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Clare McDermott: Getting Paid to Be a Perpetual Student

The editor of Chief Content Officer Magazine discusses the challenges facing marketers.

You want to know how to use the latest techniques in content marketing in the real world. Or maybe you want to identify the new trends. Perhaps you want to read the stories about the people behind the content marketing strategies. The Chief Content Officer magazine, produced by the Content Marketing Institute, gives you all of this and more in the glossy pages of the free publication. recently talked with Clare McDermott, editor of Chief Content Officer Magazine, about her thoughts on the future of content marketing. McDermott also owns her own content marketing agency, SoloPortfolio, so she knows the challenge and rewards that her readers are facing.

What is your favorite part of being editor of COO?

I really love the fact that I am paid to basically be a perpetual student of content marketing. For people who really love to write, it’s not so much they love the craft of writing, they’re also just very curious people who enjoy learning about new subjects, meeting new people, hearing really interesting interviews.
I definitely take what I learn from the magazine about best practices, about how different brands handle content marketing, about process, about technology, and use those to help my personal clients.

What is your favorite story in the magazine?

One of my favorites was a story about a photographer named Thomas Hawk. Thomas is known, in part, because he has this unbelievable collection of photos and I noticed over time that he was doing photojournalism at brands. If there was a hotel opening in Vegas he would be invited to photograph it, not in a very neatly packaged way but on his own terms.
So I reached out and asked him if we could interview him about how brands hire artists and how they collaborate with artists. Part of his message was to brands about underlining the importance of being so sensitive about how you work with artists and really respecting their art and their craft. It was a beautiful message. I just really enjoyed it.

What is the biggest challenge is currently facing content marketers?

I feel like I would’ve given this answer a year ago, and I still feel like this is the case: growing pains of scaling what you do. It is also ensuring you’ve got processes, governance and the right tools in place. Scaling up is also a related problem, which is on the other extreme, of building these content ecosystems that are so big.
It can be easy to spend too much money on creating content rather than thinking carefully about “How could we reuse what we’re already creating? How can we optimize what we’re doing such that we publish less often, but we’re more successful having it reach our intended audience?” It’s the back-end stuff that feels less exciting to people, but it’s just really, really important.

Where do you see content marketing heading from here?

We are going to continue to see projects that are more ambitious. In a recent issue of the magazine we have a story about brands using documentaries to tell their stories, with a really interesting range of brands from Church’s Chicken to the brands that you would expect such as Patagonia. It is going to really be about these really ambitious, artistic, beautiful projects that I personally, as a content creator, find to be exciting.

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