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 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

By mlinn published June 28, 2017

17 No-Cost Ways Writers Can Extend Reach of Their Editorial

extend-reach-editorialOn LinkedIn, a writer recently lamented:

The frustrating thing is, time spent on (promotion) strategies would detract from time spent doing my job, writing content for my clients. It feels like we are focusing more on the pot of gold, not the rainbow.

As a writer, do you feel the same way? Continue Reading

By mlinn published June 12, 2017

5 Editorial Experiments You May Want to Try

editorial-experiments-want-to-tryBack in the early days of CMI, we used to experiment all the time. (OK … sometimes “experiment” was code for “we don’t quite know what we’re doing, but let’s try this …”) As our business matured, we focused more of our attention on what works and putting processes around those things to make them the most efficient and effective as possible.

But just because we better understand what works doesn’t mean we should stop trying new things.

So our editorial team is conducting a few experiments this summer, and we want to bring you along on that adventure. Our goal is to be transparent about what’s working – and what’s not – to ultimately help you in your content marketing efforts.Continue Reading

By mlinn published May 24, 2017

7 Ways to Stop Flailing with Your Content Marketing in 2017


Be better.

This simple mantra always plays in the back of my head when it comes to what we publish, but it’s becoming louder and louder these days – as the noise around content marketing becomes louder as well.

I love content marketing, and I truly believe that – when it’s done well – it’s great for your customers and a fantastic way to build and grow a business.Continue Reading

By mlinn published May 5, 2017

Your Editorial Calendar is Not Your Content Marketing Strategy


More and more, I am hearing marketers talk about how they have a strategy . . . and 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!

An editorial calendar is NOT a #contentmarketing strategy, rants @MicheleLinn. Click To Tweet

While this conflict may seem like an issue of semantics, the confusion and meshing of these terms point to a bigger issue.Continue Reading