WorkRamp’s Fara Rosenzweig: Only Honest Content Builds Strong Relationships

Fara Rosenzweig believes in her journalistic training—honesty, accuracy, and objectivity. Learn how that helps her marketing.

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A few years ago, MMC Ventures investigated “AI startups” in Europe. They found that 40% of businesses claiming to use AI weren’t actually using the technology. Or not in any meaningful way, at least. It’s a helpful reminder that marketers aren’t always honest. They latch onto buzzwords (blockchain, AI, machine learning, first-party) and exaggerate claims.

Less-than-truthful claims do work, says Fara Rosenzweig, long-term TV producer and Emmy recipient (more on her award shortly) turned content leader. But they don’t work for long.

Fara believes in her journalistic training—honesty, accuracy, and objectivity. Tell true stories in an unbiased way and readers will trust you. Try to hoodwink them and they’ll call you out.

I caught up with Fara, who currently leads content marketing at WorkRamp, to discuss the evolution of B2B marketing and whether dishonest competitors keep her up at night.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Your LinkedIn tagline says “Emmy Recipient.” Can we hear the story?

Early on in my career, I worked for a television network producing 30-minute documentary-style TV shows. This is where I developed an eye for unique stories. I moved on to work for a production company where we had the opportunity to share one athlete's story.

We submitted the story and, lo and behold, we received an Emmy.

It was the late 1990s or early 2000s. He was on the 4 × 100 meters relay team and a couple of his team members tested positive for doping. It was a story about what happens to the clean individuals, the ones not using performance-enhancing drugs.

We submitted the story and, lo and behold, we received an Emmy. It was an incredible learning experience. It taught me that everyone has a story. What matters is how you bring that story to life and make it relatable.

You can’t leave it there. What happened to the clean athletes?

Unfortunately, if you're the clean one, you lose your medal, too. You lose your sponsorship deals. Your name is tarnished along with athletes who decided to use enhancing drugs. It really sucks for the people who are working hard and doing the right things. 

For the most part, there's not a whole lot of money in the sport—or there wasn’t back then, at least. The honest athletes lost a lot of money and sponsorships.

They had to figure out how to provide for their family and kids while still focusing on training, which is a full-time job. It was ‘guilt by association.’ It wasn’t fair to punish the honest athletes. They were pissed.

Finding and telling those stories on TV is a dream for some people. How did the world of marketing tempt you away?

When I started work, digital wasn’t a thing. I didn’t know anything about this stuff, but I could see the trends as it began to emerge. Oh, content is a thing. People are using social media to produce content.

B2B used to be stagnant and stale.

While all this was happening, I was working in network television with big cameras and tapes. I hated Los Angeles. It just didn’t feel right for me. I started thinking, “Maybe there’s a place for me in the digital world.” I went back to college to study multimedia.

After I graduated, I joined a company called Active Network to work on editorial projects. I was combining my new multimedia skills with my journalistic approach—finding sources, looking for unique angles, storytelling, and unbiased reporting.

B2B used to be stagnant and stale. There didn't seem to be a lot of character or story. It’s been incredible to see how B2B brands have started differentiating their content through narrative. They’re relying on storytelling to bring their content to life.

Does unbiased reporting survive contact with real marketing teams?

I once worked on content marketing for a medical device company. That meant I worked with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I learned very quickly that you don’t make ‘claims.’

Instead, you show the value of something through your content. Maybe that’s painting the picture through words or creating captivating video. Marketers have so much research into their audience’s pain points and content can solve those pain points without making outlandish claims.

If you put manipulative language into your content, they're gonna see through it.

When marketers make claims in their content, I see right through it. People in this day and age are savvy. They’re constantly reading content.

You also have to think about your purchaser. Is it Gen X or Millennials or Gen Z? You have to understand the psychology behind each generation. They all want trust, but younger generations see right through marketing fluff.

If you put manipulative language into your content, they're gonna see through it. If you want to build a trusting relationship, you must be honest. That's why I like taking an unbiased approach. I put the facts out there. If we know something works and we're willing to make the claim, we have to show our proof.

Are you concerned that a less honest competitor will massage the facts to make their product appear better than yours?

Competitors are going to do that. But people see through their claims. If you have a relationship with a company that tries to manipulate you and lie to you, you'll eventually get tired of it. On the other hand, if you can work with an honest company that’s not gonna feed you a bunch of BS, you’ll forge a long-term relationship.

I don't get too worried about competitors. At the end of the day, if we’re giving people really good content, they’re gonna develop a brand crush on us. They’re going to want to stick around. We can build their loyalty. Gen Z is very keen on that. If you're building content for the Millennials or Gen Zs, you should provide them with all the information upfront.

Perspectives is a weekly series interviewing the best marketing leaders. Subscribe for interviews straight to your inbox.

David is a former craft beer journalist turned writer and digital strategist. He now helps ambitious technology brands tell narrative-driven stories.

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