Are You Ready for Content Marketing in 2018? 60+ Predictions

By Joe Pulizzi

content-marketing-predictions-2018

It’s hard to believe that, after 10 years, this will be the last time I share my annual list of content marketing predictions for CMI. Not to get all sentimental or anything, but looking into the future of our industry and anticipating the content and media trends most likely to impact our businesses has always been a favorite part of the job … and it will be one of CMI’s content experiences I’ll miss the most as I retire from CMI this month.

But, as change is the only constant, it’s time to put the past aside and focus on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. And, if anyone can help lead the content marketing industry forward and prepare you for what’s to come, it’s the group of experts who contributed to our 10th annual e-book of content marketing predictions.

In 60+ Predictions on Content Marketing in 2018, some of our favorite content marketing colleagues and compatriots share their thoughts on what it takes to build an audience; how advanced technologies and newer techniques – like AI, voice-enabled search, and virtual reality – will impact the content landscape; how troubling trends like “fake news” and data breaches will add complexity to the marketing equation; and more.

As for my own predictions for the upcoming year, they are rather simple – though somewhat aspirational:

  1. Apple will buy Disney. Although I think this transaction is a few years away, I want to go on the record now. As Apple continues to invest in original content, it will discover an out-and-out acquisition makes far more sense. It will see the light and purchase what is perhaps the greatest media company on the planet.

Apple will buy Disney in a few years, says @JoePulizzi. #Predictions2018
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  1. In 2018, at least two …read more

    Source:: content marketing

Content Syndication: More Than a Traffic Boost

By Michael Schreiber

I learned content distribution, syndication, and SEO very much by accident.

Here’s the backstory: In 2005 I was firmly rooted in the world of documentaries. I worked on projects for ABC News, HBO, The New York Times and Frontline always as a freelancer. I worked on films about terrorism in Europe, Abu Ghraib, Americans preparing for the apocalypse, and more. One of the Frontline programs, however, proved to be prophetic. I didn’t know it then, but The Secret History of the Credit Card would change the course of my career.

Toward the end of my time in documentaries and TV, the work got a little weird. At one point, within the space of a month, I’d gone from producing episodes of Frontline for The New York Times to producing an episode of Wife Swap. I was getting married and needed a change. I also needed health insurance.

Eventually, I saw an opening at the financial news site TheStreet.com and, based on my experience with the credit-card documentary, I landed a job there as managing editor of MainStreet.com, a new site focused on personal finance. The MainStreet editorial team was a fun, scrappy group, which was good because we were functioning as a startup within the company. We needed traffic and we were new, so generating awareness in a crowded personal finance beat was not easy. Over the years I’ve worked in personal finance for a variety of media organizations, big and small, established and startup. Now I’ve started my own company helping businesses of all types develop editorial and content strategies that make sense. It should come as no surprise that generating awareness is just about everyone’s top goal.

One of the most important tools in creating that kind of awareness, I’ve learned over the years, is content distribution. …read more

Source:: content marketing

The Murky World of Influencer Marketing: How Non-Disclosure Can Hurt Your Brand

By Jonathan Crossfield

Ever since marketers cottoned on to the potential for social media to drive influential word-of-mouth brand recommendations, they’ve tried to either foster or fake these discussions.

“I heartily endorse this event or product,” says a monotone Krusty the Clown in a snippet of video used to advertise everything from cough syrup to atomic particle accelerators. Krusty’s cut-and-paste approach to celebrity endorsement might be a long-running gag on The Simpsons, but the rise of influencer marketing in social media may mean the joke is getting just a little too close to reality.

