Inside the Editor’s Mind: Better Marketing— Brittany Jezouit
An interview with the editor of one of Medium’s largest publications — her advice for writers, her selection process, her writing, and life outside Medium
Brittany Jezouit is the editor of Better Marketing which is currently one of the largest and fastest-growing publications on Medium with 108k subscribers. The publication focuses on being the go-to on how to market effectively — with a unique emphasis on ethical and authentic marketing. They publish tutorials, case studies, how-tos, inspiration, writing advice, industry trends, and high-level strategy tips from industry experts.
The first three words in Brittany Jezouit’s Medium profile are kindness, creativity, and curiosity, and all three descriptions are immediately obvious to me when I chatted with Brittany. If there is a fourth word I would use, it would be presence.
After sharing her amazing life trajectory of teaching English in Thailand, becoming a digital nomad in Southeast Asia, traveling around the world, and working in Australia — I asked Brittany what someone with such a fascinating career path would consider her dream job, and she said, “This is my dream job for right now.”
I love this about Brittany. Throughout our conversation, she continues to echo this sentiment. Whether it was working in community engagement, co-founding a publication about podcasts, or working in the non-profit sphere, I came to realize that this is Brittany’s superpower — to take whatever is in her life right now and make it the best thing ever. It’s clear her personal motto translates into her work as editor of Better Marketing.
Part of Brittany’s vision for Better Marketing is to make sure the publication becomes the go-to for the best and freshest ideas right now. She wants Better Marketing readers to read the publication and think, “This is the best thing for me right now.”
She drives the publication in that direction by featuring diverse and non-traditional articles from Gen Z marketing techniques, to discussions on privacy, to personal brand destruction on Reddit. She also encourages articles that challenge racism or question subtle sexism in marketing — embodying the Better Humans visions of teaching us to market ethically.
Another thing that emerged in our exchanges is that Brittany is a connector — both of ideas and of people. She spoke about her desire to highlight under-represented voices in Better Marketing and how she seeks more diversity in ages, backgrounds, and genders in the publication. With Better Marketing’s focus on sharing information through authentic and highly personal writing, this diversity will no doubt lead the publication to become an even more fascinating melting pot of ideas.
I admire that Brittany is someone who has no fixed outcome or rules that she imposes on her life. She flows through life chasing her bliss and letting her curiosity lead the way. She gave me the sense that she is definitely worth getting to know because you can’t wait to see what she’s doing and what she’s thinking in a year. I’m excited to see how the Better Marketing publication will evolve under the leadership of someone like Brittany.
Spending time with Brittany has a wonderful effect of re-engaging you with the world and life’s possibilities. All Medium writers should be so lucky as to get to know Brittany a little better. Fortunately for me, Brittany was happy to answer some questions and have me share it with other Medium writers.
What makes an article stand out to you?
An article stands out if it’s something that the author cares about and when it’s clear that they’re writing from personal experience. There’s a big difference between an article that has tested advice from someone with experience vs. an article written based solely on secondhand research. Bonus points if I learn something that’s genuinely new or surprising to me while reading it.
I also appreciate when articles are written thoughtfully and with a little extra effort and personality — like DIY custom illustrations, or super-clear screenshots on a tutorial, or using their own photos for a case study, for example.
What is your process for selecting an article?
I usually do a quick read of the article to decide whether or not it’s a fit for us, based on a number of factors. When I accept the submission, I’ll relay edits to the author (if necessary), and make my own changes to the title, subtitle, and feature image. Then, our articles also go through a more detailed edit round with our copyediting team — they’re looking for grammar issues, consistent structure, and any potential issues that I may have missed.
One advantage of being connected to a publication focused on programming is that we work together on our process, so there are some internal tools we use that make things more streamlined and efficient — so that I can spend more time working with authors.
Do you have editors supporting you? How are decision making and coordination conducted?
As for how we work together, I think it’s the perfect balance of autonomy and collaboration. I go through article submissions and editorial decisions mostly on my own, but the other editors (Terrie Schweitzer, Zack Shapiro, and Coach Tony) are there for brainstorming, a second opinion, and bouncing around new ideas. Also, all of our articles go through a copy edit process, and in addition to editing, our copyediting team will flag any concerns and occasionally share feedback on articles.
If research is submitted, is it checked and validated?
We check for plagiarism, and sometimes we’ll spot-check facts or research if it seems off. We also check links to make sure that any research is coming from a reputable source, but we recognize that there’s a lot of subjectivity in marketing.
What is a rough percentage of articles accepted of the total submissions received?
Probably less than 10%.
Did you ever have a story that left a lasting impression on you?
Yes, all the time! A huge perk of my job is that I get to spend my day learning, and reading articles that help me feel more creative, empowered, or inspired. I’ll highlight a few that were all published in the last month or so:
- There are articles that make me question the way things are, and help me to see the world a little differently as a result — like this article on why skis are sold by gender or this one about why specific colors become popular.
- More practically, I’m constantly picking up tips and strategies that I can use right away, and it changes how I do my job every day — like how to write better headlines and choose better images for articles.
- I also remember articles that open my eyes to new worlds and sub-cultures that I didn’t know much about — like this dive into Reddit’s “Slave Labour” subreddit, or this article about how Trump’s tactics mirror WWE techniques.
One specific article that’s been echoing in my head lately is Why ‘Keep Learning’ Is Terrible Advice for Creatives by Sadia M. It’s about the “learning trap” and how to strive for continuing to learn more, while not getting stuck in an overwhelming information-paralysis rabbit hole, and how to focus on active and passive learning. It’s helped me think about Better Marketing’s editorial strategy, and on giving readers a clear path to actionable, helpful advice.
How did you become an editor for this publication?
I first got involved a few years ago — I was working as the editor for a website about creativity and design, and I was also writing a side-project newsletter that evolved into a Medium publication about podcasts. I was interested in trying out a few new things, so I applied for a freelance job and became the first copyeditor for Better Humans.
As that publication grew, I oversaw the copyediting team, wrote the style guide, helped shape the editorial strategy, and worked with them on various projects within the three publications. My background is in marketing and education, so when the editor role for Better Marketing opened up this year, it felt like the perfect fit for me.
You recently took on this role, do you have a specific vision for where you would like to take the publication? What are some of the changes you are wanting to create since you took over?
My goal is to strengthen our editorial mission and to more clearly define what makes an article a fit for our publication. I’m looking to recruit new writers, especially underrepresented voices in the marketing industry, and find new, talented writers who don’t have a big following.
And I want to cover new topics and the most up-to-date ideas, from a more authentic perspective. For example, this week we published an article about Gen-Z marketing tactics — written by a 21-year-old, i.e., an actual Gen-Z member. If the marketing world can be divided into “old school” vs. “new school”, my hope is for Better Marketing to be more in the “new school” camp — but grounded in the principles and more timeless, tested ideas of marketing strategy.
I’m also excited to experiment and play — to think creatively about new formats and features, to look for more opportunities for collaboration, and to publish more tutorials for all levels of marketing expertise.
Better Marketing is a publication for anyone who uses marketing in their professional or personal life — not just for people who have marketing in their job title. I’d like for Better Marketing to serve as both a great daily read and a one-stop-shop for everything you’d need in order to implement a new marketing strategy or seek guidance on an area of your work that you’re struggling with.
If you could give one piece of advice to people submitting to your publication, what would it be?
Please read our submission guide! And write something that we haven’t read (or published) before — ideally, something you care about and have some sort of perspective, experience, and opinion on.
What is the most common reason you reject an article?
I wrote a list of top-seven common reasons for rejection at the end of our submission guide. Most often, I reject articles because they’re not saying much or contributing a new idea. We get a lot of submissions that are too generic, and articles that I feel like I’ve read 1,000 times before.
We also get a fair amount of articles that have nothing to do with marketing. And while we define marketing pretty broadly within our publication, we do want to make sure that we’re strategic about our editorial decisions, which means that there has to be a clear reason why the best home for the article is in Better Marketing, and not in another publication.
What would result in an instant rejection?
Anything that’s racist or sexist. Any article that feels alienating or not inclusive to our audience.
