2017 Mid-Year Content Marketing Checkup

The months of mid-year-content-marketing-checkupJune and July are the perfect time to reflect on your content marketing strategy. What’s working? What isn’t? What needs to change going into the fall season?

As you complete your internal audit, here are some ideas and questions for consideration to help level up your program.

Get rid of the writers

If your internal experts or story contacts aren’t adept at writing, don’t force them to write. Use a professional writer to interview that person. Have the expert check over the information for accuracy, and then let the writer finish the piece. A few innovative companies that work with CMI have taken away all writing assignments from their employees and given them to outside writers. It saves on employee time, editing time, and, in most cases, produces content that is far superior.

If your internal experts aren’t adept at writing, don’t force them to write, says @JoePulizzi.
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Partner up

I find it fascinating that more companies don’t partner with non-competitive businesses on content marketing projects and instead choose to go it alone. By partnering, you can share the cost of the project and double up on distribution. Our website never would have happened in 2010 had it not been for five partners helping to fund and promote the content.

Grow a speaker

IBM has been working on an internal influencer program for years, working to build up its employees into promising speakers and dynamic keynotes. Every company of any size should have a plan to find, nurture, and grow speaking talent. With corporate events on the rise, there are more opportunities to speak at events (and webinars) than ever before, but you should groom your experts in advance to take advantage of these opportunities.

Every company of any size should have a plan to find, nurture, & grow speaking talent, says @JoePulizzi.
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Consider print comeback

With companies like Airbnb and Lincoln Electric launching print magazines in the past 12 to 18 months, print, as a medium, is starting to heat up again. There may be no better way to break through the clutter of digital information than through a quality, consistent print magazine. Since your corporate management may find it difficult to understand why this strategy would work, you may want this to be one of those situations where partnering up to diffuse risk makes sense.

Break through the clutter of digital information through a quality, consistent print magazine, says @JoePulizzi
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Kill your newsletter

In the past, when you visited a corporate blog post, it often didn’t have a sufficient call to action to encourage newsletter sign-ups. Most companies have fixed this issue, and now promote some kind of email offering. Unfortunately, in my experience, most corporate e-newsletters range from boring to terrible. Think about these questions: Is your e-newsletter amazing? Is it truly helpful? Is it targeted to one audience?

Today your e-newsletter is more important than ever … you need to treat it as such. That may mean you need to kill your current newsletter and create real value from the ashes.

You may need to kill your current newsletter and create real value from the ashes, says @JoePulizzi.
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Choose your best thing

In almost all cases, content marketers are doing too much. Creating too much content, in too many ways, without getting the results they would like to see. I recommend killing something that isn’t driving results. Put that time and effort into something that is working and make it even better.

Engage with sales team

A few years back, Xerox identified a disconnect between marketing and sales. Specifically, the salespeople didn’t know and didn’t care about what the content marketing team was creating and distributing. The solution? Xerox developed a content marketing program specifically for the sales team, which culminated in a weekly email wrap-up to salespeople that included strategies to leverage content that would help them drive sales. If your sales team isn’t leveraging your content in some way, it’s your fault, not theirs. Fix it.

Join an audio revolution

This article by Gary Vaynerchuk makes a solid case for audio. If I was to start a content platform today to build an audience, audio would be my first choice. Why? First, usage is up and starting to accelerate. Second, major content gaps still exist in audio, unlike text-based content and video. Third, audio is the only type of content where the audience can multitask.

If I launched a content platform to build an audience today, audio would be my first choice, says @JoePulizzi.
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Think about these ideas too

Need more suggestions? Here are 10 ideas to consider:

  1. Start working on a book for your business. Yes, a real, printed book. If you want to be the leading expert in your industry, a book can pave the way for speaking opportunities, guest posts, surprise coverage, and blog posts to fill a year.
  2. Get at least five employees who are not in marketing involved in your weekly content plan.
  3. Develop a list of the top 100 questions coming from your customer base.
  4. Develop a content marketing metrics plan for your CEO or supervisor that includes only those metrics that make the case for company business objectives.
  5. Find a way to work with the leading trade magazine in your niche on a joint content effort.
  6. If you have the budget, identify media companies in your industry that may be ripe for acquisition.
  7. Develop a customer event that doesn’t talk about your projects but educates them on where the industry is going.
  8. Create a piece of content this year that would be completely unexpected and see what happens.
  9. Send a videographer and journalist to the next industry event and cover it.
  10.  Whatever you do this year, make sure you are telling a story that’s different than everyone else’s in your industry – not just the same story told incrementally better.

