Content: The Atomic Particle of Marketing – Book Interview

Heidi Cohen Interviews Rebecca Lieb

New book: Content: The Atomic Particle of Marketing

Content: The Atomic Particle of MarketingQ: What’s your best piece of advice for readers looking to improve their marketing?

Strategy before tactics. There’s been a very understandable pattern of behavior since digital marketing began to jump in with both feet, giving little thought to business goals or how to sustain and nurture initiatives.

In the late ‘90s the CEO’s teenage nephew built the website (he was qualified because he knew HTML). Email, search, social media: all are tactics marketers initially embraced tactically before they applied strategy.

We’re now seeing the same happen to content marketing; marketers commit to marketing before they really look at the whys and hows of the discipline.

Q: What was the inspiration for Content: The Atomic Particle of Marketing?

There are two inspirations behind this book. First, it’s to help marketers develop the all-critical content strategy to use as a foundation for their content marketing initiatives. And since content feeds all of marketing, in not just owned but also paid and earned channels, content strategy now spans the entirety of marketing: advertising, social media, search, email, inbound marketing, social selling, you name it. Content has gone far, far beyond just “the blog” or “the website.”

My second inspiration has been the deep research I’ve conducted in content marketing and digital media over the past decade. This book is the synthesis of my many years of published research in the field.

Q: What is the key concept behind Content: The Atomic Particle of Marketing?

The key concept is the title, really, that content is marketing’s atomic particle. Without content there would be no advertising, just blank squares and rectangles. Social platforms would be empty without content. Why click to Facebook or LinkedIn if there’s nothing there? And like publishing, if blogs, newsletters and websites didn’t update and refresh, why bother visiting any online destinations?

As more and more of our world becomes digital (“phygital” even), content is beginning to move beyond the screen to permeate objects and places, e.g. clothing, appliances, and destinations. Content is everywhere, and will soon be part of nearly every thing.

Q: What do you want readers to take away from your book

I want my readers first and foremost to understand the value and importance of content in any type of marketing initiative. Secondarily, I want them to be able to craft a viable, sound content strategy for their organizations, with goals that measure real business impact, using the right teams, technologies, channels and tactics. I also want them to understand why content doesn’t just matter now, but what its role will be in the future so they can prepare for tomorrow.

Q: How do you describe yourself professionally?

As an industry analyst, author and a journalist, I’ve been myopically studying digital marketing since its inception. I also have a background as a marketing executive, primarily at global media companies. Additionally, I’m a strategic advisor. Using a research-based approach, I help companies develop digital strategies, primarily around marketing and content.

Q: What are 1-3 books that inspired your work/career?

It’s so hard to name specific titles. Biographies of people I admire, from Oscar Wilde to Lee Miller, are inspirational from the perspective of work ethic. I’m writing this in Greece; as a child I was immersed in the Greek myths, which years later turned into a degree in Classics, so that’s a huge influence. From a marketing perspective it’s critical to understand not just storytelling but also that dimension of the universality of human experience and perception.

Q: What is the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your life or career?

Challenge, or opportunity? I’ve never not worked in media, but I’m old enough to have worked in old media first: film, TV and journalism. All these disciplines have had a wild ride since the birth of the Internet, which I jumped into early. It was challenging to be sure, but also fascinating and full of potential.

Q: What’s something unusual or fun that most people don’t know about you?

Well, I have a degree in Classics, which is pretty unusual. I used to be a film critic and still have a voracious appetite for the kinds of films that do not at all lend themselves to water cooler conversation.

Q: Is there a piece of marketing content that you’re particularly proud of?

Most recently I’m very proud of having helped Save the Children develop a content strategy encompassing 93 countries.

Contact information

Thanks Rebecca.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.