Meet the Team: Kathie Jurek

Kathie Jurek

Associate Content Director

In this employee spotlight series, we will introduce you to the Catchy Team. You’ll hear their perspectives and gain insight on developer marketing best practices. Come find out the ways in which they bring joy and passion into their work, always stay curious, and embrace change! Learn how they apply Catchy’s core values and approaches to bring growth and excellence to our clients.

In today’s Meet The Team, we hear from Kathie Jurek, Associate Content Director, about her role in creative development, copywriting for a developer audience, the biggest challenges as a technical marketer, and her advice for new writers.

A graduate of Rutgers University, Kathie grew up in New Jersey and has lived all over the country, including California, a brief stint in Texas, and currently Seattle. After completing two years of graduate level coursework in architectural history at the University of California Berkeley, she shifted to working in technical marketing. For the last eight years, her writing has focused on deeply understanding technical concepts and turning them into copy that delights.  

Working in partnership with the design and strategy teams, Kathie oversees content for Catchy and our clients, which includes understanding client goals, developing creative strategy, and managing a team of writers to execute on content development.

Which Catchy value do you strongly resonate with and why? (Collaborative, Fluid, Inclusive, Accountable)

Definitely ‘fluid’. At the start of my career, agency life stressed me - I needed to know everything about a customer’s goals, product, and the specific project at hand before I could even think about writing a single word. There is a certain “go with the flow” attitude required for this type of work, an important push and pull between having just enough to get your creative juices flowing without holding yourself back.  

Are there any other values or characteristics of Catchy that you particularly enjoy?

I think everyone here operates with a high level of empathy and openness to new ideas. When I proposed changing wording in our annual review forms to be more inclusive or making sure we plan team culture activities that include remote employees, I usually hear an enthusiastic yes. If you want to do something, leadership wants you to find ways to do it, learn it, change it. That’s not to say there isn’t an opportunity to evaluate the feasibility of new ideas, of course, but it’s encouraging to work in such a supportive environment.

What has been your greatest challenge?

In early 2020 I was the communications manager at a robotics startup that produced drone shows at live events. Part of my role in my second month on the job involved planning a press event for Celine Dion’s longtime lighting designer. I emailed over 200 journalists to try to get them to attend and very few responded, leaving me terrified nobody would show up and he’d be presenting to an empty room. Fortunately, we had a good turnout and I secured a few press mentions in some great publications, which was a huge relief.

That’s just one small story - it feels like much of marketing is flying by the seat of your pants and trying things you’ve never done before. Before planning that press event, I’d never done any PR, but I did have related skills that helped me get the job done.  

Since then, I’ve worked with many different kinds of technical audiences, from IT security to warehouse automation, and it’s a learning experience every time. It’s impossible to know everything about everything, so the biggest challenge of my career more broadly is to be honest about my knowledge gaps and ask lots of thoughtful questions.

How do you understand and strategize a clients’ desired tone of voice?

I’d estimate that 95% of clients don’t provide brand guidelines that include information about tone and voice, so most of the strategizing happens in my head. To get a sense of what they might like, I’ll read their blog or other marketing materials and then read content produced by competitors. As I read, I’ll ask myself - what’s the status quo? Is there an opportunity to stand out?

It’s also important to consider how “safe” a client wants to be. Do they seem like the kind of company that prefers an informative, straight to the point tone? Or is there some flexibility for a more colloquial, fun tone?

How did you start working on content creation for developer audiences?

Gosh, it was honestly a complete accident. I left graduate school thinking I wanted to do B2C (business-to-consumer) content, or maybe go into journalism. My first job was writing about electronic health records and other types of medical software. I really liked it, and realized that a part of me is technically minded enough in many ways to understand the people building (and buying) different types of software products.

Do you have any advice for your younger self?

Copywriting is a very competitive role to break into. It can be difficult to get that first job that helps you build your portfolio - you need someone to really believe in you. I still think about the people who trusted me with their brand and the editors that gave me thoughtful, honest feedback.

If I could go back in time and have dinner with a younger me, I’d tell her to stick with it and talk to everyone who might be interested in your work. Don’t let self consciousness hold you back. Write about the things you’re interested in. Apply to jobs that you aren’t fully qualified for. Email people you admire and ask for advice. Keep trying, and don’t let the rejections get you down.

Final thoughts or advice for marketers in the tech space?

Developers are people too. They don’t want to hear your jargon or hear about how your product will “streamline” or “improve efficiency”. They want to be talked to like actual human beings, and reeled in with headlines and ads that are interesting and creative. I want to see more risk taking in this space, more fun language, more (tasteful) jokes and cultural references. 

Want to work with Kathie and the rest of the Catchy team? Well, you’re in luck - we’re hiring! Check out our Careers page for our current openings.