For those in the United States who celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving!
While we at CMI are thankful every day to be part of such an amazing community of content marketers, today we give a special thanks to those who graciously share their expertise, insights, and experiences with us and our audience.
We truly couldn’t do what we do without our blog contributors. Not only do they help us keep our content engine well-fueled and humming along, they also help our team stay informed on everything that’s happening in our industry – and everything we need to do to succeed in our own content marketing jobs.
To express our gratitude, 19 members of the CMI team have shared a few of their favorite posts, along with the reasons they consider them to be indispensable resources.
While this list includes just a small fraction of the amazing content marketers we admire and appreciate, we hope you’ll find something to be inspired by — and that will help guide you on your path to greater content marketing success.
Amanda Subler, public relations and media manager
Why I’m thankful I read it: I love this story about how EMC has gone “all in” with video. EMC found a way to tell fascinating stories about a not-very-sexy topic (data storage). It was so successful with its video efforts that it built an amazing production studio and created its own EMCTV channel. The article also offers some great tips to help others to get started with video – even those of us (CMI included) who don’t have slick video production setups of our own.
Why I’m thankful I read it: This article offers some great practical tips on integrating your company’s PR strategy with your content marketing efforts. It’s advice that many PR pros might overlook, but it offers great ways to help amplify the content your company is creating. There are even a couple of ideas I’m looking into for our own PR plan.
Angela Vannucci, project director
Why I’m thankful I read it: I think that people are looking for great examples to follow, and there are not always a lot of resources available to help. This is a great breakdown of what made some of the biggest names in content marketing successful, and serves as an excellent reference.
Why I’m thankful I read it: This post gives a very understandable breakdown of the differences between content strategy and content marketing strategy – essential information for any content marketer.
Ann Gynn, CMI blog editor; CCO Tech Tools editor
Post: Intelligent Content: The Elephants and Its Parts
Author: Marcia Riefer-Johnston
Why I’m thankful I read it: I knew “intelligent content” wasn’t just smartly written text. As a non-tech person, though, I struggled to understand the true meaning of the strategy and its components. This has become my go-to post for learning what it is, how it’s used, and how important it is to scaling your content marketing.
Why I’m thankful I read it: Even if you document your content marketing strategy, it’s useless unless it’s easily understood and can be shared with all involved in your company’s content marketing process. George explains how to create a simple content marketing strategy, shares a template, and offers tips on how to involve your executives and content team.
Cathy McPhillips, marketing director
Why I’m thankful I read it: There are so many brands – nonprofits especially – that are so rich in user-generated content, internal communications, incredible histories, and so much more; but they are unsure of how to qualify it as “content marketing” and create a documented content marketing strategy from all of their assets. By highlighting the efforts that charity:water has taken in this regard, I hope this post can spark other nonprofits to do the same.
Why I’m thankful I read it: CMI’s email list makes my marketing world go ’round. By having smart strategies to increase our subscriber base the right way, we’re giving our audience what they want while collecting both email addresses and good intel on our customers. The strategies we learned from this article really helped us fine-tune our efforts.
Chuck Frey, director of online training
Why I’m thankful I read it: This post offers a great example of using mind maps to set up a workflow to track the status of your blog posts in production. It’s an approach that offers some distinct advantages over tracking your content with a spreadsheet.
Why I’m thankful I read it: Roger C. Parker does an excellent job of exploring the benefits of serialization – developing and sharing content in a short series of blog posts organized around a common theme – and outlining how to do it.
Clare McDermott, managing editor, Chief Content Officer magazine
Why I’m thankful I read it: Michele writes great roundup posts, and this one is a nice introduction to the basic elements of content strategy – and the reasons why marketers should pay attention to it.
Post: How to Turn 1 Idea into 2 Months of Content Marketing (and More)
Author: Roger C. Parker
Why I’m thankful I read it: For those marketers who are churning out new content every day, this is a great reminder that you can build momentum and a story arc with just a few “big ideas.” It’s like engineering-think for creatives.
Joseph Kalinowski, creative director
Why I’m thankful I read it: Buddy Scalera is a savvy marketer with a visual background (in comics!). I am always intrigued by his breakdowns on graphics and data (in this case, The Washington Post’s coverage of a missing Malaysian airliner). His constructive critique made me revisit how I work with some of my visuals.
Why I’m thankful I read it: Chuck did a wonderful job of tackling some of the important questions related to creating visual content. With this post, he identifies some of the most critical issues that creators struggle with – and then takes it a step further by asking industry experts to share their advice on how to address them.
Jodi Harris, director of editorial content and curation
Why I’m thankful I read it: I’m always looking for advice that will help me conquer my numero-phobia. Not only does Pawan Deshpande’s post outline the most informative analytics to collect for the most popular content marketing channels, he includes a handy visual chart that I use to help me keep the information top of mind.
Why I’m thankful I read it: I’m obsessed with efficiency – if there’s a tool or tip out there that might help me free up more of my time, or eliminate tedious or redundant tasks, guaranteed I’ll want to give it a try. Sujan Patel’s post doesn’t just offer up a list of handy productivity helpers, it provides pro tips and suggests specific ways these tools can be applied to address a relevant content marketing challenge. I guess that makes just reading the post a productivity hack in and of itself!
Joe Pulizzi, founder; executive director
Why I’m thankful I read it: I love this article because most marketers simply don’t have a clue what content strategy really is. More marketers need to read this, and commit it to memory.
Why I’m thankful I read it: I believe this is the way we need to start thinking about content marketing – positioning our approach to content as if we were building products and building audiences as an asset that can continue to appreciate in value over time.
