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Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New Website Coming Soon

January 30, 2018


I am excited to share that we are in the process of updating and will be rolling out a new site design later this year.

Stay tuned, and Happy New Year!


-Jacqueline Lisk


Measuring a Year in Words (infographic)

January 4, 2017


2016 was good to us. We partnered with more than 20 clients, from big names like Twitter and The Hartford, to innovative digital start-ups.

We wrote pieces for Inc., Forbes, Entrepreneur, AdAge, AdExchanger, MediaPost, Today’s Parent, and many a company blog. Granted, we usually didn’t write under our real names, but hey, that’s just a day in the life of a ghostwriter.

We helped businesses re-brand and/or launch content strategies for the first time. We wrote press releases, web copy, video scripts, marketing collateral, proposals, white papers, eBooks, even a book chapter.

Our days were varied. We wrote most frequently about adtech, digital advertising trends, mobile, small business, cybersecurity, medical topics, and travel. And we truly loved every minute of it.

So thank you. Thank you for letting us do what we love and love what we do, and cheers to more effective and fun collaborations in the new year.

Should you need a talented writer or content strategist, please give us a shout.


JR Lisk 2016 Recap

Confessions of a Ghostwriter

July 26, 2016



Photo Credit: Allegra Laboratory

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of ghostwriting. I pen thought leadership pieces for execs, and they run in major media outlets and industry trade pubs like AdExchanger, MediaPost, and TechCrunch. I also write articles for business leaders to share on LinkedIn, Medium, and company blogs. I love what I do, and I don’t do it “for the glory.” I like helping people convey their unique viewpoints. I like trying to capture their personality and cadence with my word choices. I genuinely enjoy working together to build on their ideas and to find examples to illustrate their points.

I agree wholeheartedly with a professional’s decision to hire someone like me, not just because it pays the bills, but because it’s a smart example of time management. People hire ghostwriters because they 1.) Don’t have the time to produce content themselves and/or 2.) Don’t have professional writing skills and understand that partnering with a pro will improve quality and, in turn, results.

But if I am honest, I sometimes wish I could share clips I’m particularly proud of, and I wonder how I can best showcase this type of writing, which has become a sizeable part of my business, on my social media channels and in my portfolio. Although many people enlist the help of a ghostwriter, it’s not usually something they want to advertise. I liked a solution proposed in Lauren Ingram’s article for Contently’s The Content Strategist, “Is it Morally Okay to Ghostwrite Thought Leadership.” She writes, “When some celebrities sign book deals for memoirs, co-writers are included in the byline, just in a smaller font. It might seem strange at first, but why couldn’t bloggers use this same system? Or at the very least, put some sort of disclosure at the bottom of the story to acknowledge the name of the person who actually wrote the post.” This solution would allow ghostwriters to share their work and help get their names out to potential new clients.

For the record, I have no moral qualms about what I do, or with the folks who ask me to do it. I work with clients who want my writing to sound like them. I take time to understand their position and personality. We communicate as often as necessary to make sure I am presenting their ideas and vision. Sure, I elaborate and improve as needed, but I don’t think there is anything unethical about that. (But I sure am glad I am not Tony Schwartz.)

This is a little cheesy, but I think it is an honor to have someone choose you for something so personal. Plus, I get to learn a lot about a ton of different industries and issues by speaking firsthand to industry leaders in ad tech, travel, and health care. It satisfies my innate curiosity and propensity for boredom in a way that other careers could not. I am proud of my ghostwriting. It’s not just about being a good writer, it’s about understanding your client and capturing his or her voice. I like the challenge. I like the work. Sure, I wouldn’t mind a byline here or there, but that (kinda vain) longing isn’t enough to take away from my love of the job or my appreciation for my clients.

By Jacqueline Lisk

What you don’t know about ad blocking

March 24, 2016



I can see all sides of the ad blocking conundrum. On one hand, we are fed up with obtrusive, irrelevant ads that interrupt our online experience. But then again, advertising subsidizes publishing. We need ads to monetize digital journalism. Plus, when used correctly, ads are a powerful marketing tool for raising brand awareness and driving conversions. But what I hadn’t thought about are the people and businesses behind the ad blocking solutions. Turns out, their mission isn’t always noble. It’s not just about protecting the user—it’s about profiting.

