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Animalz

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Animalz

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Animalz Content Marketing Manager Reviews

Updated Feb 24, 2022

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3.7
57%
Recommend to a Friend
59%
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Animalz CEO Devin Bramhall (no image)
Devin Bramhall
18 Ratings

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I recently received an offer from iProspect (part of Dentsu) I’ve heard ups and downs about this company. I currently work for a great company and not sure if I should leave. The new opportunity pays a lot more than I currently make. Does anyone have any advice about this company and whether I should take the job or not?

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  1. 5.0
    Current Employee, more than 3 years

    Top team in content

    Jan 25, 2022 - Content Strategist in New York, NY
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Great team, peers are fantastic

    Cons

    Becoming a big company with all that entails

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    Be the first to find this review helpful
  2. 5.0
    Current Employee, more than 1 year

    Great opportunities for the right person

    Jan 20, 2022 - Content Marketing Manager 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    -- Challenging work that forces you to learn and grow -- If you're ambitious and willing and open to develop your skills, then there's a lot of opportunity for internal advancement. Management seems genuinely interested in evolving the company, improving processes and promoting people who are excited about and committed to doing the same. As other reviewers have noted, there is a good amount of employee turnover, but from my perspective, a lot of that comes down to lack of fit (particularly in the case of some people staying less than a year) -- People who have moved on from Animalz have gone on to in-house jobs at great companies -- Great, supportive coworkers -- Flexible schedules -- Decent benefits

    Cons

    -- Content marketing is essentially a service industry, and sometimes clients can be difficult and demanding -- The team is geographically distributed, so you need to be able to handle working with people across several time zones

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    4 people found this review helpful
  3. 3.0
    Current Employee, less than 1 year

    Great culture and people, but we're burning out at both ends

    Feb 24, 2022 - Content Marketing Manager 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    - Remote work with little supervision, allowing for flexibility to work basically whenever I want to. - Onboarding is thorough and ramps up to full production slowly - Working with some of the smartest, brightest minds in content marketing, especially the Quality Team (editors) and Team Leads - If you're lucky, being assigned to write for some big-name clients and getting to exercise writing for others to gain additional practice and experience in other verticals - Working with a time-zone diverse team across the world. - Decent salary with healthcare coverage for U.S., but nothing to write home about. Management says their goal is to be above 50% of the U.S. which means pay is just slightly above average, but you'll make way more working in-house at a tech company similar to one of our clients. - Three main tracks for career development: writing, leadership (strategy), editor. You can pursue whichever one speaks to you and your career goals. - Other CMs, your Team Lead and CSM are really supportive and uplifting of each other. No work drama/favorites, and opportunities to earn public recognition for doing a great job

    Cons

    - Hardcore burnout. Been here for about 6 months and I've reached full production (8 article-credits) ONCE. It's a constant stressor that I'm below expectations and even though mid-management (my Team Lead) is chill about it, the company being below production goals as a whole is something that's brought up often by upper management. - Under staffed. We don't have enough CMs to manage the workload we take on, which makes it difficult to deliver on our promises to clients. We don't utilize freelancers as much as we should, which means CMs work double to make sure pieces are delivered before they go on breaks. Also understaffed on editors and copyeditors, which means when they take breaks, the rest are overworked and everyone feels bad about it. - To go with point 2, there's a hiring freeze for CMs right now, while we still see 3-6 CMs quit/fired a month. The workload is unsustainable and leading to CMs burning out to over deliver and customers churning over not meeting expectations -- or multiple CMs working hard to deliver on backlogs, which there are MORE of than not. Meanwhile, we've had so many upper management hires in the last few months - I'm not entirely sure why. The CEO talks about the org restructure, the org restructure -- but none of that is benefiting the CMs, who do the bread and butter work of Animalz: creating good content. - Comp is just okay. It's above average for entry-level/early career CMs but plateaus. No 401k match, no employer contributions for dependent coverage. PTO (20 vacation days, 5 floating holidays) is prorated based on start date, so I only had 2-3 holidays when I started in Q3 2021 - one for Thanksgiving and 1.75 for Xmas. Unlimited sick days + personal days are hard to use/justify because you have to play massive catch up when you do take them. - Learning curve is steep. Our L&D dept of one tries her best to create new resources and update old ones for us, but the processes and tools are too many and too hard to keep track of. We need a simpler content pipeline, and less shared tools. We're also expected to do things that we haven't been trained on - like ideation and content strategy, which is very, very time-consuming and difficult - You don't get to pick your clients. I was placed on a highly technical customer whose content was extremely difficult to write. Sometimes clients can be a nightmare to work with - unresponsive, demanding, nitpicky. Part of being an agency is that we're always at the beck and call of the clients. Adding CSMs to the team has mitigated the amount of context switching CMs have to do to manage clients - It's draining and time consuming to context switch. We run meetings with clients, ideate and create new content strategy AND write two articles per week. It's a lot of work and I've pulled long nights and shifts to get work done. - It's difficult to level up and promote to get salary raises. While there are paths to career development, there's really no time to work on it. Where do I find the time to work on personal development and learning the skills necessary to level up (i.e. content strategy)? - leadership says DE&I is really important but I have yet to see that really exemplified. For example, auditing our documentation for inclusive language was done on a volunteer basis - but CMs are BUSY as mentioned before. - If you want to use your experience to apply for a job elsewhere, you'll have to be creative about your portfolio because we're legally not allowed to share who our clients are, and our writing becomes the IP of Animalz/Clients. Even if you get lucky and score the big accounts, you can't mention them. Can turn your job interviews into "Source: Trust me, bro." Hopefully, the skills you hone at Animalz speak for themselves though.

