Zenzi Asks Interview
Recently, I was asked by my friend Courtney O’Rourke to participate in their ZenziAsks video interview series. I happily obliged and the interview recently went live.
We focused on my role at Kapost over the last year and a half, my “jobbies” of blogging and food writing and how I see the industry of content marketing evolving. I pulled an excerpt of the interview / questions below but to see the full interview and watch me live on video follow this link to their blog.
The interview portion below:
Zenzi: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Grace: I feel like we really fill a need. I sort of describe it as a wave, and when it crashes its not a bad thing, but everyone will be running towards content marketing, and because its somewhat nascent in that way, even though its not that new, people need a place and a source to help manage everything. And some people have such a high volume! It’s really rewarding to hear people say ‘I love this, or this is just what I needed’ and it’s exciting to help fuel their marketing. Because the whole thing of content marketing is generating leads, and if you can tie it back to that, it’s a great thing.
Zenzi: Professionally speaking, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Grace: Tough question! I’d love to evolve my understanding of technology and food. Both my parents are entrepreneurs, so maybe I’ll own my own business, and I’d love to keep expanding the Grace (full) Plate brand in some way.
Zenzi: You are so ingratiated in what you do, from being the Sales Director here at Kapost to running two successful blogs, and being a content creator/curator, in your own right. What is the biggest lesson that you’ve learned from all of your experience?
Grace: I was meeting with someone today and they were looking to get into writing more. I told her that blogging was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I started in 2008, and really only thought my mom would read the blog, like ‘today I went for a hike.’ It has evolved a lot since then: essentially I met my boyfriend through my blog, I got my first job through my blog, I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities, and it’s helped me to have this digital resume. I really own Grace Boyle when you Google it. I don’t know if that’s a lesson, but I believe strongly in that for non-profits, to tech, to food -it doesn’t matter if you’re in social media or not, but it’s important to understand it because it is shaping what we do so much. Blogging for me is very powerful, and whether you share everything or have a small little niche, I am so grateful for it. I had no idea all of these things would come of it. So I encourage people to blog more, and if you can offer services to people, put it out there, otherwise, how else would they know?
Zenzi: If you had to pick three companies that are doing content marketing really well, which examples would you use?
Grace: American Express Open Forum is one; I think people turn to them as an age-old example. But what they’re doing is compiling a lot of small business owners, and they just answer questions, like how to get a loan, what it means to start a business, etc…they post a lot throughout the day, and there’s very little branding. General Mills has one that is tablespoon.com. It’s neat because it has its own URL, and its all recipes. There’s very little mention of General Mills, which shows that they’re there to educate, and they incorporate food bloggers a lot, which is great for supporting the community. Another one I like is Intel, which uses Kapost so I’ve gotten to work with them closely. They have a community called IQ, which focuses on three components, life, media, and planet. They do a lot of curation through different publications. They do a lot of YouTube videos, original content, and stories. It’s really fun, and the sites very unique looking, and they’re able to create a sustainable community around it, and tie it all together.
Zenzi: What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned in your role at Kapost, and being a content creator yourself?
Grace: I think it’s important that I’ve understood that we should never be calcified. That we should be able to shift quickly or adjust our plan and know that nothing is set in stone. That’s a general one but it relates to creating content as well. So in the beginning we tried a lot of types of content. We’ve done white papers, webinars, and blog posts. We’ve launched our own publication called The Content Marketeer where we do content marketing on content marketing! That has all helped us finally understand what works best for our audience and that’s what’s really important. I think a lot of people don’t want to put in that time with content, because not every avenue will work with your audience.
Zenzi: What are your favorite blog content news sources?
Grace: I read copyblogger” a lot; they’re a pioneer in content marketing but they’ll often talk about tools or tips and its very digestible. Also the Content Marketing Institute, which Joe Pulizzi runs. We call him the Godfather of content marketing and he has a whole team of people that write for him as well, even our CEO sometimes contributes, so its truly a crowd source operation but its really one of the best resources for all things content marketing. Another one is the communitymanager.com, they have great tips and community managers I know and respect write there.
Zenzi: What are your three favorite blogs?
Grace: For food, I really like Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, she’s been blogging for a really long time and it’s her full-time job. But she has great stories and really wonderful recipes. I’m not even gluten-free, but her stories are really beautiful and moving. She takes everyday life and turns it into a story. I really like my friend Nicole’s blog, its NicoleIsBetter.com and she talks about life in a very really honest way. For example she just went sober, and is starting to run, and she shares her transformation and I really appreciate that, and I think a lot of people can relate. I also like Danielle Laporte, hers is White Hot Truth + Other Sermons On Life. Its self-help, transformational, and every blog post hits it on the nail.
Zenzi: Who are your top three recommendations to follow on Twitter?
Grace: I really like Ellen … DeGeneres.
Zenzi: (laughter) Who doesn’t love Ellen!
Grace: Yeah, you need something light! A lot of people sort of share the same stuff. This was hard. I also like Lena Dunham from Girls, she’s young, she’s a screenwriter, and she always has really funny, quippy things to say. For content marketing, I really like Joe Pulizzi, he’s @juntajoe and he’s always sharing the latest in content marketing. For food, I really like Food52, and from a technical perspective, there is a lot of information but I usually follow TechCrunch. There’s a lot of information, but that’s usually where the breaking news happens. Conan’s funny too.
Please note: A few responses have been abridged, and are not direct quotes.