A simple google search will show you there’s an awful lot of marketing “bla bla” out there, all claiming to have the answer. It’s hard to know what’s legit insight, and what’s just written for SEO and clicks. That’s why we decided to start a new blog series: the Let’s Talk: Insights from Boost.
In this special Let’s Talk series, we ask our very own marketing specialists for their thoughts and expertise about the industry, their daily work, the obstacles they face, and the visions and ideas they have for the future. It’s a chance for you to get a true glimpse into the world of marketing, and hopefully take away some insight for your own business, brand, or agency.
Today we’re hearing from Emilee Ayers, Boost Media’s own Content Director. With over two years at Boost Media, she has done everything from direct video shoots to strategize social media campaigns, manage client accounts, and create a variety of content for a diverse number of clients. Here are her insights into agency life and her experiences leading a team of content specialists.
Q: As the Content Director for Boost Media, what do you find most challenging and/or inspiring about communicating digitally with audiences?
A: When you have the mindset that challenges are opportunities, almost all challenges become an inspiration. The world that we are working in now is completely different than it was even a year ago. Already, communicating digitally with an audience has a myriad of barriers: does my ideal audience have access to the Internet, does my ideal audience understand the app that I’m trying to communicate through, are graphics, visuals, or website issues going to be a barriers? Those are physical challenges, but there are mental challenges to consider as well: would my target audience be too exhausted to read my message, am I writing it clearly enough, and when and if they finally see my content, is it worth the time to consume, digest, and remember it?
When you consider all these factors before somebody actually sees your content, it starts to feel like the barriers are unlimited. It can be tough to get passed that feeling. The challenge is to narrow my focus on what I can deliver to my audience. The opportunity is making sure that it is worth their time. Working for an agency, I deal with a diverse set of industries and target audiences. At times it can be challenging to place myself in the shoes of the ideal client, but that’s how I approach digital communication, and it really helps me create relatable content and stay efficient.
Q: What do you see as the next new frontier in “content marketing?” And perhaps can you elaborate on the relationship between physical and digital content in this “new normal” we’re navigating?
A: Everything in technology and marketing is kind of on a rinse cycle, right? It’s all really fleeting. I’m not sure what I think that the next frontier would be, but it will be interesting to see what comes through video next – especially since platforms like Tik Tok have so fully locked down that market. I’m not saying video is dead or dying. I think video will continue to take off, but these platforms that existed in their own niche outside of video are now trying to bring video into that niche as well. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram, I just don’t think they’ll succeed in those spaces the way they hope they will.
Facebook and Instagram have been trying to adjust to every trend that comes out, and I think they’ve kind of reached capacity, right? They’ve had this huge monopoly over the marketing and social media industry for so long, and because of that, they’ve drawn the parameters around what’s popular or accessible with marketing. I don’t really think people are going to be abandoning their Facebook or Instagram accounts, so I think it will take an extremely user-friendly content creation platform that everybody wants to use in order to break that established frontier.
I also think that Facebook will use “Meta” to transition itself due to its political stances and that there’s going to be more of a push to have politically segmented social media. Facebook groups are awesome – don’t get me wrong. I love all my dog Facebook groups, and that’s a great way for me to network with other like-minded enthusiasts, but Facebook does have a lot of constraints and regulations to it, and I don’t think a lot of people are happy with that.
I don’t know if that answers your questions, but to summarize, I think that what we’ve seen is that platforms are desperately trying to keep up with every single different trend, but the most successful platforms are ones that just have a niche and do that really well, like text for Twitter, video for Tik Tok, photos for Instagram, networking for Facebook, business for LinkedIn. They’re all successful in their own right because of those things, and I think this need to add everything to one platform kind of dilutes the usability, and isn’t really pushing the frontier forward in any meaningful way. So maybe a new frontier will be intentionally focused, narrow-scoped platforms!
Q: What do you see as an essential tenet of content marketing, and could you please elaborate on how that applies to content marketing team members, as well as those in leadership roles like yourself?
A: So one thing that’s really important to me, and that I’m kind of touchy about, is part of what I mentioned in that first question: making sure that your content is worth you and your audience’s time. Part of that is making sure your content is relatable. It’s so important that we create content that not only speaks to somebody in a way that they can relate to, but also honors the time that they spent with you by respecting that message. So, as far as content marketing, I don’t want to be somebody who’s just like, “Women are like this, and they need this because they want to be more beautiful,” right? I see a lot of that, and when I create I’m conscious of those messages.
