Senior Content Marketing Strategist Emily Clark knows a thing or two about hard work.

Not only does she work hard each and every day on her clients’ marketing strategies, she also put in some of the hardest work of her life this past April when she ran the world-famous Boston Marathon.

(She ran it voluntarily. I’m still amazed by that fact. I think the only way I’d ever run 26.2 miles is if a wild animal with a voracious appetite was chasing me.)

She said training for and completing the marathon was one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of her life.

“The training was beyond demanding, but I learned so much about what I’m capable of, if I just commit and dedicate the time,” Emily explained. “Planning is everything.”

Who would have ever thought that some of the skills used to run a grueling marathon are the same as those needed to succeed as a content marketer? Being dedicated and staying on top of everything is one of the reasons that Emily is so great at her job and why she consistently keeps a portfolio of satisfied clients.

Centered on content

Truth be told, Emily didn’t even fully understand exactly what content marketing entailed until she started at Brafton. However, she’s always had a passion for content from a young age. Growing up, she loved reading and writing, and would compose her own short stories. She even set her sights on becoming a journalist for The New York Times.

However, the intensity of New York City (“I can’t handle NYC for more than 48 hours.”) and a small stint as a sports reporter in college (“After a while, I decided I didn’t really love sports enough to make it my line of work.”) led Emily to check out what career opportunities she could pursue in content marketing.

She came on board at Brafton in 2014 as a Social Media Specialist, but as she was exposed to the different facets of the industry, it took very little time for her to realize that she wanted to be more involved in every aspect of client strategy. She joined the Account Management team as a CMS six months after starting.

“I knew after a few weeks, after learning what exactly I was doing and what needed to be done for our clients to see success, that I wanted to be a CMS and work with our clients directly,” Emily said. “I was drawn to being able to make an impact on so many different brands in multiple different industries.”

I knew, after learning what exactly needed to be done for our clients to see success, that I wanted to be a CMS and work with our clients directly.

She even focuses on content in her spare time by running her personal blog As Told By Emily. She explained the blog started as a way for her to document her recovery from an eating disorder, but it has now turned into her journey with everyday body image issues as well as her tips and tricks for positive thinking and optimism.

Going the distance with Content Marketing Strategist Emily Clark

A marketing maven

Despite not knowing much about the content marketing industry until she started her career in it, Emily has proven to be a skilled and enthusiastic CMS. But, she said, working in this field doesn’t come without its challenges.

Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles content marketing strategists face is making sure they are always one step ahead so they can help their clients succeed not only today but in the future.

“You have to know what’s going on and what’s going to work not only today but also in 30 days,” she said. “Otherwise the strategies you’re developing are irrelevant and everyone loses. You have to predict what’s going to be successful in the long term, even if it doesn’t ring true the day you’re developing the strategy.”

You have to be agile, you have to be organized and you have to be confident in your strategies.

Also, Emily has to often advise her clients on what will absolutely not work for their marketing efforts, even if a client has their heart set on it.

The biggest practices to avoid? Buying email lists (“Nothing good ever comes from that!”) and prioritizing content quantity over quality (“More content doesn’t automatically translate into more traffic and leads.”)

One of her favorite parts of her job is when she gets to work on those marketing aspects that she knows will get her clients the results they want.

“Website redesigns are one of my favorites,” she said. “I think it’s so cool to transform a digital presence with a new website or give a site a facelift. It’s a game changer.”

When clients ask her which upcoming marketing trends they should implement, Emily immediately points to custom imagery. Including custom images in blogs significantly boosts engagement, she explained, and they can be easily repurposed and reused across multiple marketing channels, such as email and social media.

I think it’s so cool to transform a digital presence with a website redesign. It’s a game changer.

What does Emily think it takes to be a successful content marketer?

“I think it’s all about being able to place yourself in the shoes of a customer based on what your client is selling, and then understanding what makes them tick and how your client’s service or product fixes that,” she explained. “You have to be agile, you have to be organized and you have to be confident in your strategies.”

Again, those are some of the skills that she took from her content marketing expertise and applied to her training for the Boston Marathon.

But I think we all want to know: Will she be running the distance again in 2018?

“As of right now, I’m not planning to run in 2018,” she said. “But I’m the worst with making impulse decisions. You never know!”

Tressa Sloane is the Sr. Manager of Editorial Development in Boston. Born a Southern belle, she now resides in the chilly (but wicked awesome) Northeast, and when she's not learning everything she can about content marketing, she's obsessing over Elvis, Auburn football and France.