If you hear laughter at storEDGE, chances are it’s Jana Haecherl. Since the spring of 2016, Jana has been brightening up the office environment with her sharp sense of humor, company spirit, and marketing talent. You probably know her as the voice behind the storEDGE blog and marketing campaigns, and you may have even chatted with her about self storage automation at a trade show or two.

There’s no denying Jana is a marketing whiz. In her nearly three years at storEDGE, she’s brought in thousands of leads through her several hundred blog posts, ebooks, and who knows how many email campaigns, press releases, and software demos (so far). I’m constantly impressed by her sheer ambition as well - I’ve seen firsthand that she’ll take on just about any challenge, including finding the best contextual opportunity to interject a “that’s what she said” into conversation. Did I mention she has a fantastic sense of humor? I’d like to reiterate that.

I talked to several storEDGE coworkers about Jana to find out what makes her so great at what she does:

“Jana is a total writing machine and has stepped into so many roles, which is key for a rapidly growing startup. I’ve really enjoyed watching her grow and interact with customers and employees. Her PR and trade show skills are surpassed only by her cool pickup and unique dance moves. I’m pretty sure her husband, Ben, is the driving force behind her success…but not her dance moves.” Dan Miller EVP Corporate Development

“Jana brings contagious joy into any room she enters. She's unbelievably talented, ambitious, witty and a blast to be around. And you don't want to mess with her competitive spirit: she will win! She has a true gift of storytelling and works relentlessly to not only educate our industry but to showcase our clients' success.” Megan Kannard Director of Marketing

“Jana makes things happen. She’s always eager to help and approaches projects with sharp focus and a fun attitude. She injects herself into areas that would otherwise be neglected and fall through the cracks.” Austin Jones Director of Sales

Since it’s about time we featured the very person who regularly updates us on what’s going on in the self storage industry and what’s going on at storEDGE, I sat down with Jana to discuss self storage marketing, thought leadership and why she’s the Dwight Schrute of storEDGE.

Name: Jana Haecherl

Department: Marketing

Started at storEDGE: May 2016

Describe your typical day at storEDGE.

I’m very lucky to have a role where I get to really flex my creativity muscle every day. On a typical day, I start with a caramel or vanilla latte from The Grind (our in-house coffee shop). I block off a solid chunk of time to just write longform content - whether that be for a blog post, ebook, white paper, press release, video script, infographic, or a Frankenstein of one or more things. After I get some quality writing time knocked out, the rest of my day is more flexible to work on other creative marketing projects like campaign planning, web copy, email campaigns, content planning and organization, PR projects, interviews, and social media management. I typically have a lot of tabs open and I use a mix of Mailchimp, Hubspot, Salesforce, Google Analytics, and a few hodge podge blogging and PR tools like Buzzsumo, Hemingway Editor, and the AP Stylebook. I’m lost without my second monitor - my home office has three monitors for maximum nerdery.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love being a storyteller. It doesn’t get much more niche than self storage tech communications, so making our brand more human, interesting, and relatable is a fun challenge. I like to add some spice into our brand’s personality by trying new things, finding the emotion and the big “why” behind each piece of content, and painting a vivid picture to connect with our brand audience. I feel like I’m really supported in my role and not pressured to just push out vanilla content for content’s sake. My favorite projects combine branded storytelling with authentic client experiences and cool design work. I’m lucky to work with a really talented team of designers who always support my ideas and push me out of my comfort zone to try new things.

Your position is unique because you’re tasked with taking a dry topic and making it exciting. So I have to ask - do you think that self storage is boring?

