Author: Marcia Riefer Johnston

Marcia Riefer Johnston is the author of Word Up! How to Write Powerful Sentences and Paragraphs (And Everything You Build from Them) and You Can Say That Again: 750 Redundant Phrases to Think Twice About. As a former member of the CMI team, she served as Managing Editor of Content Strategy. She has run a technical-writing business for … a long time. She taught technical writing in the Engineering School at Cornell University and studied literature and creative writing in the Syracuse University Masters program under Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolff. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter @MarciaRJohnston. For more, see Writing.Rocks.

By marcia-johnston published January 26, 2015

IBM’s James Mathewson on Making Marketing Content Intelligent


Many content marketers find the promise of intelligent content intriguing, but they have a hard time finding examples that showcase the value of this approach in marketing. To help address this need, Scott Abel and I recently interviewed James Mathewson, the Global Program Director for Search and Structured Content Strategy at IBM, about the role of intelligent content in marketing.

In this interview, summarized below, James describes the way a team of content creators and technology experts have created a structured intelligent-content strategy to make IBM’s marketing content findable, usable, reusable, responsive, and personalized.

Read on to learn what has worked at IBM and how adopting intelligent content has opened new opportunities for creating, delivering, and measuring quality content.Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published January 7, 2015

A Case Study in Intelligent Content: The Language of Content Strategy


Bite-sized. Organized. Consistent.

Guy Kawasaki uses those terms to describe The Language of Content Strategy by Scott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie. (I was privileged to write the foreword.) This is a minidictionary of a book. I take that back. It’s not a book. Well, it is a book. It’s just that calling it a book misses the point. It’s a print book, an eBook, a card deck, and an interactive website. The Language of Content Strategy is a multi-deliverable product.Continue Reading

By marcia-johnston published December 17, 2014

Intelligent Content: The Elephant and Its Parts


Coming to terms with the robust definition of intelligent content reminds me of the blind men describing an elephant:

“It’s like a rope.”

“It’s like a tree.”

“It’s like a wall.”

We need to get a sense of each part of intelligent content before we can step back and see the whole critter.Continue Reading