Having a dull week being a content marketer? Drop everything and read how Julie Ewald is scoring ‘awesome‘ with content marketing. We had this incredible opportunity to talk to her on life, work and everything in between. And it’s a hell of a story. From being broke to scoring the first gig and from zero experience in blogging to founding Impressa Solutions.
Story of a storyteller
Tell us a bit about you. Where did you grow up? What did you study?
I’m originally from Milwaukee. I grew up there and got my start there in marketing… as the Promotions Coordinator for Hooters. But my undergraduate degree is in English and History, and I have an MFA in Creative Writing. I was going to be a poet and had aspirations of being a professor.
How did you get into content/digital marketing?
My start in digital marketing was a bit rocky. I was living overseas with my then-husband, and we were super-duper broke. I had heard about the concept of portable careers, and I had also heard that you can make money with a blog. So, I decided to make my own portable career and start a blog. But I had no idea what I was doing, and didn’t make a cent.
Later, back in the States, I got my first official gig focusing on digital marketing for a now-defunct daily deal site, and I was fairly competent at my job, so I decided to give freelancing a try. I applied for a bunch of gigs doing social media management and content creation on oDesk and landed most of them. Then I spent a ton of time Googling articles that started to really teach me what digital marketing was about so that I could actually do the gigs I just won.
Why do you think that so many companies struggle to make a mark with their content?
Many companies struggle with content, and the reasons are varied. For many, the issue that they don’t have a solid brand foundation. They don’t know who they are and what their voice is, and they don’t have client personas or stated goals. The result is content that’s all wrong and doesn’t resonate with their intended audience. Alternatively, another major fail factor is content being created by those who don’t really get “it” and don’t understand how this kind of writing works.
Do solopreneurs and startups need to worry about SEO? Or it goes hand in hand with content?
Businesses totally should worry about SEO–with very, very few exceptions. And the SEO should influence the content. For instance, we often start our ideation sessions with the keywords, and then suggest appropriate blog posts for those themes.
Which company is nailing storytelling right now?
Airbnb really nails their storytelling and is consistent across mediums.
How to win with social media?
When it comes to social, giving value definitely helps, as does no hard selling. But it really comes back to building relationships and having that brand blueprint. There needs to be an authentic, personal, consistent voice for someone to connect with on social media. And you need to have clarity about who you are trying to reach and tailor messages to them.
A tip for aspiring digital and growth marketers
Keep learning! Things change all the time, and no one knows it all. Read books on marketing and business, watch videos, get certifications, check out blogs, attend conferences, and get a mentor. This will keep you more competitive and allow you bring more value to the people you work with.
Do you have some questions too? Drop them in the comments and we shall get back to you with answers from Julie.