Author: Clare McDermott

Clare McDermott is the founder of Ravn Research, a research consultancy that helps brands produce original research and C-level content. Connect with her on LinkedIn. Follow her on Twitter clare_mcd.

By clare-mcdermott published March 2, 2012

CM 2015: An Interview With Michael Stelzner, CEO & Founder, Social Media Examiner

In the February issue of Chief Content Officer magazine, we asked the top experts in content marketing:

Content 2015: Where are we headed in the next three years?
Tech 2015: What technologies will change the field?
Company 2015: Which companies ‘get it’?
Personal 2015: How will each of us change as marketers?

We were surprised by how many marketers mentioned the need for more and better tools that help companies build scale across their content marketing programs.

You can find the CCO magazine article here , but we wanted to share our full-length interview with Michael Stelzner. Enjoy!

CM 2015

Companies of all sizes are realizing they must become the publisher in order to rapidly growth their business. We are going to see a lot of businesses begin to launch their own content platforms and become the center of their industry.

For example, Social Media Examiner has become the center of the social media world by regularly publishing high-value content. Businesses are going to become the centers of their industries by publishing content. And they are going to decouple the brand from their content. Big brands will recognize the need to develop these platforms that are independent from their brand. The goal is to own the platform so that you don’t have to be reliant on anyone else.

We’re going to see smart companies become online magazines, embrace competitors and essentially build a massive publishing infrastructure on the Internet. A great example is Proctor & Gamble with their Man of the House site. There aren’t too many out there right now.

Tech 2015

For businesses that have any kind of product that they sell in a physical venue, you cannot underestimate mobile. We’re going to see content delivered up in the geo-physical space, allowing people to get relevant content when they are in a particular spot. The concept is called augmented reality and it allows you to turn on the camera in your phone and, using geo-location, receive content based on where your camera is pointing. For example, “Three blocks down the road, you can get the Nikes you’re looking for.” It’s a really cool technology and it’s incredibly relevant for location-based businesses. You might be standing outside Starbucks and a coupon comes up for Peet’s across the street.

I’m also anticipating big changes for social in the years ahead. Social media has made it possible for people, including strangers, to connect online. In the next three years, we’re going to see social applied to the physical realm. I would not be surprised if tools the major four (Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) will develop tools that allow people to connect physically and spontaneously around the world. What kind of impact will that have on content? You have to think outside box. People at a concert, for example, could decide to get together spontaneously based on an interest—and could create spontaneous content and video related to that moment. That’s the next step in social: make social truly social, as a physical connection.

Self 2015

Marketers need to realize it’s not about the sale and rethink our motivations for doing things. Instead of spurring people to buy or get into a lead funnel, marketers need to spur people to become evangelists for their company, community, and products. It’s just as valuable to have people that never buy, as it is to have customers. If you can empower an evangelist, that person can reach people you can never reach. Only a subset of your audience will become customers, but many may become evangelists. 

By clare-mcdermott published February 24, 2012

How to Scale Content Marketing within the Organization

The February issue of Chief Content Officer magazine is in the mail, and in it you’ll find our interviews with top content marketing experts — including entrepreneurs, strategists, authors, and enterprise marketers.

We wanted to know: What issues should sophisticated marketers understand and analyze for their own businesses?

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By clare-mcdermott published February 20, 2012

Expert Predictions for Content Marketing 2015

Content experts weigh in on what’s ahead. Consider this fair warning.


We asked:

Content Marketing 2015: Where are we headed?

Tech 2015: What technologies will change the field?

Company 2015: Which companies ‘get it’?

Personal 2015: How will we change as marketers?Continue Reading

By clare-mcdermott published June 17, 2011

Thinking Outside of the Bento Box to Improve Content Design

Bento boxes satisfy the obsessive-compulsive disorder-side of my personality, organizing those fishy morsels of sushi goodness into visually beautiful patterns of color and flavor.

