The second installment of our 25 Journalists in Content Marketing package—which will be released in-full Monday, September 17—features Story Worldwide’s Keith Blanchard, Tracy Fitzgerald of King Content, Boeing’s Chris Haddox, Anthony Noguera of Ai, and Contently’s Erica Swallow.
Click through to read their responses to our questions about the roles they play in their organizations’ content marketing efforts; their information diets; the content they’re most proud of creating; their favorite tech and software tools; where they find inspiration for content; and their advice on content marketing.
And in case you missed it, be sure to read the first five interviews in Part 1.
Chief content officer, Story Worldwide
Also at: HuffPo page
His journalism chops: "Twenty years of magazine and website journalism, including launching Maxim magazine in 1997 (editor-in-chief from 2000 to 2004); launched Stuff magazine as editor-in-chief; and was editorial director at RollingStone.com, UsMagazine.com, and MensJournal.com [all under Jann Wenner]."
His gig: "I lead all of Story's content development and deployment across North America, as well as all New Business activity. My team of 60 tells stories and creates content for big brands—ranging from Lexus to Google to the Jolly Green Giant—across channels, from custom publishing to iPad apps and games to digital films, and everything in between."
His info diet: "I get my news from Twitter, my news commentary from 'The Daily Show,' my weird news from Fark (old habit), and occasionally turn to The Huffington Post for the fun of outrageously misleading headlines. Offline I read a lot of nonfiction—and science and linguistics geekery. My current obsession is Stephen Pinker."
His pride: "We are working on a series of seriously groundbreaking iPad books that are pushing the boundaries of tablet publishing as a new storytelling genre. I think we're in the early days of recognizing that this is a fundamentally different medium, not just 'electronic books.' It's like the first TV shows, when you'd be watching radio guys in suits standing around in front of a mike because all they really understood was radio. That's where we are, but it's changing fast, and it's great to be part of the change."
His fave tech tools: "Professionally, I spend the most time on Twitter, to be honest, because I'm an extrovert. They say that Twitter is about hanging out with people you like but don't know and Facebook is about hanging out with people you know but don't like. (Saw that on Twitter, of course.) I get the whole Google Circles idea, but for me—and for many, I suspect—there are only two circles I care about: people I classify as friends and the worldwide 'everybody.' So with Twitter I can simultaneously keep up with the news and the public pulse regarding the news and build my own professional following.
"From a personal standpoint, it's probably Words With Friends and Scramble With Friends. I am fascinated with the way digital/mobile allows for turn-based games to be displaced in time, where I can advance 20 simultaneous games whenever I can sneak in a few moments and my next move might not happen for three hours or three days."
His creative inspiration: "I think for any serious content producer the answer has to be 'everywhere.' Working on the agency side has some disadvantages versus being a magazine editor. Clients aren't always wise, or even reasonable, but the advantage is working across multiple sectors and learning everybody's business, because those cross-industry learnings are a great fount of creative inspiration.
"I might have a 10 a.m. meeting on a frozen-peas brand, then an 11 a.m. New Business meeting in the banking/financial sector, then a noon lunch with an entertainment client. It forces a clash of synaptic firings, [such as] 'Hey, alcohol advertising is highly regulated, and so is pharma,' or 'Is there something we're doing for this wine brand potentially applicable to this birth-control device we're running a Facebook page for?' Bringing ideas across channels and across radically different verticals is the essence of what makes the job fun."
His content marketing advice: "The big thing that's changed forever is that consumers hold all the power now; they have infinite options and infinite power to turn off or tune out anything they recognize as advertising and marketing, and they are gleefully using that power. So what has always been true for journalists is now suddenly true for advertisers: You have to be publishing genuinely useful and entertaining content for your target audiences, or you are going to be ignored at best or hated at worst.
"When you try to watch a video and are forced to endure 'pre-roll' commercials, are you okay with it as the cost of a free video, or are you pissed off? As a sponsor, is that the relationship you want with potential buyers? This is what I bring as an editor that's of value in the content marketing universe, because editors in the 'real world' live or die, every month or week, based on their ability to please audiences. In advertising, it used to suffice to please brand managers, but not anymore. It can be a hard lesson for CMOs to have to learn that they need to think of audiences first, not last. But that's the new reality, and editors can teach them how to do it."