In our Marketing Stars Series, we bring you insights from some of the top influencers in the world of online marketing. We’ve asked the best of the best to share their insider knowledge with you, our readers, so that you can harness the power of their expert advice, tips, and tricks in your own marketing efforts.
Today, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring you our interview with Danny Wong of Shareaholic. Danny is a rock star in the content marketing space, and we are honored that he agreed to answer a few questions for us
1. Danny, for the readers who don’t know you, could you please tell us a little bit about what it is you do, and why you’re passionate about it?
As the Marketing Manager at Shareaholic, I wear a number of different hats. Primarily, I edit and manage our blog, where we publish articles about content marketing, traffic acquisition and noteworthy traffic trends. I also work with journalists and bloggers to create buzz around our announcements as long as our *news* actually has industry-wide implications rather than simply news that only impacts our business.
I love what I do because I actually get to practice what I preach, and that’s quite fulfilling. I blog about ways you can be better at content marketing, how others are doing it, and analysis of the overall industry. As childish as it may sound, it’s very ego-gratifying when reputable news sites pick up or syndicate our stories.
2. How did you get started in this industry? What was the Aha! moment that ultimately led you to where you are today?
The real Aha! moment was when Fan Bi took me under his wing. In the summer of 2009, he sold me on the idea of starting up a business versus working for “the man.” Ironically, at Blank Label we ended up building a business that marketed to “the man.”
I led the company’s marketing charge.
Bi and I were a pair of bootstrappers — and college students – and, I, as the de-facto CMO, I needed to figure out scalable solutions for driving traffic to our site. After countless hours reading the HubSpot blog, I adopted the “inbound marketing” philosophy and hacked our way to tens of thousands of visitors each month and thousands of very loyal customers.
I’ve since transitioned into an advisory role with the company. Currently, I work full-time at Shareaholic.
3. Can you give us a quick intro about Shareaholic and its mission?
Shareaholic is a discovery and sharing platform that helps businesses and publishers effectively promote their content.
Used by more than 300,000 sites reaching 400+ million unique visitors each month, our free suite of tools helps you amplify your content and create conversations, across the web.
4. In your professional opinion, why is content so important to marketing?
Content now powers brand awareness and conversations. SEO campaigns are no longer effective without great articles, blog posts and reports. Visitors to your site are more likely to purchase if they recognize you as an established thought leader through the content you create and publish.
It enables your brand to demonstrate its knowledge in its respective sector, and to develop its own unique voice.
5. What are the biggest mistakes in content creation or the content industry you have noticed recently?
Currently, what’s absent from many content marketing campaigns is substance. The age of churn-and-burn content mills is behind us. 500 word blog posts are (arguably) dead. Effectively, original content wins.
Three ways you can ensure your content makes a real difference are:
a) Sourcing analysis from experts on the topics you’re writing about
b) Tracking and producing proprietary data
c) Writing from personal experience (and noting the limitations of your unique experience)
These are types of content that people are really drawn to (stories that aren’t simply regurgitated pieces of junk that monkeys could produce).
6. Looking out 3 to 5 years, beyond the obvious trends, what do you think will be the next big change in your industry?
First, in content amplification, publishing and brand journalism, I believe the “trend” of native advertising will become more mainstream, despite current resistance from old media.
Second, marketers everywhere will recognize the limitations of inbound marketing (and organic traffic) and will learn to effectively leverage paid traffic acquisition. Ultimately, we’ll all become better marketers (who produce and share even better content), and readers will benefit from the fact that businesses will care more and will invest more resources into their marketing efforts so they’re not spitting out mindless garbage.
7. Before we end this interview, what advice can you give to people just starting on their online marketing journeys?
Always review your numbers. At the end of every week, take a long and hard look at how effective your marketing tactics were, in order to quantify the impact of your efforts. Be self-critical. That’s the only way to get better. Soon enough you’ll discover ways to be an incredibly impactful marketer, driving real, tangible results. And, of course, (as biased as I am) I’d highly recommend accessing our free tools so your site is enabled with share buttons, specialized analytics and content recommendations.