The bento box is a great visual metaphor for the role of information design in content marketing. Information design is the art of presenting content on the page (or screen) in a way that makes it easier for your readers to understand and remember your message. Just like the bento box, a well-organized article or report should include highly visual modular elements that separate sections of your work and embellish key points.Continue Reading

By clare-mcdermott published April 1, 2011

LEGO: From Toy Company to Multi-Media Brand

How does a toy company that sells easily replicable building blocks build an iconic brand? Our April issue of Chief Content Officer magazine explains the strategy LEGO used to fight copy-cat toy companies.

In the 1980s and 1990s, LEGO faced a tremendous threat from competing construction toys. After all, the very simplicity of LEGO’s building blocks also made them very easy to duplicate, both by small-scale copycats as well as established toy companies. LEGO unsuccessfully tried toblock Tyco Toys, Inc., from selling the Super Blocks series after LEGO’s patent ran out in 1983. The company knew it needed to build a powerhouse brand and integrated marketing approach to compete against a growing set of building-block imitators.

Today, LEGO is a content powerhouse, at times more closely resembling a media company than a toy company. Here’s a rundown of their integrated content marketing program.Continue Reading

By clare-mcdermott published March 29, 2011

Quora for Content Marketing: Is it Worth Your Time?

In the second issue of Chief Content Officer magazine, to be released next week, we share our befuddlement about Quora. The premise of the super-hot social site seems sound: posit a question and get crowd-sourced answers back, prioritized by their popularity. But actually navigating around and understanding the Quora rules is a bit like the awkward embarrassment you feel when show up at a Dresden Dolls concert in a pink polo shirt (I speak from experience).Continue Reading

By clare-mcdermott published February 24, 2011

How Professional Services Firms Use Content Marketing

The B2B Content Marketing 2010: Professional Services Industry Report is based on research conducted by Junta42 and MarketingProfs in September 2010. I, for one, was surprised by the findings. I always assumed professional service firms were leaders in thought leadership marketing. They practically invented the discipline, after all. When I think of which companies I believe are most sophisticated and successful in using content to support sales and brand awareness, I think of McKinsey, Booz & Company and PwC. Turns out, professional service firms are not more likely to use content marketing—in fact, they trail their peers in a number of important ways.Continue Reading

By clare-mcdermott published January 18, 2011

Chief Content Officer Magazine Launches in Print and Digital

NOTE: Chief Content Officer magazine is completely free while we are in beta.  Get your free subscription today! (and it will continue to be free after that)

When Joe Pulizzi asked me to join him to launch Chief Content Officer magazine, I leapt at the chance in part because I love the glossy, rich feel of a print magazine. You could even say I’m a bit of an addict, subscribing to ten magazines at home—from the uber-hip Fast Company to straight-laced Foreign Affairs (and more than a few low-brow mags in between that I hide under the couch when company comes over).Continue Reading

By clare-mcdermott published January 3, 2011

Hot iPad Apps for Content Marketers

I’m not a cultish Apple fan, but the iPad has me swooning. For online content fanatics, it’s the ultimate consumption gadget… sort of like a Big Gulp for technophiles. For those of you lucky enough to have an iPad under the tree this season, here’s a round-up of the very best iPad apps for content marketers.


The app that leaves content marketer hearts aflutter. It aggregates your favorite online reading materials and suggestions from friends, and plops it all into a stunner magazine format. Think RSS feed + glossy mag. This app alone is worth the $500 iPad price tag. For a better understanding of the Flipboard experience, see the video.

Cost: Free

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By clare-mcdermott published October 14, 2010

PwC’s Global CEO Survey Shows How to Recycle, Repackage, Redistribute

Each year for the last 13 years, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) has published their much-anticipated Global CEO Survey. Released at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos each year, the PwC CEO Survey gives us access to over 1,000 business and government leaders—and in the last two years has been a valuable barometer of business confidence.

Last year, for the first time, PwC began to offer the survey in multiple formats, including customized reports by industry and geography, as well as multimedia versions of specific sections.

Marketers can learn a lot from how PwC manages to use this single research activity to produce dozens of sub-reports, multi-media presentations and events. They have perfected the art of content multiplication.Continue Reading