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Dotdash Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by
| Rachel Marcelle is a Full Desk Recruiter and Career Blogger whose passion is helping others to reach their goals.

Question 1 of 30

Proper planning enables a marketing team to publish well-thought out, well-timed content. If leading a content initiative at Dotdash, how would you suggest planning for it?

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Dotdash Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Proper planning enables a marketing team to publish well-thought out, well-timed content. If leading a content initiative at Dotdash, how would you suggest planning for it?

      You can answer this question by providing a suggestion from your past planning experience from an initiative that went well, or you can give a more data and process-focused response. Whichever you choose, be detailed enough to show that your know-how enables you to lead a content marketing plan.

      Rachel's Answer

      "With previous content marketing campaigns, I have always started by briefly analyzing campaign goals and the buyer persona. So, I would suggest beginning here by deciding on content structure, then make decisions on publishing platforms and sequence. To stay organized while putting together and carrying out the plan, using a robust scheduling tool is imperative. Once we have the foundation of the plan in place, we'll come up with names, subjects, formats and assign someone on the team to each piece of content. We'll also decide when the pieces will be published and decide how we'll regroup to review their performance."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I would suggest planning a content strategy around various kinds of important data. This approach can mean researching to find opportunities across the internet based on commonly searched keywords and finding ones for which you could easily rank. You may determine that certain keywords can be ranked for by posting a blog of X amount of words, a video, or that there are specific platforms where you can place content to meet the demand of the searched topic. There is also data that can be used from internal or external sources to help you decide on the content format, best times of day to post, etc. With all of this information, you can compose a great plan, then use an editorial calendar, automation, and scheduling tools to roll it out smoothly."

  2. 2.

    How do you transition between the creative and analytical sides of online media and content publishing?

      Wearing multiple hats is the name of the game when it comes to media and online content publishing. One moment you could be discussing the analytics of a past publication where the next you could be giving your opinion on the layout of a new online article. It's essential that you show the interviewer your ability to be flexible on the job by pivoting tasks regularly. If possible, give an example of a time when you were able to flip between creative and analytical.

      Rachel's Answer

      "I believe that I transition quite well between the creative and analytical. Generally speaking, I am more of a creative minded individual; however, my experience in business has allowed me to see the data and analytics behind a successful publication. So, in addition to my creative approach, I also ask myself or my team how our decisions will impact the company's bottom line. If hired, I will deliver a nice balance between analytical thinking and creative mindedness."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My educational background is in business, with a focus on accounting and financial management. This coursework means that I am naturally inclined to look at data such as numbers, results, spend, account activity, and ROI. With that said, I spend my spare time in creative writing, dabbling in design, and other activities that relax and entertain me. I believe that I will pivot well between the creative and analytical sides of publishing because of this variety in knowledge and interests."

  3. 3.

    In your opinion, what is the difference between marketing and advertising?

      There are terms in the publishing industry that are similar; however, the interviewer wants assurance that you fully understand the semantics. Briefly discuss what you believe to be the most significant difference between marketing and advertising.

      Rachel's Answer

      "To me, the most significant difference between marketing and advertising is that advertising is simply one component of an entire marketing plan. The term marketing encompasses topics such as public relations, distributions, sales, market research, and more."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Marketing refers to an entire plan when it comes to approach and distribution. Advertising is simply one facet of a marketing plan."

  4. 4.

    What do you think about Dotdash's websites? Do you think they are responsive websites?

      Dotdash wants to make sure all its online efforts ultimately lead the customers to their websites to explore their brands. The interviewer wants to hear your insights on how to improve the website engagement to increase the # of visitors making purchases or viewing their ads.

      Check out Dotdash's websites and test a few things such as finding information about the products, buying the product, asking questions to the support team, etc. In your response, include things they've done well and things they could improve to make the sites more behavior-driven.

      Also, include any recommendations you may have to make impactful yet straightforward improvements such as simplifying the URLs, page titles, adding search words, etc.

      Rachel's Answer

      "Oh absolutely - it was clear that your websites are designed to be responsive. Visually, the first impressions were very appealing and inviting. Your sites, although containing a lot of content, feel uncluttered. Also, the tabs are intuitive. I think what might bring some of your sites to the next level is if you ask the visitors a couple questions about their needs and preferences to show a customized/personalized page of most suitable articles they should explore first."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I noticed that when I searched certain terms such as career tips, home decorating, and recipes, Dotdash-owned websites were not always on the top of the list. There may be an opportunity to leverage more impactful keywords. Also, having simple URLs helps bring return customers and visitors. It's easier to share with their friends too so I'd suggest simplifying some of the URLs to be more intuitive."

  5. 5.

    What methods do you use, to work within a brand's voice consistently?

