A few months ago, December seemed so faraway. We had so much time to accomplish all we had on our to-do lists. Not anymore.
It’s the end of another year in our lives. And today I want to celebrate it by inviting you to another NutsPR Spotlight.
My guest is someone who is very passionate of all things content. She loves to write and did that from an early age.
How did she transformed her passion for writing into a career? Let’s find out.
Without further ado, please welcome: Erika Heald.
When did you know content marketing was what you wanted to do?
I grew up with the goal of being a magazine journalist and majored in that in college. But when I graduated, I found out it was really hard to make ends meet in San Francisco on a journalist’s salary—even with a side hustle!
So, I made the shift into content-related corporate gigs and found they were a really good fit for me.
I held a number of those roles before Joe Pulizzi coined the term and made it easier for me to explain to others what I do. My first content marketing title was with Achievers, an employee engagement platform.
How does teaching help you learn? How do you like to learn?
My college work-study job in the continuing education department at SDSU was probably foreshadowing for my lifelong learning commitment.
Not surprisingly, as a writer, I am always reading something. I take time every morning to read a few blog posts and I am always reading a couple of books at the same time. So definitely reading is a key way I learn.
But that said, I’m also someone who learns by doing. So I’m likely to take on a side hustle to develop a skill set.
Most people I know immediately turn to video content when they want to learn something new, but video alone doesn’t work for my brain—I need a transcript too!
When I’m working on a course or a presentation, I always start with an outline, followed by research to understand the questions people are asking around a topic to make sure I address those questions.
It can be easy when something is routine for you to gloss over something that’s not so obvious to those new to the topic.
So I’d say that teaching helps me gain a more robust understanding of the topic, so I learn even more in the process.
What piece of advice do you have for anyone heading into the reality of content marketing?
Content marketing works, but it takes time and resources. If you need to generate a quarter’s worth of leads, starting a content marketing program on the first day of that quarter will not get you there that quickly.
Content marketing helps you build a relationship with your intended community. But that relationship doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes time to build trust—let alone awareness of how you solve a big problem for your community members. You have to start with a documented strategy, invest the time and resources into executing against that strategy, and then eventually you will see sustained results.
So that’s the good news—although it takes time to build that momentum, your great evergreen content will pay off by continuing to return results for you over time.
What would you like to change in the content marketing?
I would like to change the misconception that content marketing is the flavor of the month. It’s not a fad any more than social media is a fad. Also, it’s not new!
Companies have been doing content marketing as a way to connect with customers for hundreds of years.
We just didn’t have an agreed-upon way of referring to that marketing approach. And no, content marketing isn’t just marketing.
The 4 Ps of marketing are not the guiding light of content marketing. Content marketing is a component of your marketing approach, but it is its own discrete effort.
What’s next for Erika Heald?
Looking ahead into 2018, I’m going to be growing my gluten-free blog Erika’s Gluten-free Kitchen, and I’m going to launch two online courses I’ve been working on.
One walks through the process of defining your brand voice, and the other is on conducting a social media audit.