Share on Linkedin
9 November 2020 – 13 November 2020


9 November 2020Monday
18 tweets

Hi everyone! Taking over this account till the end of the week. I’ve been working as a PMM for ~3 years. Before that, I got to work in sales, support, and the knowledge base team. Now I’m a PMM at JetBrains where to my surprise all my previous work experience came in handy.


Plans for this week:

Mon/Tue: Writing good technical content
Wed: AMA on Reddit - tips and tricks
Thu: My favorite topic - impostor syndrome 😅
Fri: Books that inspired me and helped me at work


So, technical content. When I just started working as a PMM, I thought that the main goal behind the good content was to be impressive. Impressive in a way how eloquent I am.


Still remember how I was tasked to write an ebook about cybersecurity and added a very cool (as I thought back then) phrase to it. The phrase was “the cybersecurity market continues to blossom”. Of course, this wasn’t the only “cool” phrase that I used 😀


Now that I’ve got quite a lot of experience writing technical content and studied a lot of material on this topic, I’ve set several rules that I try to keep in mind regardless of what I need to work on.



1⃣Know your audience.
2⃣The shorter (and the clearer) the better.
3⃣Strip out needless words.
4⃣Find the right balance between features and benefits.
5⃣Add visuals.
6⃣Get feedback.
7⃣Double-check and double-check again.


Let me comment on each of those things.

  1. Know your audience.

Have a clear understanding of who your customers are, what they like, and especially what they don’t like. You need to speak the same language as they do.


To make it easier to understand who they are, you can create buyer personas. Make sure you create them based not only on market research but on real insights from your customers. If you only rely on the former, it can make your personas pretty far from reality in some cases.


2. The shorter (and the clearer) the better.

You want people to read your texts till the end, not to stop after the 1st sentence thinking “Nah I’d rather go check my Instagram”. So, get straight to the point and avoid adding irrelevant details and needless words to your texts.


When reviewing a piece of content, I always ask myself: “Does this sentence/phrase/word add any value? Does it help the reader learn something new and helpful?” If not, I get rid of it.

Some tips on keeping your texts simple that I like:….


3. Strip out needless words.
This one is related to #2 but I want to highlight it separately as I find it extremely important. And pretty difficult to master, too.

What are needless words? These are words that won’t change the meaning of your sentence if you omit them.


For example, this could be:

1⃣Words like “easily”, “quickly” when talking about how one can do something with your product. Such words rarely add any value to your text and make it more difficult to read. Plus, no one would say that something is hard to do with their product.


2⃣Technical terms that your readers might not know. Have you ever caught yourself thinking “I feel like I’m not smart enough to read this”, even though you knew the content was targeted at pros like you? I have, this is a terrible feeling. Don’t make your readers google things.


3⃣Buzzwords. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen websites saying that they will provide a “seamless” experience, take something “to the next level”, or “streamline” something for me.

An interesting read on this:…


These are just a few examples that can make your texts harder to read. I’m not saying to get rid of such words completely - in some cases, they might fit perfectly. Just be careful when using them.


To teach yourself to identify the words that you can leave out, I’d recommend reading the books about writing content. This is my favorite, available in Russian only:…. As for books in English, I can recommend this one:….


If there are any other books of such kind that you liked, I'd be grateful if you'd share them in the comments 🙏


I also get inspired by easy-to-understand books on topics I know little about. Just think of how hard it must be to explain a complex topic like modern art to people who know almost nothing about it. Yet, some people like W. Gompertz have excelled at it.…

10 November 2020Tuesday
17 tweets

Morning everyone! Today I’ll keep sharing my thoughts on writing technical content.


4. Find the right balance between features and benefits.

You know a lot about your product. You know how hard it was to develop the feature X and how cool the feature Y is. You know who your customers are and what problems they solve with your product.


How to balance between these two sides of the same coin? First of all, you need to clearly understand the difference between the two. A feature is something that your product does or a specific characteristic it has. A benefit is what your customer can do about that.


