Content Runner has reached out to a number experts in the industry to assist with our 2014 Content Marketing Q&A Blog Series. We really appreciate the tremendous response that we’ve received so far and when we are done with the entire series we are going to compile the results into a white paper and make it available free of charge for anyone that wants to download. We have previously published the following interviews:
Jessica Bosari has been blogging about personal finance, insurance, business management and various other topics for the past five years. She is quickly becoming recognized as a thought leader, offering in-depth analysis on topics that matter to the audiences of her clients.
1. How has content marketing evolved in the last 2 years? What changes are you seeing in the services you deliver for your clients?
I’m seeing a much higher demand for thought-leadership content. Content marketers want thought-provoking pieces that address events in the news and how those events will shape the future for their audiences. They don’t just want original content. They want original thinking.
2. Where will content marketing be in 2018, what are you top 3 predictions?
- Evergreen content is evolving to take on a whole new meaning. The market is saturated with short, instructional and educational topics. To be successful going forward, evergreen content will need to be presented in greater depth with high authority sources. Images and video will also become more important in those articles.
- Storytelling and humor will matter more in content. These traits build stronger connections with readers and demonstrate the author’s authority on a given topic. People want more excitement and drama in what they read, which can also be related through factual storytelling. The audience wants to feel something. Make them laugh or make them cry, so long as you make them react.
- Content will become more expensive as the demand for thought-leadership content grows. This type of content takes about three times as long to produce compared to the traditional blog topics marketers are used to producing. It requires stronger informational sources, a greater focus on visual accents (multiple images, embedded video, etc.) and independent thinking. In addition to being more time consuming, the analytical skills required aren’t as readily available in today’s pool of web writers.
3. What are you favorite tools you use for producing content? What do you primarily use them for?
I write in Word and customize the grammar and spelling checker to fit Associated Press (AP) style, plus the idiosyncrasies of individual client requirements. I also use AP’s Style Guard plugin with Word to help me spot potential errors. Most often, my clients request I use Flickr and Wikimedia Commons to source images, although my personal preference is for MorgueFile. To keep all my work and personal life organized, I’ve started using Task Unifier alongside Toodle.do and it’s worked out very well for me.
4. What platforms offer the biggest opportunities for content marketing outside of Google? What’s a hidden gem that other marketers aren’t talking about where you’ve found success?
I don’t think there are very many secrets in this business. The information is out there for anyone to find. So long as you stay current on the biggest influencers in content marketing, you have good information.
5. How do you gauge the effectiveness of the content you produce for yourself as well as for you clients? How do you measure the ROI on content?
On my own websites, shout outs from readers and potential clients show me that I am doing something right. Unfortunately, finding time to address metrics on my own websites is very difficult. I place most of my focus on the work I do for my clients. My measurement of success on that level is their continuing to use me regularly and their positive feedback. I live for that!
6. Do you provide client’s guidance on Content Strategy? If so what are 2 critical things most companies forget about when they create their strategy?
I offer guidance and suggestions, but always let the client take the lead because many content marketing strategies are based on subjective opinion, rather than hard data.
One frustration I often experience is having my hands tied as far as voice and style. Writing in first person, when done correctly, builds a connection and engages the reader, yet many clients say no to using “I” or referencing personal stories.
I also find designated word counts limiting. It’s hard to support an analytical opinion in just 500 words. To make a strong and impactful point, you need more wiggle room.
7. Which of the Google updates has impacted you the most and changed the way you create and market content?
Penguin. No question. I’ve lost clients whose sites were destroyed by that algorithm change. Old black-hat marketing tactics came back to bite them, and many found the labor of going through and curating links too much work. Instead, they simply let their sites go.
The lesson here is that algorithms will be constantly evolving towards relevance. Stay relevant through the hard work of writing engaging content. There are no shortcuts for long term success.
8. What social platforms work the best for you to promote your content? What’s one piece of insight that many people don’t know when it comes to social promotion?
I think this definitely depends on your audience. Teens spend hours on Tumblr. If that’s your audience, it’s where you should be.
For the rest of us, Facebook is an excellent resource. When I have articles that are relevant to people I know, I will give them a shout out in Facebook with a link to the article. Making your social promotions relevant to specific individuals also piques the curiosity of others in the social circle. They click through just to see what I wrote about that was so important that I made a special shout out to that other individual.