When someone spends their day looking for the perfect words to bring a client’s dream to life, to communicate with journalists, and to launch a new idea, you can trust that person to find exactly the right words. Caroline Gilbert, content marketing specialist with Siege Media, does just that in our recent interview.
UV: We’re all about words at Vocab1 and while content marketing also involves other factors like images and customer demographics, words form the basis of your communication with your clients. What does having a good vocabulary mean to you in your work?
A professional and creative writing background is critical for my type of work. The core of our business—content creation—means we’re continuously writing and editing. A firm understanding of not only grammar and vocabulary, but also creative writing, is important.
UV: Siege Media emphasizes strategy, rather than (as you say) “just putting content on a website.” What’s involved in this focus on strategy?
Our agency’s background is in search engine optimization (SEO), so when we’re approaching a project for a client it’s more about how we can create content with search value built in. It’s about getting to the who of the content—who found it interesting, who liked it, who shared it, etc.
UV: One of the things you work on is matching the “voice” you use in your writing to the specific client you’re working with. Does this involve learning a new set of words, or getting familiar with a new industry’s jargon?
Regardless of client, we want our writing to have an authentic voice. Whether you’re writing for a consumer brand focused on women ages 25 – 45 or a B2B brand working mostly with C-suite level executives, no one wants to feel like they’re being talked at. If you nail that authenticity, any other new vocabulary will come more naturally.
UV: You graduated with a B.S. in Communications, but many independent online PR websites are started by people with no direct training in how to use the written word to achieve results – they get better by trial and error. Do you think that it’s a good idea to get that formal training, or do you know people who get along by just winging it, so to speak?
I’m a strong believer that with the right real world training, regardless of your previous background or education, PR and communications is a great field. I’ve met many good marketers who started out in the sciences or medical, but made the switch. As long as you have strong writing skills, an attention to detail and creative problem solving—you can learn PR.
UV: How much of PR success comes from the words and images used, and how much from the way those words and images are presented to the final customer?
In my job, the final customer is the media (journalists, bloggers, etc.) so presentation helps build that initial trust. But even if you create a pretty package with custom images and copy, if there isn’t substance to what you’re saying, it ultimately doesn’t matter how it’s presented.
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