Employee Highlight: An Interview with Andrea Larson - M&P's Content Director

Spring has finally arrived! Flowers are starting to peek through the soil, and the weather is thinking about warming up! In the world of content marketing, spring is also an exciting time, because content directors get to see some of the fruit of their labor and decide whether it’s time for a new brand strategy or if staying the course is the right plan of action. A Content Director supervises the social media manager, creates blog content and bridges the gap between the digital creative agency and clients when it comes to all things content.

I got to catch up with one of the amazing people who makes our digital marketing agency tick, our very own Content Director, Andrea Larson. We chatted about her favorite part of onboarding new clients, her outlook on healthy blog strategy and she even gave some advice for up-and-coming content creators and directors, so check it out!

Q: What's your favorite thing about spring?

A: From the perspective of a Content Director, one of my favorite aspects of Spring is seeing the results of our Q1 objectives. Clients come to M&P for a variety of digital creative agency needs and it’s always exciting to see the progress we’ve made for the year, what worked, what didn’t and set strategies for the rest of the year. From a personal perspective, it means I’ve survived Winter in the Pacific Northwest. If you know, you know.

Q: What’s your favorite part of onboarding a new client?

A: We take a thorough and collaborative approach to onboarding new clients. Early on in the process of onboarding, our team sets up a stakeholder meeting where we get down to the bottom of what a client’s pain points are and strategize ways to solve those frustrations. I love seeing a client feel like they can finally breathe once they’ve made the decision to hire a professional team to come in and help them execute on their goals.

Q: How do you come up with fresh content for clients who want a clever blog strategy?

A: There’s quite a bit of misunderstanding out there when it comes to the purpose of a blog and what healthy, effective blog strategy looks like. As a digital creative agency, we put data front and center of our decision making process and employ analytics and SEO to drive our content strategy. Content should of course be useful, informative and in many cases entertaining, but more than that, a quality blog strategy should drive links to the site, improve a site’s ranking on Google and serve as a landing page for potential clients.

Working with our clients to create a solid blog strategy and relying on them for expert feedback in their field has allowed us to deliver successful and measurable returns.

Q: How often should clients be updating their blog?

A: This depends on whether or not blogging is a core aspect of a client’s content marketing strategy. There are some industries who don’t need to rely as heavily on blog traffic as others, whether that be for engagement or ROI. It’s important to remember that first and foremost, a blog should be used as a conduit for attracting traffic to your site.

People often underestimate the power of distilling a great piece of content into other forms of interactive content for the web or social channels. An informative blog that’s steeped in useful data, research or interesting stats can be turned into data visualizations. Often, I partner with our graphic design and social media marketing teams to turn a blog into digestible data visualizations for use on multiple platforms.

Q: Why do you think content marketing is important in today's digital world?

A: We’re all inundated with a maddening and often overwhelming amount of content. That is the world we live in, for better or worse. Having an exorbitant amount of content thrust at us EVERY SINGLE DAY means that content needs to be high quality, reputable, and trustworthy. A savvy content marketing strategy is one that builds trust, brand loyalty and visibility as well as results in conversions that matter.

Q: What tips would you give to up-and-coming content directors?

A: There are a lot of learning opportunities out there for anyone interested in developing a career in content. Most of them are free. My advice would be to take these opportunities whenever you can and use the network you’ve built to ask for advice when you need it. I’m taking a free course right now with the founder of Backlinko, “Content-Led SEO” - it has been a wealth of knowledge and super easy to navigate.

My second piece of advice is, be adaptable. Content “rules” are always changing and so are the algorithms that ultimately determine the effectiveness of your strategy. Stay up-to-date and open to change.

Q: Where do you look for inspiration as a content director?

A: Everywhere. I’m constantly consuming content. Reading books is how I wind down and I’m always pleasantly surprised when I stumble across inspiration from an unexpected source. It’s good to diversify how you consume content too! Challenge yourself to find new avenues for inspiration.

Q: What are your tips for communicating with clients about content?

A: Use language your clients can understand! Whenever you can leave jargon out of the conversation, you should. I’d also suggest that you provide visuals whenever possible. Most people are visual learners, so whether you’re explaining a content strategy or going over metrics from the last month, visual aids are super helpful. They also reveal that you care about your client’s comprehension.

Q: What's your favorite springtime activity?

A: Hopping from location to location looking for the biggest and best cherry blossom trees! I also enjoy walking around neighborhoods I’ve never been to before and looking at plants and flowers this time of year. It makes you feel alive.


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