Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Content Marketing 101 Speaker Spotlight with Hannah Simon

We’re back with expert input in anticipation of our boot camp, Content Marketing 101. This online event will introduce students to this growing field and will demonstrate how to build a successful brand or business around well-chosen content. Weighing in below is conference speaker, Hannah Simon, a content strategist at Fastly.

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1) What brought you into this field?

I got a degree in journalism and went into online media for a few years. With the onslaught of social media and blogging, I became fascinated with how brands could use storytelling techniques to talk about their products to their users. I was seeking a new career challenge and thought it’d be interesting to solve business problems with content.

2) What’s one way you try to brainstorm ways to market content?

Involving stakeholders beyond the marketing team is actually really important, so in-person “knowledge gathering” is something that I try to do often. I meet with stakeholders on engineering, customer support, design, sales, and business development to talk about our target audience and product roadmap. This insight helps me make sure my marketing content resonates. 

3) Has there ever been a response to your marketing efforts that surprised you?

I helped launch a blog for a client. Supposedly an investor who was evaluating the company saw a tweet that linked to the blog, and really liked the concept of the blog. They ended up investing in the company, and while I’m sure it was a combination of other factors that led them to doing so, I can’t help but think the blog played a small role! 

4) What is one tool you use to measure and track how well your marketing does?

You have to patch together a lot of tools these days. My foundation is a combination of Google Docs, HootsuiteOptimizely, and Hubspot.

5) Are there any marketing campaigns that you or other companies have worked on that you find particularly exciting?

I really admired Lowe’s for their #lowesfixinsix Vine campaign. It shows the power of leveraging an emerging channel in a way that provides value and entertainment to their users. Also, Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow” video was really powerful, even if there was some negative chatter about it. I think it took a lot of guts to create that short film, and it had a very emotional message. Also, the American Express OPEN Forum was probably the most influential campaign when it comes to content marketing.

Thanks for reading! Please come back next week for our next Speaker Spotlight and, in the meanwhile, don’t forget to sign up for Content Marketing 101!

Thursday, August 14, 2014 Wednesday, August 13, 2014 Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Content Marketing 101 Speaker Spotlight with Amanda McCormick

In response to popular demand, MediabistroEDU has a brand new boot camp to share: Content Marketing 101. This online conference will introduce students to this growing field and will demonstrate how to build a successful brand or business around well-chosen content. Featured below are a few insights from our instructor and content marketing expert, Amanda McCormick.

1) What brought you into this field?

It was somewhat accidental! I had been a copywriter and content editor and I went to work for the British Tourist Board in 2007. My boss there assigned me to be the “Social Media Champion” hoping it would score me a trip to the head office in London. I really took to the social media stuff, and quickly incorporated into the way I approached writing and content. But I never did get that trip to London!

2) What’s one way you try to brainstorm ways to market content?

The best thing is to go where your audience is. If you are a product blogger, make video reviews for YouTube. If you’re an interior designer, try Instagram. Each social network has such individual characteristics — something I’m sure we’ll delve into in our discussion!

3) Has there ever been a response to your marketing efforts that surprised you?

There’s definitely an adage in the business that you’re lucky if only 10% of your audience will actually participate in a discussion. But if you set out really trying to involve your audience in your content planning process, you’ll be surprised how much they want to help with story ideas and questions. I like to use surveys and I’m usually surprised by the breadth and depth of responses. It’s an incredibly powerful tool.

4) What is one tool you use to measure and track how well your marketing does?

Google Analytics for sure. I look at the best performing content for sure but also page views per session (i.e., are people going deeper into content)?

5) Are there any marketing campaigns that you or other companies have worked on that you find particularly exciting?

I love companies who use “real-time” marketing, essentially creating a flow between their marketing efforts and their audience’s reaction to them. Ford and Pepsi are the most sterling examples I can think of. In the B2B space. General Electric continues to be brilliant in terms of using the social web to inform and inspire.

Thanks for reading! Please come back next week for our next Speaker Spotlight and, in the meanwhile, don’t forget to sign up for Content Marketing 101!