Karen Schopp, director of business development and media sales
Why I’m thankful I read it: This post provides simple, straightforward advice on the types of videos to consider, based on a variety of circumstances, and offers great suggestions on possible use cases. Even better is that Gary maps the video types to specific stages in the sales funnel. A lot of brands think creating videos is a daunting task, but the author provides great information and ideas that prove that it doesn’t have to be.
Kim Borden, executive assistant
Why I’m thankful I read it: Content marketing should begin with good storytelling – not a pitch. Companies need to create long-term customer relationships; and creating the backdrop with a story, rather than a pitch, helps build those relationships.
Why I’m thankful I read it: I am a science nerd at heart, and this piece combines that with storytelling to offer the best of both worlds. The videos in this campaign are entertaining and educational, and the post helps showcase Emerson’s achievements over the past 125 years.
Laura Kozak, e-media manager
Why I’m thankful I read it: I am always looking for tools and platforms that can help us improve our traffic and user experience. This article offers tons of great ideas, and all the tools described are free, which allowed me to get a better idea of what analytics solutions might be most useful to me before committing to a paid option.
Why I’m thankful I read it: I loved this article. As part of the team that is responsible for CMI’s website and email subscriptions, this article gave me a lot of great ideas to test out, both on-site and on our forms – particularly the “happy” and “painful” buttons idea. It also validated that we are doing things right, as CMI was highlighted in quite a few of the examples.
Lisa Dougherty, director of blog community and operations
Why I’m thankful I read it: I am always looking for ways to improve the quality and value of our CMI blog content and to grow traffic. This article by Neil Patel is chock-full of linking techniques that will help me do just that.
Why I’m thankful I read it: As a person who manages a busy blog, this article by John Hall is my truth. Anyone who is thinking of guest blogging should take the time to read this post and follow its advice.
Marcia Riefer Johnston, managing editor, content strategy
Why I’m thankful I read it: The marketing team at the University of Utah Health Care system is reusing its web content in technically savvy ways to get health-related information out to more of the people who need it – with hardly any extra effort. I hope that this instructive, inspiring article will reach lots of content marketers who wonder what on earth intelligent content is, how it might apply to them, and what kind of difference it can make.
Why I’m thankful I read it: This article offers a practical, nearly foolproof way to select business-smart content ideas. Follow these four steps, and you’ll avoid wasting time creating content for customer needs that have no connection to business goals (like attempting to sell cat food to people who Google “black cat” at Halloween). Haven’t we all done that?
Michele Linn, vice president of content
Why I’m thankful I read it: One of the most common challenges I hear from marketers is that they lack time. While I am positive people have too much on their to-do lists, this approach from Brian was a game changer for me in that it shows how to uncover where time is unnecessarily being spent – and how to improve your editorial processes in general.
Post: 12+ Ways to Use Web Analytics for Better Content Marketing
Author: Ann Gynn
Why I’m thankful I read it: I remember reading the tip below from Rand Fishkin and immediately copying it into Trello (where I store the ideas I want to try out). This is a great exercise from Rand – and one that is certain to help you uncover some ideas of your own.
“Look at the list of websites (not social media or search engines) that have sent you the most traffic. See what the top 20 to 50 are writing about, to whom they link, and what their writers or founders are sharing on social. Use that intelligence to create content that you can feel confident is up your referral viewers’ alley. Chances are that you’ll be much more informed about the types of stuff that will earn you amplification, links, traffic, and mentions from influencers.”
Monina Wagner, community manager
Why I’m thankful I read it: As someone who is relatively new to the content industry, I struggled with the difference between content marketing strategy and content strategy. Amy’s galaxy metaphor succinctly describes content strategy and easily explains how it focuses on content reuse and repurposing.
Why I’m thankful I read it: Until recently, I was a critic of social media automation. As a community manager, I believed automation was the antithesis of all things social. Slowly, I have come to appreciate the merits of automation, and this post by Jonathan brings more perspective to the table.
Pam Kozelka, vice president of operations
Why I’m thankful I read it: I love to read books – the good old-fashioned paper kind (preferably while sitting on a lounge chair in the summer or under a blanket on the couch in the winter). And while I often prefer to get lost in fiction, I make concerted efforts to mix in some nonfiction, too – generally of the content marketing variety. So I was thankful to read this post by Roger Parker, which highlights some of the latest books to hit the content marketing space. While I haven’t read them all, the variety was impressive, and his synopsis on each one was compelling enough to help me make two satisfying selections.
Why I’m thankful I read it: Sometimes it is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of content out there – as well as by the amount of advice being given on how to do content marketing successfully. Arnie Kuenn reminds us of some key points – including that content does not have to be perfect, and that you can’t measure everything. And, for each of the ways we might be wasting our content resources, Arnie offers a great tip to help us put those resources to better use.
Pamela Muldoon, podcast network director
Why I’m thankful I read it: There are three reasons I love and appreciate this article:
- Michele focused on a form of audio content that is not only a podcast, it started off as a terrestrial radio show.
- This article nicely presented a real-world example of how marketers can become more intelligent in their use of content and still deliver content that the audience needs, at the moment they need it most.
- Michele’s detailed analysis of This American Life as content shows that this (podcasting) is work. It’s not easy to get the right content in front of the right people or to do so on their terms. But, when it’s done well, it is very much worth the effort.
Peter Loibl, vice president; publisher
Why I’m thankful I read it: As a publisher, I often find myself gravitating toward other publishers at industry events. One of the points that seems to always come up in our discussions is native advertising and the role it plays in today’s content marketing landscape. I think Joe cleanly tackles the key differences in a way that’s easy to decipher; I often reference this post when trying to hammer home the point that native advertising is NOT content marketing.
For more on the team that makes us thankful to be part of Content Marketing Institute, check out our Meet the Team e-book on SlideShare. And don’t miss out on getting first-hand access to insights from these contributors and others. Subscribe to the CMI newsletter.