James Anderson

Content is not just a platform: Why I left journalism and joined TopRank Marketing

James Anderson     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

stack-of-newspapers

[Note from Lee: TopRank has made many advancements in the content marketing space over the past 5-6 years and that leadership has resulted in growth – including the addition of 15 new people to our team in the past 7 months.  Among those new faces is content marketing smartie, James Anderson, our new agency Director of Content Marketing.  

James spent over 9 years as a journalist and editor before moving into the brand publisher space. And now he’s made the full move over to the marketing realm.  You’ll be seeing a lot of James here in the coming days and weeks as he helps me advance the TopRank content marketing machine even further – please make him feel welcome!]

Like a lot of journalists, I have an ‘end of days’ story about why I got out of the business. Thankfully, I’m one of the fortunate ones who was able to get out on my own volition.

In the fall of 2010, I headed up the consolidation of two small-town newspapers, and I was able to see first-hand the changing landscape in the media world. If I hadn’t figured it out already, that moment solidified the need to make a change.

Content Marketing

About that time, I picked up Twitter chatter about this concept of Content Marketing. I learned that brands and agencies were willing to pay English majors like myself to do what they love — mainly, move words around in ways that inspire thought and action. So I dug deep into a couple years’ worth of  Master’s of Business Communications courses and hopped on board a Minneapolis news startup called BringMeTheNews.

For four years I helped brands tell stories through BringMeTheNews’ innovative platform. I dove into brand content and native advertising. I strived to tell sponsored stories that drove higher clicks and engagement than news stories — and when I did, I made sure to let the newsroom know!

Why TopRank?

Throughout the process of helping to grow a startup into a recognized marketing platform, I soaked up everything I could about content marketing. While I did, I met a lot of great people, including my new boss, Lee Odden.

We first met in person at the 2012 Content Marketing World in Ohio and joked about how we’d have to touch base back in Minneapolis. But we didn’t. A year would go by until I’d see Lee again in Cleveland.

Since that first meeting I’ve paid attention to what he and his smart team at TopRank were saying about content marketing, brand journalism and native advertising.

While I loved how BringMeTheNews allowed me to work with sponsored content, I knew there was still one more step I wanted to make. That step was from publisher to agency where the intersection of journalism, brand publishing and content marketing meet.

I had my eyes on TopRank Marketing and how the team was advancing the cause in the content marketing space through their own content as well as with clients like LinkedIn, MarketingProfs and Dell. When the opportunity arose to come aboard as Director of Content Marketing, I jumped.

At the agency level, talk of content is genuinely platform-agnostic. TopRank marketers are focused on attracting, engaging, and converting while truly understanding the relationship between buyers, information, consumption preferences and what will ultimately motivate action.

On day three I have already seen what I was missing in the journalism world. When publishers talk about content, the platform is the destination. At TopRank Marketing, the platform is a means with which to create awesome experiences for customers.

Image: Shutterstock

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