Jeanniey Walden on the Marriage Between Expertise and Freelancing
The gig economy has emerged as a significant force in the labor market, offering workers the flexibility to pursue short-term contracts, freelance projects, and other flexible work arrangements. As we move further into 2023, the gig economy is expected to continue to evolve, with new platforms and services emerging to facilitate freelance work.
In conversation with Aditi Ramnath, Creator Network and Business Partnerships at Pepper Content, Jeanniey Walden, Founder and CMO at LiftOff Enterprises, talks about how businesses can support the gig economy while finding a sync between expertise and freelancing.
Here are some excerpts:
1. Tell us about your background and journey in content marketing.
I am a lifetime Chief Marketing Officer, but also now the host of a TV show called LiftOff, which explores the intersection between personal and professional life and enables people to identify the right tools that they need to be successful in business and their regular day.
2. What made you start a TV show?
I learned that aligning a startup's content with current events is a great way to build its brand. During my time at DailyPay, we attached our message to global news streams like the pandemic and the great resignation. I realized that in times of crisis and uncertainty, people have a greater need for content and messaging to help them establish a successful professional and personal future.
Many people don't know how to do growth hacking to grow professionally or personally, or where to find the right information. So I had an opportunity and started a TV show to help people unlock their potential and become better leaders in all areas of their lives.
3. What do you think is the most important aspect of B2B content?
I think I created a phrase a long time ago that I call the Air principle, which suggests that content should be authentic, inspiring, and relatable, particularly in the B2B world. Many businesses use jargon in their content, which can make it difficult for readers to understand.
To create effective B2B content, one must first understand the problem the business is trying to solve and then create content that helps them meet their needs. I advise people to follow the Air principle and "buffalo" their content by using it in multiple ways, such as on their website, in press releases, on social media, and in agreements. This approach can be very efficient and make one piece of content go a long way and make it more efficient.
4. What do you think is the best way to create content? Is it freelancers and agencies or in-house teams?
I find the question interesting because the answer varies depending on the target audience. For LiftOff, the TV show I work on, we have three different target audiences - older people with money to invest in their business, millennials building their careers, and Gen Z just entering the workforce. To reach the older demographic, traditional agencies and in-house efforts could work.
However, for millennials, I've seen more success with starting in-house and supplementing with agencies for scalability. But for Gen Z, it's a challenge for businesses to tap into creator networks and create messages that align with their brands. Gen Z looks at content and evaluates how it reflects on its brand, rather than the other way around. This means that chief marketing officers in the content space are to have to explore new methods to reach younger demographics while still employing traditional methodologies for the older ones.
5. Do you think there is a possible marriage between expertise and freelancing?
Yeah, I do. It's important to consider where in the sales cycle the content will be used and to relate to your buyer, regardless of your subject matter expertise. For example, at DailyPay, the technology helps companies reduce turnover and hire people, and content can be created to speak to those needs without requiring extensive subject matter expertise.
However, during the buying process, more technical expertise may be necessary, but it's important to have a balance of in-house and external expertise to ensure the latest techniques and technology are being used and results are being analyzed effectively while increasing scale and speed.
6. The gig economy is blowing up. What are some ways in which businesses could help out freelancers and creators?
The freelance economy has been growing rapidly for the past six years. Many people coming out of school were unable to find jobs that paid enough to establish a career, so they had to take lower-paying jobs to gain experience or higher-paying jobs that led nowhere.
As a result, many people turned to side jobs to pay their bills. Since COVID-19, the freelance economy has exploded in many different ways, and I believe it has become a way of life for many people. People are comfortable having a day job and freelancing on the side to make extra money or pursue their passions. I recently spoke with someone who runs a website for creators, and we discussed the unique opportunity for agencies to help negotiate contracts between creators and large brands.
There is a missing piece in the middle that connects the creator economy with brands, but I believe there is a lot of potential for growth and opportunity in the next three to five years.
I would like to have a system that helps us define our content strategy and align it with measurable goals. This would involve understanding the different roles that content plays at different stages of the sales funnel, such as driving brand awareness or supporting customer service. I want to be able to put content into the system and identify the distribution based on the platform it's going out to, rather than having it all go out at the same time.
The system should manage hashtags, and discovery aspects, and provide feedback on who's engaging with the content. I've seen in my previous companies that the majority of responders and engagement come from people who work at the same company, and while that's nice to have people at your company engaging, if that's the majority of who's engaging, you're not reaching the right audience. So understanding who's engaging and making deviations from that would be helpful.
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