Author: Clare McDermott

Clare McDermott is the editor of Chief Content Officer magazine and owner of SoloPortfolio, a Boston-based content marketing provider for professional service firms.You can follow her @soloportfolio.

By clare-mcdermott published October 30, 2017

How Brands Use Pop-Up Experiences to Make a Lasting Impression


A couple of months ago, my daughter sent me a link to a place in San Francisco that I just didn’t have a name to describe. Some might call it a museum. Or maybe it was a pop-up experience? To me it looked like attending a toddler birthday party while on ’shrooms.

I’m talking about the Color Factory – an appointment-only museum. If you’re not familiar with it, spend a few minutes browsing #colorfactory on Instagram. (Or check out the Color Factory account @colorfactoryco.)

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By clare-mcdermott published October 10, 2017

How 3 Serious Brands Engage Humanly on Social Media


Leaf through a portfolio of social media award winners, and you’re likely to see entrants from the tourism, cooking, and fashion industries. Putting together an Instagram or Snapchat plan for these companies may not be easy, but then again, emerald beaches and platefuls of poké make for great social sharing. 

What about those less-than-obvious brands? I chose three Content Marketing Awards finalists that prove even serious brands can be human and entertaining.

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By clare-mcdermott published September 3, 2017

How GE Gives Recruiting Content a Personality Lift


If you asked a roomful of CEOs 15 years ago what drives competitive advantage, the answer would have been straightforward: capital. Those with more of it could outspend competitors – building capacity and buying advertising – or survive on low margins.

Ask the same question of a CEO audience today, and they’re much more likely to cite human capital. The long-running PwC global survey of CEOs – now in its 20th year – underscores this idea. Across all industries, three in four CEOs say a shortage of key skills is a critical threat to their business (among technology CEOs, the availability of key skills is considered the biggest threat to the business, bigger than issues like the speed of technological change and cyber threats.)

3 in 4 CEOs say a shortage of key skills is a critical threat to their business via @PwC global survey. Click To Tweet

For a company like GE, which has redefined itself from a manufacturing company to a “digital industrial” (GE’s term) over the last decade, the ability to attract and keep top science and technology talent is mission critical. Why? GE is seeking to power the industrial internet of things, which entails putting sensors on an increasing number of assets inside factories, power grids, farms, hospitals, etc. These internet-connected assets allow companies to monitor operation and efficiency, and develop what GE calls “a system view of an entire enterprise operation.”

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By clare-mcdermott published August 11, 2017

Video-Phobic Marketers: It’s Time to Get Over Your Fear of Producing Video

get-over-fear-producing-videosJeff Julian got his start in video at the ripe old age of 12. Video was a creative outlet for him during a challenging time … middle school.

“When I was in middle school, I went from an average size kid to a big kid,” Jeff explains. “I got picked on quite a bit. Playing with computers and electronics was a way for me to fit in and be creative. I began producing funny skits with my best friend. We impersonated ESPN, Saturday Night Live, and even Robin Leach from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Our videos became popular at school. No one else was doing it so those videos came to define me when I was a kid.”Continue Reading

By clare-mcdermott published June 30, 2017

Content Marketing Industry: What’s Happening in Hiring [Research]

content-marketing-industry-hiring-researchHiring a new member for your content marketing team seems like a great thing. After all, whether you’re expanding the team or replacing a departing employee, you’ll have more resources to execute a successful content marketing program.

But finding and attracting quality creative content team members is a job unto itself. It’s a challenge faced by 45% of advertising and marketing executives, according to a survey of 400 U.S. industry leaders by The Creative Group.Continue Reading

By clare-mcdermott published June 23, 2017

Read These Books: Summer Recommendations from Content Marketers

books-summer-recommendations-content-marketersNeed something to snap you out of your slump? Turn to your fellow marketers for advice about books and a few podcasts that are practical, inspirational, and downright fun.Continue Reading

By clare-mcdermott published June 18, 2017

How The Weather Channel Does Social Media

weather-channel-social-mediaJennifer Watson began her career as an on-camera meteorologist in Mississippi and Alabama, where she also helped manage both stations’ social media channels and weather blogs. Taking a job as a social media specialist with Atlanta-based The Weather Channel was a natural transition for her. “The Weather Channel is a dream job for a weather nerd like me,” says Watson.Continue Reading

By clare-mcdermott published June 16, 2017

Print’s Very Much Alive: Magazine Examples From 9 Brands

print-alive-magazine-examples-brandsWhile marketers flood new digital channels and explore the latest amplification strategies, a number of companies continue to invest in the “traditional” media of print to reach their customers.

CMI research reveals that while print is not a particularly popular way to distribute content – approximately one-third of B2B and B2C marketers use print – those who do use print consider it the most important channel after email and LinkedIn (for B2B) and Facebook (for B2C).

Read on for inspiration across industries, marketing goals, and styles.

thinkMoney by TD Ameritrade

Agency/Publisher: T3 Custom


Now in its 10th year, thinkMoney has won many editorial and design awards, and is often spotlighted as a custom magazine done right. Why all the attention? Quality in the details. thinkMoney targets options traders – a very particular niche within the investing world. Its audience is smart, risk-taking and even a bit contrarian … so the magazine must have a look, feel, and voice that appeal to that highly discriminating audience. For example, thinkMoney only hires writers and editors who are themselves active traders. And the design of the magazine is completely original – the magazine’s covers use bold visuals that include subtle humor and a side wink. All this adds up to a beautifully executed publication that educates a tough-to-impress crowd.

