Since our coming out party at Hubspot’s INBOUND in November, we’re ecstatic to see the nDash content community growing so rapidly. We’re especially excited that we’re attracting writing talent, such as Rodika Tollefson, to our platform. Read on to learn more about this cybersecurity writer’s expertise!
nDash: If you could only write about one topic for the rest of your freelancing life, what would it be? And why?
Rodika Tollefson: Cybersecurity. I’ve been writing on this topic for the past three years, and I am constantly learning new things. This emerging field is fascinating to me, and I love learning about new technology and techniques that the industry creates as it fights back against bad actors. The average consumer knows little about the risks, and many organizations struggle to wrap their heads around the problem. So I find that writing about the threats and trends is not only timely but also very important. I’ve even been taking online classes about cybersecurity to get a deeper understanding of the technical aspects.
Q: What’s the most rewarding part about being a freelance writer? The most challenging?
A: It’s been rewarding to help many businesses tell their stories and reach out to their audiences with content that has an impact. I find it a privilege when a client entrusts me with creating the right message. This can also be the most challenging part because there’s no formula. What gets me especially excited is a project that requires me to combine my creative side with strategic and analytical thinking.
Q: What do your most successful clients all have in common?
A: They trust their creative team to make the right decisions based on the client’s vision and goals. Content creation is a collaborative process with the client, but as professionals, we have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t. The client’s success is built upon having the right teams in various roles — and then enabling those teams to shine.
Q: What made you decide to become a freelance writer?
A: I’ve had a passion for writing since I was in high school, but I didn’t consider writing as a career option until years later. When I realized I could get paid for doing something I loved to do, the light bulb came on. My first full-time job on this new path was as a reporter in the newsroom of a weekly newspaper. I quickly realized that constantly chasing stories and deadlines didn’t mesh well with raising young children, and freelancing seemed like a good idea. Fifteen years later, I still can’t see myself going back to “punching the clock.”
Q: What’s the biggest mistake you see brands making with their content?
A: Not understanding how content creation is different from traditional marketing. There’s a time and a place for a hard-sell call to action, but adding it to the end of every single blog post drives away the audience instead of building it. It’s also disappointing, as a reader, to see superfluous content that rehashes the same ideas and lacks depth or it speaks to the wrong audience. I try hard to steer my clients away from these kinds of mistakes. I love Velocity Partners’ SlideShare deck about the content-marketing deluge — it says it all.
Q: What marketing trends should brands be keeping an eye on in 2017?
A: Native advertising. When I started in journalism more than 15 years ago, this kind of comingling of editorial and marketing was highly frowned upon. As the media industry has evolved and adapted to the realities of digital disruption, it’s embracing new revenue models such as native ads. I think many brands are yet to understand how to take advantage of this. Native advertising is an incredible opportunity for brand storytelling, but it must be done right.
- Favorite marketing buzzword? Storytelling. An ages-old concept that is highly relevant today.
- Watched any terrible movies lately? Bridget Jones’s Baby. My jaw still hurts from cringing.
- The world record you are most likely to break is _? Juggling the highest number of headlines/projects/priorities in a week before my family mistakes me for a house guest.
- Are you cool with the Oxford comma? Only if I must.
- What is a reasonable punishment for people who double-space after a sentence? Virtual death stare. Banishment to the spam folder for repeat offenders.