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 May 4, 2017

Use This Simple (& Fun) Tool to Design Your Content Marketing Message Architecture

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Editor’s note: You may have missed this article when CMI published it last year. We’re sharing it now, with minor edits, because a solid message architecture makes all the difference when you’re planning your content.

What is your brand’s most distinctive trait?

What’s the most important thing your company does?

What’s the main reason people should do business with you?Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published April 27, 2017

Are Your Buyer Personas Ready to Take on the World?

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Customers’ concerns vary, sometimes dramatically, across regions and cultures. Because these variations present business opportunities, you might expect global companies’ buyer personas to reflect those variations. In fact, many organizations miss this opportunity, applying one set of personas everywhere.

Even organizations that have regional or cultural personas may lack the insights they need to succeed across markets.  Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published April 20, 2017

30 Habits of Highly Productive Content Teams [Infographic]

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If I could hand you a key to productivity, a key that would magically give you some nights and weekends back, what would you expect it to look like? I’m guessing that you wouldn’t picture a workflow.

Yet your workflow may be robbing you of nights and weekends, according to Heather Hurst, director of corporate marketing at Workfront, and Matt Heinz, president and founder of Heinz Marketing, who presented this topic during a ContentTECH session this year.Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published April 6, 2017

The Challenges Facing Tomorrow’s Marketer: 3 Biggest Themes From Intelligent Content Conference

challenges-tomorrows-marketer-biggest-trends-iccWhat a brain-tingling few days of sessions and hallway chats we had at last week’s Intelligent Content Conference, my sixth ICC in a row. More than 400 content professionals from 20 countries gathered for three days of nonstop conversation about the future that’s upon us.

Continue Reading

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 Future of Content

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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

stop-trying-to-innovate-with-content

“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