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May 8, 2024

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In this interview, Bernie Borges shares his journey from sales rep to marketing expert and answers some of the most burning questions about content marketing.

1. You started as a sales representative and then focused on content marketing. What made you change your career path?

I graduated with a marketing degree and aspired to be a marketing leader. I was already in a sales position when I graduated from college, so I stayed in that position. About 10 years into my sales career, I was offered a marketing position with the company for whom I was a regional sales manager due to my frequent conversations with the marketing leaders about ideas to consider to help the sales team sell more effectively.

Eventually, after progressing through various marketing positions, I started my own digital marketing agency. I launched a blog and a podcast to create awareness for myself and my agency and I discovered the power of content marketing.

2. What is content for you?

Content is anything that is consumable by our target audience that is “selling without selling.” I mean that it is “selling” through its utility to the customer. Content that educates, enlightens, or entertains in a relevant way is perceived as valuable and potentially memorable to the customer so when they are ready to buy, your brand is top of mind.

 

Picture on a laptop in a home office set up

 

3. When is the right time to start a company?

The right time to start a company is when three things are in place:

1. You recognize a legitimate need in the market and you have a solution for it.
2. You are willing to push through “no” for at least one year because you know in your heart that you’re solving a problem.
3. You have the financial means to get the business off the ground even if your business has no revenue for one to two years.

Notice that I don’t mention anything about age, location, state of the economy, etc. Solve a problem with a long-term viewpoint and possess the financial means to get the business off the ground, period.

4. Many aspects of digital marketing are changing relatively quickly, how do you stay on top of things?

It is not easy to stay current on digital marketing trends particularly since digital marketing disciplines are becoming increasingly more complex and specialized.

I try to limit my study to the topics that are most relevant to me. I read blogs, listen to podcasts, and watch YouTube videos from my go-to digital marketing thoughts leaders such as Andrew Davis, Ardath Albee, Jay Baer, Ann Handley, Robert Rose, Michael Brenner, Chris Penn, Paul Roetzer, among others.

5. What are the actionable metrics you are using to measure the success of content marketing initiatives?

Of all the metrics I watch on content marketing, engagement is at the top of my list. We need to understand how our content is resonating with the people we want to reach. The quantity and quality of engagement are the metric that most measures the efficacy of our content.

 

Two women looking at computer screens

 

6. Can you explain: why thought leadership is important for a company’s content marketing strategy?

Thought leadership content is “selling without selling.” Effective thought leadership content is consumed with emotion. Even B2B content has an emotional impact on the audience when you provide them with helpful insights that somehow make their life a little better, easier, or more efficient.

In B2B content marketing, usually senior leadership is part of the buying committee. As such, thought leader- ship content has potential to create positive brand affinity with senior leaders as they participate in the buying journey.

 

Aerial view of a man typing on a retro typewriter

 

7. AI is advancing tremendously. What is your opinion on companies using AI generated written content for marketing, is this a good idea?

I’m watching the advancement of AI generated content. It appears to be improving but I believe it has a lot of room to improve. The more specialized a topic is, the more the human touch is needed to tell the story beyond the facts, to elicit a human response to the story.

I’m hopeful that AI generated content will reach a point that creates a good story, even in the most technical topics.

8. What overused terms or buzzwords should marketers stop saying?

I don’t have a problem with buzzwords as long as someone doesn’t repeat them too often. If I had to pick one word to stop saying it’s “perfect”. Often people use this word for simple things such as arriving at a mutual date and time to meet. That’s not perfection, that’s simply a good time to meet.

9. Finally, this book is all about impact. What is impactful content to you?

Impactful content is content that “sells without selling.” No one wants to be sold. However, buyers need to buy a solution. Buyers spend considerable time educating themselves. Impactful content informs the buyer throughout their journey.

When the buyer is ready to buy, if your content was helpful, the buyer has a favorable perception of your brand and the chance of being considered is much higher than alternative offerings whose brand only became familiar to the buyer through advertising.

About the author

Bernie Borges is VP, Global Content Marketing at iQor, a leading BPO. He’s co-founder and Advisory Board member at Vengreso. He is the host of the Midlife Fulfilled podcast. Bernie’s career spans three decades in B2B marketing roles and sales roles in tech. He founded and led the digital marketing agency Find and Convert, which after 15 years merged into Vengreso in 2017. He speaks at marketing industry events and is the author of Marketing 2.0.

Bernie Borges

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