Navigating Content Marketing with Stephanie Wharton
Marketing is not limited to one role or function. It covers every aspect of a business, and different marketing roles work with different functions within business. Product marketers gather customer insights and work with product managers and product designers to translate customer feedback to new product features. Digital marketers are responsible for developing marketing campaigns the promote a company in the eyes of the public. They enhance brand awareness in the digital space and must work closely with web designers and engineers. Content marketers are responsible for creating a company’s content strategy. They create and distribute valuable content in order to attract and retain a customer base.
All of these marketing roles are crucial, but a good branding strategy gets nowhere without quality, consistent content on a company’s web page. Quality content is what increases traffic and converts leads to customers. In the long run, content can drive long-lasting relationships with existing customers. To gain insight on how to develop quality content for an emerging business, we talked to Stephanie Wharton, content marketing manager at StitcherAds, a company that helps advertisers and agencies scale full-funnel performance marketing campaigns on Facebook & Instagram.
Tell us about your background.
I went to school for journalism. I realized early on that I love working with data and using that data to tell stories. That realization shaped my career, as I went from a B2B writer to a research writer to a content marketer. I am also concurrently building my own brand as a thought leader on issues that impact the millennial generation. Companies put out a lot of data about the millennial generation – we’re killing everything from napkins to divorce!
What inspires you?
I am passionate about providing people with the resources that they need to thrive both professionally and personally. I love helping people make better decisions.
What is content marketing?
In the content marketing space, our goal is to build awareness and then continue to nurture our customers using different media—from blog posts to webinars. We create messaging that informs people about gaps or problems they didn’t know they had, and we plant the seed on how we can help them. Content marketing is interesting because it touches every other type of marketing. It grows and evolves based on the needs of the business. People who produce content in this way become subject matter experts (SME’s) in many different facets of the business.
Content marketing is interesting because it touches every other type of marketing. It grows and evolves based on the needs of the business. People who produce content in this way become subject matter experts (SME’s) in many different facets of the business.
For example, in one of my previous roles, someone on the customer success team asked me for help dealing with a client. I wasn’t on that team but the person came to me because I had written extensively about the problem at hand and demonstrated my expertise on the subject
Why is content marketing an important function for an early stage startup?
You have to identify yourself as a SME as soon as possible. No one will trust your products or services if you don’t have social proof. If you don’t have case studies, blog posts, or references, who is going to trust you? Show that you are participating in the industry and that you have a voice. Often times we think about a B2B buyer as different from the B2C buyer. But somebody purchasing SAAS software is no different than a person purchasing a sofa.
Often times we think about a B2B buyer as different from the B2C buyer. But somebody purchasing SAAS software is no different than a person purchasing a sofa.
We still need to think of them as normal consumers. At the end of the day, we are all people that need to be convinced to make the best decision, and we seek social proof.
When should an early stage company create a blog?
I have a friend that’s starting her own startup as we speak. I advised her that she should start a blog, or find a platform to build content immediately. If you don’t have resources to start a website, go on Medium or publish something on LinkedIn. When you’re pitching people, send them your blog posts. You need content before you launch. People want to see that you’re an SME. They want to ensure that you know what you’re talking about.
Tell us a bit about the challenges you have faced in your role.
The big one is just getting into a new role and having to build yourself up as an SME. You become a content marketer in order to educate others, so you need to become an expert first. That is always a challenge. There is always a learning curve.
Any other wisdom to share, for the entrepreneurial minded across the world?
Just show up. Do the work. When you say you’re going to meet someone for coffee, meet them for coffee. When you say you’re going to devote 30 minutes to writing, do it. It’s not about who’s the smartest or who has the most resources. The person who shows up to the arena ready to do the work and fight is the one who will succeed.
The Key Takeaways on Content Marketing
Establish yourself as a subject matter expert as soon as possible. Use social media as a platform to do so. Publicize to the world that you are an SME, and people will be willing to give you their business. Start a blog, publish content on LinkedIn, launch that podcast. Just do it.
Somebody purchasing SAAS software is no different than a person purchasing a sofa. We need to think of a consumer as a person, whether they are a B2B or B2C customer.
“The person who shows up to the arena ready to do the work and fight is the one who will succeed.” The power of follow up is highly underrated. However, it is the person who who shows up that will be there to seize any stray opportunity that comes their way.
Start Creating Great Content for Your Buyers
For more resources and insights like the ones you read above, subscribe to The Port newsletter. If you’re ready to start taking action on these insights from Stephanie, leverage resources like the Buyer Persona Exercise to start building your content marketing program.
Need some hands-on help with your content strategy? We at The Port know how to create, target, and curate content, from emails to blog posts to webinars. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.