Champions of Content – Q&A with Sophie Glaser, Marketing Director at TradeLink

Welcome to the latest entry in our series: Champions of Content  

Content is integral to the way brands are understood and seen by their audiences, but developing content for different audiences, on different channels and even in different languages can be very complicated to get right.  

In Champions of Content, we’ll be speaking to passionate content creators we admire including marketers, journalists, writers, podcasters, and speakers about their experiences and sharing the wisdom to help others on their own content journey – whether your first putting pen to paper or looking to level up your content strategy.   

Sophie Glaser is a European marketing expert with over a decade’s worth of experience in the industry. She recently stepped into the role of director of marketing for the supply chain & logistics collaboration platform TradeLink, after spending more than five years as VP Marketing at Vimcar, where she focused on scaling the company’s B2B inbound strategy in Europe.  

In this conversation, Sophie talks about the importance of knowing your audience and how generative AI is helping to drive efficiency when it comes to content marketing. 

Please can you start by telling us about your own career journey as it relates to content and what role content plays in your work today?  

I started my career 15 years ago creating content for a publishing company. My task was to market our platform to authors and attract readers. What I learned was that marketing was about telling very good stories, which is an art in itself. If you know the core of your story, then you basically nail the whole marketing communication.  

Part of the content strategy was to host our own conferences, where we invited high-profile members of the publishing market, which was very helpful for securing larger partnerships. Another part of the strategy was to educate our authors on how to market their books. This later expanded into executing all marketing activities within the UK markets.

Later I became COO at a podcasting startup, where my role was focused on building relationships with creators and attracting listeners to the platform. My previous role at Vimcar was about explaining a very technical, hard-to-understand tech offering to an SME audience in Europe. All of these roles required me to be aware of how to tell a story and where to start with it.  

Whose content (brands or individuals) do you admire most and why? 

Top of my mind is Chart Mogul. They are an Analytics Platform. What they did, that I really like, is early on they invested significant effort and resources to raise the bar in terms of content quality. They managed to establish their newsletter on KPIs, metrics and tracking as a benchmark and trusted source in the industry.  

Of course, the newsletter is designed to market their product, but the newsletter is also a product. This is what I really admire, and I think they did it in a very cool way. Even in a time when newsletters were not cool and when content marketing was still either something that was very fuzzy or very SEO related, they created an excellent content product. The newsletter helps to establish the company as a thought leader, and potentially a portion of the market only knows them for the quality of their newsletter, not their core product. 

We all want our content to stand out, what do you think are the main ingredients that make one piece of content stand out above another? 

Content stands out when you know who to address with it. I don’t mean just trying to address a CEO or certain readers, but rather trying to really understand what their needs are, what is driving them, and what are their triggers. You need to understand how your audience talks about what, because only if you really know them will your content stand out.  

I think for a certain period, content was produced just for the sake of production. It didn’t say anything vital or impactful. So you need to be aware of what you want to say with your content. What is the benefit of your content for the reader? 

Also, be aware of the type of content you’re producing. Are you saying something obvious that’s been said before? Or are you trying to push for something new, telling readers something that is not obvious, or educates your readers? If you can make that distinction, your content will stand out, because the purpose of it is much clearer.  

What are some of the challenges you face when producing content for different channels and audiences, and how do you deal with these?  Here at Tyto, we often navigate the complexity of developing content for different audiences in different countries.  

With content and products, I believe marketers tend to think about them from the wrong end. We say, “this is the product,” and then we think about distribution. I would start more from the perspective of – and this is oftentimes a challenge – where and especially in which way to reach the audience best. Once you’ve identified that, you then start thinking about what you need to produce in which channel and how to attract them.  

You need to start from the user’s perspective and then circle back to what content and channel is most appropriate, to make your content more meaningful. 

It also depends on who you are talking to. This is especially relevant in a software context, but are you talking to the end user, the buyer, or the decision maker? Those audiences may react completely differently to your content. If you’re not distinct or clear enough about those differences and who you are speaking to, that will be a challenge.  

Are you excited by AI and ChatGPT, and if so where do you see the greatest potential to harness it in the development of content, now or in the future?  

I am excited. At Vimcar, we were already using the technology in our daily operations to increase efficiency. I think what every marketer will tell you is that the efficiency gains are not necessarily in terms of writing content, but in the whole process beforehand, such as keyword research, competitor review, understanding the market and general research. This helps you to understand what aspects you need to cover in your content. You may use the technology to make a first draft, but it will still need editing. 

In the long run, I think AI will completely change the content game, especially when it comes to organic and SEO. If everybody can produce endless content without needing someone to write it, then the whole SEO part will be turned upside down, and potentially you will see a lot of low-quality content for a while.  

In general, AI is the biggest efficiency driver now. I think every content producer and marketing department should be getting heavily involved, because it will make you much faster and more competitive. 

For brands or individuals planning to level up their content in 2023, what would be your top three bits of advice for how they can increase the impact of their content? What should they be thinking about and looking at?  What are you thinking about?   

First, know your audience. You need to be very distinct and precise regarding for whom you are producing content.

Second, make distribution a priority – be aware of what kind of impact you are trying to have and want to achieve. If you’re producing repeatable content because you want to increase traffic on your website, or if you want to spark a new category where you must teach and explain a lot to your audience, then you have to act very differently. So be aware of that, what you want to achieve and be aware of the expected impact you want to see.  

Third, measure the impact of your content marketing. Be clear about what you want to measure or how to measure it. Use that to drive the degree of how actionable and tangible your content production is and how targeted you can run it. 

And finally, how do you measure the success of your content? 

It depends on the purpose. With something short we may say let’s focus on traffic and reach. Other times we are looking at the degree of how many contacts we generate through online content. 

With each content asset, it’s important to decide what is the biggest goal? For one thing it might be to generate revenue and add to the pipeline, for another it might be more about raising awareness of a topic, or measuring how many quotes you get into the media. 

Measurement is so important. If you are talking to the CEO and they ask, why are you doing that? If you then start getting fuzzy and are not nailing the impact and purpose of your content, then you will lose every discussion. Then forever and always, brand and content marketing will  not be tangible. But if you embed it in the life cycle and acquisition journey, and if you tie it to certain business goals – which in most cases you can – then suddenly content marketing can be a highly relevant revenue driver. 

We’re currently in a market phase where everyone – especially VCs and private equity – is talking about efficiency, not growth. Marketers must be precise on their impact and need to make it visible what they are able to achieve.