July 13, 2017
I spent the morning analyzing my content creation and strategy business. I noticed that a growing percentage of clients are coming to me for ghostwriting. The bulk of them are in ad tech. They tell me it is challenging to find writers with the domain knowledge needed to pen a piece that is going to be bylined to a company CEO. I get that.
While I like to think I can write about anything, I find I can write better when I have a deep understanding of the subject matter. I have been writing about ad tech for the past five years. I think I offer a unique perspective because before I was writing about it, I was living it.
In 2012, I helped Mediaplanet, a global content marketing company, launch its digital strategy. Mediaplanet created supplements for major newspapers all over the world around niche topics, like diabetes or cloud computing. I had worked my way up from writer to global head of production. I was pumped when my boss and I were selected to lead the digital charge. We founded a new company called Conversionplanet, and I got to experience both the panic and promise that accompanies launching a start-up. It was a crash course in business that covered everything from developing the product and pricing, to recruiting talent, to owning a P&L. (Today, that experience helps inform my writing about small business and entrepreneurship.)
Conversionplanet created niche content hubs and branded microsites. It was my first taste of the “continuous content conundrum,” i.e. how hard it is to create consistent content on a budget. We also had to figure out the best way to drive traffic, create an SEO strategy, package our advertising options and measure content performance.
I sat through a dozen or so pitches from ad tech vendors, all promising to help solve one of our many digital challenges. I was stuck by how complicated people made things. I’d reflect on the meeting and summarize it for my peers. It all sounded a lot simpler when I said it. On more than one occasion, colleagues commented that I was good at making complicated things easy to understand.
Conversionplanet was eventually rolled under the Mediaplanet umbrella, and Mediaplanet Digital was, and is, a success. I enjoyed the entrepreneurial journey so much, I wanted to do it again — but this time entirely on my own. I knew I wanted to help companies with content creation and strategy, but I didn’t anticipate that ghostwriting for ad tech clients would be such a big part of my business.
Today, I help ad tech execs write thought leadership pieces for publications like Ad Age, AdWeek, TechCrunch, AdExchanger, The Drum, Forbes and Entrepreneur. I feel privledged to speak with such brilliant and successful entrepreneurs about industry issues, from transparency, to ad blocking, to header bidding, to ad fraud, to blockchain, to IoT, and so on. I am tasked with presenting their perspective on complicated technology in plain English. (The writer in me also can’t help but try to make it sound pretty.) While you won’t find my name on any of these pieces, I take great pride in seeing them publish, and in helping industry experts present their ideas in a way that sounds like them, but better.
I love ad tech ghostwriting because I get to continually learn. It is a nice application of my content marketing background because I can help business leaders identify topics that interest their target audiences and editors, while reflecting their “corporate agenda,” sometimes less subtly than others. (For the record, I usually don’t pitch to publications. I leave that to the experts, like the folks at Blast PR, a partner of mine.)
But enough about me. What about you? Need some help translating the thoughts in your head into readable prose? Or maybe you simply don’t have time to put pen to paper. Contact JR Lisk today.
By Jacqueline Lisk