Author: Michele Linn

Michele Linn is the co-founder and chief strategy officer of Mantis Research, a consultancy focused on helping brands create and amplify original research they can use in their marketing. Before starting Mantis, Michele was head of editorial at Content Marketing Institute, where she led the company's strategic editorial direction, co-developed its annual research studies, wrote hundreds of articles, spoke at industry events and was instrumental in building the platform to 200,000 subscribers. In 2015, she was named one of Folio's Top Women in Media (Corporate Visionary). You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn.

By mlinn published August 14, 2019

7 Things Successful Marketers Do With Original Research

Are you a marketer who publishes your survey-based research – or are you considering it? You likely know how much time and effort go into creating a survey, getting respondents, analyzing the data, writing the findings, and promoting the outcomes to relevant audiences.

Knowing what – and how – to prioritize the many steps in a successful research project can make the process a lot less intimidating and easier to manage.

I recently dug into this topic for a study my firm conducted with our friends at BuzzSumo. We surveyed nearly 650 marketers. While the majority consider original research to be effective, some marketers have more success than others.

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By mlinn published April 12, 2019

Google Analytics Report: 4 You Need to Know

Editor’s note: Google Analytics is a treasure trove of information – sometimes too much data. That’s why we brought back this article about four Analytics reports that every content marketer should review.

While you can use the data from Google Analytics in myriad ways, the four most helpful reports for your content marketing cover traffic, navigation summary, traffic from organic search, and conversions.

Once you understand what this data is and how to track it, you can mix and match insights to take advantage of opportunities with your web-based content, driving more traffic to your site and (more importantly) doing more with the traffic you have.

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By mlinn published January 2, 2019

16 More Quotes to Inspire Your Content Marketing

In 2017, I shared a compilation of 23 inspirational quotes, from Rachael Ray to Ann Handley to Andy Weir and many people in between. Each of those quotes continues to inspire me and impact the way I think about content marketing

Today, to kick off the new year, the CMI editorial team asked me to share some more quotes.

I’ve been a quote junkie since I was a kid. Some of the quotes I’ve included this year I picked up recently. Others came from the dog-eared journal I started in 1993, which includes gems like this one:

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By mlinn published August 1, 2018

How to Plan a Year’s Worth of Content With One Original Research Survey


When you look at the library of content you publish, is it a string of somewhat-related blog posts, videos and more — or do all the pieces work together to tell a better, broader story?

Of course (to poorly paraphrase Robert Rose), you want your editorial to tell one story instead of each piece being disconnected from the rest.

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By mlinn published July 16, 2018

Your Editorial Calendar Is Not Your Content Marketing Strategy

editorial-calendar-not-content-marketing-strategyEditor’s note: You may have missed this article when CMI published it last year. We’re sharing it now because the misperceptions about editorial calendars and content marketing strategies are still common.

Marketers often talk about how they have a strategy … then proceed to say they are set because they have an editorial calendar.

At the risk of sounding ranty, I’d love to yell from the rooftops: An editorial calendar is not a content marketing strategy!

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By mlinn published April 25, 2018

10 (Mostly) Quick Wins to Steal for Your Original Research Project


Did you know Andy Crestodina spends 150 hours on his annual blogger study? (This truly blew my mind – and it’s just one of the many insights I gleaned from a recent podcast with Andy on the Inbound Success podcast on original research. Absolutely worth a listen!)

While I can’t quantify how much time I have invested on any given research project, it’s somewhere in the ballpark of heaps to a truckload. Putting in the time – and money – makes sense because research works, but you can do much more beyond publishing the initial findings.

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By mlinn published January 1, 2018

3 Aha Moments to Improve Your Content Marketing in 2018


When you have been in any industry for awhile, it’s easy to feel a bit burnt out on the topic.

As the former head of editorial at CMI I’ve read thousands of articles, written hundreds of posts, and had countless conversations about content marketing. Still, I continue to have aha moments that impact how I approach content marketing.

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By mlinn published November 13, 2017

An Easy-to-Apply Framework to Build Your (New or Mature) Content Marketing Team


“Peek behind great content marketing efforts and you’ll nearly always find a driven, well-organized team.”

I adore this sentiment from Cameron Conaway because it succinctly illustrates the power of your content marketing team. Regardless of how much content marketing know-how you ingest, here’s the dirty little secret: Those ideas only work if you have the right people on your team to implement them.

In short: Your success (or failure) in large part depends on your team.
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By mlinn published November 9, 2017

Building Your Content Marketing Team? 14 Skills for New, Growing, and Mature Programs


Each year, CMI founder Joe Pulizzi covers the essential roles you need on your content marketing team. It’s one of those posts that is consistently well received because it hits a nerve: Whom do you need on your team to make content marketing work in your organization?

I had the pleasure of thinking through this question in more detail when Joe asked me to speak about creating the ultimate content marketing team at Content Marketing World 2017. While I shared a framework useful for restructuring your team and/or making hiring decisions (which will be published shortly on this blog), today we’re digging into the various skill areas your team needs to cover.

But before we do that, a bit of explanation …
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By mlinn published November 5, 2017

4 Ways to Shift Your Thinking to Truly Focus on Your Audience


Audience first.

Are you tired of hearing this mantra? I am.

But, here’s the thing: Too many marketers say and even think they are all about the audience, but when you dig into their programs, you see it’s still all about them.

While it’s not easy to make a genuine shift, here are four twists in perspective to truly make sure your audience is at the center of everything you do.

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