An increasing number of users are downloading tools that allow them to filter out ads. There are now more than 198 million people using ad blockers worldwide, and it cost the publishing industry nearly $22 billion in 2015, according to PageFair’s recent research. They are using this software because they’re concerned about privacy or security, or frankly, because ads can be annoying (enough with the pop-ups and auto-plays, people). I assumed the creators of ad blocking tools were akin to the protagonists in Mr. Robot—brilliant antiheroes brave enough to challenge the establishment. But at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) annual leadership meeting earlier this year, IAB President Randall Rothenberg explained that many of these ad blocking creators are for-profit companies that are using nefarious tactics to make a buck. They’ll actually allow publishers to pay a fee to circumvent ad blocking software, but if a digital site doesn’t have the means to “pay the toll,” they are out of luck! Rothenberg claims that this is actually a threat to freedom of speech and diversity. Slowly but surely, smaller, independent publications will be forced to close their doors (or laptops, if you will), and the only news sources remaining will be those with deep pockets. (Click here to read more about his speech.)

That there is a market for ad blockers speaks volumes about our industry, regardless of the intent of the software’s creators. (And hey, maybe there are some guys who are in this to improve and preserve the user experience. I can’t pretend to know everybody’s motives, but Rothenberg’s words resonated with me.) Marketers and publishers should see this as a wake-up call. We have to respect the user. We have to use the tools available to us (and believe me, there are plenty) to create relevant creative and to effectively target audiences so the right messages are reaching the right people at the right time.

By Jacqueline Lisk


What not to do when running a company blog

August 22, 2014



What’s that they say about the road to hell? It’s paved with good intentions, right? Same goes for a company blog gone awry. Their objectives were solid, but it’s easy to underestimate how much time and talent it takes to publish quality, strategic content consistently. Avoid these common pitfalls to ensure your blog doesn’t do more harm than good.

1. Posting every day because you feel like you have to
If you don’t have anything to say, say nothing. If you’re creating content to ultimately generate new customers, quality matters. It’s better to invest time and resources into creating something that’s truly useful – a piece of content that fills a knowledge gap and actually delivers value – than to bang out any old thing just to tick a box. Think quality, not quantity. Yes, blogging frequently will help your SEO, but be realistic. If publishing daily isn’t feasible, alter the plan. Just be consistent and stick to the strategy. (You do have a strategy, right?)

2. Selling hard and selling often
Your blog is a marketing tool, and you wouldn’t have invested in it if you weren’t confident in its ability to contribute to the bottom line. But respect the medium. Your future customers don’t want to read articles about how great you are. Yes, content can be used to sell and should be an integral part of your entire site strategy; but on your blog, focus on delivering information that addresses your customers’ problems and interests, while of course, showcasing your own expertise. (Now would be a good time to refer back to your brand’s mission statement. You absolutely have a brand mission statement, right?) Use your blog to establish your brand tone and position yourself as a thought leader, and consider including a call-to-action at the end. When there’s an opportunity to link to more concrete information about your company, take it, but don’t go overboard.

3. Disabling social sharing and commenting
Some clients are afraid of receiving negative feedback so publically. Others are nervous they won’t receive any comments at all. Either way, NOT allowing your audience to talk back sends the wrong signal. You’re looking for engagement—a two-way conversation. Learn from your customers. Respond to their feedback. Don’t miss out on the free traffic that results when a reader shares your blog article on his social network. And it’s not just free traffic—it’s quality traffic. Readers are far more likely to click a link from a friend than a tired old banner ad. (For widgets, try ShareThis for social sharing and Disqus for comments).

Need help with your company’s content strategy? Contact JR Lisk, Inc. today.

LinkedIn lowers its age limit and expands its advertising potential

May 13, 2014



Boston University's LinkedIn Page

As soon as I heard that LinkedIn had lowered its age limit to 14 in the states (age 13 abroad), I thought of three little words: college advertising budgets. Lo and behold, it rolled out its University Pages product Monday, a way for high school students to get to know college staff and alum.  Brilliant. Not only can kids use LinkedIn as a resource for learning about schools, they can also create online profiles to highlight their achievements and help them get internships. This has the potential to radically change the college admissions process. Imagine a world in which your child creates one online profile as opposed to filling out multiple applications? (Only 43 colleges accept the Universal College Application.) College admissions teams could peruse student profiles and decide who to recruit, whether via targeted ads (Cha-ching for LinkinIn) or other outreach. Prediction: using certain keywords in your profile will become incredibly important– SEO for college recruiters.