(laughs) It may not be the most exciting dinner topic, but I don’t think storEDGE is boring and our clients certainly aren’t boring. The people who read our self storage blog posts are real estate investors, big or small, who are chasing the American dream. For many of these readers, their self storage income is a way to fund their retirement goals or send their kids to college. I think when you put the focus back on what really matters - the people in our industry and the “why” behind what we do - it really brings the topic to life. A typical self storage blog isn’t going to be a very exciting place, but then again, storEDGE isn’t typical.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Working the self storage “beat” and striving to be a thought leader in the space involves a lot of research and investigating, like deep dives into lien laws and legislation that affects our customers, market supply and demand studies, and white papers on economics and demographic trends impacting self storage. It’s a challenge to stay at the forefront of industry news and keep things fresh when sometimes you’re writing about self storage lobbyists, but your mindset makes all the difference and no matter what the product is, you’re still talking to a person. I’ve found a strong cup of coffee and a funny podcast make cruising through industry news online much more interesting.

Tell me about attending self storage trade shows.

The trade shows really inspire me creatively - I get a ton of content ideas from talking to people in the industry, meeting new people, sitting in on educational sessions, and listening to client feedback. It’s a really vibrant atmosphere - most of the time our trade shows are in Vegas, so it’s an energetic scene and our team works hard and plays hard while we’re there. I love testing my product knowledge during demos and trying to keep up with the sales bros on the trade show floor. From the self storage owner’s perspective, it’s a can’t-miss experience. There is no better place or faster way to learn about the industry, connect with other owners, try out new products, and get creative solutions to any problems you may be having in your storage business. Whether you’re new to the industry or you’ve been a storage owner for 25+ years, there is something for everyone there and you’ll absolutely walk away with new ideas and knowledge that can help your business.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

It doesn’t happen very often, but when the American Royal has events, I do equine photography for them, which is really fun. But mostly, I’m a homebody outside of work. I have two lazy bully breed dogs that love to snuggle up with my husband and I on the couch and watch murder mystery shows. When I’m not binge watching Netflix, you can usually find me cooking something (but not baking, I’m a terrible baker - I’ve made banana breads that look like science experiments), hiking with my dogs at the various parks around the KC metro, wandering around Home Depot behind my husband, or reading a novel. I recently re-re-read the Harry Potter series and now I’m starting “The Stranger Beside Me” by Ann Rule.

We're friends, but I want to learn something new. Tell me something about yourself that might surprise me.

Hmm, you know me so well that it’s hard to surprise you. I once won my school’s “punt” division in a punt, pass and kick contest when I was like seven. It was probably the highlight of my athletic career.

Who do you consider to be your biggest role model in life?

Probably Ben (my husband). He just does everything right. He always does the right thing - he has a very strong moral compass. He’s not perfect, obviously - but he always works really hard and he never gives less than 100% at anything he does. He’s extremely patient, kind, and a great listener. He’s really accepting of everyone he meets. He’s a big role model for me, I’d say - don’t tell him that though. I don’t want him to get a big head. (laughs)

So, I was going to ask you what your favorite show is, but I already know it’s The Office. Why is it your favorite show?

What’s not to love, really? Steve Carell is hilarious and The Office had an absolutely all-star cast who just killed it every single episode. It was the perfect storm of comedy. All of the guest appearances were phenomenal. On a more serious note, the world can be a pretty dark, scary place, and I think there aren’t enough things in life that make you belly laugh. I don’t like to take myself too seriously, so when you find something or someone who can make you laugh until you cry, you have to hold onto it.

What’s your favorite episode or scene from The Office?

Season 5, Episode 13: “Stress Relief”. Dwight’s realistic fire drill and the CPR training scene crack me up every single time. Season 3, Episode 3/4 “Dunder Mifflin Infinity” is a close second because Michael drives his car into a lake and has a meltdown over chocolate turtles.

What’s the most “Michael” or “Dwight” moment you’ve experienced working at storEDGE?

That’s tough to say, because I definitely think I’m the most “Dwight-like” of our team, in that I’m very competitive and I often take things to an extreme. I also grew up on a farm and I’m German. (Although I’d never heard of Belsnickel.) But thank goodness I’ve never had a boss like Michael Scott.

Thanks for reading! Want to know more about us? You may also like these posts: Meet Team storEDGE: Lillian Wright, Product Manager, Meet Team storEDGE: Chris Lasiter, Business Development Executive, and Meet Team storEDGE: Katelyn Wyss, Account Manager.