.@TDAmeritrade thinkMoney mag has look, feel, & voice of its highly discriminating audience @soloportfolio Click To Tweet

Outcomes Magazine by Eyeview


Video marketing company Eyeview launched a print magazine in early 2017. CMO Jeff Fagel explains that the format allows room for studying complex topics in digital media, artificial intelligence, and video marketing. And the company’s roster of contributors in the inaugural issue – among them journalists and well-regarded analysts – is just the sort of group that can pull off meaty reporting.

Live by Alberta Theater Projects

Agency/Publisher: RedPoint Media & Marketing Solutions


Alberta Theater Projects has been investing in developing and staging plays since the 1970s, but a few years ago it wondered whether it could deliver more than the traditional playbill. The result: Live magazine, a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to create and stage plays. By giving ticketholders a chance to see all the details and challenges involved in theater, ATP hopes to create deeper relationships with its audience. The magazine mixes magnificent photography and heartfelt writing about the beauty of theatrical expression.

.@ATPlive uses its magazine to create deeper relationships with its audiences, says @soloportfolio. Click To Tweet

Four Seasons Magazine by Four Seasons

Agency/Publisher: Pace


It’s really no surprise that a print magazine by Four Seasons is as beautiful and sumptuous as the destinations it highlights. Rather than focus on traditional “what-to-see” content for its top destinations, the magazine focuses on multi-sensory experiences – from a profile of top truffle farmers in Australia to a photo exploration of out-of-the-way finds in Tokyo’s Nakameguro neighborhood. Four Seasons Magazine boasts over 1 million readers and agency Pace says readers who engage with the magazine spend more money with the hotel brand (online magazine readership boosts revenue per booking by 42%).

ARC Magazine by Lincoln Electric


ARC Magazine bills itself as a “welding lifestyle magazine” – and we applaud the quirky phrase. Launched in 2015, the magazine targets the metal-forming and -fabricating community with content that is both educational and entertaining. Rather than dwell on fabrication techniques or materials – though it covers both – the magazine focuses on the people behind interesting projects and ideas. Craig Coffey, manager of Lincoln’s marketing communication team, says the awards the magazine has received are due in large part to the way it is produced: “The fact that our team crafts each issue in-house, from cover to cover, makes this recognition even more special. It’s a testament to the talent and dedication of everyone at Lincoln that’s contributed to ARC since its inception.”

Our Trust by Columbia Basin Trust

Agency/Publisher: Canada Wide Media


This new print publication raises awareness about the projects and programs sponsored by the Columbia Basin Trust. The magazine prints and mails once per year, and replaces a report that had the look and feel of an annual report or newsletter rather than a features-driven magazine. By investing in photography, design, and writing, the Columbia Basin Trust can tell more compelling stories about its environmental stewardship today and its vision for the future.

.@TheTrustInfo replaced its annual report with a features-driven magazine, says @soloportfolio. Click To Tweet

HOG Magazine for Harley-Davidson

Agency/Publisher: Archant Dialogue


Dedicated to motorcycle enthusiasts with a special passion for Harley-Davidson, HOG Magazine elevates biking to an art form. It was named Best Print Magazine in 2016 by the Content Marketing Awards judges for its beautiful design, inspired editorial, and commitment to the Harley Owners Group community. Each issue includes member stories, gear reviews, ideas for customizing bikes, and suggested road trips. The true beauty of the HOG glossy, however, is how it all comes together with arresting photography and design.

Project M by Allianz SE

Agency/Publisher: C3 Creative Code & Content GmbH


Allianz SE is a leading voice in the field of pensions, and its Project M magazine shows off its subject-matter expertise in asset management and life insurance. The publication uses journalists, academics, and experts to examine key issues in the industry, plus its rich and modern design puts it on par with established media publications.

Walmart World by Walmart

Agency/Publisher: Pace


Walmart World is an internal publication tasked with increasing employee engagement, enhancing job success and satisfaction, and building stronger connections among Walmart’s 1.3 million associates. It’s an ambitious aim for any organization (let alone one with such a diverse and dispersed audience base). The magazine meets the challenge deftly by empowering employees to shape the magazine’s content. A monthly outreach letter to personnel managers solicits story ideas and submissions, while an associate-expert panel surfaces additional topics, and gathers quotes and feedback.


These nine brands clearly illustrate that print is alive – and well. Do you still have legacy print projects or are you considering adding a print component to your marketing? Make sure you connect them to your overall content marketing strategy to increase their likelihood of success. And don’t think of them as print-only activities – look for ways to weave them into your digital communication and vice versa. That way your content marketing program can maximize the benefits of both digital and print.

A version of this article originally appeared in the June issue of Chief Content Officer. Sign up to receive your free subscription to our bimonthly, print magazine.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

By clare-mcdermott published May 14, 2017

Social Media Advice From Mark Hamill      


The iconic actor Mark Hamill delivered a moving keynote talk at Content Marketing World, touching on his early love of comic heroes, the gratitude he feels toward fans, what it was like to reprise the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and his new show called Pop Culture Quest.

What stood out to us? Mark’s social media savvy (even while he professes to be a neophyte). Read on to hear about his foray into the Twitterverse and the lessons he’s learned from his successes … as well as his wrong turns.Continue Reading

By clare-mcdermott published March 7, 2017

7 Apps and Tools Obsessed by Content Marketers


We all have those go-to apps or tools. You know, those icons you instinctively tap and that frustrate you when they’re switched to a different position on the page. Or those sites you don’t even need to bookmark because they pop up when you type the first letter in the address bar.

I appreciate learning what others consider their most-loved sites or apps so I can consider adding them to my repertoire. This month, I asked seven people connected to CCO magazine to share with you a manageable list of a diverse group of must-have tools to help improve your work life.Continue Reading