This product will not only help students and colleges find each other more efficiently, it will also allow LinkedIn to tap into new advertising budgets. In the first half of 2013, colleges spent $570.5 million on paid advertising in the U.S., according to Educational Marketing Group. And let’s not forget about all the other products that target the college-bound, from storage solutions to extra-long sheets (how are those still a thing?).

LinkedIn, you impressed me with your Pulse acquisition and your evident focus on content.  This paved the way for your newest endeavor, as certainly colleges will need to focus on publishing and distributing strategic content on their new University Pages.  Once again, well done.

P.S. According to some informal research (think chatting over beers with some friends who work as teachers and guidance counselors), the kids are fleeing Facebook and taking to Twitter, Instagram… and soon enough, LinkedIn.

By Jacqueline Lisk


Content marketing on the rise in europe

January 17, 2014


Mashable’s recent article on content marketing predictions forecasts that “Europe will get the content marketing bug–big time.”  After returning from Mediaplanet’s global management conference in Stockholm, I can wholeheartedly agree.  Mediaplanet produces cross-media content campaigns in partnership with newspapers, subject matter experts and brands, and it operates throughout Europe.  Speakers at the conference included Astrid Gyllenkrok, head of advertising & sponsorships for CNN International, UK & Scandinavia, and yours truly, who spoke about the global state of content marketing and provided tips and tricks for successfully pitching Mediaplanet’s digital component.

The feedback from managing directors around the world, leaders from Poland to Germany to Switzerland, was that clients in their market were increasingly likely to have heard about content marketing, to understand why it’s of value and to be looking to invest in content marketing opportunities.  This will be the year that content marketing explodes abroad; and as our European counterparts flex their branded content creation muscles, we, the U.S., stand to benefit.  We’ll learn from their experiences, and see an increase in global brands launching international content strategies.  The need for translated content will also rise, presenting opportunities for firms here and abroad.

By Jacqueline Lisk

The 5 questions Forbes’ brand journalism team asks clients–and what they’re missing

January 9, 2014


One of the most interesting speakers at last month’s digital innovation conference in San Francisco was Mark Howard, chief revenue officer at Forbes. Howard described Forbes’ laudable BrandVoice program, which allows clients to publish sponsored content directly onto the news site. Howard and the BrandVoice team urge brands to share relevant, interesting stories–the type of content you’d expect to see on Forbes, not self-indulgent advertorials. According to Howard, 30 percent of Forbes’ revenue now comes from this content marketing initiative.

Forbes also offers content creation services for that companies who don’t have in-house resources or are looking for an outsider’s perspective. When assisting a client in creating sponsored content, the Forbes team asks the following questions:

1. What are your overall business goals?

2. Who do you want to reach?

3. What’s your content’s focus? What events and news are relevant?

4. What type of content do you want to share? Video, commentary, etc.?

5. Do you have examples of content you’d like yours to be similar to?

These questions are a great starting point, but they’re missing something–sources. Trustworthy subject matter experts elevate all content, from sponsored pieces to traditional journalism. After I’ve determined what it is the brand is trying to say, I ask my client: “Who is the best person to say it?” Sometimes it is a company’s in-house expert, but often, it’s someone else. Strive to find the source who can convey your message even better than you, the client could.

By Jacqueline Lisk

Jacqueline Lisk to speak at upcoming content marketing conference in Sweden

January 3, 2014


Jacqueline Lisk, CEO and Founder of JR Lisk, Inc. will speak at Mediaplanet’s digital strategy conference in Stockholm this January.  The conference will be attended by the content marketing company’s international team members.  Anders Berglund, the new CEO of Google Sweden, and Astrid Gyllenkrok of CNN Sweden are also slated to present.

The New York Times to begin native advertising program in 2014

December 19, 2013


The New York Times announced it will offer native advertising opportunities in 2014, indicative of a now undeniable trend — brand publishing is here to stay.  The nation’s most reputable news organization shared that sponsored pieces would be clearly marked to allow readers to quickly distinguish the material.

Click here to read the full article.