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22 Blog Posts That Content Marketers Can Be Thankful For


The CMI team is always thankful that we work with — and can learn from — so many inspiring, insightful, and creative professionals in the content marketing industry. But in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday that’s being celebrated in the United States, we thought we would express our appreciation a little more directly — and publicly.

We share some of the blog articles and videos we admired most over the past year. Like our list from 2015, a few of our favorites were curated directly from our own blog; but this time around, we’ve also added outside voices to the mix so you can discover what they have to offer, as well.

While this list represents only a small fraction of the amazing content marketers we should all thank for sharing their wisdom and experience, we hope you’ll find something of value that will help guide you on your path to greater content marketing success.

Post: Wickedly Effective Storytelling: Exercise of the 5 Whys

Author: Carla Johnson

Why I’m thankful I read it: Carla teaches how to make the difficult task of storytelling easier. In this post, she reminds us not to focus on “what” to say, but “why” we want to say it. Great tips on how to craft a story that’s relevant to your customer. –Lisa Murton Beets

Don’t focus on “what” to say, but “why” we want to say it says @carlajohnson via @lisabeets. Click To Tweet

Post: It’s All About Attention: Why Trusting Your Intuition Matters in a Noisy World

Author: Jay Acunzo

Why I’m thankful I read it: I love reading anything Jay writes, and this particular article really resonated with me. His advice here is simple to understand: Trust your intuition — even when it seems to go against conventional wisdom or it takes you in a direction that’s “unthinkable” (i.e., unfamiliar or even a bit uncomfortable). Following your gut is not always an easy path to take, but, as Jay asserts, it’s the only way for your content to stand out and gain attention in our noisy world. –Lisa Dougherty

Following your gut is the only way for #content to stand out in a noisy world says @jayacunzo via @brandlovellc Click To Tweet

Post: Moz Returns to SEO

Author: Rand Fishkin

Why I’m thankful I read it: Rand always offers an interesting “all-cards-on-the table” perspective that I really appreciate. In this post, in particular, he crystallizes that approach better than I ever could: “If we shy away from transparency when things are rough, then it’s not really a core value, it’s just a marketing tactic.” It’s a compelling view on remaining true to your authentic self that all content marketers should subscribe to. –Ann Gynn

If we shy away from transparency when it’s rough, it’s not a core value, @randfish via @anngynn. Click To Tweet

Post: Content Tips to Get Better Performance From Your Marketing Automation Software

Author: Justin Gray

Why I’m thankful I read it: As someone who has evaluated many marketing automation platforms, I appreciate reading a post that speaks to the work it takes to prepare yourself for success after you’ve selected your system. Justin does a great job of breaking down specific content creation tasks, providing clear direction and helpful tips along the way. –John Hanson

Post: How Tigers Influenced Your Visual Processing

Author: Buddy Scalera

Why I’m thankful I read it: I often find marketing-related blogs are either information-driven (i.e., relating facts, figures, company news) or built around sharing personal experiences, opinions, and anecdotes — it’s all business, one way or the other. It was a rare pleasure to come across this particular post, which deftly balances purpose and prose: It provides useful insights, analysis, and advice on how to design visual content, but it also brings those lessons to life with a relatable story that’s actually fun to read. –Jodi Harris

Post: Why Contextual Campaigns Provide Value Across the Enterprise

Author: Rebecca Lieb

Why I’m thankful I read it: Following on Rebecca’s compelling new research report, this post gives a quick rundown of the benefits of providing contextually relevant communication through the power of smart devices and internet-of-things technological innovations. In the future, if your business isn’t prepared to answer whenever, wherever, and however your audience calls out for assistance, you may be putting your marketing strategy at a Siri-ous competitive disadvantage. –Jodi Harris

Answer when your audience calls for help or put your #marketing strategy at risk says @lieblink via @joderama. Click To Tweet

Post: 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

Author: Celeste Headlee

Why I’m thankful I read it: This video post, which I discovered on the TED website, busts through the typical advice on how to be a good conversationalist. Celeste avoids superficial tips like maintain eye contact. Instead, she hits us where it hurts — and helps. Whether I’m interviewing someone for a blog post or chatting with a neighbor, this talk’s through-line applies: “Be interested in people, and then be prepared to be amazed. You won’t be disappointed.” –Marcia Riefer Johnston

Be interested in people, and then be prepared to be amazed @CelesteHeadlee via @MarciaRJohnston. Click To Tweet

Post: Podcasting Pioneers Explain Value of Audio Content and Rookie Mistakes to Avoid

Author: Clare McDermott

Why I’m thankful I read it: I am a huge fan of podcasts, in general, and I’m a regular listener of our PNR podcast. I think Clare did something truly interesting here by highlighting all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making a podcast successful and shedding light on what a struggle it can be to measure the effectiveness of content in this format. –Joseph “JK” Kalinowski

Post: 3 Surprising Stages of Successful Landing Pages

Author: Aaron Orendorff

Why I’m thankful I read it: Aaron always provides great tips on how to optimize on certain platforms, whether it’s your website, mobile, or email. Here, he offers quick, actionable ideas that I’ve been able to implement right away. –Laura Kozak

Post: To Blog or Not to Blog, Is That the Question?