Here’s hoping that there is at least one golden idea in this mix that will help you finish strong for 2017.

Want one more idea to boost your content marketing program in 2017? Register today for Content Marketing World, Sept. 5-8, in Cleveland, Ohio. Use the code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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This Week in Content Marketing: The New York Times Shows That Email Is the Next Best Thing

NYT_email-next-best-thingPNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher. If you enjoy our show, we would love it if you would rate it or post a review on iTunes.

In this week’s episode

Robert ponders whether saying “I don’t” is a viable alternative to saying “no.” On the news front, we offer an overview of NerdWallet’s content-first approach, which has taken the company from zero to over $500 million in revenue, and outline how The New York Times is killing it in the email game by opening up new marketing opportunities that focus on retention and loyalty. Rants and raves include net neutrality and YouTube’s ad crisis; then we close the show with an example of the week from Mobil.

Download this week’s PNR: This Old Marketing podcast

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Show details

  • (00:01): An advertising blast from the past: “The Ginsu Knife”
  • (00:50): Robert muses on this week’s theme: Can we say no by saying yes?
  • (05:33): Welcome to Episode 188: Recorded on June 18, 2017 (Running time: 1:06:48)
  • (11:45): A bonus offer from our episode sponsor, VideoBlocks: VideoBlocks is an affordable, subscription-based stock media site that gives you unlimited access to premium stock footage. Its sister site, AudioBlocks, has a 100,000+ library of music tracks, sound effects, and loops to complement your videos.VideoBlocks has one of the fastest-growing, largest stock video libraries, with over 3 million videos, After Effects templates, and motion backgrounds. This includes its contributor marketplace that gives 100% of the commission back to the artists and passes the savings on to you! This month, VideoBlocks is launching its latest collection: Creator to Creator. With more than 1,000 artistic and creative lifestyle clips to choose from, VideoBlocks is featuring videos and music from creators just like you for your next project. And don’t forget: Downloads are yours forever, even after your trial ends, and are 100% royalty free.

    Sign up now for our two-for-one deal: You’ll get AudioBlocks for free when you sign up for your $149 VideoBlocks subscription today. That’s a $100 discount on unlimited downloads of both video and audio clips, available only to PNR listeners.


The PNR perspective on notable news and trends

  • (15:15): How NerdWallet used content to build a $520 million company. (Source: The Hustle)
  • (27:30): The New York Times has 50 different email newsletters, helping it amass 13 million subscriptions. (Source: Digiday)
  • (34:31): Why we should all double-down on trust marketing in the “fake news” era. (Source: AdWeek)

Rants and raves

  • (44:47): Robert’s commentary: Tech companies like Amazon, Etsy, and Reddit are calling for an internet-wide day of action on July 12 to preserve net neutrality. If ever there was a cause that marketers should band together to support, it’s this one. (Source: CNET)
  • (48:33): Joe’s rave: A few months ago, we discussed YouTube’s “ad-friendly” decision to prohibit certain “controversial” artists from monetizing their video content. Some members of the YouTube community have responded by cleverly adjusting their content to keep their ad revenues flowing. (Sources: YouTube video 1, YouTube video 2)

This Old Marketing example of the week

(53:53): Mobil’s Pegasus Magazine: Though I recently took Exxon-Mobil to task for its self-focused mission statement, Robert just came across a cool effort from Mobil that, if resurrected, might redeem this reputation. Published from the 1960s until the mid ’80s, the company’s Pegasus Magazine became a creative juggernaut of its time by incorporating the works of rebellious artists and ideas from subversive writers and personalities into its theme-based editorial. As described in this Eye Magazine article, the editorial team often had to battle with the company’s top brass just to get the controversial content approved. The magazine was developed to build relationships with high-powered clientele by promoting the image of Mobil as a forward-thinking organization. The effort serves as a shining This Old Marketing example of what can be achieved, in both form and content, within the constraints of corporate publishing.

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For a full list of PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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