      When working on digital content, you will be asked to remain in line with your employers brand(s). The interviewer would like to know how you ensure that you maintain a brand's voice, consistently delivering it across multiple platforms or channels. Discuss your best methods for preserving the brand voice, and be sure to express that you understand the importance of this skill.

      Rachel's Answer

      "One tool that my current employer uses, and I find to be very helpful, is our internal Style Guide. This style guide is a tool for writers, producers, and creatives of all kinds, to refer to when they are unsure if their idea is on-track with the company's brand. Another method that I refer to often is to first storyboard the 'voice' that I want before beginning a project. I can create a clear narrative around the marketing effort very early on in the project."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I fully understand how critical it is to work within a brand's voice consistently throughout a project. One method that I enjoy using is to create a guide that outlines the jargon or colloquialisms that are acceptable to use in the campaign. Somewhat like a style guide, but easier to refer back to. I also feel it's important to make the voice of a brand a company-wide initiative so that co-workers can check in with each other to ensure all work is consistent and the best it can be."

  6. 6.

    Of all the media solutions we provide at Dotdash, which do you know the best?

      It is imperative to research Dotdash before you go in for your interview. Be sure to look carefully through the 'Our Brands' section on their website as well as anything to do with their recent projects.

      Dotdash used to be About.com before rebranding in 2017. They publish:

      - The Balance family of brands
      - VeryWell family of brands
      - The Spruce family of brands
      - Investopedia
      - Lifewire
      - Byrdie
      - Brides
      - TripSavvy
      - MyDomaine
      - ThoughtCo.

      Discuss which of these brands you are most familiar and how your skills will make an impact.

      Rachel's Answer

      "I researched Dotdash a lot before coming here today and see that you had a very successful rebrand from About.com in 2017. It's a challenge to rebrand in this digital age, and the company did it flawlessly. Because of my previous achievements in content marketing, I feel that I could make an impact with your forward-thinking organization right away."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I would say that, without a doubt, I am most familiar with The Balance family of brands, including 'The Balance Careers' and 'The Balance Everyday.' The branding elements of this family of brands are distinct and entertaining. Because visual design is my most substantial area of expertise when it comes to media solutions, I am sure that my work will be a significant asset to Dotdash."

  7. 7.

    Reporting and analytics are crucial for Dotdash to monitor and gauge results and demonstrate ROI across all brands. What is an example of an ROI report you've created and how the data from it helped you to plan the next steps of your marketing approach?

      Here, the interviewer wants to make sure that you understand the importance of measuring and delivering results for their brands. Express to the interviewer how you've been responsible for monitoring and reporting on activities and outcomes. They also want to see if you are an analytical thinker, how you react to data, and with what kind of data you're most familiar.

      You can answer by providing an example of a report you've created to track and show marketing activities and critical results. You may choose to tell them about reporting on a campaign that was successful or not and explain adjustments you made for increased success.

      Rachel's Answer

      "One of my employers' goals was to increase the number of purchases completed through their website. They had no clear direction on how to do it. I added a sophisticated analytics tool to the back end of their website to see where traffic on their website was originating from, and to analyze the behavior of customers from the different sources. After compiling the data for a set time, I put it into a simple format to allow us to see two metrics: Traffic Sources and Completed Sales. This report helped us to realize that most visitors that made purchases came from one social media site, so we decided to increase the budget for paid advertising there to reach more potential customers."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I'm usually working with several clients who are on similar programs at the same time. The repetition in these programs allows me to suggest the most useful KPIs that they'll want to see weekly. For these clients, I find it efficient to pull high-level reports from our system that include website and blog traffic, click-thru rates, and other data to compare week-over-week results. We have quick calls with them to review every Friday and dig further into the data, narrow down the cause of fluctuations of any activity and if needed, adjust our course of action."

  8. 8.

    Name for me some of the publications we have in circulation. Which do you read most often?

      The interviewer wants to be sure that you have done your homework on their brands. Most major media publications offer multiple sub-publications geared towards niche markets. Discuss which Dotdash brands you are best versed in and why. Be sure to support your interests.

      Dotdash owns:

      - The Balance family of brands
      - VeryWell family of brands
      - The Spruce family of brands
      - Investopedia
      - Lifewire
      - Byrdie
      - Brides
      - TripSavvy
      - MyDomaine
      - ThoughtCo.

      Rachel's Answer

      "From what I understand, Dotdash has multiple brands. One is your primary brand, The Balance, with the others being more targeted towards lifestyle, travel, weddings, and more. The content which I read most often is from 'The Balance Small Business.' I like to be informed and well-rounded on multiple subjects related to business and entrepreneurship."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The VeryWell family of brands, created by Dotdash is hands down the one I read the most. As an avid health and wellness enthusiast, I appreciate the effort that goes into your unique articles."

  9. 9.

    Dotdash believes that results should be measured to determine the success of marketing efforts. What are some key performance metrics you look at to decide whether marketing efforts have fallen short of, met, or exceeded expectations?

      The interviewer wants to know about your knowledge of common key performance indicators across the marketing industry and how they should be understood regarding a successful or unsuccessful marketing campaign. Answer by listing the critical performance metrics tracked during marketing campaigns.

      Avoid specific metric numbers from your current or last position. Be general by naming the metric rather than providing numbers which may be confidential, or more information than what the interviewer needs.

      Rachel's Answer

      "Typical KPIs that should be measured to show whether a campaign has been successful or not are the value of spend, lead counts and source quality, the value of sales before, after and during the campaign, profit, and return on investment."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "KPIs can vary based on campaigns. If your main focus is to grow an audience, for example, it's important to look at growth in numbers of followers, engagements on social media and blog posts, referrals, and new email list subscribers."

  10. 10.

    Tell me about your experience using hashtags to increase the visibility of your social media content.

      You can answer with working knowledge of how hashtags allow posts to be found across platforms or give examples of specific experiences you've had with using them to ensure content visibility. Avoid suggesting any hashtag practices that are spammy to show how you can be effective in using them market content while remaining professional.

      Rachel's Answer

      "Hashtag campaigns are a great way to promote content in connection with a brand, an industry, and an audience. It allows content discovery by people who are interested in a particular subject - and when you're limited on space or can't use a lot of text to introduce your content, a hashtag acts as a shortcut to providing an overview. I've had great luck with using hashtags to attract new potential customers who were interested in the specific service I was marketing. They searched for the topic specifically covered by my content and may not have found it without the hashtag. Lastly, because hashtags let you boost content visibility for free, I believe they're a necessary part of any content marketing strategy."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I've seen hashtags help with content visibility because by studying them, I can stay on top of what people are interested in at the moment. Following hashtag trends, I ensure that content is going to be interesting to the audience. This relevance factor also ensures that it will be seen. A second way that hashtags help with promoting content is that they offer a non-costly method to direct the audience to it and encourage engagement. As an example, you can create a specific hashtag to spark conversation around a piece of content within a specific time frame and schedule a structured chat. All of these possibilities are completely free and generate a buzz around content that other methods have yet to achieve."

  11. 11.

    What are the benefits of customer journey mapping? Which part of their journey is the most critical?

      Many organizations will utilize a customer journey map to represent their customers' process visually, and to understand their needs, pain points, and motivation better. The interviewer wants to see that you know the importance of understanding your customers' experience from start to finish. Discuss what you believe to be the most critical part of the customer journey and why.

      Rachel's Answer

      "My current company has familiarized me with customer journey mapping as they feel it's an incredibly practical approach to understanding our clients, their entire process from beginning to end, their biggest pain points, and then what we can do to alleviate those needs. I have been part of a team that breaks down customer surveys and uses those pieces of information to fill in the gaps of what is missing when it comes to product features and our service benefits. I believe the most critical part of the journey is right before the decision stage, where a customer is considering, and comparing alternatives. When a company can exceed expectations at this stage, its nearly guaranteed to make the sale."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have a lot of experience with mapping the customer journey and believe that the greatest benefit of this visual process is that it allows a company to see a clients' journey from end to end, reliving the customer experience. I once worked with a restaurant franchise who wanted to gain opportunities to put a smile on the faces of their guests. I helped them by mapping out the critical stages their customers went through, including awareness, consideration, decision, use, and then loyalty and advocacy. I believed loyalty and advocacy to be the most vital stage because, if you can gain a loyal customer, you are earning many more customers from referrals, while also keeping the customer you initially worked so hard to acquire."

  12. 12.

    How do you go about fact checking, and researching sources?

      In publishing, no matter which genre or medium you're involved in, it's essential that you check for facts before hitting that proverbial publish button. Now, more than ever, a company can receive significant backlash from posting or publishing anything misleading or untrue. Discuss the steps that you take to verify facts and sources for all content.

      Rachel's Answer

      "At this point in my publishing career it's much easier for me to weed out an unreliable source versus a reputable one. When I first began my career; however, I trusted that many sources were credible, not accounting for the fact that there is so much fake news out there. Now, I triple check against our library of content and online. Before any piece of content goes out, I will send it to our professional editor for a final once-over."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I will dig deeper into any sources, quotes, statistics, and do my best to find where they originated. If I cannot find the original source, I simply will not use the source."

  13. 13.

    Have you ever managed or helped with a content budget? If so, what type of budgets are you accustomed to working with?

      Before your interview, take some time to gather data related to the budgets you have worked with, and the times when you have come in under budget. This way, you will be prepared with specifics when asked about your budgetary experience.

      The interviewer wants to see that you have great insight when it comes to being budget conscious. Appropriate planning is one of the keys to a successful project, so be sure to discuss the steps that you take to plan a project's dollar spend carefully.

      Every dollar counts, even if you are working for a large company like Dotdash! If you do not have experience in budget management, refer to the fact that you are responsible and resourceful.

      Rachel's Answer

      "Most of the budgets that I have worked within spread amongst a variety of digital production and creative costs. I have worked on budgets as small as $5,000 and as large as $15M. No matter the size of the budget, it's incredibly important that I treat every dollar as though it's my own; being wisely allocated and accounted for."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Although my experience does not yet include budget management, I have made recommendations on cost savings when it comes to content writing, video production, and talent acquisition. I feel that with the right training, and some more work experience, I will be ready to assist with content budgeting in no time."

  14. 14.

    How can a content marketing funnel lead prospects to become paying customers?

      To answer this question, you can touch on all points of the funnel and explain how they drive the conversion. Do so in a concise manner. You can also answer and limit your talking points to a few commonly-known pivotal moments of content campaigns that turn leads into sales.

      Avoid spending time on what marketing funnels are and how to plan them. It might be tempting to do so while answering this question, but you should focus on the real purpose of the question, which is to highlight how specifically they lead to sales.

      Rachel's Answer

      "A content marketing funnel can turn a prospect into a paying customer by building trust. This trust factor can happen when the customer recognizes that they have a problem and turns to the internet for a solution, as most people do nowadays. A well-planned funnel will allow the company to grab the customer's attention during this discovery phase by giving them information on how to diagnose and resolve their problem. Ideally, this is done through several pieces of content the company has published, creating the perception of the company as an expert resource. Once the customer has this perception, trust develops, and they are more open to being led to allowing the company to resolve their problem with their service."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "A content marketing funnel leads prospects into sales because it ensures content is created with intentionality and strategically placed for consumption by the prospect at the right place and time. By using data to ensure that content engages potential customers appropriately when they're most likely to buy, you increase the probability that they will choose to buy from you. Without the funnel in place, you may be creating great content that doesn't lead the customer down a path to take any specific action, and it can defeat the purpose of using content in your marketing strategy."

  15. 15.

    Walk me through your editing experience. How would you rate your editing skills from 1-10?

      Even if your primary role with Dotdash is not officially as an editor, the interviewer will want to see that you have a solid basis when it comes to language, context, tone, grammar, spelling, and more. Emphasize your solid command of the language, and your ability to pay attention to the small details. Discuss the types of editing jobs you have taken on in the past.

      Rachel's Answer

      "I have helped to edit documents large, and small, including whitepapers, web copy, and sales contracts. I am confident in my language, spelling, and grammar skills. It's rare that a mistake will get past me, as I pay strong attention to the small details."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Although I have not formally edited a document of significance, I do always make a habit of double checking my emails and other internal or external communication. I have used editing programs such as Grammarly in the past, for assignments and papers while attending university."

  16. 16.

    A large part of creating content is in the creative process, but what strategic elements need to be considered for content creation to be highly effective?

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  17. 17.

    How do you think good synergy with an SEO specialist can be beneficial to a content strategist?

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  18. 18.

    Market research is essential to Dotdash to help us understand where to take our business in the years to come. Rate your research skills from 1-10. Do you enjoy conducting research?

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  19. 19.

    The online publishing and media industry has many tight deadlines. How do you manage your time, ensuring that your deadlines are met?

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  20. 20.

    Do you believe paid social campaigns are useful, and if so, why?

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  21. 21.

    What expertise do you bring in digital KPIs and analytics?

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  22. 22.

    What does the term 'people-powered data' mean to you?

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  23. 23.

    Name some solutions for customer experience optimization.

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  24. 24.

    Tell me about your experience in content marketing and why you feel a successful content marketing strategy is vital to an overall digital strategy?

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  25. 25.

    What drew you to our publication?

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  26. 26.

    Describe to me the types of digital media you are most experienced with.

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  27. 27.

    The customer avatar is key to building the right audiences for Dotdash's clients. How do you collect data needed to create an ideal customer profile, then determine the strategy for targeting prospective customers that are a match?

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  28. 28.

    With which publishing categories are you most familiar? How will this knowledge help you in this position with Dotdash?

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  29. 29.

    If you could pitch me one idea for a book, article, or editorial, what would it be?

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  30. 30.

    In your opinion, what is the most influential form of media today?

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