In this week's Content Questionnaire, Rieva Lesonsky shares her take on the digital marketing field.
In this week’s Content Questionnaire, we’re asking small business expert Rieva Lesonsky of Grow Biz Media to share insights on the content marketing world. Here are her answers: 

Q: What’s your idea of a perfect piece of web content?

Something that evokes a reaction – whether that’s joy, surprise or anger.

Q: What is your current content focus?

Educating and inspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to DO something that pushes their businesses forward. There’s been too much inaction (they’re essentially “treading water”) and you can’t succeed by swimming or running in place.

Q: What is your biggest marketing fear?

That people will stop paying attention.

Q: What do you dislike most about your website’s appearance?

It’s been recently redesigned, so I’m pretty much still in love with it. I do wonder if the type is readable for people with “old eyes”.

The best kind of content is something that evokes a reaction – whether that’s joy, surprise or anger.

Q: What buzzwords are you guilty of using most?

Just do it! (Sorry Nike.)

Q: What brands do you have a marketing crush on?

Not being a marketer, I’m easy to impress. And I’m an easy crier, so if it’s an emotional appeal, you got me.

Q: Which results make you happiest?

Moving people to action.

Q: What marketing skill would you most like to have?

Being a chameleon and fitting in no matter the situation.

Q: What do you consider your greatest content marketing achievement (to date)?

When someone says something we wrote helped them get started, get over a hurdle or otherwise grow their businesses. What could be better than that?

Q: If you were a type of web content, what do you think it would be?

I’d be ‘Tips of the Day. I read a lot and am constantly sharing.

Q: If you could do it all over again, what vertical would you work in and why?

When I was in J-school I wanted to be a sports reporter. But at the time, that simply wasn’t done. I admire the women who broke those barriers.

Q: What personal trait are you always trying to improve?

I am much more introverted than I appear. I’m working on becoming more naturally extroverted on first or second meeting. (After I’ve known you a while, the shyness vanishes.)

When I was in J-school I wanted to be a sports reporter. But at the time, that simply wasn’t done. I admire the women who broke those barriers.

Q: Do you think your office environment reflects your brand?

No. We’re a virtual company, so my environment reflects my personal taste (my office walls are bright turquoise). On second thought maybe it does, entrepreneurs do “march to the beat of a different drum.”

Q: What is your brand’s most valuable asset?

Our reputation. Few have covered small business as long as I have.

Q: What is your favorite part of the workday?

Checking Twitter first thing in the morning (usually 6 am) to see what is going on in the world. That’s the advantage of living in California. It may be early my time, but the rest of the country is already stirring.

Q: What is the quality you like best in other brands?

Being able to tell the story in an informative, yet captivating way.

Q: What’s the quality you like least in other brands?

Dishonesty.

Q: How can other brands/marketers get on your good side?

Don’t overpitch – meaning stop sending me constant “just checking” emails.

Q: Who are your favorite writers/brand leaders (online or off)?

I love reading Alice Hoffman novels, shopping at Nordstrom and Sephora, listening to the Wicked soundtrack, watching Jon Stewart and drinking Diet Coke.

Q: What is your marketing pet peeve?

At the risk of sounding like a whiner, I have three.

  1. Videos that launch automatically. Basically they’re “goofing off at work” tattletales.
  2. Popups asking me to subscribe to a blog before I’ve had the chance to read two sentences. Give me a chance to find out if I like it before asking me to commit.
  3. PR people who email you mere hours after sending their first pitch to follow up. I generally save looking at PR releases until end of day (or week), when deadlines aren’t looming, necessary calls have been made and crucial emails have been answered.

Q: What’s one social media trend that you wish would die out?

If you build it, they won’t come. You need to tell them it’s there.

Google+ and other social media sites that proclaim at launch they’re Facebook/Twitter/etc. killers. All the fanboys rave and the public yawns. It shows a lack of understanding about why consumers use social media. And what they think is broken.

Q: What’s your current inspiration?

Millennials—they’re so naturally entrepreneurial.

Q: What is your marketing motto?

If you build it, they won’t come. You need to tell them it’s there.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.