Also, articles that are clearly just a copycat of an article from a similar publication and don’t have anything new to say, or that are just rehashing of advice in other articles.
Also, anything that feels mean-spirited or unkind, especially if it’s towards a specific human person. I don’t want your takedown of a top Medium writer, or your rant about how much you hate someone’s blog, etc. Maybe there are places on the internet for that, but our publication isn’t it.
How much does the author’s profile/number of followers/writing history affect your decision to select their article?
Not a lot. I try not to pay too much attention to it, and I love finding new writers that are under-the-radar and don’t have a big following yet. I think focusing on follower count creates an echo-chamber and doesn’t allow for new voices to emerge. Our editorial decisions are based on the quality of writing, not on a follower count. (And if a writer insists that I should publish them because they have x amount of followers, that might actually work against them, to be honest — that mentality of entitlement is not appreciated).
What is the typical response time for a submission?
I usually get through submissions within three days (not including weekends).
Do you always leave a response? Should we follow up if we don’t get a response?
I do try to leave a response for every submission, but it’s not always possible. If you don’t hear back within five days, you can assume we’ve passed on your submission, but I don’t mind if you reach out (nicely) to check-in.
How can writers make it easier for you?
Read our style guide, especially the part about how to format your article. Add alt-text descriptions to your photos. Use Grammarly (or similar editing software) to make sure your article is free of typos and grammar errors.
What do you enjoy writing about?
Right now, I’m really enjoying the curation side of my role and trying to highlight all of the great resources and writing we have in our publication. I just started writing up a few “Better Marketing Collections”, and I’m excited about building this out into a directory of advice.
I’m also working on my Master’s degree in Nonprofit Studies, so right now, a lot of my non-work writing energy goes towards academic papers!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned as a writer?
Write because you have something to share — whether that’s knowledge about a subject that you’d like to teach others, enthusiasm over something you’re excited about, or an idea you want to discuss.
What are your personal goals as a writer?
Like a lot of writers, I think I’m still trying to figure out my voice and what I want to write about — especially in writing “for fun”. Writing has always been a part of my job, but it’s taken on a lot of different forms — like course listings in university catalogs and newsletters about volunteer opportunities — and I think that writing and reading so much for work has drained some of my creative energy. I’m working on figuring out how to get it back.
Provide links to your mailing list/books/social media if you want to share it with readers.
Who are you outside of writing / What are you passionate about outside of writing?
Much of my career has been in community engagement and education, and I love thinking about creative approaches to social impact and personal development. While I’ve worked for a few nonprofits, I’m more interested in how those ideas translate outside of the nonprofit world, and how to to do meaningful work that helps others (which is one of the reasons I like this role!).
I’m passionate about travel and exploring new places. I lived abroad for a few years, and sometimes I miss it, so I try to use that travel-mindset closer to home when I can. I try to be outside and out in nature as much as possible — hiking, kayaking, etc.
Outside of that, a lot of my thoughts revolve around food and cooking. In an alternate world, I’d open a bakery/coffee shop that turns into a pizza place/dive bar at night.
What is something about you that most people wouldn’t expect?
Even though I’ve done a lot of work in marketing (and now literally run a publication about it), I don’t consider myself a “marketer”. I have a slight aversion to that label, really. I majored in marketing in college, but only after I’d finished my first major in psychology and found myself interested in why people make the decisions they do — which was a natural lead-in to the marketing world.
I like marketing because it’s about storytelling and communication, about creativity and connection, about getting people to care about something you care about. I hope I reflect that outlook in my approach to Better Marketing’s editorial strategy.
What brings you joy every day?
Working from my front-porch-swing-office-space. Richmond is most beautiful during the fall, and I feel lucky to be able to work outside (before it gets too cold to do so!).
A big thank you to Brittany Jezouit for taking the time to share her refreshing philosophy on life with me.
This is part of a series of interviews with editors of Medium publications. Follow me if you are interested in seeing more. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your burning questions for editors or simply get in touch to say hi! I would love to hear from you.
Other Interviews In The Series
Inside the Editor’s Mind: Better Humans — Terrie Schweitzer
An interview with the editor of one of Medium’s largest publications - her advice for writers, her selection process…