When a finance client wanted a hands-on content marketing strategy for their annual conference, Brafton Editor Matt took on a new job title: actor.

My job description is writer and editor, at a content marketing firm. There’s a big difference between putting words down on paper and saying them out loud – I’m much better at the former, not the latter. But what happens when a client asks me to step outside my comfort zone and rethink my role in content marketing?

Content marketing is all about the creation and dissemination of valuable information tailored for individual brands. As a writer, my work typically includes maintaining SEO best practices, writing blogs, whitepapers or video scripts and researching infographic outlines. It extends from short subject lines to longform and in-depth content pieces.

But these are traditional ways of approaching the industry, and content marketing can mean so much more. 

How content marketing can translate off-screen(s)

For the past seven years, one of our clients has hosted a yearly conference for professionals to discuss current events, new products and other changes within the finance industry. The two-day event includes a number of sessions, all of which are ideal for live blogging, live tweeting and other forms of coverage.

At Brafton, both live blogging and live Tweeting are mainstream aspects of our services, but this client wanted to take it a step further with an even more hands-on role from us. The session in question centered on a business’s incident response to a cyber attack: The five-person panel would role-play a data breach scenario for the audience, so they can learn the right – and wrong – ways to react.

The best part was that in addition to asking for coverage, the client asked Brafton to participate. 

3 Tips to take content writing beyond the Matt Ellsworth Brafton Writer Journalistwritten word

For this role-playing scenario, the five participants were tasked with turning into a CEO, a legal representative, an information security officer, a customer and a journalist. I was picked for the role of journalist.

Naturally, switching from the role of writer into an actor was both unique and challenging. Throughout this process, I learned three steps that were instrumental to success:

  • Preparation – Preparation is the key to quality performance, whether from a blog post or in acting. To prepare for this specific scenario, I first leaned on my colleagues with prior journalism experience. They shared insight into the role of a journalist during a data breach, as well as the boundaries that are expected of the relationship between journalist and the fictional company. Furthermore, I also looked at examples of past mock data breach scenarios and mapped out a number of potential questions for the event itself.
  • Confidence – Performing on stage, no matter the size of the audience, requires confidence. For starters, preparation is a driving force in this – the more planning, the more confident you can be. In addition, it also helps to block out the audience and focus on the task at hand. In simple terms, my role was to ask the CEO questions about the data breach and keep her on her toes. Interview skills are a key part of content marketing, so it was easy to be confident in this regard – I already had the experience needed.
  • Trust – Finally, the most important part of a successful transition from writer to actor is trust. The panel moderator was pulling the strings, doling out pertinent information as the scenario unfolded. I had to have trust in him to give me what I needed, and then trust the other participants to respond accurately and realistically. Without trust, I wouldn’t have had the confidence needed to excel in my role.

The value of versatile content marketing

Elements_Gray_Icon_PencilFor the client, this panel event was a fantastic way to educate and inform the audience on cyber security and flip the average convention formula on its head. Who says you can’t have a mock cyber attack panel during a two-day conference?

From my perspective, it meant hedging a new skill set that elevates the work of a content writer. This experience gave me new ideas present to future clients. It also was an opportunity to better understand this audience for my writing endeavors, and continue to foster a quality relationship with my client.

Best of all, this opportunity has improved the working relationship between Brafton, myself and the client. We know each other better, and I’m in a position to better serve them due to the extended communication throughout the process. There is also more trust between us, not to mention they have the confidence in our ability to meet any content-related challenge.

This brings us to the true value of content marketing: its versatility. If a client wants regular blog posts, that’s fantastic. If it wants on-site product videos supported by gated content, it can get that too. If the client needs a bit of acting, that is also a possibility. All in all, content marketing is still evolving to fit whatever needs a business may have.

Check out other ways Brafton content can translate off-screen(s):

A graduate of Salem State University, Matt Ellsworth has been writing professionally since 2012. As an Associate Content Manager at Brafton, Inc., he supervises a team of writers focused on the financial industry. Matt Ellsworth currently lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, with a small dog and a love of Boston sports.