 

Written by Brian Nordli
Published on Jun. 18, 2018
Sweet Emotion: How Hawke Media's content team creates stories that stick
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When it comes to creating content at Hawke Media, clicks and views are only part of the equation. The other half is creating quality content that elicits an emotional connection.

And in the ever-changing content marketing industry, that can be a difficult task. To accomplish it, the Hawke content marketing team takes the company’s motto — “Get sh*t done, learn quickly and be cool” —  to heart. We spoke to four members on the team to learn more.


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Photography by Ron Eshel
Hawke Office
Photography By Ron Eshel
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Photography By Ron Eshel




WHAT THEY DO: They are an outsourced CMO and full-service digital marketing agency that helps launch, grow and invigorate businesses of all sizes and industries.  

WHERE THEY DO IT: Santa Monica

EPIC TRIPS: Every year, the team goes on a company-wide trip. Previous outings include a quick jaunt to Las Vegas, an excursion to Big Bear Lake and a cruise to Mexico.


Matt minigolf

Matt Portrait


Matt Osias, VP, Content Marketing

Matt Osias oversees the day-to-day efforts of the content marketing team. His tasks include managing the team, strategic planning and helping them bring innovation to scale.

BEYOND WORK: He is an avid golfer. He even travels with his golf clubs to squeeze in a round on business trips.


Can you tell us about your creative approach for the content team?

We blend data and insight with editorial creativity in our content. The way people consume content has changed, but they have always responded to content that creates an emotional effect. So we try to create content that inspires an emotional connection to a brand to help our clients build an audience.

I’ve had conversations with other leaders about what qualifies as a good piece of content. Some people measure it as whatever gets the most views, others measure it as quality. We try to combine those two approaches.  


We try to create content that inspires an emotional connection to a brand to help our clients build an audience.”


What is the collaboration process like with the client?

We start by gathering information from the client. Once we have the information we need, we're able to get our internal teams involved and be much more effective with our content. We have a lot of tools in our arsenal that we can leverage to help clients drive their business and create valuable assets for them.


What is the biggest challenge you face as you scale, as well as opportunity to go along with that?

Every day, this business is becoming more and more saturated. There are a lot of companies out there that contain elements of what we're doing with a different business model. Some companies are inexpensive but sacrifice quality, while others are quality driven but expensive and take a ton of time. We try to marry those two perspectives with the brands we work with.

While the industry is getting more saturated, there is enough money out there to build connections with other businesses and learn from each other without taking away from the bottom line.


David at work

David Portrait


David Chon, Director, Content Marketing

David Chon oversees all subdivisions of the content marketing team at Hawke and works to develop, grow and maintain the company’s offerings, processes and people. He also oversees onboarding and training for new hires.

BEYOND WORK: David recently developed a passion for fishing.


Tell us about your background — what attracted you to Hawke Media?

I’ve always had an interest in psychology and business, so I decided to pursue marketing in college. It was an interesting intersection between both studies. I’ve also always loved writing, but I never thought to use that skill until later in life. With the position I have now, I get to combine all of those interests. I get to do what fascinates me and what I am skilled at.


How does the company’s motto, “Get sh*t done, learn quickly and be cool,” play out on the content team?

We’re constantly going to have weekly deliverables for clients. It takes a great deal of time management and prioritization, but we make sure to get sh*t done no matter what.

The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing, so we need to learn quickly. To stay competitive, we have weekly meetings to stay up to date with the newest trends, industry updates and emerging platforms. Then if someone needs help, we lend a hand. If you need help, try to be considerate of other people’s time. Just be cool.


The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing, so we need to learn quickly.”


What opportunities are there for professional growth?

The company invests in stipends for employees to attend conferences, events and webinars to hone their skills. We also allow employees to move laterally across channels. Within our team, I make sure to understand what each team member is passionate about. For example, there are two team members who want to go into a creative director role. We’re creating a creative channel to provide them with the experience they need to pursue their passion.


Emma at Work

Emma Portrait


Emma Paye, Influencer and Content Marketing Manager

Emma Paye helps the company expand its digital marketing efforts through social media and influencer marketing. She works to help build brands and tell their stories.

BEYOND WORK: Emma loves capturing moments with both film and digital photography.


What does the company’s motto mean to the content team?

Every employee at Hawke has a ton of autonomy, so you have the freedom to make the most of your position. It’s a fast-paced environment, so you’re expected to work quickly and efficiently. The digital space is constantly evolving, so learning quickly is crucial. Everyone on the team is expected to keep up with industry trends. We have meetings each week where we discuss what’s going on in the space and how we can capitalize on this growth.

We know that every day is different, but to the extent that you can, how does a typical day break down?

A typical day at Hawke involves client calls, team brainstorms and lots of dogs. The atmosphere is laid back and fun — you feel like you’re at work with some of your closest friends. Everyone has a designated desk, but people are always on the go, traveling from team to team, sitting on couches and hanging out in the courtyard.


A typical day at Hawke involves client calls, team brainstorms and lots of dogs.”


Who are you seeking to hire in the near future? What’s an absolute must for those hires?

We’re looking to hire professionals who are seasoned in the social media and influencer space. We want forward-thinkers who aren’t afraid to push industry standards with new ideas. Creativity is key as it’s those disparate ideas that bring uniqueness to a client campaign.


Savannah at work


Savannah Sperry, Content Editor

Savannah Sperry helps brands tell their stories. To do so, she works with the company’s network of contributors to create content for clients.

BEYOND WORK: She is in the midst of earning her yoga teacher certification.


Tell us about your background — what attracted you to Hawke Media?

I was a journalism major with editorial experience working at the campus newspaper, but I didn’t know how I wanted to use my degree after graduating. I went to the graphic communication department’s career fair, where Hawke's current web manager (who had also attended my school) was representing Hawke. I found it to be the most interesting company there for me.

Fortunately, I made a good impression and was in Santa Monica the next week for an interview. I started working there three weeks after I graduated.


What is the process like for a project?

The work begins with truly understanding the client's goals. Is their mission to create more brand awareness or are their goals more sales-oriented? We have to understand how we can help our clients meet their goals before we develop a plan.

Then we put together detailed timelines and guidelines for each project that we share with contributors to bring them up to speed and reach out to our category experts. Then we review the content and have a second person edit it before we send it to the client for review and approval. The process is new, and with the help of our VP of Content, Matt Osias, I've been a key player in getting this process off the ground.  


The work begins with truly understanding the client's goals.”


Does this team have a reputation within the company? What is it? Did you earn it? How?

Overall, we are one of the happiest teams here at Hawke. I'd attribute a lot of that to our channel director, David Chon. Because our team is relatively small, we have a very direct and open line of communication with him.

I've always felt I could be completely candid with David, and that he truly cares about my success at Hawke and beyond. He puts a lot of care into helping all of our team members meet professional milestones and making sure this never feels like “just a job.”  

Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

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