When working on a piece of content, remind yourself who you’re writing it for and try to put yourself in their shoes. Are decision makers going to read it? Most likely, they need a high-level view of what a product does and aren’t interested in learning about specific features.


Does your target audience care much about innovation and like reading about the latest features your product shipped with? Then make your content more feature-focused. Apple’s website is a perfect example of such content.


Even though I like this specific example, I’m not a fan of such feature-focused content. When you’re reading something like this, you don’t always get what is in it for you. It’s especially true for products you’ve just found out about. Especially if they are full of features.


The same can be said about the content that is too benefit-focused. Some marketers can get so obsessed with highlighting the benefit part that they make it hard for users to map a benefit to a specific feature they need to use to get that benefit.


We had this problem at my previous job. When the new head of marketing joined the company, we were told to get rid of the habit of mentioning features in our texts. The texts were supposed to become even more benefit-focused.


While this worked well in some cases, it had a huge drawback, too. The texts became really vague. When our potential users started using the trial versions, some of them got stuck not knowing what to do next and how to reap the benefits they were promised. So, they left us.


To sum up:
1⃣Understand the difference b/w features and benefits
2⃣Keep in mind who you’re writing this content for
3⃣If it’s clear for you what a feature does/why it’s cool, it doesn't mean it's clear for your customer too
4⃣Be careful with focusing too much on benefits/features


Hubspot’s website has many examples of pages with a good feature/benefit balance, e.g.…. Any other examples that you like?


5. Add visuals.

Help people understand what you're talking about by adding pictures or gifs to your copy. Also, visuals will break up the copy, making it easier to read.


6. Get feedback.

It’s always a good idea to ask someone to review your copy before publishing it. I’m not talking about handing it over to copyeditors. For many of us, this step is already a must.


Ask someone you trust to do it. This has helped me find some ambiguities and catch errors multiple times.

How often should you seek such feedback? It's totally up to you. I do it for the most important and visible content and for the texts I have doubts about.


7. Double-check and double-check again.

Typos? Broken links? Grammar mistakes? You don’t want any of those in your texts, so make sure you proofread what you’ve written at least a couple of times.


Before doing a final check, I always get some rest and grab a coffee. If I’m not short on time, I can even get back to a copy the next day. Then I review the copy with a fresh pair of eyes.


That’s it for the main rules I try to follow when writing technical content. I’d be happy to know what these rules are for you!

And I have to admit that even though I like the process of content creation, I often feel like the guy in this pic 🤪

11 November 2020Wednesday
18 tweets

Today I want to share my experience with organizing an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit. I wasn’t planning to cover this topic but quite a few of my colleagues have reached out to me lately asking for advice on this, so I thought this may be helpful to others too.


If you’ve never heard of the term AMA before, it’s a way to engage with your audience through a Q&A session. AMA gained popularity on Reddit and is still widely used there. Now, you can also run it on other platforms like Instagram or Facebook.…


Why would you bother to hold an AMA? If you ask me, I never thought about holding one until this year. We had a lot of other ways to engage with our users: Twitter, a public issue tracker, conferences, to name just a few.


But everything is different this year. So, we started looking for new ways to get in touch with our users and ended up organizing our first AMA a couple of months ago. All of a sudden, it was a great success.


The AMA helped us:


From the marketing perspective, this AMA gave me some ideas on what type of content could be interesting to our users, confirmed my thoughts on how I should update product positioning, and helped me understand our buyer persona better.


So, you can benefit from running an AMA in many ways and I’d totally recommend having one. Now, what should you keep in mind when organizing your AMA?

First, start getting ready for it in advance. It took me a while to organize everything.


I had to:


How many people should take part in your first AMA? Of course, it’d be great if the whole team could participate but it’s not always possible. You can try to make a decision based on similar AMAs found on the web, e.g. the ones run by other teams in your company/by competitors.


