Pick a lane. No one expects or even wants, to hear about every topic from one person.
MEDIA 7: How did you come up with the idea of Pressboard?
JERRID GRIMM: Back in 2013, I was working at an ad agency. One of our biggest clients, Best Buy, was interested in running some sponsored articles with a few local tech publishers. We planned and ran the campaign, thinking it wouldn’t be all that complicated. What we originally estimated would be a small 20-30 hour project turned into a 250-hour disaster.
The articles themselves did really well and Best Buy loved it, but it was all the work behind the scenes that was causing the issues. Near impossible to get reporting from the publishers, hard to figure out which stories were performing better for Best Buy, and way too much time spent on organizing the campaign.
I told a friend of mine, a software engineer, about the campaign and he was certain that the problems I was running into could be solved with technology. A couple of months later I quit my job at the agency and he and I started up Pressboard.
M7: What channels do you think are the most relevant for Content Marketing? How do you gauge which ones are the most promising, given your target customers?
JG: Social media is by far the most efficient way to get a story out to the masses. Your social feed, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter is built for content. The built-in sharing means that a great story can take on a life of its own, and the data you get back, from views to reactions and comments is a treasure trove of information. The key is to first figure out what story you want to tell and then deciding who is the best person to tell that story. Sometimes it can come from the brand, sharing a new initiative they started in a local community, sometimes it’s best to work with a media company like The New York Times to build out a report on how a company is changing the face of finance through technology. It may even work best for it to come from an influencer that has credibility in a specific field or passion. The story, Storyteller, Social, the 3 S’s of Content Marketing.
Decide what you are knowledgeable about, and topics that you are passionate enough to continue to learn about and write about those topics. There is no shortage of content in the world, but there is always a shortage of great content.
M7: What challenges do you face while handling and maintaining such a highly developed AI platform?
JG: The beauty of technology such as ours is the ability to capture billions of data points, or “Signals”, all at once. The challenge is being able to parse through those billions of data points and surface a single insight.
What do all of these signals really mean? If a story about travel is being shared widely on Facebook but very few people are actually booking a trip, why is that happening? Maybe it's something obvious, like a broken link in the post, but maybe it’s something more nuanced. What if people are sharing the post because it has a beautiful image of a beach, but no one is actually reading about the destination itself or is even in the market for a trip? Our job is to bring together social data, web data, user actions, and more and make it easy to understand. Making something simple is often incredibly hard.
M7: What do you believe are the top three marketing challenges taking place in the post COVID-19 era?
JG: 1. Truth: Misinformation isn’t a new phenomenon, but it has reached a dangerous scale. It has become easy for anybody to pretend to be someone they’re not and spread false information to anyone in the world. When no one can tell what’s true, it’s hard to trust anyone or anything. And that includes brands and their marketing.
2. Brands as Badges: People identify with the brands that they buy and in the last few years we’ve seen people even choose brands based on their political beliefs. Nike isn’t aligned with a political party, but liberals will often wear the swoosh as a symbol of support for Colin Kaepernick and his protests again racial inequality. The challenge for brands is the lack of control they have over who decides to take on their logo as a symbol. I doubt that Patagonia set out to be the preferred vest of the uber-rich Venture Capitalist crowd. IN fact their mission would seem to be the opposite, but now someone even made a VC starter kit that includes one.
3. Privacy: It’s great for people, it’s terrible for brands. For years marketers have been able to target their ads to people based on anything from what they buy, to the websites they visit, to the people they follow. Movies such as The Social Dilemma have brought out the ad industries dirty secrets and now big companies like Apple, Google and Facebook are either choosing, or being forced by governments, to stop collecting personal information. It’s a big win for privacy but it fundamentally changes the way advertising targeting has worked since the beginning of the internet.
The Story, Storyteller, and Social are the 3 S’s of Content Marketing.
M7: What marketing strategies are you are looking forward to implementing in order to overcome them?
JG: Pressboard is a relatively new company, and we saw these trends coming years ago. We intentionally built our ad technologies without the need for cookies or collecting personally identifiable information. We specifically focused on content marketing, instead of banner ads because we believed that brands would need to tell people about more than their features and pricing, that they would need to tell stories of who they were and what they were about.
The beauty of content is that it finds its own audience. Runners will read stories about running. Investors will read stories about trends in the market. Tell a great story and it will find the people that want to hear it.
M7: You are extremely active on social media sites and a regular blogger at Forbes and Entrepreneur. What is your secret to maintaining a healthy balance between work and such productive commitments?
JG: We build content marketing software and so it’s natural that our own marketing would be focused on content as well. Whether it’s a blog post on our site, a thought leadership piece on Forbes, or a weekly newsletter to our customers, it’s all the same thing, passing along interesting stories that we think our customers, current and future, will care about.
M7: Your advice to the professional writers for effective content curation?
JG: Pick a lane. No one expects or even wants, to hear about every topic from one person. Sure, I could write about the best places to eat in New York, but should I? Decide what you are knowledgeable about, and topics that you are passionate enough to continue to learn about and write about those topics. There is no shortage of content in the world, but there is always a shortage of great content.