(P.S. Remember to take a look at the vacancies on the Econsultancy jobs board if you’re interested in a new role in marketing or ecommerce)
Econsultancy: Please describe your job – what do you do? And who do you report to?
Jamie Maddison: I’m a senior content strategist at NewsCred, the leader in enterprise content marketing, where I work with clients to formulate editorial strategies for their content marketing programs, then help them execute for success. Tactically, this can involve coordinating with freelancers and creatives to tell client stories through editorial content, infographics, data-driven visuals, and more.
Once the content is created, I work with the client to distribute it across their site to ensure it’s reaching their target audience while correctly conveying their brand messaging. While I’m based in London, I report to the VP of content and creative services, Jane Qin Medeiros, who is based out of our New York City office.
Jamie Maddison, NewsCred
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
JM: The first and most important skill for a content strategist is a keen eye for storytelling, much like a journalist. There’s little point in creating content if no one wants to read it, so I work diligently to find the stories audiences want to engage with.
Additionally, as I’m usually working with multiple clients at once, time management is a necessary skill to be effective. I’ve learned to react quickly under pressure and prioritize tasks accordingly, something that has aided tremendously in my success.
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
JM: A typical work day for me is spent alternating between multiple tasks: working at my computer, taking client calls, facilitating one-off needs as they come in, and so on. Things move quickly and there’s always a lot to do, so I have to be nimble in order to change tasks quickly to answer questions, absorb any and all information, take action, and document everything that happens so even the smallest tasks don’t fall by the wayside.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
JM: The best part about working at NewsCred is the team. Each individual is dedicated and passionate about their job and I’ve always felt supported in my day-to-day work.
I also love working with our clients. Many are multi-national, well-known organizations, and it’s inspiring to think that I’m helping them successfully develop and implement a new form of marketing. NewsCred is at the forefront of the content marketing industry, and the autonomy I’m afforded allows me to work directly with clients to offer them the most innovative solutions and ideas available.
The challenges that accompany my job are rooted in the legacy agency versus in-house dilemma. As an outside party, my ability to effect change within client organizations is limited. It can be frustrating when a shareholder doesn’t agree with your vision, or perhaps has an outdated one, and you’re unable to convince them otherwise. In the end, if you’ve clearly communicated your point of view and the client disagrees, you’ve still done your job to the best of your ability.
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
JM: If I can cross everything off my to-do list at the end of each day then I know I’ve stayed on track and had a successful day at work. Another KPI for me is the size of my inbox. It fills up incredibly fast, so I aim to have fewer than ten emails in it at the end of the day. This not only helps me stay organized and on top of any client requests, but sane as well.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
JM: As old fashioned as it might sound, in today’s app-crazed world, my favorite tools are still a notebook and pen to create my daily to-do list. With that said, there are a few apps I rely on everyday to stay organized. Toggl helps tremendously with time management and allows me to keep track of how much time I spend on each client compared to its size. We use Slack for internal messaging which allows the team to collaborate quickly across all clients, and TextWrangler is a favorite for editing.
E: How did you get started in “content”, and where might you go from here?
JM: I originally started my career as a journalist writing for an outdoor and rock climbing magazine, which led to the opportunity to co-found a print adventure magazine called SideTracked. It was during my time working there that I started to understand what it meant to tie content back to revenue. While our magazine was incredibly popular, it was hard to monetize.
After SideTracked, I moved to London and worked at a variety of jobs that, while I didn’t know it at the time, were moving me toward a content strategy role. I realized that I was no longer doing the job of a traditional journalist, and after doing some research on what fields fit my experience, I discovered my current content strategy role at NewsCred. It encompassed everything I had done along with what I wanted to gain more experience in, and ended up being an ideal role for me.
In terms of where I’ll go next, I believe that my possibilities are endless. I’m very ambitious and would love to someday become a CMO or CEO, and I think my current role will help get me there. NewsCred breeds ambitious people and I’m eager to continue to learn from my peers who are equally as hungry for success.
E: Which brands have you been impressed with recently when it comes to content?
JM: In my opinion, outdoor brands have historically nailed content marketing. Red Bull and Patagonia are prime examples of how creating good quality content based on a real individual’s essence and spirit will motivate customers to engage and become a part of something greater.
Another company that’s really excelling at content marketing is CapGemini, an IT consulting company. Normally, when you think of IT consulting, great content is not the first thing that comes to mind. But CapGemini is open and responsive to a creative approach, and it’s this willingness to try anything that led to a successful strategy, putting it far ahead of other companies in the industry.
E: Do you have any advice for people who want to work agency-side in content strategy?
JM: As I’ve learned from personal experience, there are many routes into the world of content strategy. It’s still a new industry, so anyone with a background in social media, journalism, marketing, and / or account management can bring their skills to the table. As long as someone has an eye for storytelling, or is willing to develop it over time, they’ll find success in content marketing. The key is understanding what captivates people and using that knowledge to create content that is honest without being self promotional. If you can communicate that idea to a client, then execute on it, you’re well on your way to a successful career.