Author: Ann Gynn

Ann Gynn edits the CMI blog. Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. Former college adjunct faculty, Ann also helps train professionals in content so they can do it themselves. Follow Ann on Twitter @anngynn or connect on LinkedIn.

By ann-gynn published July 12, 2021

How to Use Google Analytics to Find Your Unicorns (and Avoid Content Donkeys)

Everything in marketing is a unicorn or a donkey, Mobile Monkey’s Larry Kim has said.

Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina agrees. “It’s amazing how the top 1% of your content gets outsized results, while the bottom 90% gets nothing,” he says. “We’ve got to find those unicorns and then go make baby unicorns.”

How? Andy explained in his recent ContentTECH Summit presentation, How to Audit Your Content Marketing Using Google Analytics.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published June 24, 2021

How to Woo and Win Subject Matter Experts (Almost) Every Time

Content creators may be proficient on a topic, but they’re rarely experts on the subject.

And experts on a subject usually aren’t the most proficient content creators.

So what do you do when you need to create content with relevant, accurate, and detailed information on topics where you lack expertise?

You partner with people who are experts in the topic. Working with subject matter experts helps in a couple of ways. First, SMEs help content creators understand and explain topics in-depth. Second, SMEs lend credibility to the content and may help promote it to their networks.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published June 16, 2021

How to Build the Best Relationship With Freelance Content Creators [New Research]

How’s your relationship with freelance creators? Given the hot market, you better make sure they’re excellent.

Recent Skyword research found that 73% of brand marketers expect to rely more on freelance creators in the next one to two years. As a result, “[t]he ability to find and activate top freelance talent will separate great brands from the rest,” writes Skyword CEO Andrew Wheeler in the introduction of the 2021 report Scaling Your Brand Marketing with Freelance Creators (registration required).Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published June 9, 2021

Do You Really Want a Zero-Click Ranking on Google?

For years, content marketers treated the top of the first page of Google search results as the Holy Grail. “If only our content would rank at the top of Google SERPs,” we cried, “our marketing woes would be solved.”

That might be a dramatization, but we certainly put the premium position on a pedestal.

But today, earning the top spot on a Google SERP does not achieve the same content marketing goals.

With the advent of featured snippets, answer boxes, knowledge graphs, and other SERP elements, less than half of Google searches now result in a click. In June 2019, 50% of searches ended with zero-click results, according to SparkToro research. In 2020, that number jumped to 65%.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published June 3, 2021

8 Expert Tips to Help You Personalize Your Content and Segment Your Audiences

Personalization and segmentation are closely related, but they aren’t the same thing.

They share a common goal (to deliver content that reflects what the reader, viewer, or listener wants). But each technique approaches it differently.

Think of it this way.

Media companies such as Disney segment their TV audiences into groups with shared interests. The audience for The Disney Channel is different from the audience for ESPN, for example.

Streaming brands such as Netflix personalize their programming by recommending new shows based on what it knows about the viewing behavior of a person or household.

Your content marketing program may use personalization, segmentation, or both at different times for different reasons.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published May 20, 2021

These 10+ Expert Tips Explain How to Really Scale Content Production

To scale your content marketing, stop thinking like a great home cook and start thinking like a restaurant chef.

A great home cook makes masterful, mouth-watering dishes adored by friends and family. In content marketing terms, their food performs well.

But here’s what typically happens when a home cook opens a restaurant based on those rave reviews. They hire kitchen staff to ramp up production and serve dishes to the masses. But the diners – some of whom are the same friends and family – don’t like the food. No dish tastes as good as it had in their home.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published May 12, 2021

Why You Don’t Need to Worry (Too Much) About Unsubscribe Prompts

The inboxes are watching.

They’re keeping an eye on your subscribers’ behavior, waiting for them to leave your emails unopened one too many times.

When a subscriber hasn’t opened one of your messages after 30 days, Gmail pops up a notice asking them if they want to unsubscribe.

Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published May 5, 2021

Want More Method and Less Madness? Check Your Content Operations

People, process, and product. That’s the essential trilogy at the heart of a successful business – as fans of the CNBC reality show The Profit know (yes, I’m one of them).

In that show, serial CEO Marcus Lemonis works to get those factors right when he invests in a struggling business.

Every successful content marketing program relies on a similar magic trilogy, which goes by the name content operations (or content ops, if you prefer).Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published April 22, 2021

The Best Proofreading and Editing Tips (Spoiler: Don’t Do Them at the Same Time)

Updated April 22, 2021

Want to know a few scary truths ignored by too many content creators?

Editing and proofing are not the same. And you can’t adequately execute the two simultaneously.

You can’t adequately edit and proofread at the same time, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

And if you think the same person can write, edit, and proof their own work, you should be afraid, very afraid of publishing that content.

Even the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recognizes proofreaders as distinct from editors. Its description of proofreaders’ duties includes: “Read transcript or proof type setup to detect and mark for correction any grammatical, typographical, or compositional errors. Excludes workers whose primary duty is editing copy.

Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published April 20, 2021

Is It Time to Join Clubhouse? 3 Content Marketers Weigh In

Phenomenal doesn’t begin to describe Clubhouse’s growth in its first year. The drop-in audio app grew from 1,500 members in May 2020 to 10 million in February 2021.

With numbers like that, it only makes sense for content marketers to be interested in Clubhouse’s potential. But is Clubhouse the right place for your brand to gather? And if so, how?

I’ll give you a peek inside the “exclusive” Clubhouse through the experiences of three people in content marketing who use it.Continue Reading