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 19, 2018

Words That Convert: Test, Learn, Repeat

words-that-convertIf you had a magic lamp for your content marketing, what would you wish for? More e-book downloads? More subscribers? More customers?

Whatever you wish for, chances are, it amounts to boosting the conversion rate at some stage of the marketing funnel, ultimately resulting in more profitable customer action. If only it were easy to boost conversion rates. Conversion has been called “one of the most frustrating challenges content marketers face” and “the last hurdle on your route to content marketing success.”

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By marcia-johnston published March 13, 2018

How the Best Newsletters Get – and Keep – Readers’ Attention

best-newsletters-keep-readers-attentionNobody wants more email. Yet, as a marketer you want your prospects to want more email – to want your newsletters, at least.

How do you create a newsletter so compelling that people not only subscribe to it but also continually look forward to receiving and reading it?

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By marcia-johnston published February 28, 2018

How a Winery Crushed Its Content Marketing With Video


Do you wish your videos made more of a difference for your business? Do you find yourself running out of ideas for videos your audience will love? Ever wonder what it takes to make a video so good that news outlets can’t wait to get their hands on it?

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By marcia-johnston published February 22, 2018

How to Grow Your Audience From Zero to Millions in Less Than 5 Years


You’ve just been hired. Your boss comes to you and says, “We want millions of people regularly viewing our content within the next five years. Go.”

You make it happen.


Well, Jay Lauf, co-president and publisher of Quartz, made this happen with his team. He told the story of how they did it in his Content Marketing World talk, Deconstructing Quartz ( How One of the Most Popular Mobile Destinations Grows Audience, Extends Reach in Digital, and Creates a Superior Content Experience.

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By marcia-johnston published February 8, 2018

How to Rock Mobile Native Advertising


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.

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By marcia-johnston published February 1, 2018

How to Set Your Content Free for a Mobile, Voice, Ready-for-Anything Future


Do you tune out when people talk about structured content? The conversations can get stunningly abstract. Stodgy even. And the way some people talk about structured content, it can come off as a miracle cure: Lower costs! Happier audiences! Efficiency! Accuracy! Consistency! Set your content free!

Hard to picture? Sound too good to be true?

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By marcia-johnston published January 25, 2018

How to Audit Your Content: 5 Essential Steps


Look up “audit” in any dictionary. The first definition should be: “Ugh.” Who on earth would choose to spend time auditing content, let alone teaching others how to do it?

A content strategist like Laura Creekmore, that’s who. Someone who knows that without a deep understanding of your existing content, you’re working in the dark.

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By marcia-johnston published January 18, 2018

How to Stop Acting Like a Marketer and Start Acting Like a Publisher


“Wow! Check out what technology is making possible!”

If Intel’s digital magazine iQ could speak, that’s what it would say. One article, for example, describes an emergency button that outdoor adventurers can attach to their clothing. Another describes a tiny drone that may someday help pollinate plants.

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By marcia-johnston published January 11, 2018

6 Mistakes Ruining Your Charts and Infographics


Want some tips guaranteed to result in bad charts?

Of course you don’t. Yet sometimes we learn best from things gone wrong. That’s why, in this article, I offer some of Content Marketing World speaker Scott Berinato’s advice flipped on its head.

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By marcia-johnston published January 5, 2018

10 Ways to Make Videos Your Customers Can’t Resist


Maybe you know someone who has lost whole afternoons to YouTube. What is it about those videos that’s so hard to resist?

Matthew Pierce has some ideas. He’s a learning and video ambassador for TechSmith Corp., a company that makes visual-communication software. In his Content Marketing World talk, How to Make Your Videos as Engaging as Possible, Matthew covers ways to make irresistible videos. I touch on 10 of them here.

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