Content Ninjas is a series for content marketers by content marketers.
It aims to help fellow marketers grow by showcasing the experiences and lessons from thriving marketers and thought leaders.
Kelsey (Meyer) Raymond is the CEO of Influence & CO, a results-driven content marketing agency.
1. What is your background, and how did you first get involved with content marketing?
I started my content marketing agency, Influence & Co., almost a decade ago (May 2011) but my involvement with marketing started a couple of years prior while I was in college and started a small (two-person) marketing company where we would advertise local companies on campus by wearing their t-shirts, handing out their flyers and turning our social media profiles into ads for the business for the week. I didn’t know the term content marketing then, but that was my first insight into how to educate, engage and close new business through marketing.
2. What should readers know about your agency, and what type of clients are a good fit?
We are a results-focused content marketing firm that specializes in helping our clients accomplish their business goals. We are differentiated from a lot of other agencies because we go further than simply helping companies create great content – we help them get it published. In addition to traditional content marketing services like creating blog posts, white-papers, infographics, and case studies, we also help get guest contributed articles published in online publications, garner media attention through PR campaigns, and ensure all content is helping a company to improve their SEO. Our ideal clients fit these criteria: – Business to Business – Professional Services or SaaS product – $10M+ in revenue per year – Have a marketing team of at least 1 person / we work with some clients who have marketing teams that are dozens of people – Understand the value of long-term content marketing campaigns to attract, nurture and close new business.
3. What challenges did you face in getting to where you are now professionally?
I’ve faced a lot of challenges but they fall under a few main categories:
1) Imposter Syndrome: I cofounded Influence & Co. when I was 22. In my first few years running the business, I was constantly downplaying my abilities and the success we had with clients because I just thought that I didn’t deserve to be doing what I was doing. I still struggle with this but it’s become less of an issue over the years.
2) Hiring the right people: I attribute the success of our agency to the amazingly smart people we have hired. There were times at the company that we were growing too quickly and hiring too fast and I realize now how far that set us back at times, so now our hiring process is slow and steady and we’ve been fortunate to hire some absolutely phenomenal individuals.
3) Finding the RIGHT clients: Early on we thought “we can help any type of business!” and while that was true in a sense, over time we were able to narrow in on which types of businesses we can truly move the needle for in a meaningful way and since doing that it’s been great from a marketing, onboarding and service perspective to have a bit more narrowed scope of clients.
4. What common content marketing mistakes do you see every day?
1) Being overly promotional: Content marketing is NOT ad copy – and too many businesses don’t realize that difference. They want to write a blog post like a sales pitch and offer nothing of value to the reader. This is the wrong approach.
This is wrong says @Kelsey_M_Meyer in @socialanimal_io’s #ContentNinjas interview.
2) Focusing on the short-term instead of long-term: We still see new leads every single day from the content we published in online publications in 2015. That’s just one of the reasons that content marketing is a long-term strategy. The work you’re doing now compounds on itself over the years. People who are looking for results in 3 months are taking the wrong approach.
3) Focused on only one piece of the puzzle: We have talked to some businesses who want help with JUST their off-site content or JUST their blog. If you aren’t aligning the strategy and objectives for all pieces of content at every stage of the buyer’s journey then you’re never going to see the results that you want.
4) Not caring about quality: We also talk to companies who just want to “pump out 50 blog posts next month” because they think quantity is what matters for SEO and lead generation when in reality quality over quantity has been proven time and time again more effective for content marketing results.
We think you might like: What Is Content Development? A Step-by-step Guide To Creating The Right Content
5. What is your favorite content marketing campaign? (something you got inspired by/executed)
I love the State of Digital Media report our team releases every year (this year’s report can be found here. I love this because it is aligned with everything we believe good content marketing should be:
- It’s original research – We actually surveyed the editors and journalists ourselves
- It is in our wheelhouse of what we are subject matter experts in – earned digital media.
- It’s truly educational in nature and NOT a sales pitch for why you should hire Influence & Co.
- It’s shareable & can be repurposed – making it useable in so many different formats. We are repurposing aspects of the report for our blog, for social, and even for paid ads and a webinar.
6. What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from your laptop?
Hanging out with my family – I have a son who is about to turn 1 year old so most of my free time consists of chasing him around the house, I also absolutely love to play golf. I started playing golf at age two, played in tournaments all growing up, and played at college. I’m excited to reach my son when he starts walking.
7. What are your favorite content marketing tools?
- Hubspot – Hands down this is the tool we use most often
8. How do you think content marketing will evolve five years from now?
I think we will see even more importance on the quality of content and that more business to business companies will focus on building communities with their blog. They’ll start to think of their company blog more like an industry publication where they can educate, engage and encourage their prospective customers to come back often.
9. Which 3 content marketers do you think everyone should follow on Twitter?
10. Who should we interview next in the content marketing universe and why?
Alyssa Patzius – COO of Influence & Co. – She’s very smart
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Check out our other interviews in this series: