Google Cloud’s Liam Hausmann on Landing His Dream Job and the Benefits of Strong Writing and Technical Savvy in Marketing

Editor’s note: This interview is part of Mission North’s Communications Pathfinders series, an ongoing forum with the communications leaders of today and tomorrow.

Liam Hausmann was fresh out of college when he came to work at Mission North as an intern eight years ago. His overall enthusiasm, strong writing skills and ability to quickly pick up technical topics made him a pleasure to work with and an asset to clients. Liam went on to marketing positions at Datahug, Airware, Mode and Atlassian before ending up at Google Cloud as a product marketing manager.

When he’s not crafting content for Google Cloud and interviewing subject matter experts about the latest cloud computing trends, Liam is DJing in Golden Gate Park and at San Francisco clubs as part of the Thump Therapy music collective he started.

I talked to Liam recently about his evolving career from PR to content marketing and product marketing, how strong writing and technical subject matter expertise can help marketing and PR professionals stand out, and how he landed his dream job. 

When we worked together, I remember you always wanted to work at Google. How did you finally get there?

They had a recruiter contact me for this position. I had applied more than 20 times for jobs across the company over eight years, but they actually reached out for a role I hadn’t applied for or even seen posted. The role was titled “content writer,” but it was more of an editor position when I started. Now, my role is moving more towards content marketing as we grow the team, but internally we are part of the product marketing department.

My prior jobs were in the cloud SaaS world and mostly focused on data analytics and security software, so it was a fit for the Google Cloud product line. In the interview process, we talked some about my work at Mode, a competitor to one of Google Cloud’s own products, Looker, and also about Atlassian, where I was involved in marketing their security and AI capabilities. Now I cover those topics for Google.

I have a tip for job seekers wanting to land their dream role: Build a career that’s adjacent to the work you want to do at the company you want to work for. Don’t just wait around for them to hire you. Focus on expanding your own experience rather than on one company. 

How did your role at Mission North as an account coordinator prepare you for a career in content marketing? What appeals to you about content marketing?

At Mission North I was exposed to the marketplace of ideas that I still work in today. I was working on Google Cloud and developer tools and datacenter infrastructure and side-by-side with colleagues in the areas of security and the future of work. The Mission North culture and intelligent discussion around the office were great ways to immerse myself in the cutting edge of tech media. We were writing blog posts for Google, pitching speaking gigs and submitting awards, as well as engaging in traditional media relations. 

I was thriving in situations where I could write the content myself, and dig into a meaty topic. I worked with Nutanix product managers to create a six-page award submission on competitive and technical messaging on how they fit into the data center infrastructure world, and that submission ended up winning. I liked getting to sink my teeth into creating something end-to-end like that submission. For me, that’s content marketing—being the voice of the company from their own channels and speaking directly to their audiences. The subject matter I learned at Mission North and the intensity of the work and exposure to new thinking on tech marketing communications set me on my path. 

“For me, that’s content marketing—being the voice of the company from their own channels and speaking directly to their audiences.”

Atlassian gave you an opportunity to take on a different role, one in product marketing. In your experience, how does product marketing differ from content marketing?

I owned the content workflow end-to-end at the startups where I worked. The Atlassian role differed in that it was more about collaborating and influencing rather than doing everything myself. I would be one of half a dozen people on the marketing team at a startup, and I was basically trying to growth-hack with content, to put out campaigns that directly drove leads that the sales team could chase down. I was closer to sales and growth teams. Whereas, at Atlassian, the role was more about putting out higher-level content that would present our view on the industry via more thought leadership-type content. 

Whatever content you’re creating can be high quality but, if no one sees it, it’s worthless. It really helps to learn distribution and content strategy, and even PR and media strategy, so that you know as you’re building content exactly how it will be received by your audience. I think embedding content marketers directly into the core product marketing team the way it is at Atlassian and Google is the future, because you need all these skills present throughout the content creation cycle if you’re going to have any chance of someone reading what you put out. 

“Embedding content marketers directly into the core product marketing team is the future.”

What’s the most fun thing you do at work?

I get to work with ridiculously brilliant people who are at the top of their field and I learn all about the interesting things they’re working on. It’s like being a journalist and interviewing someone but having their trust because I’m a coworker. At Airware, I was working with MIT PhDs and aerospace engineers, and I was writing about how the drone space was going to evolve. At Mode, I worked with amazing data scientists who thought about things in such an interesting and different way than I do. At Atlassian, I loved the deep level of thinking around how teams work together and how they can collaborate globally. I love getting to learn about these fascinating topics and then translating them into content and good storytelling. 

What advice do you have for others who are getting started in PR?

Get really good at writing. Being efficient with your time is also key. Writing well is great, but writing well quickly is even better. The turnaround time on projects in marketing is just days or weeks, and in PR, it’s even faster, sometimes just minutes or hours. The quicker you can turn around a piece of writing with minimal errors or edits, the easier your life will be.

Don’t be afraid to learn the technical elements of topic areas just because you were bad at math in school or something. I did terribly at math in school and I love going deep on the technical aspects for stories. Try taking a Python or JavaScript class on Codecademy just so that you know how the language works. Learning about analytics, programming, even just the basic aspects of a technology stack, will open up a whole career for you.