In 2016, the Santa Monica-based Leaf Group hired me to manage Cuteness, a site devoted to pet health and behavior. Several months after work began on the Cuteness project, the publishing company asked me to also manage its personal finance vertical, Sapling.
Over the course of the ensuing year, I managed Sapling’s small team — which consisted of several freelance writers and an editor — to produce editorial content around budgeting, investing, saving, careers and entrepreneurship, but with a voice that spoke intimately with a millennial audience.
Our demographic research revealed that 70% of the audience was female, aged 18 to 34. Furthermore, this audience segment was primarily self employed and consumed instructional content around freelancing and contract work, as well as small business taxes.
Our team continued to develop what we called first-timer content, which helped our younger audience explore their first job searches, first salary negotiations, first 401K contributions and first disputes with coworkers. But we also leaned into topics relevant to gig-economy workers and entrepreneurs, including client profiling, business modeling, innovation and design.