Friday, August 8, 2014 Thursday, August 7, 2014 Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Freelancing 101 Speaker Spotlight with Kristin Tice Studeman

We’re gearing up for Freelancing 101, an online event that immerses prospective or beginning freelancers in lessons from experts in the field. Our second speaker spotlight in advance of the conference is on Kristin Tice Studeman, a freelance journalist and ELLE editor. Read on and don’t forget to sign up for Kristin’s webcast on freelancing as a start-up.

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1) What brought you in to the world of freelancing?

It was a happy accident to be totally honest. I wasn’t finding full-time jobs at the places I really wanted to work so I just started freelancing for several of them. Once you go freelance, it’s hard to go back to anything else.

2) What do you wish someone had told you before becoming a freelancer?

How to organize your finances and billings so life is easy when tax season comes around! It’s a bit of a challenges if you have lots of clients and work for different publications.

3) Which element of your job has been the hardest?

There are plenty of challenges that come with being a journalist, especially a freelance journalist. I tend to want to take on way more assignments at any given time than I probably should, so it’s been a challenge learning to be more reasonable about what I can reasonably manage.

4) How do you see the field of freelancing changing in the coming years?

There are more and more opportunities. Every publication is upping the amount of digital content they run, so they need someone to help feed the beast.

5) What new projects have you taken on that you find exciting?

There is always something exciting on the horizon in this field. I just interviewed the legendary Patricia Field (of Sex and the City and Devil Wears Prada fame) the other day. She has such an original take on life and on fashion; it was a thought provoking experience to interview her.

Freelancing 101 begins August 18. Don’t forget to register!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Freelancing 101 Speaker Spotlight with Matt Villano

In a few short weeks we’ll be hosting Freelancing 101, an online event that immerses prospective or beginning freelancers in lessons from experts in the field. To gear up for the conference, we asked freelance writer and editor of Expedia Viewfinder, Matt Villano, a little about the work he does. Read on and don’t forget to sign up for Matt’s webcast on corporate freelancing and branded journalism!

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1) What brought you in to the world of freelancing?

I’ve never actually had a full-time job. After four years of undergraduate journalism school (and the requisite summer internships all the while), I took six months off to work on a whale-watch boat. This was back in June 1997. When I ran out of money, I called a friend of mine who was an editor at a trade pub and asked her if she had any assignments to hand out on a freelance basis; it turned out she did, and it was a rush job. The rest is history (true story: she and I still collaborate from time to time).

2) What do you wish someone had told you before becoming a freelancer?

I wish someone had mentioned to me that while the flexibility of a freelance schedule is wonderful, you have to work twice as hard to make ends meet. I also wish someone had warned me about the self-promotion necessary to succeed. Freelancing is a constant sales job.

3) Which element of your job has been the hardest?

Time management, without question, especially since becoming a father. Currently, I get 3-4 hours of work during daylight hours, but the rest of my workday occurs every night after 10 p.m. It’s a slog. But this schedule affords me the opportunity to spend most of every day with my kids. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Ever.

4) How do you see the field of freelancing changing in the coming years?

I think we’re moving into the era of sponsored content. As more and more traditional media outlets fold due to lack of revenue, the ones that remain are going to survive by accepting a new type of advertorial content—material that is unbiased but underwritten by big companies. From the point of view of us freelancers, this means accepting alternate types of assignments and opening the mind to new strategies of content creation overall.

5) What new projects have you taken on that you find exciting?

My favorite current gig is my work as senior editor of the Expedia Viewfinder blog from Expedia. We publish 10-12 original pieces of content every week and I line-edit every word. I also write for the site, which is fun. This is the kind of sponsored content I referred to up top. It’s a great and trustworthy resource from a new outlet. IMHO, everybody in that equation (we freelancers, readers/customers, Expedia) wins.

Freelancing 101 begins August 18. Don’t forget to register!

Friday, July 25, 2014 Thursday, July 24, 2014