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 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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By mlinn published July 30, 2017

How to Explain Content Marketing to Anyone

how-explain-content-marketing-anyoneThe concept of content marketing has been around for hundreds of years (see this example from 1672), and the discipline has gained incredible popularity since 2007, according to Google Trends. Continue Reading

By mlinn published July 27, 2017

How Content Influences the Purchasing Process: Tips for Content Marketers [Research]

how-content-influences-purchasing-processEach year at CMI, we survey marketers about how they use content marketing and how they find success internally. The insights are useful, but what we also want to know is what’s going on in the minds of the people who consume the content?

So, we were happy to join forces with SmartBrief when approached about doing a joint research project on how content influences the purchasing process. The survey represents the views of 1,200 SmartBrief subscribers who are involved in the purchasing process. The research focuses on what type of content is most influential, how these decision-makers perceive content coming from a vendor, and more.Continue Reading

By mlinn published July 17, 2017

10 Most Common Content Marketing Questions: Real-World Insights for Enterprise Marketers


At CMI, we get a lot of them, and we answer them in blog posts, interviews, one-on-one conversations, etc.

We (still) are often asked what content marketing is, how brands truly find success, and how to get started.

We field a lot of questions about how to generate leads with content marketing, but our answer isn’t focused on leads — it’s about the real value in building a subscriber.Continue Reading

By mlinn published July 13, 2017

Marketers: 14 Opportunities to Make Your Content Efforts More Scalable [New Research]

2017_ICC_CMI_StrategySurvey_CoverAnyone involved in the planning, creation, distribution, or measurement of content knows how time consuming and expensive it can be. It doesn’t make sense to simply publish something, promote it, and never look back. That’s a terrible way to get the most from your investment – not to mention that approach often results in a poor experience for your prospects and customers.

Think about the last time you went to a website looking for answers, and instead of stumbling upon something current and helpful, you found ROT – redundant, out-of-date, and trivial content. Did you poke around to find better info or did you go someplace else?

ROT occurs when you fail to plan what happens to your content after you hit publish and do the initial promotion. This one-and-done approach is costly to businesses – and, as your content library grows, it often makes the readers’ experience less than ideal. Continue Reading

By mlinn published July 4, 2017

7 Things You Need to Have a Productive (and Happy) Content Marketing Team

things-need-happy-productive-content-marketing-teamI love talking and waxing philosophical about productivity. Knowing how we work is so essential if we want to create that resonant content we crave – and feel like we are all making a positive difference.

But I realized recently that I think a lot about my individual productivity instead of the productivity of the team. Of course, working together as a team is ridiculously important – and it’s one of the reasons I’m interested in Agile marketing.

While individual “tricks” continue to be useful, what does your team need to make sure they are working in the best possible way? Continue Reading