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    17 people found this review helpful

    Animalz Response

    CEO

    We appreciate you taking the time to write such an honest review of your time on the team. We’re making headway on the things you call out, and are proud of our team for creating such a great culture. It takes time and energy to make change in a company of 100+ people, and I’m amazed at the way our team rise to this challenge every day. As of EOY 2021, each team member now has a custom workload. We’ve also refined the CM role to have fewer areas of ownership, and re-structured to manager role to focus on coaching and support for direct reports. We also re-worked our pay and salary bands, to give us more flexibility to reward hard work and progress, as well as making our succession planning and promotions process more transparent. As we go into Q2 of this year, we have a solid hiring plan in place, a new exec team, more capacity across the team, and plans in place to increase innovation and provide more opportunities for sustainable professional development. If you feel still burned out, reach out to a member of People Ops, or your manager. We have support structures in place.

  4. 5.0
    Current Employee, less than 1 year

    It's a great place to work!

    Jan 14, 2022 - Content Marketing Manager 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Maybe I missed the growing pains, but I'm not sure where the negative reviews come from. I joined the team in 2021 and I can honestly say that this is the first job I've taken in a LONG time where I haven't been looking on Indeed/LinkedIn a few months in to see what else is out there due to issues in the company. I plan on being here as long as they'll have me! Everyone I've met has been supportive and as helpful as they can be. I have not experienced any sort of "toxic" and believe me, I have worked in some incredibly toxic companies before so I'd point it out if it existed. The negative reviews on here claim that the CMs are overworked, but I haven't felt that way at all. This is the first content marketing job I've had where they place an emphasis on your writing quality instead of quantity, and it's incredibly refreshing. As a CM, you'll work with an editor who challenges you and helps you spot your weaknesses so that you can grow as a writer. You'll also have a team lead to help you with any impediments and help you reach the OKRs you set for yourself. Yes, you do work directly with customers, and yes, you are responsible for the relationship, but they're working to bring in customer success managers to help take some of that off the CM's plate. I personally think it's good to work directly with the customers so that as the writer, you can establish that relationship with them and ultimately create better content. Management is also very accessible. I saw a review on here that said the CEO doesn't answer questions during office hours meetings, and that hasn't been my experience at all. Any time I've attended an office hours meeting, she's read each question and answered it as thoroughly as possible or handed it over to someone who could answer better than she could. They also encourage us to reach out via Slack or even set up a meeting with them if we need anything. If you're wanting a job where you have the ability to grow and focus on your writing, then I think you'd love it here. Other pros include: - flex schedule (great for parents especially) - 4 weeks of PTO + 5 floating holidays (first place I've worked that gives this much PTO!) - unlimited sick time/personal days (like, you can actually be sick and not have to use your PTO. amazing.) - decent benefits - 401K - detailed onboarding training

    Cons

    Just to keep it real, these would be the cons I've experienced: - dependent coverage is expensive - it can be overwhelming at first to learn all the processes (but that's true of any job) - you don't have any input on the clients you're assigned, which can be frustrating at times especially if you don't have existing knowledge of their field/they're more technical than what you're used to - when you work at a place with employees across the globe, it can take longer than what you're used to in a typical company to get answers to a question

    3 people found this review helpful
  5. 2.0
    Former Employee, less than 1 year

    Top talent squandered

    Feb 2, 2022 - Content Writer 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Filled with great writers and editors to learn from.

