Thirteen years ago, Joan Damico was working for a technology company when she noticed a gaping hole. As a Marcom Manager, she struggled to find good writers capable of blending technology concepts with business benefits. Those writing about tech had no sense for marcom and vice versa. “It was hard to find that mix.” But Joan, who had perfected this delicate balance in her own writing, recognized an opportunity. She broke out on her own and started J. Damico Marketing Communications, which helps B2B tech and industrial companies integrate marketing communication programs that generate leads and sales.
She found a void and filled it.
As any B2B content marketer will tell you, conveying complicated concepts in a digestible way is truly an art. In this sense, Joan is an artist – and one who understands the worth of her work. In speaking with her, you’re guaranteed to hear the word “value.” Her clients recognize the value of content that’s compelling and useful in that it helps transition a reader from visitor to lead to customer. On her end, her writing has value in that it’s what she gets paid to do. These two elements are closely tied, for Joan succeeds when her clients succeed.
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Joan, who shared her expertise on how content marketing editors and publishers can increase the value of the writing they produce, both for their clients and for themselves. Here are 5 key highlights from our conversation:
Joan says, “I think we need to examine the organization of marketing in companies.” It used to be that all public messaging could go through marcom. But now, customer service has a Twitter account, marketing has a Twitter account and a Facebook page, and leadership is spouting off on LinkedIn. This siloing needs to stop, she says, and someone must own all the content from blogs to YouTube. She is calling for the creation of a Media Center of Excellence in organizations. Basically, many cooks can add their unique touches, but only one chef should choose the cuisine.
Use the “So What” Test.
Whatever your idea for a piece of writing, she recommends you ask yourself, “So what?” “Sure, your product does X, Y and Z, and it does it in 5 seconds. Well, so what?” When you can answer that question, you actually have something to say in your writing, and readers will find it relevant.
Don’t lose touch.
Content marketers are voracious readers. With such an overload of dialoguing at the speed of light, we can sometimes cut corners and get hooked on current trends, entirely losing sight of our marketing purposes. Joan recently edited a piece of writing that was full of buzzwords and content marketing cliches. These pitfalls exist in every industry. She reminds writers to identify the difference between a buzzword and something that adds value to the topic.
Streamline the messy.
The creative element of writing is messy. “Let it get messy,” says Joan, but don’t let a disorganized process get in the way of efficiency. Streamlining the communication, approval, and distribution of content will save you a lot of headaches and, more importantly, it will save you money. Full disclosure, I met Joan when she shared her thoughts about Kapost on Business 2 Community. A client of hers began using the software to streamline the content marketing process from ideation to social media promotions. By tidying up the workflow and organizing the process, she was able to make more money per piece of writing because she wasn’t wasting time with tedious (and costly) tasks.
To stay on top of her field, Joan reads a lot of sales blogs. While she is not directly in sales, she sees her role as supporting sales and helping them close more customers. Recently, she was asked by a salesperson, “Is one more white paper going to help me meet my $2 million quota?” It’s a great question, and one that identifies a common division between marketing and sales. To bridge the gap, content marketing folks should ask themselves some questions: When is a good time to hand off this contact to sales as a lead? What keywords can I use to increase visibility of this piece to drive sales? How is sales framing our product and how can I align what I do to support that effort?
In her thirteen years freelancing, Joan has worked with a myriad of clients. Across all industries, the need for valuable content – content that marries the technical and compelling, converts visitors to customers, and supports sales – is consistent.
Joan Damico is a B2B copywriter and marcom consultant with more than 15 years’ experience in B2B marcom for high tech and industrial companies. She helps them leverage social media and traditional media to build brands, boost leads and drive sales. Joan is the author of Integrated Marcom Minute blog andnewsletter. She has presented copywriting and integrated marcom seminars for clients and industry associations including the American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI), Business Marketing Association (BMA), Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and has taught marcom and copywriting courses at colleges and universities including New York University (NYU). A social media enthusiast, Joan is a former community manager of the LinkedIn Group, B2B Social Media, where she took the group from 2,000 members to more than 10,000 in 18 months.