Digital Marketing Interview Series with the Director of Content Management at Social Media Today
MJ Wesner is the Director of Content Management at Social Media Today. Here are her thoughts on content marketing:
What do you see as the biggest challenges for marketing professionals over the next year?
I’d say the biggest challenge is probably the sheer amount of content out there, paired with the fact that there are only 24 hours a day, max, to consume it - a phenomenon that Mark Schaefer famously called “content shock.” Part of the solution is going to be better technology: an improvement in the way we match content to the right audience. But the harder part is going to be figuring out how to make content better. Unfortunately, there’s no automated way to make your writing funnier, smarter, more engaging, or unique. It just takes hard work.
Another challenge is making sure you know how you are going to handle sponsored content, native advertising, whatever you want to call it. Our CEO, Robin Carey, recently had a talk with Simon Pearce of Fabric Branding about the potential pitfalls and rewards of sponsored content; I think “step carefully” pretty much covers it.
How did you get the background and skills necessary?I was actually a plain old English major in college, and I have a graduate degree in creative writing, which probably explains why I’m most interested in the “quality writing” part of the content equation. I’m a big believer in words: used the right way, I think they can accomplish a lot. Everything else I know, I learned on the job (which is how it works in a lot of industries, I believe). We have a small, super generous team at Social Media Today, and my coworkers have always been very kind about showing me the ropes and introducing me to the marketing world.
What advice would you give to young people who want to become a content marketer some day?Read a lot. Pay attention to what you find entertaining and enlightening, and learn by example. Figure out how to express your personality through words.
What excites you the most about your industry?Outside of science and tech sectors, there aren’t many professions that have change built into the DNA of the job. But because content creation, curation, and distribution are entwined with social media and tech, the job is constantly evolving. The challenge that represents is what’s really interesting about this industry.
What are two or three social media trends that impact your role as a manager, and why?The primacy of image-based networks means we need to keep finding ways to use better and more interesting photos and graphics on our site; a steady stream of new content curation tools means my team has to stay flexible and open-minded and make learning a part of the job description.