Author: Marcia Riefer Johnston

Marcia Riefer Johnston is the author of Word Up! How to Write Powerful Sentences and Paragraphs (And Everything You Build from Them) and You Can Say That Again: 750 Redundant Phrases to Think Twice About. As a member of the CMI team, she serves as Managing Editor of Content Strategy. She has run a technical-writing business for … a long time. She taught technical writing in the Engineering School at Cornell University and studied literature and creative writing in the Syracuse University Masters program under Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolff. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter @MarciaRJohnston. For more, see Writing.Rocks.

By marcia-johnston published March 16, 2017

How to Get Control of Your Digital Content: Lessons From Intel

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Do you shrug when managers ask what impact your content efforts have on the bottom line? Are you tired of fighting about who does what with your content? Do you have too much content and need a better way to manage it all?

Sure, everyone knows that content is (or should be) a business asset. But how do you make it so – and prove it?

You might follow Intel’s example. In this article, I summarize what Intel’s digital-governance team has been up to these last two years and the stunning results it has reaped.Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published February 23, 2017

Content Technologies: How to Realize the Promises and Avoid the Pitfalls

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Content technologies. Can’t live with ’em; can’t live without ’em. How can marketers take advantage of the promises while avoiding the pitfalls – or at least tip the scales in favor of the promises?

We recently put that question to the folks speaking at the Intelligent Content Conference March 28–30 in Las Vegas. One warning came up over and over: Don’t expect technology itself to solve your problems. As Marketoonist Tom Fishburne recently said, “Trying to make an organization ‘customer-centric’ through technology alone is relying on pixie dust.”Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published February 16, 2017

Want to Scale Up Your Content Operations? 4 Things to Think Big About [Infographic]

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Let’s say for some time you single-handedly make something that people love to consume: cinnamon buns, maybe, or content. You decide to go big with your operations and bring more bliss into the world. Boatloads of bliss. We’re talking content (or cinnamon buns) galore. We’re talking more than simply doing more of what you’re doing.

We’re talking scaling up.

You need to do more than throw more people at the situation. To handle increased complexity, you need updated processes, new strategies, and more automation.Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published February 9, 2017

How Marketing Must Evolve: 19 Leaders Peer Into Content’s Future

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What do you envision for the future of content from a marketing perspective, and how do marketing teams need to evolve to prepare?

The CMI editorial team recently put this question to the pros who will present at the Intelligent Content Conference March 28–30 in Las Vegas. The answers fall loosely into seven groups:Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published January 12, 2017

How to Architect Your Content Strategy

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The first thing that struck me about Denise Kadilak’s talk at Content Marketing World was the title: How to Document and Architect Your Content Strategy. We hear over and over that a content strategy must be documented … but architected? What does it mean to architect a content strategy? Why and how do we do that?Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published December 22, 2016

Stop Trying to Innovate With Your Content

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“Innovate! Disrupt! Your company’s future depends on it!” To me, this ubiquitous advice has always sounded as doable as, “Leap that tall building in a single bound!”

What a relief, then, to hear someone widely recognized as one of the most important voices in content strategy say, “Stop trying to innovate.” Kristina Halvorson wove that message into her talk at Content Marketing World. Instead of aiming for innovation, here’s what Kristina advises marketers to do:Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published November 23, 2016

Why – and How – to Map Out Your Customers’ Journeys [Template]

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In one of the most useful workshops I’ve attended, we created a customer-journey map for content planning. Before doing this exercise, I had only a fuzzy notion of what a customer-journey content map might look like, how to make one, and why anyone would bother.

It turns out, this map looks like a spreadsheet. You make one by filling the cells.Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published October 13, 2016

How to Get More (and Better) Content From Your Subject Matter Experts

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E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. Flip the words around, and you’ve got E unum pluribus. Or maybe E unibus plurum. At any rate, you’ve got the savvy marketer’s motto: Out of one, many.

Out of one piece of content, many pieces.

Or how about this twist: Out of one subject-matter-expert interview, many pieces of content.Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published July 28, 2016

How to Get Your Fast Content Out of the Slow Lane

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Two weeks. That’s how long it takes a certain financial-services company to post a tweet.

“If it takes you two weeks to get a tweet out, you’re doing it wrong.” So says Robert Rose, CMI’s chief content adviser, who told this story at the Intelligent Content Conference in his talk, Structured Experiences: Content at the Speed of Culture.Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published July 7, 2016

5 SEO Strategies for Social Media You Need to Know Before You Hit Publish

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Do you use social media with SEO strategies in mind? If not, says Josepf Haslam, senior director of social SEO at Education Dynamics, you might as well be pouring water into the moat of a sandcastle — the evidence of your effort disappears in the blink of an eye.

Solid SEO practices are like a “concrete foundation” for your social media moat. “The water you pour (social activity) can accumulate and create an enduring benefit,” he says.Continue Reading