Like I mentioned before, my goal when I create content is to make sure that I am relating to my audience and respecting their time. And I think that that boils over into all sorts other things as an agency. Leadership is an example where respecting your co-workers and teams’ time is critical to being a successful agency. It goes beyond content, too: part of account management and client relationships is sitting down and really getting to know their business. I approach their projects, their ideas, and their businesses – really every aspect that I’m dealing with them – in a way that’s respectful to their time. Time is the most valuable thing that we have, and I think the marketing world can be better for it as well, as just the world in general – the relationships that we have with people that we value. I think it’s a really great way to say, “Hey, I value your business, I value your time, I value your clients, and I value you as a person. I’m going to take time out of my life to figure out how we can relate to each other, how we can relate to your audience, and then we’re going to respect them and make something beautiful.”
Q: What’s the most important detail (or set of details) you take into consideration when you sit down with a client to discuss content marketing work?
A: The first thing I do when I meet a client is sit down and really get to know what they think of their business. It’s really important to me to first assess where they see themselves, then assess where they want to be. Understanding that distinction opens the way to planning everything in between, and conceptualizing what I can do to get them there.
I also use this opportunity to get to know the business’s voice and aesthetic. I’m going to be writing and creating for the business, so it’s important to me to figure out how the company’s leadership talks about their business. One trick I use is to have a client name a character for their business – an example could be “the sister or brother’s cool friend,” or something like that. A personality that we can use to set the tone and voice. You do with that client and then you’ll have their vocabulary down. Everything else just stems from establishing that.
Sometimes you’ll find that people underestimate themselves, or downplay their accomplishments, and it’s important to be the voice that says, “Hey, guess what? You do have the authority to exist in this space.” As an agency, you build a relationship with your clients more than you might think. I’ve dealt with clients in the past whose own mothers have been like, “Your business is not going to get anywhere,” which is awful. I’ve also dealt with clients who are just so lost in the weeds of everything and they don’t know which direction to go. It’s important (and feels great) to be a cheerleader for those clients. All marketing agencies should be cheerleaders for their clients. To join their team and say, “Hey, here’s where you see yourself, here’s where I see you, here’s where you want to be, and here’s how we’re going to get you there!”
Q: How do you establish a routine and lifestyle that helps you foster creativity on a regular basis?
A: This is a really interesting question because it’s something I feel like I have to work very hard at in order to be successful. Haha!
I have always been someone who is creative, but I also know my limitations. For example, I used to do art projects all the time after school with my grandma – I’ve always had this creativity inside me – but there has always been this barrier between creating exactly what I want, and my ability to do that all on my own. Eventually, I figured out that I’m actually fine with that barrier because what I love isn’t actually creating the things myself, it’s directing creative projects with a team.
For example, my favorite thing in the world is directing a video or a photo shoot. Can I get behind a camera and take a good photo? Maybe, but not as good as a professional photographer. Can I be at the shoot and pose people, move lights, direct adjustments, etc… so that the photographer and models can build a great on-set relationship and create something awesome? Absolutely I can! Can I make sure that all the talking points are hit during an interview? It’s one of my favorite things!
So, that’s how I’ve honed my skills. I have a really good vision for things, so even if I don’t have the skillset to necessarily make it happen myself, I can help direct other people and we can make something amazing together. That’s what is so awesome about working for an agency.
As far as balancing work and life and being able to harness that creativity whenever needed, it really helps that I’ve surrounded myself with the right group of people. I make a conscious effort to have people around me that make me feel inspired, who make me want to do my best. And when I don’t feel creative, those same people bring me back up to where I want to be. I have really hit the homerun on that front. I have it in my my work-life, my home-life, my friends… everywhere! Everywhere I turn, people are supporting me, and I can’t attribute it to myself at all. It’s really just the people around me that bring me up. So, if you’re looking to feel more inspired, or if you don’t feel good about where you’re at with your creative process, I would look at the people around you. Are they supporting you along the way, or are they bringing you down?
That said, it’s important to also look at yourself, because you can be your own worst critic. Something that I do for myself is I take time every week to make sure that I do something creative that’s totally low pressure. So I draw and I paint it, and none of it is good – and that’s okay! It’s fine however it turns out. Like, I knit, and I call it my anxiety knitting, and there is no end game to the project. I also have several unfinished art projects at home, and there are no rules around those things. So, while creating for work can be a really high-pressure environment, creating for myself is low-pressure. Balancing those things keeps creativity alive for me, I guess.