Last year, Scott Disick of Keeping Up with the Kardashians fame (don’t worry, I didn’t know either) accidentally revealed to his Instagram audience just how little effort he puts in to his well-paid endorsements by cutting and pasting a little more than he intended:

“Here you go, at 4pm est, write the below: ‘Keeping up with the summer workout routine with my morning @booteauk protein shake!”

scott-disick-instagram-us-weekly (1)

Leaving aside the carelessness with which Disick carries out his sponsored activities – I mean, he had one job to do – don’t let it escape your notice that the brand also scripted the post for him. I like to imagine those 12 unremarkable words were the result of a lengthy copywriting process of agency drafts and stakeholder approvals where no one – even Disick himself – noticed that he’s supposedly preparing his morning protein shake at 4 in the afternoon. And, while Disick may have unwittingly disclosed the brand relationship, the intended text contains no such disclosure. The whole exercise is about as authentic and convincing as the president’s hair.

Whom do you trust?

It’s …read more

Source:: content marketing

Less Brand, More Identity: The Zombie Business Cure

By Marcia Riefer Johnston

less-brand-more-identity-business-cure

No company wants to be a zombie – an uncaring, brainless, ruthless, inhuman thing that does whatever it takes to keep going. Yet examples abound of companies that behave in zombie-like ways, often paying the price in lost sales and damaged reputations.

How does a business cure itself of a case of the zombies? That’s the question that content strategist and UX specialist Melissa Eggleston answers in her Content Marketing World talk, Zombies All Look the Same: Using Identity-based Content Strategy to Stand Out.

The author of the book The Zombie Business Cure: How to Refocus Your Company’s Identity for More Authentic Communication, Melissa urges businesses to concern themselves less with their brands (how they want to be seen) and more with their identities (who they are).


Businesses should concern themselves less with their brands & more with their identities. @melissa_egg
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the-zombie-cure-melissa-eggleston

This article peeks into Melissa’s messages for marketers. (All images come from her presentation slides.)

Discover and celebrate your company’s unique identity

Zombies lack distinctive identities. They look, sound, and act the same. Melissa describes them as indistinguishably reckless, haphazard, stiff, and self-absorbed – the last thing we want our companies to be.


Zombies are reckless, stiff, & self-absorbed – the last thing we want our companies to be. @melissa_egg
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Too many companies look the same. For example, “we’re helpful” is not a distinctive identity, Melissa says. Any company could be helpful.

Each company must have a distinctive identity that make its products, services, and employees unmistakably its own. Even if your products or services are similar to your competitors’, you must discover and celebrate what makes you …read more

Source:: content marketing

Are B2C Content Marketing Teams Getting What They Need to Succeed? [New Research]

By Lisa Murton Beets

2018-b2c-research-cover

We’ve all known (and probably been part of) small, focused teams that seem to produce incredible results. Unless these teams hang on to their tight focus, though, even the most impressive typically hit a wall. The organizational pressure to do more too often outpaces the team’s ability to keep up.

B2C marketers may be about to hit that stage given the signs that popped up as we read through the survey data and fill-in responses to the latest annual content marketing research. (You can read the full results in B2C Content Marketing 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America, produced by CMI and MarketingProfs.)

Content marketing success increases, but can it last?

Don’t get us wrong – the B2C research reveals many encouraging findings. We saw a higher level of reported success with content marketing, the same level of commitment to content marketing, an increased focus on building an audience, and a higher value placed on creativity and craft in content creation, among other positive signs.

For example, 78% of B2C marketers say they’re moderately to extremely successful (compared with 70% the previous year).


78% B2C marketers say they’re moderately to extremely successful (compared w/ 70% previous year). @cmicontent.
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At the same time, we noted a decrease in the total marketing budget spent on content marketing. For all responding marketers, spending decreased by four percentage points year over year (22% vs. 26%); however, the decrease was more notable year over year among the B2C top performers (26% vs. 38%).


Total #contentmarketing spend decreased by 12% among B2C top performers via @cmicontent research.
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Of course, those results could mean B2C content marketing efforts truly are getting lean and mean – prioritizing the content activities that matter most for their organizations. In fact, 53% say they’re discontinuing content …read more

Source:: content marketing

Education as a Marketing Strategy: 8 Brands Doing Online Classes and More

By Dawn Papandrea

williams-sonoma-cooking-classes

Few would argue about the power and value of educational content – whether a blog, an e-newsletter, a white paper, or a how-to video. However, some brands have taken this concept further by developing full-fledged classes and curricula for their audiences.

Let’s look at eight brands that give their audience opportunities to get an education in unique and entertaining ways.

Renasant Bank: Marketing strategy takes step above boring classes

Renasant Bank, a 113-year-old Mississippi-based regional bank, had been offering financial literacy classes and support to local universities for some time. Although it didn’t need name recognition – the bank has that – it did want to find a way to be recognized as offering more than checking accounts.

Two years ago, Renasant took a page from the popular TV show, Shark Tank. “For years, we’ve partnered with universities to do business competitions. After looking through their pitches, giving students ideas, and realizing that no one knows this is going on, we thought, ‘What if we got a partner to do a TV show?’” says John Oxford, Renasant’s director of corporate communications.

The show, Brand New, was produced with the help of Mabus Agency, and aired its first episode in June 2017 on MPB, the Mississippi PBS affiliate.

Students from the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, and Southern Mississippi submitted business ideas, which a panel of judges from Renasant and local business partners narrowed to six. Spotlights on those students, their ideas, and the competition that followed were filmed and featured in four 20-minute episodes.

“Banks are often perceived as boring, but as far as content goes, you can help differentiate yourself by taking a calculated risk to show what your brand does,” says Oxford. The ability to distribute your story across multiple channels makes it even more …read more

Source:: content marketing

Pre-Event Content: 5 Tips for Creating Excitement (and a Bit of FOMO)

By Stephanie Stahl

Next week I’ll join my counterparts from around the world in Berlin to talk about live event experiences. It’s an annual gathering where we can share ideas, successes, and challenges, and learn to better understand each other’s businesses. For many, creating pre-event content to build excitement (and maybe a bit of FOMO [fear of missing out]) for our events is a hot topic.

Regardless of your industry or region of the world, pre-event content is an important element for delivering on an amazing event experience.

While marketing campaigns are often centered on content, event marketers often think about content too late. That’s precisely what UBM found in its Content Connects research among technology brands. Laura Forer of MarketingProfs, UBM’s research collaborator, notes that pre-event content shouldn’t be an afterthought: “Ninety-six percent of attendees look for information prior to attending an event, and 90% continue that search post-event. Effective content before, during, and after an event is vital to the overall experience.”


Effective #content before, during & after an event is vital to attendee experience via @MarketingProfs
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I’ll admit, I’m a bit jealous of the Diner en Blanc events – chic gatherings in beautiful places around the world that rely mostly on secrecy and word of mouth. They don’t have to spend time and budget on creative content – other than a tantalizing invitation – to draw thousands of people to eat, drink, be merry, and wear white.

diner-en-blanc-event

The rest of us, though, need to be more vocal and consistent to make our events pop with high quality and engaging pre-event content (which, in some cases, can be used on-site and post-event.)

I share five ideas for pre-event content that …read more

Source:: content marketing

Publishing Frequency: Why (and How) We’re Changing Things Up

By Kim Moutsos

cmi-publishing-frequency

How often do you read the weekend posts on Content Marketing Institute the day they’re published? We can tell from traffic the answer is “sometimes” for many of you.

Before I joined the CMI editorial team in September, the same was true for me. The daily alert went to my work inbox, which I monitored on the weekend only for urgent communications. Most of the time, as valuable as the CMI articles are, they didn’t qualify as urgent.

Instead, like many of you, I reviewed them when my attention shifted back to work.

So, it should come as good news that starting this month we’ll help free up your inbox on the weekends.

Our new publishing frequency

Instead of posting to the blog every day of the week, we’re moving to a Monday through Friday schedule. Our daily alerts will continue to land in subscribers’ inboxes every weekday morning, but we’ll leave space on the weekends for you to pause and reflect.


.@CMIContent blog will leave time for readers to pause and reflect on weekends, says @Kmoutsos.
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Some of you might be wondering about two weekend stalwarts – the PNR: This Old Marketing podcast and the Content Strategy for Marketers newsletter.

Following the send-off episode on Dec. 11, PNR goes on hiatus. If you read A Content Marketing Love Letter, you know that CMI founder and PNR co-host Joe Pulizzi is setting off for some well-earned family time in early 2018 and “non-marketing writing projects (and other shenanigans)” thereafter.

If you subscribe to the Content Strategy for Marketing newsletter, you should have received the revamped version in your inbox today. You still got an exclusive column from Chief Strategy Advisor Robert Rose and a link to our latest content strategy article. Now, you’ll also get a digest of the other content …read more

Source:: content marketing

How to Adopt a Customer-Centric Strategy for Your Content

By Marcia Riefer Johnston

adopt-customer-centric-strategy-content

Does your company look at content through customers’ eyes? Here’s one way to tell: Look at your marketing content. For starters, riffle through some titles. Do the words typically convey customers’ concerns? Or do they mostly call attention to the things you sell?

If products hog the spotlight, you’re missing opportunities to build customer relationships and, ultimately, revenue. You’re also missing opportunities to streamline your content efforts throughout the organization, including distribution, management, and reuse.


If products hog spotlight, opportunities are missed to build customer relationships & ROI. @marciarjohnston
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The content team at Red Hat found this out first hand. A few years ago, the team took a hard look at the company’s content and found that it was heavily oriented toward what Red Hat sells (IaaS solutions, PaaS solutions, Linux solutions, and so on). The team discovered loads of diverse content that was hard to find, disorganized, difficult to reuse, and, most importantly, not customer-centric, says Red Hat’s marketing content curator and librarian Anna McHugh.

After the team looked at the content through the customers’ eyes, the path became clear. They created a framework around the audience’s challenges, reorganizing and tagging the content accordingly. They then decided which content to retire, which to refashion, which to create, and which not to create.

The content now better serves people inside and outside the company.

The results? “Promising,” Anna says. Although it’s impossible to tie the content overhaul directly to the company’s financial performance, she believes that the new focus on customer-oriented content contributed to Red Hat’s highest first-quarter revenue growth in four years. Revenue specific to emerging technology (including app development) ­– an area related to the top customer challenges that Anna’s team helped identify and address­ ­­– grew year over year by 41% …read more

Source:: content marketing

Looking for Content Strategy Buy-In? Don’t Rely on the Same Old Arguments

By Robert Rose

looking-content-strategy-buy-in

There have been more posts than I can count about how to make a compelling case for a content marketing strategy. I’ve written some of them and read any number of them on this site and others. If you search on Google for “business case for content marketing strategy” (yes, in quotes), you’ll get more than 10 million results.

Examining the business case for strategic content marketing brings up value-focused terms such as “optimized brand engagement,” “better leads,” “higher shopping cart value,” “lower churn,” or even “direct revenue.” In other words, in prioritizing marketing activities, we make the case that content marketing has the potential for more value.

But what about content strategy? Google “business case content strategy” and you’ll get only 72,000 results.

Now, when I say, “content strategy,” I mean the holistic approach to using content as an asset to the business. Why should the business care about careful governance, management, adaptation, optimization, and scale of the way it uses content? What is the business case for organizing a centralized strategic approach around content as an overall business asset?

Unlike the case of a content marketing strategy, here we have no real comparison. We can’t make the case that content strategy is more effective or efficient than doing something else. It’s not an alternative strategy. Rather, the comparison is to do nothing about organizing an activity – creating content – that the business isn’t already doing.

3 inadequate reasons for content strategy

After looking up and reading through recommendations for making the business case for content strategy, I found that they tend to fall into one of three arguments.

  • It’s already hurting your business. Not having a centralized method of creating, managing, and distributing content costs more, …read more

    Source:: content marketing