From a promising soccer career to ghostwriting for countless SaaS companies, this woman has solidified her worth a million times over. So whatever “boys club” she finds herself in next, her voice is sure to never again go unnoticed.
After fate dealt her an unexpected hand, Anna fell in love with the idea of writing data-driven content. This ultimately led to a well-deserved Head position at a B2B lead tracking company—the perfect fit for a woman with her tenacity.
Hello, can you please introduce yourself, your position, and the company you work for?
Hi, I am Anna Crowe, Head of Content & SEO at Leadfeeder for 1.5 years.
What inspired or led you to enter the SaaS field/tech startup world?
Back in 2013, I started my first link building campaign for Marriott and Hilton in Australia. I was ghostwriting for their CEOs on guest blog posts. After a year or so, I realized I truly enjoy writing, so I picked up another freelance writing gig for Search Engine Journal.
After 2 months of writing for Search Engine Journal, I got requests from SaaS companies like Moz, Kissmetrics, Shopify, BigCommerce, Freshdesk, Neil Patel, Crazy Egg, Kinsta, WordStream, Acquisio, AdEspresso... the list goes on. If they’re in B2B or the SaaS industry, I’ve probably ghostwritten for them at some point.
I really fell in love with the idea of writing content that was data-driven. It made for an interesting way to turn a boring topic into a really engaging, edgy piece of content.
Did you study technology? Do you feel it’s important to have a tech education in order to get a job in a tech startup?
Oh, I wish I would have studied technology in college. However, I went to university on a soccer scholarship so, honestly, I wasn’t that big into my education at that time.
After a career-ending injury, a professor of mine introduced me to advertising.
It was so fascinating and creative, but also hungry, fast-paced, and required a lot of grit.
I felt I could transfer my passion and grit from the soccer field into an advertising campaign. During my senior year, I was working on a final project for Carrabba’s Italian Grill. After winning that campaign, I got a job offer from the same company. At the same time, my professor introduced me to an HBO executive that was looking to start her own mommy blog. I helped her build, manage and market her website and YouTube channel. That led me to my first conference at BlogHer.
Pic of me (in the middle) at Pubcon Las Vegas.
What was the biggest challenge for you when entering the tech field and how did you manage to overcome it?
The biggest challenge was educating myself on the industry. When you’re writing about tech, you have to learn the product in and out, while also understanding the pain points of the customers.
Thinking back to your journey and how you arrived at where you are today, is there anything you’d change if you could?
I would have fought for more money earlier in my career. As a female in the tech space, I’ve been underutilized and extremely underpaid for my performance.
When I first started, I was charging $0.3 per word for 40,000 words a month. Today, I can charge $1,000 for one article. I wish I would have known my worth earlier.
What piece of advice would you give to your freshman self?
Never stop learning and become an expert in one niche. You don’t need to know everything to get a job.
I was lucky enough to get involved with SEO early in my career. Knowing how SEO and content work together is really the future of SEO. It’s a crucial asset to have.
What sort of impact do you feel from working in a male-dominated industry/environment?
The majority of companies I’ve worked with all had a “boys club.” My voice, my opinion, my ideas didn’t matter unless they were presented by a male. I got passed up for promotions and salary increases many times.
But, I kept fighting and I kept delivering solid work. You have to let your work and the data speak for itself.
Pic of me riding a bike around Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, California.
Have you come across any hurdles that stem from gender inequality? Were you able to overcome them?
I see hurdles every day with this. Honestly, I’m unsure about how to overcome them. But, I keep my head down and continue to produce quality work in hopes that my work will speak for itself...one day.
Only 3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice. Why do you believe working in a tech startup or SaaS is a good career path?
I think startups in general are amazing to work with, especially if you’re new in your career. You have the freedom and flexibility to choose your path, create your own strategies, etc.
With SaaS, it’s really the future. As AI and machine learning continue to advance, our lives will adapt. The products we use will change. Working in SaaS provides a teeny tiny bit of comfortability knowing that you’ll either get acquired or have a company for a long time.
What do you see as the added value of having more female teammates at a tech company?
I think male or female, it’s great to get people into wanting to learn more about technology. It’s our future. The more people understand how technology works, the better the world will be as a whole.
Females are underrepresented in tech companies, but perhaps with more females, more younger females will apply.
How can male teammates support their female colleagues in growing professionally? And do you have first-hand experience with this positive behavior?
We need to start by rethinking how women are in the workplace. The traditional mindset needs to adapt. It’s already starting to happen at different companies. We see companies like Buffer giving paternity leave for men. Slack giving flexible-work policies.
But, it starts with male teammates losing that false sense of progress. Many males don’t see it as an issue in the workplace. Then, we need to communicate fairly, giving everyone a chance to speak.
Do you have a recommendation for some books/blogs/podcasts/inspirational women or organizations?
There is a beautiful community of women in SEO on Slack and social.
And I love the BeingBoss podcasts!
People working in startups are usually very busy. How do you manage your work-life balance? Do you have time for some side projects/passion projects?
Work-life balance has always been a struggle for me. When working from home, I find I become a workaholic. However, I decided to coach girls soccer (ages 8-10), so that forces me to get out of the house. I also still freelance for Search Engine Journal. It’s an amazing passion project for me and keeps me up-to-date on the latest trends.
Women in SaaS initiative
Did you know that only 3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice and only 5% of leadership positions in technology are held by a woman? With our new initiative - Women in SaaS interviews, we want to inspire more women to join SaaS field & technology and combat prejudges connected to technology.
Every two weeks, you can look forward to interviews with inspirational ladies who decided on a career path in SaaS. In our next article, we will talk to Johanna Boellmann from Capmo.