    Cons

    Everything else. The pay is substandard, especially for content writers – the people making the actual product Animalz is selling. Content writers with any experience at all can find better pay pretty much anywhere in the current market. Animalz charges clients a king’s ransom for blogs and articles, but none of that seems to leak down to the writers. That gap is puzzling, until you see how many vice presidents, directors, and managers are stuffed into the company hierarchy. Benefits aren’t great if you’re on your own, and they’re terrible if you have a spouse or dependents. The company is clearly operating on the “hope your spouse has better benefits” philosophy of employee healthcare. The workload is extreme and is getting worse. Animalz used to pride itself on quality work, but the writers these days are given such a massive production goal that quality is noticeably slipping. And by noticeable, I mean the clients are noticing, and are subsequently churning. Worse, writers are scolded like puppies if they fall behind on production, and are said to be “letting down the team.” That management is letting down their team of writers doesn’t come up very often. When writers fall behind on these extreme production goals, work is often outsourced to freelancers who aren’t given the time, prompts, or editing support to create quality material. And so standards fall further. They won’t hire new editors at a rate commensurate with increased clients or workloads, and so standards fall even more. They really do have top talent at this agency, but management isn’t providing the framework to support them. And more of these talented individuals are leaving every day, realizing how much more money (and how much less stress) can be found out in the market right now. Onboarding was never great and appears to be getting worse, with little-to-no training on the 12+ apps the company uses. The internal organization is a mess because of it, with information being kept on random spreadsheets instead of inputted into the appropriate app with a funny animal name. All forms of dissent in the company Slack are quashed as “complaining” instead of addressed. Public call outs are becoming more frequent, where employees who made mistakes are tagged in public Slack channels with passive-aggressive messages. Morale is in the toilet, perhaps rightly so, with an everpresent air of “who is being fired or quitting next.” Lastly, and perhaps most disappointingly, Animalz is one of those companies that puts forward a progressive veneer with nothing behind it, like the storefronts on an Old West movie set. Unlimited vacation days don’t mean much when you get fired after taking them, nevermind that you have to find and coordinate freelancers yourself should you deign to take a couple days off. Which is even more frustrating, since some upper-level positions have very discreetly been given four day workweeks. There’s no true dialog with management, company all-hands meetings are basically recitals for C-Suite business jargon performances, and struggling employees are given little help. For a business based around communication, you’ll find none here.

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    26 people found this review helpful
  6. 2.0
    Former Employee, more than 1 year

    Learn, burn, and churn

    Jan 28, 2022 - Content Manager 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Animalz is a perplexing animal, no pun intended. On the one hand, there are great people there who do everything in their power to make life better for their team. On the other hand, their power is limited and those with the ability to effect change have no interest in doing so. For those brand new to content marketing, or those looking to rapidly grow their portfolio, Animalz has something to offer. You will work with a wide variety of clients, likely many since churn is high. This breadth of experience is great for your portfolio, especially if you have the opportunity to work with more established clients where your work is likely to garner a nice amount of traffic or other measurable results. And for those lucky enough to work with the big flashy brands, that's something fun to stick in a cover letter. Animalz also provides the opportunity to grow your skillset, largely because you'll work with talented content managers (CMs) that are often willing to teach you a thing or two, time permitting. Animalz also changed their payscale some months ago, which for some resulted in a pay increase that put them above what many other agencies would pay. (Worth noting: the pay increase wasn't applied to everyone in a uniform manner, with many benefitting more than others.)

    Cons

    Unfortunately Animalz has a major churn problem, both with employees and clients. Animalz went through a period of aggressive customer growth during much of 2021, the pursuit of sales overtaking the pursuit of any meaningful change in company culture. This growth, while profitable for a select few, resulted in more work than CMs could handle, overworked editors and copyeditors, and a heavy reliance on freelance writers. Clients pay a LOT of money to work with Animalz, drawn in by promises of traffic growth, brand awareness, and above all: work done by the once-renowned Animalz staff. With customer growth outpacing all else in 2021, it became commonplace for customers to have freelance writers doing their work, unbeknownst to the client. Simply put: this is a blatant lie our customers are being sold. Imagine running a five-star burger joint and serving your customers rewrapped Big Macs. When CMs questioned upper management about the use of freelancers, the answer was often something to the tune of, "It's a temporary fix and something we don't foresee happening for long." Last time I checked, freelancer use is still commonplace for all new accounts, some having freelancers on them for months before getting a permanent CM. Training is another rough spot at Animalz. Onboarding improved over my time there, but still left a lot to be desired. Team leads are often so overworked they can't devote proper time to CMs, meaning those CMs are left trying to learn from other CMs, who are equally if not more swamped than the person trying to learn. It's a vicious cycle that leaves everyone exhausted, everyone overworked, and everyone learning on the fly (or making things up on the go). Paired with the lofty promises made to clients on sales calls, and you've got a bunch of new hires set up to fail. Speaking of training, it's worth pointing out Animalz started to pivot last year during their rapid growth and loss phase. Rather than view themselves as a content agency, they started to tell employees they were becoming a learning institution. The idea being, it's expected people join the company to learn, and then "graduate" to a better job. (The latter part is at least true for most.) There are talented people at Animalz with the capacity to educate, but those foundations weren't even in place when this messaging was used in the wake of the great employee exodus. Much like telling your passengers the sinking ship is now a swimming pool, the statement that Animalz was becoming a learning institution simply wasn't true. Maybe one day Animalz will be a learning institution, but 99% of the people at Animalz came to work at a content agency, not a content agency with so little faith in their ability to retain employees they rebrand themselves. There's also a massive issue with benefits that borders on discrimination. For those without dependents, Animalz insurance is serviceable. For those with dependents, Animalz pays none of the coverage. This means people with two or three or four dependents will easily pay upwards of $12,000 per year for insurance. If you're reading this and you have an offer from Animalz, be sure to subtract these insurance costs from anything they offer you—dependent coverage is unlikely to arrive anytime soon, if ever. (The same goes for 401k matching, which was often teased but never delivered.)

