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 February 10, 2022

10 Content Experience Mistakes To Stop Making (and Ideas for Fixing Them)

Can content be epic if the content experience isn’t?

Quality content is great, but it’s only one part of your audience’sexperience.

We asked the experts presenting at ContentTECH Summit this March what marketers are doing (or not doing) that prevents their audiences from having satisfying content experiences. Their answers encompass internal and external factors, from how content is created to how it’s delivered. (A few also shared what marketers are doing right, too.)

Here’s the set of mistakes the speakers notice content marketers making.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published February 3, 2022

Steer Clear of Overused Stock Photos With These Planning Tips and Resources

Marketers use a lot of images.

In an average week, 42.8% of surveyed marketers publish at least five visuals, and 40.8% use two to five images, according to a Venngage study.

Sourcing and organizing all those images take up a lot of the content marketing’s team time. That’s why so many teams rely on image banks filled with inexpensive (but sometimes clichéd or less than ideal) options.

You can cut down that work and end up with better images with some planning. Try these tips to create your own “stock” photography library and update your list of other stock resources.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published January 27, 2022

17 Books Perfect for Content Marketers (That Aren’t About Content or Marketing)

Inspiration and motivation can come from unexpected places. That’s what we found when we asked marketers and other business people to share their go-to book for marketers.

Many people recommended books about content and marketing (read those recommendations here). But others suggested intriguing books that aren’t directly about marketing at all.

These 17 recommendations range from one that’s more than 2,000 years old to a modern story about sushi. Some are focused on building you, while others will inspire your creativity, change the way you think about your content marketing, help you avoid procrastination, and more.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published January 19, 2022

LinkedIn Newsletters: Do They Get Results for Brands?

The notifications keep popping up in the My Network section of my LinkedIn account. But they’re not the usual request to connect. Instead, they’re invitations from people asking me to subscribe to their newsletters.

I received six click-to-subscribe requests on one recent day. I’d already subscribed to a newsletter or two through the platform. Why the sudden onslaught of requests? Did everybody realize the power of newsletters at the same time? Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published January 13, 2022

How’d You Make That Flipping Awesome B2B Content for ServiceNow?

Speeds, feeds, and awesome AI.

Many tech marketers emphasize those angles to talk about how great their products are, says Richard McGill Murphy, editor-in-chief and director, ServiceNow.

But ServiceNow approaches it differently. The company’s editorial site Workflow launched in 2018 to engage C-level audiences with ideas rather than products. By focusing on emerging tech and business strategy for C-suite leaders, the content covers “technology in the service of people rather than the other way around,” Richard explains.

Since then, Workflow has become a content program in the truest sense: content, data science, distribution, on-site experimentation, and agile publishing practices come together to benefit the company.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published December 21, 2021

Why a Content Formula Isn’t Lazy – It’s a ‘Hallmark’ of Bingeable Series

Imagine 31 movies that all share very similar plots. Some share the same lead actor (with a different character name and job). Cast members pop up in supporting roles across the lineup. And every debut takes place over two months on the same cable channel.

That repetitiveness sounds like a formula for failure, right?

Wrong. It’s the formula for enviable success at the Hallmark Channel that other platforms (including Netflix) study and copy.

And it offers a reason for content marketers to reconsider the idea that they must create innovative or completely original content if they want to attract and keep audiences.

Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published December 16, 2021

Alone at Work? Use Quiet Days To Set Up for Personal Growth and Content Success

It’s the quietest time of the year.

As people use up their vacation days, few remain at work during the days after Christmas and before New Year’s Day.

If you’re one of the few working during that week, you might feel stuck. Emails go unanswered. No feedback arrives, so you can’t move that article or video to the next stage. New projects lie fallow, waiting for the necessary stakeholders to return.

Web surfing and doomscrolling only fill so much time. What’s a content marketer to do with these meeting-free days? Instead, plan your expected downtime – whether it’s now or some other time in the year – to improve your skills and get the stuff done you never seem to find time to do.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published December 7, 2021

How’d You Make That Flipping Awesome Content for Monster

One month after the pandemic hit hard, a new microsite from Monster Worldwide went live: Work in the Time of Coronavirus.

“We went into lockdown in mid-March (2020), and we had launched this in a month,” says Monster’s Carl Germann, senior marketing manager, brand communications. “We couldn’t even believe we did it, you know? We were like, “Wow, this is kind of astounding.”Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published December 1, 2021

4 Business Storytelling Examples That Break the Problem-Solution Mold

Marketers often craft their stories from the same basic template: a person (or organization or industry) faces a challenge, a product or service offers a solution, and the problem gets solved.

While that formula may give readers or viewers the information they need at that moment, it rarely keeps people watching, reading, listening, or sharing.

That challenge-solution framework might be the first (and last) choice for many marketers, but it’s not the only option. Stories by and about people – employees, partners, and other stakeholders – connected to your brand can add the human element audiences remember.

Get inspired by these examples of companies telling compelling business stories that keep people coming back for more.

Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published November 29, 2021

17 New, Newly Updated, and Timeless Books Content Marketers Love

“What’s on your gift list this year?”

“They’re so hard to buy for. What would they find really useful?”

This time of year, those questions pop up frequently. To help you fill out your own wish list or decide on a gift for a team member or fellow content marketer, we’ve curated this recommended book list from the Content Marketing Institute community (including me).Continue Reading