Author: Dennis McCafferty

Dennis McCafferty is vice president of content for W2 Communications and is responsible for a wide range of strategic content marketing-messaging efforts for tech-industry clients. Previously, he launched his own content business, DM Enterprises, and worked with clients such as IBM, Advanced Micro Devices, USAA, Nationwide, Ritz-Carlton, MasterCard, GM, and many others. He also served as senior writer at USA WEEKEND, for which he interviewed Presidents Bush and Clinton, Caroline Kennedy, Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Peyton Manning, and Shaquille O'Neal, among others. During his time with WEEKEND, he appeared on CNN, Fox News, NPR, ESPN, and numerous other outlets. He lives in Herndon, Va., and, in his free time, is very active in local community theater, having performed in productions such as Our Town, Macbeth, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Witness for the Prosecution and It’s a Wonderful Life. Follow him on Twitter @dmccaff.

By dennis-mccafferty published March 31, 2014

Building Killer Relationships: 10 Content Job Lessons from ‘The Godfather’

godfather-trust-content-marketing“I believe in America…”

With these four words, The Godfather opens with the first of countless memorable lines — a testimony to the lasting power of what’s widely acknowledged as one of the most perfectly written scripts in film history. And the people behind the movie certainly believed in good, old-fashioned American capitalism, as they collaborated upon 175 minutes of content that delivered staggering ROI: The Godfather was shot for less than $6.5 million and made more than $245 million.Continue Reading

By dennis-mccafferty published January 7, 2014

How to Keep Infographics from Ruining Your Visual Content: 8 Rules

infographics-cluttered exampleHave we devolved into a society of such die-hard “visual learners” that we can’t be bothered with text formats at all? Apparently so, because it’s difficult to call up content marketing these days without finding a link to the now-ubiquitous infographic — increasingly in lieu of more traditional, complete forms of content delivery. 

Unfortunately, too many visual content assets are incredibly painful to wade through — over the top with a busy mishmash of off-putting graphics. (Some designers appear to be getting paid according to the number of images they can cram into one stand-alone.) Low-quality visual content like this lacks narrative-driven cohesiveness, which translates to effective brand promotion. Too frequently, they are the products of designers attempting to impress, well, other designers. Which is why I call infographics the “Emperor’s New Clothes” of the 21st century. Eventually (I hope) content marketers will carefully examine the wealth of misfires and conclude that there’s nothing there, and then focus on creating visual content that supports a content marketing message instead of muddling it. Continue Reading

By dennis-mccafferty published September 30, 2013

How to Battle 7 “Sins” that Derail Content Marketing Success

devil-angel-sins and absolution-successful content marketingThey push for a “hard sell” when the target audience isn’t looking for an advertisement. They’re passive-aggressive about critical deadlines. And they’ll never tell you what they want when they demand a redo on content you produced (they only give less-than-constructive criticisms, like, “I Hate Hate Hate it!” before bouncing it back to you. Grrrr…).

Content marketing professionals serve challenging clients and internal stakeholders like these all the time. Fortunately, most clients are perceptive enough to recognize their shortcomings, and try to manage them without impacting the quality of the work itself. But the reality is that there will always be those who impose obstacles that can threaten any chance they have of achieving content marketing success. Continue Reading

By dennis-mccafferty published April 29, 2013

How to Stop Jargon From Pulling the Plug Out of Your Powerful Content

jargon road signWe live in the Age of Jargon-Geddon, buried under a blizzard of buzzwords.

For example, during the day, we use expressions such as “core competencies” (meaning: “what we’re good at“), “best of breed” (are we talking about show dogs?), and “ideate” (as opposed to “think?”).

After work, those of us who are parents attend school meetings, where educators tell us (with straight faces) that we must improve “enrichment processes to elevate engagement structures.” Translated from jargon into English (you know, the language we send our kids to school to learn to use properly and clearly), this means: “We need to do a better job of keeping our kids interested in class.

I’ve even taken part in a lively debate over whether content marketers, too, are guilty of resorting to jargon to describe what we do, in an attempt to mystify work that is (let’s face it) not exactly as complex as quantum physics. Continue Reading

By dennis-mccafferty published February 20, 2013

6 Questions Content Marketers Should Ask Before Hiring a Journalist

hiring a journalist for content marketingIn a blog posted in January, Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi spoke of the rise of once-traditional journalists working on the brand side as one of three critical content marketing trends that signal big industry changes ahead.

I can certainly vouch for that trend, because I was one of those journalists. Continue Reading