Author: Ann Gynn

Ann Gynn edits the CMI blog. She also serves as the Tech Tools editor for Chief Content Officer magazine. 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 May 7, 2019

35+ Definitions of What Quality Means in Content

Editor’s note: What constitutes quality content can be mercurial, but content marketers must define it for their programs to know whether content is successful. To aid you in defining quality, we brought back this post from a couple years ago.

Quality wins. But what does quality content really mean? How do marketers guarantee they are creating something that is high quality?

We asked the Content Marketing World presenters how they define and achieve quality content.

I appreciate the simplicity of the response (and the intended grammatical mistake) from Doug Kessler, co-founder of Velocity: “Quality content resonates with its audience. If it doesn’t do that, it may be smart or beautiful or funny, but it ain’t quality.”

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By ann-gynn published May 3, 2019

Do You Think Stereotypes and Personas Are Synonymous?

Editor’s note: Critically understanding why and how you’re creating personas (or even if you should create them) is essential to creating, distributing, and promoting content successfully. That’s why we brought back this article about personas and stereotypes. 

We have soccer moms – married women who live in the suburbs and are best known for transporting their children to and from sports practices and other activities.

We have NASCAR dads – blue-collar, middle-aged Caucasian men who graduated from high school and like watching stock car racing.

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By ann-gynn published May 1, 2019

5 More Exercises to Make Your Writing Powerful

How are your writing muscles?

Have they gotten stronger since you started the five exercises detailed in How to Make Your Writing More Powerful a couple months ago?

I gave you some time to rest up. Now, let’s get back to the writing gym. (Don’t worry if you haven’t worked out in a while, now is a great time to start.)

This time, I’ve added a couple videos for fun.

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By ann-gynn published April 19, 2019

22 Things You Wish Marketers Would Stop Doing on Social Media

Scrolling through social media platforms can be an irritating experience.

Too many brands and individuals don’t use their digital megaphones effectively. At best, their lack of awareness (of the audience or platform etiquette) is annoying. At worst, it prompts people to “mute” or “unfollow” their social media.

To make that scrolling less frustrating – and to help brands and marketers make social media a better place to scroll – we asked your fellow Content Marketing Institute community members for their biggest social media pet peeves. And boy, did they share. Thanks to all who responded in our #CMWorld Twitter Chat and through our requests on social media.

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By ann-gynn published April 11, 2019

Is Your Content Ready to Zig and Zag With Your Buyers?

Editor’s note: Figuring out your buyers remains an ongoing challenge. That’s why we thought it was time for a good reminder to spur fresh thinking by bringing back this piece on the true buyer’s journey.

Wouldn’t it be great if your prospects followed your neatly designed sales funnel or smartly outlined path to purchase?

But honestly, you know they don’t (even if your content marketing strategy assumes they do).

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By ann-gynn published April 8, 2019

24 Big Mistakes You Should Avoid in Content Marketing

Editor’s note: Though blunders, overestimations, flubs, and missteps always pop up, we brought back this article to help you identify what content marketing mistakes you can avoid (or fix).

Sure, we can learn from our mistakes. But we also can learn from others’ mistakes and avoid making them. As best-selling author and marketing consultant Roy H. Williams says, that’s the difference between being smart and being wise.

To help you be wiser, we enlisted the help of some smart and wise people who have presented at Content Marketing World.

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By ann-gynn published April 1, 2019

Is April Fools’ Day Worth the Risk for Brands?

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.

It’s a tempting conundrum for content marketers. To earn a reputation for quality content, you’re taught to avoid spammy clickbait headlines or sales pitches thinly disguised as content. But April 1 seemingly gives you a reason to break the rules – deceiving your audiences by crafting fake content, writing absurd headlines, and even promoting faux products.

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By ann-gynn published March 13, 2019

Don’t Miss Out on These 7 Ways to Use Your Social Media Data

They sit on the screen, often unobtrusively.

They appear as a single letter, or sometimes two. And almost always a bird and an envelope are included.

They go unnoticed unless the visitor feels moved to look for them.

And when that visitor is ready, the icons are ready to go into action with just a click.

Almost every site incorporates these opportunities to encourage visitors to distribute the content. (And some site visitors take it upon themselves to share the content without going through those icons, directly cutting and pasting links, adding a few words of intro (or not), in their social media posts.

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By ann-gynn published February 28, 2019

How to Write Headlines That Get Your Brand What It Wants [Checklist]

Before widespread use of personal computers in newsrooms, crafting a good headline demanded a specific skill: counting.

Each letter had a standard value. Most lowercase letters counted as one; but skinny letters (f, l, i, t, j) counted as one-half, and fat letters (m, w) counted as two. Uppercase values increased by one-half. Designers identified the space available for the headline based on column widths, number of lines, and point size. Copy editors then created the best headline to fit the space.

Today, counting headlines seems like an antiquated skill because you can delete and revise on-screen with the simple tapping of the keys. But the sentiment of counting headlines should live on: Writing a headline that best fits its environment is what makes a great headline.

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By ann-gynn published February 15, 2019

How to Make Your Writing More Powerful

Digital media fostered a generation of lazy writing.

Unlike printed publications – where space is finite – digital platforms have infinite space. The format doesn’t force writers to edit. (Twitter’s character limit is an exception. Anyone who has crafted a lengthy tweet then revised to fit within the expanded 280 characters understands.) To keep skills sharp, writers must do writing workouts.

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