Content Crafters is an interview series where we de-construct the tools, tips, and tactics that top bloggers use to get so much work done. you’ll walk away in mere minutes with actionable takeaways you can try out right away. Let’s dive in!

Eric Goldschein is an editor and writer at Fundera, a marketplace for small business financial solutions such as small business loans. He covers entrepreneurship, small business trends, finance, and marketing.

He’s also a freelance writer and editor, typically covering topics like travel and culture in this work.

In his day job, he creates content that is SEO-friendly and covers content partnerships for Fundera as well as writes about entrepreneurship, small business trends, digital marketing, and finance.

He has a bachelor’s degree in History and English Writing  (with a concentration on creative nonfiction) from the University of Pittsburgh.

Eric’s past roles include being the managing editor at SportsGrid.com, acting as head writer at Cutler Group PR, and being a copy editor and reporter at Brooklyn Daily Edge. He also written for Business Insider.

You can find Eric  on his website or on Twitter at @ericgoldschein.

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How did you get into content marketing? What’s your origin story?

I started my writing career on the digital media side of things, writing for places like Business Insider.

After a few years of that, I began taking on the occasional content marketing side gig—writing blog posts and email newsletter copy for small businesses. At that time, I was living in Atlanta, where the cost of living was so cheap that I decided I could go full-time freelance with these gigs.

At first, I thought my content marketing jobs would serve as my side hustle while I waited for my magazine writing and travel writing career to blossom. Turns out, getting published in GQ is a lot harder than contributing blog posts to small business blogs and writing case studies. Soon content marketing took up most of my working hours.

When I decided to look for a full-time position, I got hired by Fundera (where I’d previously freelanced for over a year) as a staff writer for the marketing team. It was then I realized that I’d built up quite a bit of content marketing experience and was, in fact, a content marketer. It happened organically and slowly, but here I am.

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Is there anything particular to your background, personality or skill set that you believe makes you a great content marketer?

I’ve been a writer my entire life. It’s been my one consistent hobby from childhood up until now. I studied history and English writing in college—which, while I jokingly call them “useless liberal arts degrees” whenever anyone asks what I majored in, taught me how to write clearly, research diligently, and read critically.

I don’t know if you can call this a skillset, but one of the skills I’ve developed over the last few years is the ability to turn out a lot of copy, quickly, with few errors.

That sounds obvious but I’ve come to realize it’s harder than it sounds.

I was doing the digital nomad thing for awhile, and I’d have to finish an article or case study while waiting for a bus in Laos or Mexico, before I lost the WiFi connection. I needed to be confident in what I was about to turn in—because my editor/point of contact might not be able to reach me for a few days after. I essentially became my own copy editor.

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Those bus station blog posts didn’t feel glamorous at the time, but looking back I see they taught me how to write well under duress.

What’s a unique challenge to working on content in the finance space?

The finance field is very numbers heavy, and those numbers change all the time. Interest rates go up and down, or contrast with APR or factor rate, etc. And you can’t afford to misplace a decimal point, or use one term when you meant to use another.

This is information that business owners rely on, and to get it wrong means wasting their time and perhaps costing them money. That’s a lot of responsibility, and it requires diligence and patience as you double-check your work.

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If you had to explain to someone outside of the content space, what would you say is the more rewarding or enjoyable aspect of your job in content marketing & editing? 

I would say I find two aspects of my job very rewarding.

One is that I am constantly learning about new fields, tools, and trends. A big part of my job is just reading and researching and so I know way more about things like crowdfunding, supply chain management, and payment gateways than I ever thought I would.

Secondly, I get to write for a living. I’m a huge believer in the idea that practice makes perfect, and my daily routine of having to take concepts like, say, supply chain management and make them readable and interesting to other people is a part of my long-term goal of becoming a better writer.

What skills do you believe are the most underrated for content marketers? Are there any ways you know to learn or improve those skills?

Interviewing.

Good interviewing is a hugely useful skill for any writer, and anyone who has to do it often can tell you it’s not as easy as just asking questions. You need to know what you don’t know, and then you need to figure out how to draw that information out from a source without wasting their time and yours.

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Every time I interview a knowledgeable source for an article, the article I’m writing gains nuance and depth that you can’t get from just rewriting other people’s work on the subject. Using platforms like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is huge, and interviewing people you link with on there is a great way to make connections as well as add useful content to what you write.

The way to get better is to do it a lot, and to study the work of great interviewers like Terry Gross and Nardwuar.

Quality vs. quantity in content marketing? What’s your take?

I think the obvious answer is that you need both.

In a perfect world, you’d write a lot of really good and really long articles that appeal to readers and to Google.

If you’re picking one, the answer is quality.

I emphasize the “content” part of “content marketing” in my role, and think that if an article is SEO driven rather than editorially driven, readers can tell, and will click away. I’d much rather be known as the writer who creates interesting articles that lead to great time on site than the writer who churns out reams of optimized copy.

Eventually, I think, A.I. will be able to do the latter. The former is a very human skill.

Are there any tactics in content marketing you believe are overplayed or getting stale?

I think the shine is coming off of influencer marketing a little bit.

Brands and businesses are realizing you can’t just throw money at an “influencer” (a term that is becoming more nebulous by the day, now that anyone with more than a few thousand followers is apparently an influencer) and get access to, and the adoration of, their audience.

It’s one thing to team up with someone and create a series or thoughtful collection of content that speaks to that person’s readership or viewership, but too often companies are treating these influencers like cheaper, one-person advertising firms.

We’re going to lose people’s trust if we keep trying to appeal to them that way.

Conversely, what new tactics or plays are underutilized or surprisingly effective?

I think taking the time to create and utilize buyer personas is smart, and though I see a lot of content out there on how to do it, I rarely see or hear about companies engaging in the practice.

Doing this helps you think critically about who your audience is and why they might pay attention to you.

That information is also something you can share around your company, including sales and operations.

If you weren’t doing content marketing, what would you be doing?

Realistically I’d still be on the digital media side of things, trying to figure out whether journalism is still a viable career path.

Either that or I’d open a combination bike shop-cafe-BBQ place. New York has plenty of the first two things, but our BBQ scene is awful and maybe I can help change that.

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What inspires you? Who do you follow? How do you come up with new ideas for blog posts, campaigns, tactics, etc.?

There are a few newsletters which synthesize the news and trends in a way that I appreciate: Morning Brew is great for a read of the market; Next Draft is a great all-purpose newsletter.

Both are excellent examples of how to write good, engaging newsletters.

And Seth Godin’s daily update is a fun bit of creativity that helps me think about writing, marketing, business, and sometimes life differently.

I also want to shout out Yuval Rechter and First Media on LinkedIn for their videos. Yuval is a thoughtful content creator and sharer on a platform that is seeing a surge in content marketing and brand building. I watch First Media’s videos religiously and think they do an amazing job.

In terms of new ideas for posts and tactics, I may be biased, but the team I work with at Fundera is immensely helpful.

Our SEO team clues me into what terms and topics would gain the most traction in search, and our content team puts out so much content on so many topics, I’m always using them as a resource and as inspiration. I learned about small business finance and most everything else that I write about by reading the Ledger.

Gimme three tips to improve my writing? Or rather, three tips anyone can use to write better. 

1. Write all the time

Sorry for the obvious tip, but it’s true. Like I said above, I think I got “good” (good enough that I was hired to do it and Wordable is interviewing me about it) at this kind of writing because I wrote hundreds of blog posts and email newsletters and case studies over the years. With writing, you need to take the stairs, not the escalator.

2. Impose deadlines on yourself

Setting limitations on yourself—especially in terms of time—helps you focus and get creative. If I only have a few hours to finish something, I work a lot harder and more diligently on it than if I have a week. It also gives me extra time to proofread, edit, and make structural changes if I need to before the piece is due.

3. Use AI-powered tools like Grammarly and Hemingway

I run almost every article I write now through Grammarly and the Hemingway app—the former for spelling and grammar fixes, the latter for identifying extraneous adverbs, unnecessary language, and passive voice. Eventually you’ll get better at catching these things yourself, but it’s always useful to have an extra set of eyes on your writing, even if they’re not really eyes.

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