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 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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By ann-gynn published January 31, 2019

How to Get the Content Marketing Salary You Deserve

Recently, Tatiana Morand, a content and SEO manager, asked her employer for a raise. She got it.

Content marketer Allison Gagliardi asked for 10% raises at two previous employers. Both times, she got the salary bump.

How? Both of them say they didn’t just ask for a raise. They made a case for it. They spent the time evaluating the market, understanding their worth, and making a well-documented persuasive case to their supervisors.

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By ann-gynn published January 17, 2019

13 Fresh Ideas to Get More Content Marketing Zing From Employees

Involving employees in the company’s content marketing strategy isn’t a new idea.

Employees already are asked to share content on their social channels. C-suite and subject matter experts often collaborate on thought leadership content.

And you likely know the value of connecting with your sales and/or customer service teams to get frontline insight into what your brand’s prospects and customers want to know.

But employee-involved content can be much more than that. I put out a call to learn more about how marketers involve their non-marketing coworkers in their content. While many responses reflected the typical examples, several brought a unique perspective and others offered some fresh approaches.

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By ann-gynn published December 24, 2018

7 Great Lessons You Might Have Missed From Content Marketing World

Given the hundreds of sessions at Content Marketing World, I never find the time to attend them all or watch every on-demand video.

But I don’t have to, and neither do you. Content Marketing Institute writers (and some speakers), shared the most relevant and helpful details on the CMI blog.

Here are highlights from articles we published this year that were inspired by Content Marketing World sessions:

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By ann-gynn published December 19, 2018

Sample 11 of the Best B2B and B2C Content Marketing Ideas of 2018

A legal team stars in a music video. A cruise line writes romance stories. A fast-food chain creates an investigative podcast into a forgotten food. A mattress company appreciates the value of print.

This year, B2B and B2C brands elevated their creativity to inspiring levels. Natalya Minkovsky found and shared some of the best in each issue of Chief Content Officer magazine.

Here are 11 models she shared in her Idea Garage column in 2018:

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By ann-gynn published December 14, 2018

4 Real-Life Ledes: Why They Work (and What Could Be Better)

OK, the original plan for this article was to provide great examples of ledes in B2B and B2C content marketing.

But a funny thing happened in that search – mediocre ledes dominated.

That’s disappointing because, next to the headline, the lede is everything. It’s the determining factor on whether to read the article. The lede has many responsibilities – to hook the reader, to indicate the subject matter, to set the article tone, etc.

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By ann-gynn published December 4, 2018

Clickbait Content: Is It Good or Bad?

Welcome to the clickbait debate.

Credited to Jay Geiger, who first wrote about it in 2006, the term “clickbait” earned a place in The Oxford English Dictionary in 2016 with this definition:

“(on the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.”

Taken for its denotative meaning, clickbait does what all content marketers want – it entices the audience to click on the headline and consume their content.

So why does clickbait show up on lists, including Facebook’s, of content marketing mistakes or practices to avoid?

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