Road Map to Success: Content Marketing Strategy Essentials

By Jodi Harris


Anyone who has learned about the fundamentals of content marketing knows the concept isn’t all that complicated – consistently provide something of relevant value to your target audience in the hope it will ultimately return the favor in kind.

Serving the needs of your audience with valuable, high-quality content in this way is an admirable goal for any company. But of course, all your efforts will amount to little if your hopes go unfulfilled – if your content doesn’t trigger the audience behaviors that help your company reach its business goals. And that, my friends, is where the complications start to set in.

To give your content marketing program the best chance of driving your desired results, every content marketing leader should be prepared to answer a few questions:

  • Who specifically should our content be most relevant to?
  • What benefits will this audience receive from consuming our content?
  • What desirable and distinctive content experience can we consistently deliver?

You’ll uncover the answers to these questions – and plenty of others – through the process of developing your content marketing strategy.

Before we get started

If you are new to content marketing – or to Content Marketing Institute – you may want to start your strategic journey by viewing our comprehensive Essentials of a Documented Content Marketing Strategy e-book, our Q&A guide on the topic, or our complete archive of strategy-related insights.

For anyone looking for a refresher on the essentials or some help filling a knowledge gap, read on for a handy tutorial – and helpful resources – on the subject.

Why you need a content marketing strategy

While your company should certainly have a content strategy – a strategic plan for all its content usage across the enterprise – content marketers benefit from having a strategic road map that focuses exclusively on using content …read more

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Personal vs. Corporate Branding: Is It Me or We?

By Ann Gynn


Sitting in a staff meeting, my boss asked if there were any questions. I mentioned seeing a job posting online for the marketing department and wondered if the team was expanding.

Several co-workers quickly interjected, “Why were you reading that? Are you looking for a new job?”

“No,” I replied. “I just like to keep tabs on what’s happening in the marketplace.”

That was 15 years ago. I doubt that conversation would go the same way today because most people have an online presence through social media and use the internet for information gathering.

As the rise of social media and influencer marketing has led to exponential opportunities for content marketing for corporate brands, it also has presented countless opportunities for content marketing for personal brands.

But how do the two work in harmony? Should they? Should people closely connect their brand to their employers? Should companies actively encourage their employees to use content marketing, including social media, to talk about the company?

Eight years ago, Christian Crumlish, then director of consumer experience at AOL, outlined the concerns of the employer – they don’t want to make star employees visible and expose them to poaching from competitors, and they are concerned those star employees will outshine the corporate brand.

Given the billion-plus active on social media now, the option to discourage or ban employees from talking about their employers publicly isn’t realistic.

Discouraging or banning employees from talking about their employers publicly isn’t realistic, says @AnnGynn.
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“It’s not only possible – but highly advantageous – to leverage the power of personal brands in conjunction with (or instead of) the central corporate brand,” writes Jayson DeMers, a Forbes contributor.

It’s advantageous to leverage power of personal brands in conjunction w/ central corporate brand. @jaysondemers
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As Jayson explains, telling …read more

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How to Train a Journalist in Content Marketing

By Daniel Hatch


You’ve decided to hire a journalist for your content marketing team – congratulations!

All the evidence says you’ve got yourself a hard-working individual used to delivering high-quality editorial on tight deadlines. Those are some darned useful qualities.

But not all journos will hit the ground running. Making the switch to content marketing can take a bit of adjustment. And reporters who can’t get their head around the differences are going to struggle.

Journalists switching to #contentmarketing can require some adjustment time, says @daniel_hatch.
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I know because I spent 17 years as a newspaper and radio reporter before being wooed to content marketing. I know because, as a managing editor for a content agency, I’ve employed and then unemployed several members of my old profession.

What follows is my list of areas where reporters can struggle when they make the switch and my suggestions for helping them adjust. Or, as I like to call it: How to Train Your Journalist.

1. The ‘holier-than-thou’ problem

Journalism is a vocation. From the first day of university through to the last day of a newsroom career, it is relentlessly competitive. To succeed, a journalist must really want it. It’s also a profession that has a special place in democracy – holding governments, corporations, and individuals accountable.

Gosh, but that can give you an ego. For some reporters, that can be hard to let go. And what you, as the person employing them, end up with are writers who think they’re too good to be writing the content you’re commissioning.

The first sign they’re not effectively making the gear switch to content marketing is turning in what feels like lazy copy. When you read it, you can tell they’ve not really made …read more

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How to Do a Content Audit in a Few Hours

By Arash Asli


Content audits are about as popular as colonoscopies but they’re just as necessary to health – in this case, the health of your content marketing strategy.

But you likely dread the tedious, time-consuming annual content audit, and reliably and predictably put it off (and sometimes never get it done.)

What if you could do a content audit in only a few hours? Impossible, you say.

Consider a condensed content audit. It’s a fresh approach that allows you to more regularly provide actionable insights into what type of content is performing best to inform your upcoming activities.

Condensed #content audit provides more regular actionable insights, says @arash31.
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Condensed content audit explained

Condensed content audits are not meant to replace the comprehensive content audits you should do every year.

The condensed content audit is a shortened form of the traditional content audit. It forces you to narrow your most important goals and determine whether they are being achieved – and how to improve what you’re doing.

Condensed content audits are designed to be done more frequently, preferably monthly or as often as you have the time.

Condensed #content audits are designed to be done monthly or as often as you have the time, says @arash31.
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Monthly condensed content audits allow you to:

  • Continually improve your content marketing strategy because you’re always seeing what’s working and what’s not
  • Identify problems and proactively address them before they affect the content’s performance long-term
  • Make them routine in your process, which likely will make yearly content audits easier

With this in mind, here is how to do a content audit in three steps and in just a few hours – maybe even less.

Before I delve further, let’s get one thing out of the way – the …read more

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For the Love of Libraries: How Libraries Use Content to Tell New Stories

By Natalya Minkovsky


I never gave much thought to library marketing until I met Angela Hursh, content team leader in the marketing department of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Going to my neighborhood library to browse and check out books is one of my favorite things to do; I’ve been visiting on a regular basis for as long as I can remember. As a dedicated bookworm, I took for granted the effort of marketing the library does to reach people for whom visiting isn’t second nature.

While my personal interest is book-centric, libraries offer much more to the local community, of course. At the library you can learn a new language, get help with your income taxes, or use a 3-D printer. Parents can bring their kids for story time. Teens have a safe, comfortable space in which to do their homework. Senior citizens can take computer classes.

This is one of the biggest challenges for libraries today: updating people’s perceptions of libraries as merely buildings full of books. Perhaps even more thorny for their efforts is that it’s not clear exactly what libraries should aim for as they evolve to meet changing community needs.

Pew Research Center shows that Americans are divided on the question of how books should be treated at the library: 24% support the idea of moving books and stacks to make way for more community- and tech-oriented spaces, while 31% say libraries should not move the books.

As marketers, we live by the mantra “you can’t be all things to all people.” But that’s really what a library does, says Hursh. Modern libraries are book repositories, resource centers, and gathering spaces – doing everything from carving maker spaces for hobbyists and hosting equipment rental programs so that community members can “borrow” items like sewing machines or hand …read more

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What B2B Brands Need to Know to Succeed on LinkedIn

By Jonathan Crossfield


“But I’m from a B2B company. How does all of this apply to us?” I must get a version of this question in almost every content marketing workshop I run. My answer is always the same: “B2B customers are people too.”

On entering the office, we don’t stuff our B2C brains into the desk drawer, replacing them with pin-striped B2B versions allocated to us by HR. If that deathly dull and overly formal white paper would put me to sleep as a B2C reader, it’s not suddenly going to find me more attentive because the clock is somewhere between 9 and 5.

We don’t stuff our B2C brains into a drawer & replace them with pin-striped B2B versions, says @kimota.
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Of course, there are some differences between B2C and B2B marketing – multiple stakeholders for one – but on an individual level, the two have far more in common than not. Social media has broadened the scope of so-called professional conversations, allowing people to discuss topics and share content once confined to the personal realm.

“We talk about so many more things,” says Claire Austin, content marketing evangelist for LinkedIn Australia. “There’s no way my parents would’ve discussed things like mindfulness, the psychological effects of working, or the challenge of going back to work after childbirth. These were just things you just got on with and no one spoke about (in the workplace). Whereas now, these are things that we do need to speak about and we’re happy to speak about them.

“People want to share their experiences. They want to be able to help others – help inform and inspire.”

LinkedIn ranks high as B2B social media platform

LinkedIn has long been seen as the formal pinstripe suit to Facebook’s Hawaiian shirt. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s latest B2B benchmark …read more

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16 Apps and Tools to Keep You Productive and Sane

By Clare McDermott


A few months ago, I committed to evaluating my personal tech stack (yeah, I know that’s an odd collection of words, but you’ll see what I mean). My workload felt out of control. My goal was to be more intentional about finding worthwhile shortcuts and work-arounds, as well as trying to make life simpler – an undertaking I jokingly call Clare 2.0.

How do super-creative and productive people get through the daily grind of meetings, deadlines, and emails, yet still manage to preserve their creative energy? They, in part, optimize technology. This post focuses on the tools I’ve tested on my journey toward a more productive life.

Work-related apps and tools


AirTable has proved amazingly useful for editorial calendar planning, mostly because it’s an insanely elegant combination of spreadsheet and database. While on the surface it seems like a spreadsheet, you can program columns/cells to hold pre-defined tags, checklists, and even files. (Free and paid versions; I use free)



Mixmax is a Gmail extension that automates many of the tasks I did manually. For example, I can send a dozen possible meeting times to someone via email, and when the recipient chooses one of the times presented, it automatically sends us both an invitation. I also use Mixmax to set up email triggers, embed surveys and polls into an email, and write editorial due date reminders to be sent in the future. (Free and paid versions; I use paid)


FollowUp.CC is a Chrome extension in the same category of tools as Mixmax, but with a …read more

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Go Behind the Scenes of Coca-Cola’s Storytelling

By Clare McDermott


Kate Santore took the stage at Content Marketing World to share Coca-Cola’s storytelling ethos – and in the process inspired marketers to ask, “What if?”

“Sharing our strategies and approach to marketing has been a tradition at Coca-Cola to open the door for other brands to learn from our 130 years of marketing experience,” Kate says. “Sharing this ‘thought-ware’ collectively raises the bar for every brand and therefore makes us strive for bigger, better, bolder.”

Read on for the Chief Content Officer magazine interview with the senior integrated marketing content manager at The Coca-Cola Company.

CCO: You have spoken about Coca-Cola’s four story archetypes. Tell us more about each and why archetypes are so important for the brand.

Santore: At Coca-Cola, we want to create Coca-Cola stories and not stories by Coca-Cola. That holds true when our product is a character in the story with a credible role to play. There are four typical archetypes that we look to: object of desire, embodiment of an attitude, social connector, and functional offering or benefit. If you read a script or even partner-created content and say to yourself, “Can I tell this story without Coca-Cola?” and the answer is yes, then it’s a not a Coca-Cola story.

If the story can be told without @CocaCola, then it’s not a Coca-Cola story, says @Kate_McLaughlin. ‏
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Image source

CCO: How do you strike a balance between trying new and exciting ideas, while safeguarding an iconic brand like Coca-Cola? How do you walk that tightrope of inventiveness versus controlled risk?

Santore: Walking a tightrope is a great way to describe it, …read more

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How to Rock Mobile Native Advertising

By Marcia Riefer Johnston


When Melanie Deziel’s New York Times colleagues tweeted “impressively produced” and “can’t believe I’m sharing a paid post … even mobile-friendly” about a native ad that she and her team had created, she knew T Brand Studio had gotten some things right.

What things, exactly? She shared her answers at Content Marketing World, How Innovative Brands Are Getting More out of Their Mobile Native Advertising Campaigns. Read on for highlights from Melanie’s talk.

What we talk about when we talk about native advertising

I confess, as a word nerd, I fell in love with Melanie when she declared marketers have forgotten that “native” is an adjective and it describes advertising.

Native advertising goes by many names, including sponsored content, promoted content, paid posts, and branded content. (Some marketers avoid – even loathe – the term “branded content” because it “gives agencies permission to keep talking about themselves, adding a bit of storytelling to product pitches.”)

To get clear about what she’s talking about when she talks about native advertising, let’s look at each word.

  • “Native” means indigenous, belonging to an environment. “A plant is native to a certain climate,” Melanie says. “A person is native to a place. When we say that content is native or advertising is native, it means that it fits in the environment where it is served or received.”
  • “Advertising” means paid. One company paying another to publish the content.

As CMI founder Joe Pulizzi sums it up, “If you pay for placement of … content in a format similar to the third-party site, it’s native advertising.”

If you pay for placement of content in a format similar to 3rd-party site, it’s #nativeadvertising. @joepulizzi
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While native advertising and content marketing are sometimes handled by separate teams with separate strategies, consider developing a strategy …read more

Source:: content marketing

4 Case Studies Show How to Crush It With Out-of-the-Box Content Marketing

By Leslie Carruthers


This post was co-written by Shopify’s Casandra Campbell.

Content marketing can be a valuable tool for nearly any company, in nearly any industry, at nearly any point in the sales funnel. But with the glut of content available, how does a brand create and distribute content that allows the company (and the audience) to experience that value?

We sent out a request for examples of awesome content marketing via HARO and other channels. In this article, we highlight four out-of-the-box case studies that show how content marketing can be used to create true value.

Shutterstock’s annual Creative Trends infographic

Shutterstock is one of the largest online marketplaces for licensing royalty-free images, videos, and music. For its annual Creative Trends report, Shutterstock analyzes its customers’ search and download data to predict the styles and trends that will dominate the coming year and distributes results in the form of an infographic hosted on its site.


Shutterstock uses its proprietary data to create something genuinely useful for its two audiences – customers and contributors.

Shutterstock uses its proprietary data to create something genuinely useful for its two audiences – customers and contributors.


Shutterstock reports its 2017 Creative Trends infographic earned:

  • Mentions in more than 100 articles
  • 6 billion unique site visits
  • 5,300 social media shares, 11,000 social media engagements

Why we love it

Creating one piece of content to serve multiple audiences is usually a bad idea. By trying to serve too many types of reader, you typically end up making your content too broad and readers lose interest.

Creating one piece of #content to serve multiple audiences is usually a bad idea. @TheSearchGuru @Casandra_Camp
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However, Shutterstock …read more

Source:: content marketing