Author: Carla Johnson

Recognized as one of the top 50 influencers in content marketing, Carla's latest book, Experience: The 7th Era of Marketing, with CMI's Robert Rose, teaches marketers how to develop, manage, and lead the creation of valuable experiences in their organizations. Carla serves as the Vice President of Thought Leadership for the Business Marketing Association (a division of the ANA), and is an instructor for the Content Marketing Institute, the ANA, and Rutgers University. A frequent speaker, Carla also contributes to industrywide news outlets, forums and conferences on the future of the B2B marketing profession, leading through innovation and storytelling. Learn more at Type A Communications and follow her on Twitter at @CarlaJohnson.

By carla-johnson published January 8, 2018

The One Thing Killing Your Most Creative Content Ideas (and How to Stop It)

one-thing-killing-ideasCreativity. We all want it. Unfortunately, we tend to give up on it over time.

When we’re just starting our careers, we’re excited. We’re going to take the world by storm. We approach our boss every morning with a new, brilliant idea. Getting a “yes” on something truly different seems like just a matter of statistics: The more we swing, the greater the chance we’ll get a hit. We have a high tolerance for risk and a high tolerance for rejection.

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By carla-johnson published November 3, 2015

How to Convert Customers’ Passions Into Inspiring Content

western union-cover

Western Union banks on its customers’ passions to inspire remarkable content. Laston Charriez, the company’s senior vice president of marketing for the Americas, explains how it innovates in a conservative industry.

Few brands have been household names as long as Western Union. Launched in 1851 as the New York & Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company (the company changed its name to Western Union in 1856), the brand boasts an impressive list of “firsts”: the first transcontinental telegraph, first trans-Atlantic cable, the historic telegram that confirmed the Wright brothers’ first flight, and the world’s first commercial beam radio system.Continue Reading

By carla-johnson published August 30, 2015

Are You Missing the Most Important Audience for Your Content Marketing?


All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.

– William ShakespeareContinue Reading

By carla-johnson published July 5, 2015

Aon Stops Shoveling Quicksand, Partners With Manchester United


Aon signed an eight-year, $240 million sponsorship of Manchester United in April 2013. The deal extended the relationship that Aon started in 2009 when it invested $130 million over four years to display its brand on Manchester United jerseys.

But Aon’s sponsorship of the famed British soccer club looks unlike any you’ve ever known. As part of the deal, Aon delivers solutions for Manchester United in 20-plus areas and played a key role in its initial public offering, providing advice on the best strategies and options for access to capital. Aon Benfield helped raise $233 million for Manchester United’s IPO and was a co-manager in syndicating the equity necessary to complete the transaction.Continue Reading

By carla-johnson published August 25, 2014

Build Strong Brand Storytelling From the Inside Out

body-with gears insideAs content marketers, we focus a lot of our time and attention on outside audiences, which makes sense. We’re trying to get people to buy what we sell. We want them to get to know us, like us, talk about us, and think what we sell is a good idea.

In fact, we are so concerned with communicating with our external audiences, that we leave little time to think about our own employees. Yet, employees are at the heart of what makes brand storytelling come to life and create meaningful experiences for customers. If we expect to be able to go “all-in” with successful content marketing, we have to think about the role our employees play in getting us there.Continue Reading

By carla-johnson published January 13, 2014

How Brand Storytelling Helps Enterprises Go “The Extra Mile”

emerson-extra mile featureEmerson’s chief marketing officer since 1999, Kathy Button Bell has overseen a massive rebranding effort that dropped the “electric” in the company’s name and brought 35 autonomous sub-brands under one overarching umbrella.

Consistently tapped as one of BtoB Magazine‘s top marketers, Button Bell has redesigned how the voice of the customer integrates with research and development, and cultivated a brand story that resonates with businesses around the world and infiltrates every niche within the company. I sat down with Button Bell to explore how she inspires change in a slow-moving organization. Continue Reading

By carla-johnson published January 3, 2014

How to Deliver the Right Content Marketing, in a Scalable Way

[Editor’s note: Happy Holidays! This week, the editorial team at Content Marketing Institute wanted to share some of the best content marketing blog posts we’ve seen from the CMI Online Training and Certification program’s roster of expert instructors. Today’s post originally appeared on Carla Johnson’s Type A Communications blog.]


red pencil-multiplication-scalable contentOne of the biggest struggles between sales and marketing stems from understanding what sales needs to turn a prospect into a customer, and what marketing has the bandwidth to produce. It’s a battle that repeats itself regardless of company size or industry focus.Continue Reading

By carla-johnson published December 26, 2013

Why Human Resources is Essential to the Brand Storytelling Equation

[Editor’s note: Happy Holidays! This week, the editorial team at Content Marketing Institute wanted to share some of the best content marketing blog posts we’ve seen from the CMI Online Training and Certification program’s roster of expert instructors. Today’s post by Carla Johnson originally appeared on the CMI blog on May 1, 2013.


Recently, Joe Pulizzi wrote a post on the 12 Roles Essential to the Future of Content Marketing. In it, he listed the new roles we need to consider, not only as marketers, but also as people who drive business for our organizations. It’s a reflection of the growing responsibility we have as marketers — and the growing need for us to step up our leadership role.Continue Reading

By carla-johnson published October 22, 2013

Why Your Thought Leadership Strategy Should Make You Uncomfortable

model of innovation cycleThought leadership strategy is a common component of content marketing — and for good reason. It’s true that thought leaders tend to be the most successful professionals in their fields, and thus exert the most influence over potential followers. The problem is that the term “thought leader” is often thrown around without any foundational evidence of what it truly takes to deserve the moniker.

By the abundance of anecdotal evidence, it would appear that a large volume of content is one criterion that justifies the definition. Another seems to be sharing a unique insight at one particular moment in time — sort of the “one hit wonder” of thinking — rather than long-term sustainability of original ideas. Continue Reading

By carla-johnson published August 19, 2013

Are You an Agile Content Creator? 6 Traits of Change Agents

“Turn and face the strange, ch-ch-changes…” —David Bowie

agile worker on mountainIn a previous post, I talked about why content marketers need to embrace change to survive in today’s environment. Beyond just surviving, what do marketers and content creators need to thrive and prosper?

An agile learning mentality.

As we adapt to new behaviors along the evolving buyers’ journey, content creators and marketers have to prepare to draw on new insights and expertise to drive business growth for their organizations. We have to be open to new ways of thinking, and we need to continually learn new skills to anticipate the challenges that emerge. Continue Reading