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    17 people found this review helpful
  7. 2.0
    Former Employee, more than 1 year

    Complete Chaos

    Jan 14, 2022 - Content Marketer 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    If you like managing your own work and don't need any support from other people, you might be fine. You can operate on your own island and have flexibility over your hours. The career opportunities are amazing... outside of Animalz! For the time being the experience is still worth something on a resume.

    Cons

    This company is chaos at every level. It's a cautionary tale of "too big, too fast" without a good plan in place to support the growth. And now the company is paying for it. Content marketing managers (CMs) have to manage their own workloads with only a hokey homegrown system to keep track of deliverables. It is a wonder that anything gets delivered on time and shows a lack of commitment to company infrastructure. Delivery dates are frequently missed, with huge backlogs of work owed to clients. CMs are constantly stressed and running on empty. There was an attempt to add structure with new roles of Customer Success Managers but I feel bad for people in these roles. They're always pulled in a million directions so it only added a new layer of chaos. It's a band-aid approach for a hemorrhaging wound. Working at Animalz feels like crisis mode all the time between lack of any effective processes, employee turnover, and customer churn. The final red flag and the push I needed to send out my resume was watching talented and tenured people leave in droves. I'm sure someone from the organization will be along to comment and insist that change is in the works and change takes time. I wish I could say that I believed it, but I heard that claim over and over for more than a year. No one in leadership seems to have a clue how to right the ship and it's sinking fast.

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    19 people found this review helpful

    Animalz Response

    CEO

    In 2021 we grew rapidly and in the process, we discovered some of our processes and systems weren’t as scalable as they needed to be. Once we saw the issues, we began addressing them in H2 2021. We also reduced our growth goals for 2022 by more than half, so we could avoid the issues we experienced in 2021. Over the first four months of 2022 we have: * Refined areas of ownership and expectations for all roles, especially our content manager role, with the aim of allowing the team to focus and work to their strengths. * Re-structured the company to give our managers more autonomy and agility in how they work. * Updated our pay and salary bands, to give us more flexibility to reward hard work and progress * Invested in updating core parts of our tool stack and systems. These changes are in addition to the many changes we made last year, including implementing annual market salary adjustments, creating custom workloads, implementing bi-annual bonuses, spot bonuses, and more. We continue to work on ways to improve our workload, pay, processes, and infrastructure. I appreciate candid feedback, and the opportunity to explain how we’re working to improve. If anyone reading has questions about how we’re supporting our team, let’s talk about it! - devin@animalz.co

  8. 5.0
    Current Employee, less than 1 year

    Dream company. Seriously.

    Oct 19, 2021 - Content Marketing Manager 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Flexible schedules. We work to support our lives, not the other way around. Supportive culture. In my first few weeks, I expressed some self-doubt to my manager, teammates, and peers, and I got nothing but support and helpful resources. No shaming. Excellent vacation policy. You actually get coverage from others when you're on vacation (4 weeks!), so you don't work extra hard when you get back.

    Cons

    Everyone is in different time zones, so it can be hard to get the kind of real-time feedback you might be used to. No company match for retirement savings (I hear it's coming soon, tho)

    2 people found this review helpful
  9. 3.0
    Former Employee

    Questions of integrity

    Oct 31, 2021 - Content Writer 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Work from home, average benefits, meet lots of great people

    Cons

    I was willing to leave my experiences with Animalz behind when I left the company. But I recently came across a job post for Flow Club that prominently featured Haley, Animalz COO. The job post said, “Also in 2021, the team met Haley Bryant as one of Flow Club's early members and biggest advocates. Haley joined as an angel investor and a part-time operations lead.” In the spring and summer of 2021, Animalz was having difficulty retaining employees and customers. Overly ambitious sales goals were made, experienced writers left, and Animalz hired a bunch of new, less-experienced writers. This caused customers to churn, because the quality of work was not where it should have been. At the same time, Haley was soliciting Animalz employees to learn about, sign up, and use Flow Club. As COO, an endorsement carries additional weight. Those who use it will get more time with a powerful person within Animalz. It feels awful knowing she was working to financially benefit from Flow Club while promoting the service to Animalz employees. I believe getting employees to sign up for a service in which she has financial interests (salary, gains from her investment) puts her in violation of the non-solicitation clause at Animalz. Second, Haley’s decision to be an angel investor with the Hustle Fund may be a conflict of interest. Animalz policy expressly prohibits providing work for a direct competitor, supplier, distributor, or contractor for Animalz. I would think, given the team was encouraged to use Flow Club, that they count as a supplier. And given Flow Club calls her an employee and investor, I would think that counts as “providing work.” Upper management may have known about Haley’s relationship with Flow Club, but Animalz employees did not. And that calls into question whether or not Haley has financial interests in other tools or services she promotes. Animalz has a lot of problems, and it’s surprising that the #2 leader seems to be part-timing the job (while she part-times a few other jobs.)

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    17 people found this review helpful

    Animalz Response

    CEO

    I appreciate genuine feedback and questions from current and former staff; however, the above posting contains a number of inaccuracies and reflects a misunderstanding of our business and the tools offered to assist Animalz team members. * There is no violation of conflict of interest or solicitation policies * Haley is not now nor has she ever been an employee of Flow Club * Animalz pays for Flow Club sessions for team members who elect to use it; there is no charge* to team members nor any requirement to utilize sessions. * Neither Flow Club nor Hustle Fund are vendors to Animalz, nor is there a remunerative relationship between these businesses. *Initially, some team members paid for a Flow Club out of their own pocket. When we were made aware of this, we asked Flow Club for a list of paying employees, refunded them, and added them to the Animalz Flow Club account. Since using Flow Club at Animalz, approximately 25% of the team has elected to attend sessions and/or become hosts. I am happy to provide this benefit to the team and to support a small business in the process! As a small but growing business with a fully remote team, maintaining a connected culture is an ongoing challenge for us. Flow Club has been a huge asset in helping us bring the team together, and I’m grateful that Haley brought this service to Animalz.

  10. 5.0
    Current Employee, less than 1 year

    The best agency I've ever worked for!

    Aug 11, 2021 - Content Manager 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    INCREDIBLE company culture that truly encourages growth by having open conversations about struggles and working together as team to solve them. You never have to be afraid of saying "I don't know" or asking for help. The team motto is "content writing is a team sport" and at Animalz they really live this out. They also really walk the talk when it comes to work-life balance and promoting mental and physical health. People openly message their teams and say "hey I need a mental health day, be back tomorrow" and their manager will be the first to hop in and reply "Great, hope you feel better!" There is so much support here. For being a 100% remote company there is also a robust work culture with a lot of opportunities to connect with people on a personal level (they even have scheduled "watercooler talks" where you just talk with someone you don't know about life and get to know them). Their process is really driven by producing excellent content, but also cultivating excellent writers. They focus a lot on setting personal development goals and truly want to put things in place to help you get there, they actually put clearly outlined expectations and plans in place for you to get promoted and want to see you succeed. One obvious example of this is: when I applied they asked how much I wanted to make, I gave them a number and they said "cool, but we think you're worth more than that, how about $20K more?" Our CEO is also great - super approachable - and the whole leadership team really cultivates a culture of transparecy which is great.

    Cons

    Because it's 100% remote there are a lot of tools to acclimate to and context switching can be a challenge. I know our leadership is putting several initiatives in place to address this though.

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    6 people found this review helpful

    Animalz Response

    CEO

    Thank you for your feedback. We are proud of our team and the support that they offer! We are constantly meeting and brainstorming ways to help our writers develop their skills, so I’m glad that our model has helped you succeed. You are right about our tools. What worked for us as a company of 50 is no longer working at 100+. We are improving our tool stack in 2022 and making other changes that I think will help with this. Please feel free to reach out to me directly (or to your manager, or People Ops if that is more comfortable for you) if you have any additional ideas or feedback!

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