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 March 29, 2021

Is April Fools’ Day Worth the Risk for Brands?

Updated March 29, 2021

Three hundred sixty-four days a year, brands work hard creating content to build and strengthen trust with their audiences.

But on a single day in April, many brands suspend those trust-building efforts and throw them out the window by publishing content deliberately meant to fool (or worse, make fools of) their audiences.

Yes, it’s time to usher in April’s annual day of pranking. And it’s time to think before you hit “publish.”Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published March 25, 2021

A Swing and a Hit: 5 Storytelling Ideas to Steal From Sports Writers

With March Madness underway, millions who don’t usually follow college basketball are paying attention to the sport. Most return for the annual event because they join office pools or other contests where they complete their brackets and hope their choices make it through each round of the competition.

But this month, I’m inspired to look closer at sports writing and broadcasting – and how content marketers can learn a writing lesson (or five) from them.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published March 18, 2021

24+ Must-Read Marketing Books (That Happen to be Written by Women)

To celebrate Women’s History Month, CMI shares our community’s  book recommendations every content marketer should read written or co-written by women.

Their input created this list of over two dozen books. I’ve grouped the recommendations into the following categories: content marketing, general marketing and business, and psychology and persuasion.

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By ann-gynn published March 11, 2021

7 Content Marketing Truths That Would’ve Saved Quibi From Going Qui-Bye

Over a billion dollars invested in short-form content.

That’s the nine-word origin story of Quibi. An abbreviation for “quick bites,” Quibi was designed to be a mobile disruptor, a short-video streaming service featuring big-name celebrities.

It seemed like the perfect recipe for content success – people with huge fan followings in content that would appeal to audiences with supposedly the shortest attention spans in history. And it was led by two stalwarts in business and entertainment: Meg Whitman and Jeffery Katzenberg.

But six months after launch, Quibi went bust.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published February 23, 2021

6 Email Newsletter Ideas for More Opens, Clicks, and Shares

Your email newsletter database is valuable. After all, these people signed up to receive your content. They must be eager to consume it, right?

And yet, the average email open rate in 2020 was 18%. That means less than one of every five subscribers you’ve earned looks at the content you send.

Some daily e-newsletter brands have found better success. Morning Brew, theSkimm, and The Hustle have risen to the top of the newsletter game with open rates approaching 50% and subscriber totals that make the rest of us green with envy. The Hustle built something so good that marketing software company HubSpot recently bought it in a deal valued at $27 million.

What does it take to get people who’ve already expressed an interest in your brand’s content to open and (hopefully) read it? Here are some lessons content marketers can learn from these email newsletter successes.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published February 16, 2021

5 Black-Owned Agency Leaders Talk Impact of 2020 on Business and Marketing

Little more than two months after the pandemic shut down the world, the outcry for social justice and an end to systemic racism reverberated across the U.S.

Brands, once hesitant to get involved in social justice or conversations perceived as political, began to speak out about police brutality, systematic racism, diversity, and inclusion. They issued statements, turned their social media profiles into black squares, donated to minority-connected causes, and pledged to work more with minority-owned businesses.

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By ann-gynn published February 8, 2021

How One Brand Grew a Massive Audience by Building a News Site [Example]

Now is the time for businesses to invest in publications they own and control.

“There’s no one you need to pitch to have your stories placed,” advises Christopher Penn, chief data scientist at Trust Insights, who outlined the decline in mainstream media sites last fall.

In 2019, enterprise software company Nutanix had the foresight to tackle that challenge. With tech media focused on the biggest companies, Nutanix created its own editorial property, The Forecast.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published January 26, 2021

How a Content Approval Process Went From 9 Days to a Few Hours

Too often, the content approval process turns into prolonged agony.

You ask, remind, and plead with reviewers to send their feedback. Once you finally get what you need, the creators make the updates. Then you have to push the approvers to sign off ASAP on the updated content. And once again, you ask, remind, and eventually resort to pleading before you publish it.

Given all those headaches, publishing content that involves trends, news, and other time-sensitive topics in an expedited manner might seem impossible.Continue Reading

By ann-gynn published January 6, 2021

9 Fixes for Frustrating Content Workflow Problems

I sat down to edit a file created by someone else in a folder created by my client.

I knew the topic and the approximate date of creation. And I knew the file was in this folder. It should have been easy to find, right? Well, if you’ve taken on a similar challenge, you know the answer is a big fat no.

We spend too much time searching before finding the files we need to edit, post, design, etc. Then, we move on to the next thing.

And a few days later, we go through the same frustrating “process” all over again.

But what if we redirected the energy spent on those irritating tasks into creating a better content production process?

These nine fixes will help content teams address those pesky problems you never seem to carve out time to solve. Though software and automation are great ways to improve your overall workflow, I’m focusing on remedies you can apply today – some in only a few minutes.

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By ann-gynn published December 17, 2020

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy for Your Personal Brand

You invest a lot of time crafting and executing content marketing strategies in your paying gig. But when it comes to marketing yourself, what kind of investment are you making?

Are you like the barefooted shoemaker’s kid – knowing but not following your industry’s best practices to achieve personal professional success?

Now is the perfect time to change that. Whether you’re looking for a promotion or new job, or you want to pivot your role or industry, create a content marketing strategy to support your personal brand in 2021.Continue Reading