All in the Family

Content Marketing by the McGraths

"And my granddaughter Stephanie is ... um ... a financier" is the infamous line spoken by my grandfather at my younger sister's wedding.

He, like some other members of my family, had no clue what I did so just kind of randomly guessed. (I am, most definitely, not a financier - ask my bank account.)

Meanwhile, the lore of our family continued to grow. Stories of being lost at sea, canoe trips in the wilderness gone horribly wrong, dogs rescued from ice, chickens dressed in doll clothes and dogs rescued against their will continued to pile up.

Along with the stories came personal essays. Passionate perspectives on politics, entrepreneurship, autism, travel and theatre were discussed and debated on the most epic email threads your email account has ever seen. 

Being in the business of helping others get to the heart of their story and then tell it online in meaningful ways, it seemed to me as though the time had come to bring my content strategy and content marketing skill set to the hearth of our home.

A Blog by My Brother

First up? A blog for my brother - Since his arrival in our family at the age of six, my brother's open-hearted appreciated for pretty much anything and everything has spawned a plethora of family anecdotes that get pulled out at every BBQ and Christmas dinner. His unique point of view, told through a filter of autism and puns, are important to share. As the instances of autism climb and the need to understand how to integrate - not segregate - become more pressing, I do think his perspective can help others understand how valuable a different voice in the world can be. 

Patrick and I apply the same discipline to storytelling and content marketing as any of my paying clients. Together, we discuss upcoming events, holidays, activities or anniversaries that relate to his passions. We talk about the focus of each piece and then, when it's done, I work with him to edit and select imagery. Some light research on social channels and other blogs has helped inform me about the hashtags and keywords that we can apply to the blog and to tweets and posts we use to promote each new update. Eventually, we will invest some modest paid dollars into promoted tweets to test those waters. 

"With autism also comes challenges," wrote my brother in a post he penned in honour of Autism Awareness Month. "One is fixations and obsessions.  Fixations are things where someone autistic focuses on one thing for a long time and thinks and talks about that one thing so much it drives other people trying to understand autism up the wall."

Our family made up Patrick's initial blog audience, but his fans are growing. Friends of the family, friends of those friends, co-workers of those friends, someone who knows someone who has a child with autism, the hotel staff where he stayed in New York - those are all his readers now. Our hope is to grow his reach and, in a perfect world, find sponsorship - just enough so he can go on the occasional weekend getaway (travel is, after all, his favourite thing).

Deep Thoughts from My Dad

My father, Edward McGrath, is a lawyer and entrepreneur. This means he's an innovator. Comments on one of his recent articles indicated some people think entrepreneurs and innovators are two separate things. They are not. Because he owns his own business, he needs to strive to stay up-to-date on his industry, the industries that impact his business and the ways his clients want to do business, so he can meet their needs. 

Dad, after a feast of fried clams to celebrate the success of a recent LinkedIn post.

Dad, after a feast of fried clams to celebrate the success of a recent LinkedIn post.

It's no secret that corporate Canada is struggling to keep up with the changes our world is facing. He is passionate about sharing his perspective on what must be done to facilitate change and lead - not follow.  Not everyone likes what he has to say, but then again ... some people think Uber can be defeated by disgruntled taxi companies (it can't) or that AirBnB can be collapsed by insurance fears (it can't). Remember when record companies thought they could defeat the Napster-ism of music? (They couldn't.) Now financial institutions and telecoms must sit up, take notice and change, along with governments and antiquated policies and regulations. 

"Canadian innovation is under attack, especially in the digital service industry," he wrote in a LinkedIn post. "We need leadership. Someone we can look up to, emulate, even venerate. Someone to provide inspiration. We lack a champion, a guiding light to set the course."

The strategy we're using for his content is to focus on topics that relate to business stories in the news as they relate to digital entrepreneurship/innovation (which again, is the same thing). It's about aligning his expertise and passion with the things people in his world care about today. The channel we focus on for his content is LinkedIn, as that's where his peers are. We also promote new posts via Twitter. 

We're only at the very beginning of our work together on this front, but he's already got traction, earning 500+ views on a recent LinkedIn post in just two days. That's a huge increase from his (still successful) first post - Real Estate Law and the Age of Digital Disruption.

Princess of the Internet

The author, her father and her uncle talk shop while waiting for fried clams and lobster rolls in New Brunswick.

The author, her father and her uncle talk shop while waiting for fried clams and lobster rolls in New Brunswick.

Guess what? This blog is my own attempt at content marketing. Maybe it's not shocking that I do the worst job for myself. My own blog and supporting social channels are usually the last things I get to after client and family work is done. My strategy for this blog is to help clarify the practice of content marketing and content strategy by sharing my thoughts, real anecdotes and general foolishness. Additionally, I use it as a platform to dive into other topics that are interesting to me, mostly around pop culture. As much as possible, I attempt to link my essays and posts to current events and trending topics. I use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook ads to promote my blog. This helps me understand what posts seem to resonate most with the widest, most engaged audience. 

My goal? For Gwyneth Paltrow to give me a sweet job at her Goop farm or to just make hilarious videos for Funny or Die or ... you know ... to be viewed, generally, as someone who sort of knows what she's talking about.