The Content Strategist - Posts from April 2016

  • ‘A $700 Juice Box’ and 5 Other Stories You Should Read

    Here’s what you missed when you spent the whole week planning an April Fools’ joke only to have it blow up in your face like it always does… Deadspin: NFL Demands Retraction From New York Times Selected by Dillon Baker, associate editor If you haven’t been following the drama surrounding The New York Times and the NFL, it basically goes like this: The New York Times released an article with evi.

    The Content Strategist- 23 readers -
  • The 5 Best (and 5 Worst) April Fools’ Pranks from Brands

    Prick up your ears on March 31 and you can hear the words “Trust me, this is going to be hilarious” gently echoing through all of the office buildings on the planet. A cleverly executed April Fools’ gag can do a few wonderful things for a business—give it some humanity, drum up free publicity, and even bring in leads.

    The Content Strategist- 27 readers -
  • The Best Branded Content of March (and April Fools’ Day)

    Last April Fools’ Day, our co-founder Shane Snow and head of events Jess Black posted Craigslist ads in 16 cities offering up a free goat. They posed as Sam Slaughter, our VP of content, instructing all goat-seekers to call him immediately. Sam was very confused when the calls started coming in, but he was also proud of the collection of batshit crazy voicemails accumulating.

    Joe Lazauskas/ The Content Strategistin Content- 25 readers -
  • Content Sutra, Ep. 8: What Happens When the Algorithms Take Over?

    When I decided to go to a college that didn’t require me to take any math or science courses, I never thought I’d spend so much time analyzing algorithms. But thanks to the Facebook-ification of social media, algorithm talk is now inescapable. This past week, Instagram rolled out an algorithm for its feed, and joined Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and others in attempting to fig ...

    Joe Lazauskas/ The Content Strategistin Content- 19 readers -
  • 4 Content Marketing Trends Dominating the U.K.

    According to the Content Marketing Institute, 85 percent of marketing professionals in the United Kingdom now use content marketing, and 64 percent increased their spending in 2015. As these companies continue to experiment with social media, online video, custom magazines, and mobile, they’re finding innovative ways to strike that delicate balance between relaying a brand mess ...

    Tessa Wegert/ The Content Strategistin Display Content- 39 readers -
  • Facebook Isn’t a Social Network Anymore

    Twelve years ago, Facebook started out as a place for people to post about themselves. But lately, the platform looks more like a giant digital store where brands buy our attention. In fact, the purpose of the world’s biggest social network has changed so drastically that Facebook may not even be able to call itself a social network.

    Dillon Baker/ The Content Strategistin Social- 32 readers -
  • ‘Office Perks Are Dumb,” and 4 Other Stories You Should Read

    Here’s what you missed while wondering how Wolf Blitzer still has his job… Outside: Is Social Media Screwing Over Explorers? Selected by Dillon Baker, associate editor Outdoorsy brands have sponsored landmark expeditions for years. Thanks to social media, veteran explorers are now being slowly replaced by more social-savvy—but oftentimes less experienced—alternatives.

    The Content Strategist- 13 readers -
  • OMG: You Won’t Believe What BuzzFeed is Doing to Advertising

    At BuzzFeed, even the data scientists are masters of memes. Last spring, we first wrote about BuzzFeed Pound, a remarkable technology that uses network diffusion to reveal exactly how a piece of content spreads online, from sharer to sharer and platform to platform. A few days later, a tweet arrived in response to the story—a GIF of the headshots of red-headed identical twins ...

    The Content Strategistin Social- 42 readers -
  • The Sequel Paradox, in 11 Charts

    How important is originality in filmmaking? Instead of heading to the theater for Batman vs. Superman or My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 last week, I took a painstaking look at the data on 600 recent movie sequels to find out. This is apparently how nerds spend their spare time.[footnote]My colleague Greta inadvertently joined the nerd ranks by spending her weekend helping me compile the data.

    Shane Snow/ The Content Strategistin SEO- 13 readers -
  • 4 Virtual Reality Rules for Brands

    Will virtual reality replace TV in 10 years? Will headsets make iPhones obsolete? Will all branded have to make all their content VR to stay relevant? VR is still in its infancy, which means the hyperbolic questions and predictions are here. But here’s the reality: It’s too early to tell. But the lack of certainty doesn’t mean that marketers can ignore VR.

    Melissa Lafsky/ The Content Strategist- 22 readers -
  • Study: Why B2B Marketers Waste 19% of Their Budgets

    Imagine that you were only getting 81 cents of value out of every dollar you spent. If you only wasted a few bucks, it might be okay to eat the occasional loss. But over time, those losses would add up, and it probably wouldn’t take long for you to start rethinking your spending habits. Now put yourself in the position of someone investing billions of dollars.

    Aaron Orendorff/ The Content Strategist- 38 readers -
  • The Facebook Live Broadcast That Will Ruin Your Childhood

    Did you have a dream last night about a hauntingly life-sized Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head clumsily battling the Monopoly Man in a game of Hungry, Hungry, Hippos? Did you plead with your brain to wake up as you watched the game unfold in silence under the dim hum of florescent lights? Did you stare at the window and wonder if there was any way to escape? If so, I have some bad news.

    Joe Lazauskas/ The Content Strategistin Social- 8 readers -
  • Most Valuable Publishers

    When most athletes announce their retirements, they wipe away tears during a press conference and answer banal questions from beat reporters. When Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant told the world he was going to hang up his Nikes for good, he wrote a poem. What’s more noteworthy than the quality of Bryant’s free verse is where the poem was published: on The Players’ Tribune, ...

    Jordan Teicher/ The Content Strategist- 13 readers -
  • 7 Takeaways From Cision’s ‘State of the Media’ Report

    As soon as technology changes, it doesn’t take long for the media industry to start evolving with it. But how? As everything from social media to mobile phones affects change so rapidly, it’s hard to determine what’s a passing fad and what’s actually changing the way media operates. To address that distinction, Cision, a communications software company, recently conducted a su ...

    Jillian Richardson/ The Content Strategistin Mobile- 12 readers -
  • Period Piece

    Miki and Radha Agrawal didn’t plan on disrupting the feminine hygiene industry when they entered a three-legged race. All they wanted to do was win. And the identical-twin soccer stars were well on their way—until Radha felt blood dripping down her leg. She had her period. If you’re a biological female, chances are you’ve got a story like this.

    The Content Strategist- 8 readers -
  • Finance Marketers Explain How to Capture a High-Value Audience

    In 2013, a media corporation told the story of a fearless optimist who treks through an icy winter to free the kingdom trapped under her sister’s powers. The story inspired a generation of loyal toddlers (and their parents) and resulted in a $1.2 billion franchise that bumped the corporation’s first-quarter earnings 13 percent.

    The Content Strategistin How To's- 6 readers -
  • 7 Smart Ways for Content Marketers to Beat Writer’s Block

    Last month, the lightbulb went on with a story idea. Minutes later, it shut off again. After dealing with the effects of a creative rut, my momentary joy was erased when a Google search revealed that my latest idea had already been done by The Huffington Post, Mashable, and Forbes. I was dejected, sure, but also surprised. I didn’t expect all those sites to cover content marketing.

    The Content Strategistin Content- 17 readers -
  • 5 Content Marketing Takeaways from JPMorgan Chase

    As the sixth-largest public company in the world and the largest bank in the United States, JPMorgan Chase already has millions of customers. So as it continues to invest in publishing content on its blog, the brand has had to confront a unique challenge: How can it build brand affinity in an industry racked with consumer mistrust? On April 6, Brian Becker, the executive direc ...

    Dillon Baker/ The Content Strategistin Content- 25 readers -
  • 3 Content Marketing Takeaways From American Express

    American Express OPEN Forum is all about community. The branded blog is considered a gold standard for content marketing, and for good reason. Besides impressive longform initiatives like “The Journey,” a multimedia project that chronicled the story of a small kombucha business, OPEN Forum consistently produces helpful content for a loyal audience of small business owners.

    Dillon Baker/ The Content Strategistin Social Content- 20 readers -
  • ‘Pretend You’re a White Male’: Freelance Writing’s Gender Problem

    This article originally appeared on The Freelancer. If you’re a freelance writer, the majority of your editors are probably male while the majority of your colleagues are probably female. That’s not just an anecdotal generalization. The American Society of News Editors (ASNE)’s latest report showed that, on average, women made up only 37 percent of newsroom staffs and only he ...

    The Content Strategist- 10 readers -
  • The Customer Service Arms Race

    The other day I had several questions about Olark, a San Francisco-based software company. So I went to the company’s website to find answers. But before I could even begin to look for a link to an FAQ page or help center, a pop-up featuring three smiling faces beckoned from the home page: “We’re Olark. Chat with us.

    The Content Strategist- 11 readers -
  • The Dangerous Power of Emotional Advertising

    It takes less than three seconds to have a gut reaction. According to Dan Hill in Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success, “emotions process sensory input in only one-fifth the time our conscious, cognitive brain takes to assimilate that same input.” Emotions, rather than cognitive thinking, have a more profound impact on our actions; create lasting, instinctual ...

    The Content Strategist- 10 readers -
  • Is It Morally Okay to Ghostwrite Thought Leadership?

    I was 21 when I found out that a friend was ghostwriting recipes for a celebrity chef. The recipes were published in a highly respected U.K. magazine, which really shocked me at the time. In my naivety, I could barely comprehend that the chef wouldn’t take time out of his day to sit and write his own recipes. It was almost as crushing as finding out the truth about Santa Claus.

    The Content Strategist- 13 readers -
  • Introducing: Contently’s New Media Library for Enterprise-Wide Content

    Disorganization is the enemy of productivity. In content marketing, it can rear its ugly head in the planning process, throughout the course of production, and when managing content assets across multiple departments. When brands don’t know where or how to access valuable company assets, the result is inconsistent messaging and a waste of time and resources.

    The Content Strategistin Content- 8 readers -
  • Introducing Document Analytics

    Last month, in an announcement about Contently’s acquisition of Minneapolis-based tech firm Docalytics, Contently CTO Dave Goldberg asked the billion-dollar question: “Brands spend a remarkable amount of money each year creating dark assets like white papers, slideshows, pricing worksheets, and sales collateral.

    The Content Strategist- 14 readers -
  • The Quest for the Perfect Headline

    The best headline ever written is “Headless Body in Topless Bar.” It appeared on the front page of the New York Post in 1983—simple, symmetrical, and intriguing. Five words that tell a story but still compel you to find out more. Today, you’d probably never see that headline, at least not online. Most publishers now favor either conversational titles or listicles, ideally with ...

    Jordan Teicher/ The Content Strategist- 13 readers -
  • Thinx’s CEO Talks Feminism, Advertising, and Conscious Capitalism

    When I first asked people what they thought about the concept of ‘period panties,’ they responded with scrunched faces and genuine confusion. “Wait. How does that work?” “Why would anyone want to bleed in their underwear?” These are the questions that Thinx CEO Miki Agrawal has attempted to answer with content campaigns spewed across New York City’s public transportation sys ...

    The Content Strategist- 11 readers -
  • 3 Finance Execs Share Their Biggest Content Marketing Challenges

    In the years following the Great Recession, industrial production declined, university students went to extreme odds to find jobs, and big banks and their financial affiliates lost consumer trust. As late as 2014, the Edelman Trust Barometer revealed financial services was, yet again, the least trusted industry in the world.

    The Content Strategist- 9 readers -
  • Beyond the Blog

    The SXSW program is always a great barometer of dominant buzzwords. Take “content marketing.” Four years ago, there were only a handful of content marketing panels, and they were all cordoned off at a Sheraton a mile from the convention center. This year, the term appeared nearly 1,200 times in the schedule. By comparison, “synergy” only got 18 mentions.

    Joe Lazauskas/ The Content Strategist- 14 readers -
  • 5 Freelancers Share Their Worst Client Horror Stories

    This article originally appeared on The Freelancer. Every freelancer has at least one horror story of a crazy, ridiculous, or even illegal client request—one that made them spit out their coffee and stare at their laptop in horror and say, “You want me to do what?!?” In fact, it was after going through a traumatic freelancing experience of my own that I decided to write this piece.

    The Content Strategist- 17 readers -
  • 10 LinkedIn Messages You Should Never Send to Freelancers

    This article originally appeared on The Freelancer. LinkedIn can be a useful platform for freelance writers to find clients, meet PR people with interesting pitches, and connect with others in the industry. But that doesn’t mean everything in our inboxes is useful. Far from it. From the recent college grad begging for a job to the editor with an “exciting opportunity” to prod ...

    The Content Strategist- 15 readers -
  • The Branded Social Media Championship Bracket

    Intoxicated by March Madness and a nostalgia for Grantland’s ridiculous brackets (“Which Tom Cruise is the Best Tom Cruise?“), the Contently edit team decided to blow off real work this week and answer a very important question: Which branded social media account is the greatest of all? So, we made a bracket. Now, we know what you’re thinking: You guys are really big dorks! This is true.

    The Content Strategistin Social- 26 readers -
  • How 3 U.K. Companies Became High-Class Publishers

    While U.K. and U.S. brands may not see eye to eye on the proper use of the term “football,” whether one puts jam or jelly on toast, or the true definition of the word “pants,” companies from both countries can agree on the benefits of content marketing. According to The Content Marketing Institute, 88 percent of U.K.

    Tessa Wegert/ The Content Strategistin How To's- 9 readers -
  • Content Sutra Ep. 9: Why Brand Editors Matter

    In the mad scramble to create a content strategy and prove ROI, marketers can forget something very important: Craft matters. A lot. All too often, brands come up with a solid content plan and then point to a career marketer in the corner of the room and say, “You’re the content guy now”—with no regard for the fact that editing is a highly specialized skill that most people ca ...

    Joe Lazauskas/ The Content Strategistin Content- 7 readers -
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