Author: Pam Didner

Why I’m thankful I read it: Lately, I have been trying to do more of my own writing for the Orange Effect Foundation blog, as well as for LinkedIn. Whenever I get stuck or feel overwhelmed, this post reminds me to think about why I’m writing, which motivates me to keep working to pursue my passions. –Pam Kozelka

Post: How to Improve Your Website: 15 Ways to Fix Your Site Immediately

Author: Amanda Gant

Why I’m thankful I read it: As the title of the post suggests, this article is chock-full of ideas you can use — right now — to improve your website. While the content we publish at CMI is key, we all know that content is only useful if it can be found. We are devoting more time to our website so our readers can find the information that is most relevant to them, and this post helps. –Michele Linn

#Content is only useful if it can be found says @michelelinn. Click To Tweet

Post: 4 Ways Your Sales Team Can Help Your Content Marketing

Author: Ann Smarty

Why I’m thankful I read it: Ann clearly articulates her ideas on how to bridge the gap between sales and content marketing and how more effective collaboration can lead to greater success for both functions. At CMI, we’ve made concerted efforts to step out of our own personal comfort zones and reach across the table to our other teams, and this post is a wonderful example of how we can all strive to create those close, “peanut butter and jelly” relationships in our organizations. –Peter Loibl

Collaboration btw sales & #contentmarketing can lead to greater success says @seosmarty via @peterloibl. Click To Tweet

Post: The Fallacy of Frameworks: What Craft-Driven Creators Know

Author: Jay Acunzo

Why I’m thankful I read it: Drawing interesting parallels between marketing and stand-up comedy, Jay has provided a teachable moment here that is truly a gift. As Jay points out, not all comedians perform with the same cadence or delivery, so why should marketers? He also reminds us that, while frameworks are certainly helpful, they should be adapted to suit the needs of your business (and your customers) rather than being adopted outright. He perfectly sums up his view thusly: “Don’t try to follow the best practice. Try to create it. Don’t emulate the industry standard. Try to become it.” –Cathy McPhillips

Not all comedians perform w/ the same cadence, so why should marketers? @jayacunzo via @cmcphillips. Click To Tweet

Post: What’s the Best Content For Links and Shares? 5 Ways To Use Data to Win

Author: Andy Crestodina

Why I’m thankful I read it: For starters, this supports the research arm of CMI’s business. Secondly, I always find that Andy’s posts (and all of Orbit Media’s posts, really) offer the best takeaways, explanations, and tips — without trying to game the system. And lastly, though marketers never want to create posts just to receive links or social shares, this post reminds us just how important distribution and amplification are when it comes to reaching our conversion goals. –Cathy McPhillips

Post: The One Word that Should Start Every Document

Author: Doug Kessler

Why I’m thankful I read it: First of all, Doug is one of the best writers I know. Second, he’s right: Too many marketers start with the “what” and not the “why.”  Great reminder from Mr. Kessler. –Joe Pulizzi

Too many #marketers start with the “what” and not the “why” says @dougkessler via @joepulizzi. Click To Tweet

Post: Fostering Creativity in Your Content Marketing Team

Author: Amanda Todorovich

Why I’m thankful I read it: Amanda offers excellent advice for content teams (or any other team, for that matter): Get out of the day-to-day content creation mode and take some time for the creative thought process. Why is this so important? I’ll let her explain: “When writers and designers start to view creating content as a chore, we lose. When we don’t have enough time to give a project the full creative attention it deserves, we lose. We don’t innovate in those circumstances. We don’t push our voice or choices. We aren’t bold in those overwhelming to-do list moments. We create content that gets lost in the fight for sore eyes when we have to ‘just get it done.’ The team must stay inspired, engaged, and excited to tackle new projects.” –Stephanie Stahl

When writers & designers view creating #content as a chore, we lose says @amandatodo via @editorstahl. Click To Tweet

Post: 1% EVENT: The One Thing Our Panel Discussions Lack

Author: Andrew Davis

Why I’m thankful I read it: Drew offers some surprising advice to companies that are looking to push their panel discussions beyond the standard (boring) fare: Bring the drama. Embrace a debate, offer up a conflict, and give your presenters something to take a passionate stance on. If you can do that, not only will your attendees be more engaged, Drew may even offer to speak at your event for free! –Karen Schopp

Post: 3 DIY Methods to Optimize Your Video Marketing ROI

Author: Andre Oentoro

Why I’m thankful I read it: I really enjoyed this piece because it gave me some takeaways about optimizing video that I had not thought of before — especially some of the SEO tips for YouTube. –Amanda Subler

Post: 5 Things PR Pros do that Journalists Love

Author: Nicole Fallon Taylor

Why I’m thankful I read it: As a former journalist, I was familiar with the advice Nicole shares. But I remember working with plenty of PR professionals who just didn’t understand what the day-to-day job of a journalist entails or were totally unaware of the best ways to effectively engage the interest of reporters. The great lessons Nicole offers here should go a long way towards closing that knowledge gap. –Amanda Subler

Post: The Power of Words –> Promote What You Love, Instead of Bashing What You Hate

Author: Marji J. Sherman

Why I’m thankful I read it: Though I only recently discovered this post (from 2014), it still serves as a wonderful reminder of the impact our words have in both our personal and professional lives. Hopefully, Marji’s inspiring advice will make you press pause and take a minute to be thoughtful before you hit “publish.” –Monina Wagner

Post: Bring on the Female Superheroes!

Author: Christopher Bell

Why I’m thankful I read it: Hollywood might decide what its audience does or does not want to see; but that doesn’t mean marketers must follow the same path. This TED talk video shares how your audience responds when you listen and produce quality content. –Monina Wagner

Post: Writing Tools I Use Every Day

Author: Ann Handley

Why I’m thankful I read it: I’m cheating a little here, since I first saw Ann Handley present these tips at #CMWorld this year and then noticed she wrote a post on the same topic. I don’t write often enough to spend much time looking for new tools, tips, or tricks that might make the process easier. So, I’m thankful that Ann has already done the research, and has shared her discoveries so that we can all benefit. –Angela Vannucci

What content are you particularly thankful for this year? Please share in the comments.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute