Author: Robert Rose

Robert is the founder and chief strategy officer of The Content Advisory, the education and consulting group for The Content Marketing Institute. Robert has worked with more than 500 companies, including 15 of the Fortune 100. He’s provided content marketing and strategy advice for global brands such as Capital One, NASA, Dell, McCormick Spices, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Robert’s third book – Killing Marketing, with co-author Joe Pulizzi has been called the “book that rewrites the rules of marketing.” His second book – Experiences: The Seventh Era of Marketing is a top seller and has been called a “treatise, and a call to arms for marketers to lead business innovation in the 21st century.” Robert’s first book, Managing Content Marketing, spent two weeks as a top 10 marketing book on and is generally considered to be the “owners manual” of the content marketing process. You can follow him on Twitter @Robert_Rose.

By robert-rose published January 28, 2022

How Planning To Fail Can Succeed [Rose-Colored Glasses]

An interesting question came up recently in a marketing group I follow on social media: “What content should we create?”

The first few comments on the post were what you might suspect. Some people encouraged the poster to interview people who fit their personas to find out what they struggle with. Others talked about getting over writer’s block. A few suggested they list every question their potential customers might have and write posts about that.

The original poster responded by acknowledging the value of these responses but clarified the question. They weren’t asking what they should write that would resonate with their target audiences. They were looking for content ideas that would drive the most reactions. Full stop.Continue Reading

By robert-rose published January 26, 2022

B2C Marketers: Make Sure You Are on Stable Ground [New Research]

There’s a wonderful scene in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when the rich investor, Walter Donovan, tries to convince Indy to go after the Holy Grail. He says, “We’re on the verge of completing a quest that began almost 2,000 years ago. We’re just one step away.” Indy responds, “That’s usually when the ground falls out from underneath your feet.”

When we released our 2021 B2C content marketing research, I noted the data showed the “imperative to develop direct, digital relationships with customers” became more important. But the pandemic making us all feel a little like Indiana Jones: “We’re making this up as we go.”

The pandemic and other events of 2020 had given marketers confidence in increasing the importance of content marketing. But, I noted, the responsibility coming from that power was important. If content marketers wanted to succeed, scale, and grow, they needed to help their businesses understand how to realize their “gut feeling” that better content was necessary through an intelligent and functional strategy.

Well, CMI’s B2C Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – Insights for 2022 indicates that B2C marketers still struggle with some classic content marketing challenges.

What challenges lie in wait for 2022?

Well, let’s explore.Continue Reading

By robert-rose published January 21, 2022

Your Audience Isn’t Really Interested in ‘Just the Facts’ Anymore [Rose-Colored Glasses]

Last week, I spoke to a client in the health care industry whose team wanted to develop a new digital content customer experience. But they felt frustrated.

Five years ago, with help from a couple of ad agency consultants, they’d come up with the idea to launch a digital platform to provide easy access to facts. All they needed, they thought, was to set up a digital library that could answer every question existing clients might have.

They would “let the facts speak for themselves” and win the customer retention battle.

<Narrator>: “It didn’t work.”Continue Reading

By robert-rose published January 14, 2022

You Could Build a Content Strategy While ‘Flying’ It – But Here’s a Better Way [Rose-Colored Glasses]

Are you trying to build your plane while flying it?

I don’t know where that phrase originated, but a 22-year-old advertising campaign from Fallon for digital consulting firm EDS helped popularize it. The comical TV and print ad showed people assembling an airliner in the air and testifying to how much they love their jobs.

The ad’s tagline explained the point – that EDS could help you “build your digital business even while you’re up and running.”

Fallon created the ad as part of an integrated campaign with two other funny videos: Cat Herders, about managing the complexity of digital business, and Running With the Squirrels, which claimed EDS could help legacy businesses compete like disruptive startups.

But the “building the plane while flying it” metaphor endures in digital strategy, and it’s usually invoked when established processes or procedures change.

These days, it feels like companies are building a whole lot of airplanes.Continue Reading

By robert-rose published January 7, 2022

Why You Might Not Need a Unified Content Development Process (Yet) [Rose-Colored Glasses]

The pandemic made organizations care (finally) about building a strategic content development function.

As a result, I see more and more content marketing leaders face the challenge of solving how content flows through the business. It all comes down to organizations finally learning what it means to act like a media company.

It won’t be easy.

Enterprises are a messy thatch of conflicting agendas, values, priorities, and goals. And the effects of these conflicts seem particularly harsh when it comes to content.

Why? Because content is communication. When parts of the business aren’t communicating well internally, the business can’t communicate well externally.Continue Reading

By robert-rose published December 8, 2021

Stop Juggling Content Creation – Follow This 5-Step Planning Process

We humans sometimes have a funny way of planning.

When thinking about how we’re going to allocate our time, resources, etc., we like to categorize things. In our personal lives, those categories might be work, lifestyle, family. In our business lives, they might be via divisions, marketing, sales, product, human resources, accounting, etc.

To make a plan, we put all the decisions made about our desired goals in each of these categories and break them down into tasks so that we can achieve them. Then we try to juggle them all. But we can’t. The decisions made here don’t fit the plan for there. And the plan there doesn’t fit the critical decision made here.Continue Reading

By robert-rose published November 18, 2021

Why Visual Storytelling Demands More Than Just Images

Visual stories have structure. They have beginnings, middles, and ends. They are about people – or at least humanistic souls – and they argue for a theme, or a moral, or a point by adhering to this structure.Continue Reading

By robert-rose published November 3, 2021

Are Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing Still Different?

For the first time in a long time, I was asked what the difference is between inbound marketing and content marketing. My answer wasn’t as up-to-date as it could have been, so I did a little digging.

Gather round friends, it’s been a hot minute since we’ve talked about inbound marketing.Continue Reading

By robert-rose published October 21, 2021

3 Disruptions To Know To Prepare for the Future of Content and Marketing

Our annual content marketing research was released last week, and as CMI’s Stephanie Stahl wrote, “(C)ompanies are waking up to the power of content marketing due in part to the pandemic.”

I say, “Yes, and …” through the lens of our consulting and advisory work with more than 30 brands over the last 18 months.

In spring 2020, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella famously said, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

Since then, we’ve seen at least three major disruptions that help us spot where we may be headed. And identifying the implications of these disruptions may help you develop your strategies to be ready for the future of content and marketing.Continue Reading

By robert-rose published October 20, 2021

Measuring Content Marketing Impact: How To Set Objectives That Matter

Welcome to the wonderful world of content marketing analytics.

I hear you saying, “I was told there would be no math in marketing.” The good news is that all kinds of tools will help you do all that math.

The bad news is none of these tools will help you understand what the numbers mean for your business.

In marketing, there are no standard rules for what defines success. The measurements – or metrics – that mean success at your company may indicate failure at mine.Continue Reading