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People Want PDFs; Why The NY Times Didn’t Fail; and a Backstage Pass [The Weekly Wrap]

This week, we’re wrapping up Content Marketing World – a big shoutout to all who joined us for this knowledgeable, fun week. (And if you missed it, you can catch up over the next six months.)

We’re also talking white papers, how content saved The New York Times, and a new stack as content production ramps up.

Publish white papers and make sure they’re PDFs

WHO: Savvy Investor, a knowledge network for institutional investors 

WHAT: The Content Marketing Survey & Forecast 2020, the result of questionnaire responses from 232 institutional investors by Savvy Investors, revealed a somewhat surprising truth about its audience: White papers and in-depth reports are the most valuable content type and are most likely to influence decision making. The preferred format for those white papers? PDFs. Ninety percent of the 232 institutional investors surveyed preferred PDFs over web pages.

90% of surveyed institutional investors prefer white papers be available as PDFs, according to @savvyinv #survey via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

WHERE: Key highlights and the full report (gated) are available on the Savvy Investor site.

WHY IT MATTERS: Though some may think of white papers as old school, they still make sense for the right niche. That should be good news for at least some of the almost half (47%) of the B2B marketers recently surveyed by Content Marketing Institute who say they create them. White papers can be great for tackling topics that don’t neatly fit in a 1,200-word blog post.

While the audience prefers PDFs, Google does not. When you craft a white paper, make a PDF download available up front but also publish it on your website.

HOW IT WAS DISCOVERED: Savvy Investor shared the survey results with Content Marketing Institute.

A lesson in the business value of audiences in The New York Times

WHO: Mine Safety Disaster, an investing and business analysis blog

WHAT: The Not Failing New York Times is an exploration of how The New York Times survived a struggling traditional mainstream business by flipping its business model from an ad-first to subscription-first approach.

WHERE: Read the over 150-slide report or access the Dropbox link to download at Mine Safety Disclosures.


Liz Mace, who shared this entry, says the quote from the former Times CEO should be a lesson for all marketers. “Marketers need to invest in content and those who create it … and that means paying them what they’re worth,” she writes.

The blog’s author points to the 2014 The New York Times Innovation Report to identify the challenges the Times faced six years ago. Among them:

  • It wasn’t investing in audience development.
  • It lacked structured data.
  • The newsroom was siloed from the rest of the business.
  • Social media was an afterthought.
  • The publishing schedule was out of sync with digital behaviors.
  • Old content (over 170 years’ worth) wasn’t being repurposed.

Today, the company has created new revenue streams (podcasts, apps, purchases through its product recommendation site, a deal with Facebook, which pays for New York Times content, and more).

The @NYTimes saved its business by adding #content revenue streams, notes @ElizabethMace via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap #Examples Click To Tweet

It’s a helpful business case for all content marketers to use in advocating for similar changes and support in their organizations.

HOW IT WAS DISCOVERED: Liz Mace saw a mention of it in Josh Spector’s For the Interested weekly newsletter. She clicked through to read the full report because she’s a fan of The New York Times – and because she suspected that the answer to why The New York Times wasn’t failing was content. (Spoiler alert: She was right.)

Get ahead on production with Backstage’s Content Creation Stack

WHO: Backstage, a casting service

WHAT: Backstage published the Content Creation Stack, a collection of more than 600 tools and resources. The curated Google spreadsheet features a tab for each of five content production areas, from project management through distribution.

.@Backstage published the new Content Creation Stack with over 600 tools and resources for #content production via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

WHERE: You can access the Google spreadsheet here.

WHY IT MATTERS: As production picks up, content creators, companies, studios, brands, and agencies still must deal with the pandemic’s effects. This at-a-glance view of content services and partners is a handy resource for businesses to jumpstart their content production businesses with a reduced need for face-to-face interactions.

HOW IT WAS DISCOVERED: Backstage shared the news with CMI’s Jodi Harris.

Notice something interesting in content marketing? Share it with fellow Content Marketing Institute readers. When you’re intrigued, puzzled, or surprised by an example, news, or something else in content marketing, share it with us by completing this form. Your submission may be featured in an upcoming Weekly Wrap.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute