Content Q&A: Dana Oshiro on the Value of Expertise and Influence [INTERVIEW]

This post is part of the Content Q&A Series, featuring interviews with top content strategists and bloggers about their work and insights about the industry.

Publishers and startups alike often adopt a “build it and they will come” mentality, relying on a quality product to float both user numbers and revenue, but Dana Oshiro has found that audience engagement comes from deliberate content and distribution efforts.

She’s worked with startups on user acquisition and public relations, covered the technology realm for ReadWriteWebMashable and The New York Times.

She is now senior manager of media analysis at NetShelter in San Francisco, offering engagement and social media insights to 4,500 technology bloggers and 200 sites including MacRumors, Phandroid and 9to5Mac.

The Content Strategist spoke with Oshiro about how content creators can stay relevant in the changing industry and what types of content tend to float to the top.

The Content Strategist: Tell us a little about Netshelter and your role there.

Oshiro: We’ve got an audience of 150 million unique visitors and we work with brands to help publishers monetize their existing earned media through the inPowered data platform.

My job is to help publishers define their audiences and increase social media engagement.

TCS: How does NetShelter apply content marketing?

Oshiro: Content marketing refers to the creation of content in order to attract customers. We approach content marketing in a slightly different way than most organizations.

Our publishers maintain their editorial integrity by writing what they like and brands then pay to distribute brand-related stories as weighed by our data platform. This is what we called the “inPowered approach.”

By tracking millions of technology articles and weighing them across 30+ different social signals, we can surface the top emerging topics, writers and brands in real-time. Some folks might call this earned media advertising or word of mouth advertising.

TCS: What traits make a great content creator?

Oshiro: In addition to fact checking and understanding the 5 key tenets of newsworthiness, great writers respect their audiences and want to give them something useful, entertaining and new.

A misanthrope might be a decent investigative writer, but if the delivery is disrespectful to the audience, then the message is often lost.

TCS: How can we make our content competitive in the crowded landscape?

Oshiro: The reason why content farms have thrived is because they’re gaming search engines and creating a glut of link farms and low quality content. Essentially they’re tricking search audiences into visiting them.

Truly useful content still lies with individual experts. My belief is that content will be less about driving eyeballs and more about surfacing individual experts who’ve been qualified by topic-relevant referrers.

TCS: Any industry pet peeves?

Oshiro: Being a prolific social media user is silly unless you’ve got something to say. Real influence relies on expertise.

The best writers have an area of expertise and provide a service to their readers. This service is rewarded by audience feedback and meaningful conversations.

Image by Flickr
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