We are on a mission to get to know our talent better. This week we caught up with 6-star chief strategist Casey J., a strategic-minded marketer specializing in education and real estate.
Q: How did you get your start in content marketing?
A: In 2011, I began my boutique marketing agency in Los Angeles. I had several years of executive sales and B2B marketing experience, but I was eager to get involved in digital marketing.
Since the main focus of my personal and professional life was communications, I decided to focus on writing online copy. This quickly evolved into writing editorial guidelines and using the WriterAccess platform to manage the development of 1,000 articles for an e-commerce client.
In discussing what I was doing and intended to do with clients with CEO of WriterAccess, Byron White, he mentioned the phrase content strategy.
I was not familiar with it at the time, but in researching it and its relationship to content marketing, I recognized the path I was on and could see where I wanted to go. It was that moment of recognition that marked, for me, my start in content marketing.
Q: What is your favorite part of working with a company on their content strategy?
A: I have spent considerable time in marketing and education. The drive behind both is strategic thinking.
I love working with leaders of organizations to help them deepen and articulate their best thinking about their business, audiences, and messaging to help them develop content that creates and nurtures mutually beneficial relationships with their customers.
Q: How do you see the landscape of content strategy changing over the next 5 years?
A: Currently, I think the field suffers from a lack of definition and distinction.
Many people, including thought leaders in the field, are hard-pressed to say what exactly content strategy is and how it is distinct and related to business strategy, content marketing strategy, marketing communications, content marketing, SEO, copywriting, etc. Those who are clearer about what content strategy is do not necessarily share the same perspective.
I think over the next five years, businesses will continue to rapidly ramp up their investment in content and demand more from it. As a result, content will be more competitive and strategy will become even more important.
I believe the intensified need for strategy and the proliferation of content will be a crucible that will purify the identity of content strategy and create a more uniform understanding of this identity and the purpose it serves.
My hope is that this understanding of content strategy will emphasize its importance in helping businesses adaptively think about their content. Strategic thinking is what makes content plans, tactics, and tools effective.
Q: Which influencers do you follow in the marketing world and why?
A: My work helping clients with their vision and mission has been informed by the ideas of visionaries such as Simon Sinek and systems thinking theorists such as Dr. Derek Cabrera.
I tend to look to universities and peer-reviewed journals for credible, research-based perspectives on marketing and related topics.
For practical content strategy and content marketing advice, I appreciate the insights of the thought leaders at Hubspot, the Content Marketing Institute, Contently, and WriterAccess.
Rand Fishkin, SEO, and Avinash Kaushik, web analytics, consistently publish valuable content, and influencers such as Neil Patel, Seth Godin, and Gary Vaynerchuk are often on my radar when I am researching topics.
With some exceptions, I tend to follow ideas that lead me to influencers rather than the other way around.
Q: What tools would we find in your content marketing toolbox?
A: This ranges widely and changes often. I do not usually start with the tools but with my client needs.
Tools such as BuzzSumo, SpyFu, Google Analytics, Tableau, and others are most valuable when you know specifically what you wish to accomplish with them.
Q: What is the biggest mistake you see companies make in regards to content?
A: Not carefully considering and understanding their core purpose, their audiences’ needs, and how they are genuinely meeting those needs through strategic content.
In short, many people want a cookie cutter approach to strategy, but strategy requires ongoing, careful, and adaptive thinking that evolves with your changing landscape.
Q: From your point of view, what does it take to be a great content strategist?
A: There are a host of requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are necessary for being a good strategist.
I think a great strategist, however, is able to facilitate and reflect the best thinking of their clients to help them achieve their highest priority outcomes.
6-star chief strategist Casey J. is a longtime supporter of WriterAccess and joined our community as a strategist in 2016.
His focus has been on education, real estate, and professional development with expertise in marketing communications and Japanese business culture.
Casey has a B.S. in Chemistry and a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts.