As the content manager of Scripted, Nicole Karlis is on the cutting edge of content marketing. She recently spoke with us about why content marketing is important, and how it’s changing.

Why is content marketing so important today?

Content marketing is so important today because it plays an integral role in just about every stage of the sales funnel. Companies can use content to spread awareness about their brand, establish themselves as a thought leader in an industry, foster co-marketing partnerships, build trust with customers and leads, retain current customers and more. The content that a brand publishes is also always reflective of the beliefs and voice of a specific company – and that is a BIG responsibility.

Content marketing is essentially new age advertising, and it’s only going to get more sophisticated and demand higher quality content – and talent – as we move forward in this space.

What are some common misconceptions about content marketing?

It’s interesting, I think the concept of content marketing still isn’t fully understood. I think a lot of people think content marketing is simply publishing content on a company blog, but it involves much more than that. So I guess one misconception about content marketing is that it just consists of content creation. While this is a big part of the puzzle, a content successful content marketing strategy requires strategic planning around promotion and measuring results as well.

Another misconception about content marketing is that you need a big team of in-house writers. I think a lot of marketers blame strained resources – especially a lack of writers – for not having the capacity to run an efficient content marketing strategy. This just isn’t the case, especially with content writing services like Scripted available. As the only content marketer at Scripted, I’ve managed to post to our blog on a daily basis – in addition to quarterly white papers and more – with the help of our network of freelance writers (yep, that means no in-house writers!).

If a business is looking to add a blog, what should they ask themselves before setting it up?

“Do I know my audience?” If the answer is no, you’ve got some work to do. We’re far past the days of publishing content just to publish content. The success of your content ultimately lies in the hands of your readers. If they’re not interested in reading it – or you’re not getting it in front of the right audience – it’s going to be difficult to succeed in content marketing.

What are the marks of a good writer for a business? What should they be looking for?

Aside from the obvious traits of a good writer – proper grammar, an eye for typos, and an overall compelling storyteller – it’s important for a good writer to have a deep understanding of a company’s industry. Can the writer communicate intelligently to your audience? Is this writer up to speed with industry news? Can the writer explain technical terms in a simple way? If the answer is “yes” to those questions, those are marks of a good writer for your business.

If you are hiring in-house writers, always make sure to give some sort of creative/writing test. All writers who apply to write for Scripted are vetted through our proprietary English test. Additionally, they have to prove their expertise in specific industries in order to become a Specialist in a specific industry.

What should be the goal of content marketing? Engagement? Sales? Why?

I don’t think there should be one single goal for content marketing because different pieces of content should be tied to different, specific goals. Like I said before, content can be used to move people through each stage of the sales funnel. What’s important is that you have specific goals in mind and ways to measure them before publishing. For example, if you’re slated to release a high-end infographic, know the purpose of that piece of content before managing that project. An infographic would most likely be used to generate brand awareness and drive new people to your website, as opposed to a white paper, which is a better lead generation tool.

What’s the future of content marketing?

That’s a good question! And I’m not sure I have the full answer to it, to be honest. I think content marketing is still so new that it’s constantly evolving – and improving for the better. I think in the next few years we’re going to see brands publish amazingly engaging and sophisticated pieces of content. I also think more companies will add more positions that relate to content – for example, content success manager, data content scientist and more. It’s going to be an exciting ride!

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