In our case, less than half of the team signed up and it was enough.


We made our AMA broad and announced it on the most popular related subreddit. I also used our company channels to promote the announcement, including the product blog and Twitter.

The thing that took longer than I expected was to coordinate everything with the moderators.


On the announcement day, I thought that I had everything under control: the texts were ready, the team was ready, the AMA-specific Slack channel was created. There was a teeny-tiny detail that I missed: my post on Reddit got blocked as soon as I published it 😅


I figured it was due to the fact that I was new to Reddit and didn’t have any karma back then.

Anyway, it’s a story with a happy ending - our post got published and pinned on top of the most related subreddit.


We decided to collect questions in advance so we’d been doing it for a few days before we actually started answering them. Some people start answering questions right away. Both approaches are good. The one that we went for gives you more time to prepare.


Now, how did we decide who handles what? There’s no rocket science here: Slack and a sheet with questions, answers, and their statuses, e.g. Done/In Progress. If there are any frequently asked questions, you can also prepare answers to them in advance to save yourself some time.


We didn’t prepare answers in advance, so we spent the whole day responding to users. Once we were done with it, I updated our post on Reddit saying thanks to everyone and confirming that we were no longer accepting questions.


Once you’ve done all this, let the moderators know that the thread can be locked. You may ask them to keep your post pinned for a while for better visibility.

Although it wasn’t necessary, I also gave away some extended licenses for our product to say thank you to the community.


The last thing you’ll need to do is to process the feedback you got during the AMA and decide what to do with it.

To have the trickiest questions always at hand, I collected them in a post published on our blog. It took some time but I refer to this blog post quite often.

12 November 2020Thursday
17 tweets

Ever felt like the mushroom in this pic? Like everyone around you knows what they are doing but you. Congratulations, you know what it's like to have impostor syndrome!


All jokes aside, impostor syndrome, the idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications, is a very common thing. I know quite a lot of professionals who’ve experienced it, including myself.


What is impostor syndrome based on? This would be unrealistic requirements for yourself, an unrealistic picture of what others know and can, and perfectionism, the best friend of many PMMs 🙂


Everyone has their own story to share on how they became an “impostor” in their head, but the reasons why it happened are pretty much the same. I’ll shed some light on mine and share some tips that helped me.


I've tended to belittle my achievements as long as I remember myself. I was so used to it that I thought it was normal. At some point, the company I really wanted to work for opened a position I thought I’d potentially be a good fit for (spoiler: it's the company I work for).


What's the problem here? The word "potentially." The company is known for setting a high bar for all applicants. "Why waste my time applying for a job if I'm not smart enough to get it?" I thought. Yet, my bf convinced me to give it a try, and I got a job offer.


A dream job is mine. I should be happy with it, right? I was, but at the same time, the first few months there were one of the most stressful periods of my life. I felt I was a fraud, and everyone around me was much smarter, much more experienced, spoke better English, etc.


It took me quite a while to tame all these thoughts. I still need to work on some things, but overall I'm happy with what I've achieved so far. I'll share some tips that helped me deal with all this, hoping they'll help some of you, too.



1⃣Admit you have a problem.
2⃣Get support.
3⃣Find what calms you down.
4⃣Stop thinking everyone is perfect.
5⃣Start to notice your strengths.
6⃣Be kind to yourself.


1. Admit you have a problem.

Start to analyze your thoughts and catch yourself belittling what you're doing. You need to realize that it's not OK. And the next step can help you with that.


2. Get support.

Tell someone you trust how you feel. When I started blaming myself for doing something wrong again, my friends would calm me down and remind me that I set too high expectations for myself. When you constantly hear something like this, you start to believe it.


And remember: there are no bad or good feelings. All of your feelings are important. If you’ve felt this way, then there was a reason for that - there might be a problem that you need to solve to become a happier person.


3. Find what calms you down.

This could be meditation, swimming, painting, whatever makes you feel better. For me it was yoga. I did it several days a week before going to work to relieve stress.


4. Stop thinking everyone is perfect.

The only person you know everything about is you. For others, you never get to see the whole picture. They may be as insecure as you are. Or thinking “how does he/she find time to do all this while I barely keep up with what I do” about you.


5. Start to notice your strengths.

Someone said you did a great job? No matter how hard it is for you, try not to tell them "you're mistaken" or "nah, I got lucky." You did a great job. And you're really good at doing X. Period.


6. Be kind to yourself.

Made a mistake or screwed something up? This can happen to anyone. Remember, it's not the end of the world. You can fix what you've done, and everyone will forget about what you did sooner than you've ever imagined.


That’s it from my side. Happy to learn about your experience with this and the things that helped you 🙂

13 November 2020Friday
18 tweets

@pmmunderhood But how do you know if they are being nice and polite or they are telling the truth?:)

Some might be just being nice, but it's doubtful that it's the case for everyone around you, especially for your manager, who needs you to get your work done and done well 🙂 And annual salary reviews and bonuses tell you how well you're doing. What is your opinion on that?…


Morning everyone! On my last day, I want to share some of my favorite books with you. All of them aren’t about marketing - I’m sure you’ve read many of those. Yet, these books somehow helped me at work and inspired me a lot.


1. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.

Although there’ve been some scandals around Sandberg and the book itself is controversial at times, it’s still one of the most motivational work-related books I’ve ever read.…


I came across Lean In when I was unhappy with my job and thought about applying for another one. I didn’t have the guts to apply for it (thank you, impostor syndrome!), and this book was one of the reasons I did it anyway.


If you’re unsure if Lean In could be a good read for you, you can start by watching this TED talk: Sandberg gave it before writing the book.


2. Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz.

This book opened my eyes to how far from reality any statistics can be. It also confirmed that you shouldn’t compare yourself with others based on what they share with the outside world.…


What I liked about Everybody Lies is that it’s full of interesting examples. You can learn about some of them by reading this article:….


3. The Ideal Executive by Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes

A must-read for those who need to manage people and form teams around them. And for those who want to understand what mistakes their bosses make from the management perspective 🤫…5


The book explains why there’s no such thing as an “ideal executive” and what to do about it. Its main thought is that there are four types of management styles, you can’t be good at all of them, but you can compose a team of professionals who would complement each other.


The cool thing is that you can take a free test to identify your management style: If you’ve ever taken this test or decide to take it now, I’d be curious to know what is yours. I’m an Integrator, with the Entrepreneur style taking second place.


4. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown

I’ve read quite a lot of books on time management and related topics. This one isn’t groundbreaking, but I learned some useful tips from it and started to manage my time more effectively.…


For me, one of the key takeaways from this book was that we tend to overestimate the importance of any notification the first ~15 minutes after we’ve got it. Instead, you can wait for a while, then get back to what people want from you and only then decide how important it is.


A pretty simple thought, right? Yet, I know many people, including myself, who would start working on some small, not-at-all-urgent task as soon as someone asks them about it. I had this problem, and it prevented me from working productively on more high-priority tasks.


Now, before doing something I was asked to, I evaluate how urgent it is first and only then decide whether I need to work on it right now or it can wait. This has helped me greatly increase my productivity.


Many other thoughts are worth taking a moment to reflect on in this book. Attaching the picture with some key ideas Mckeown shared in his book.


5. Shoe dog by Phil Knight

This is an extremely inspiring and easy-to-read about the rise of Nike written by its creator. Key takeaways from it for me:


That would be it for my favorite work-related books. I’d be happy to learn about yours 🙂


Thank you for being with me this week! You can ping me here until Sunday or on my personal Twitter account @ryababukha if you have any questions left or want to share your thoughts on anything.

My doggo says hi to you and wishes you all a great weekend 😛