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New Research: How and When to Publish Content in Order to Score Big on Social Media

So much of digital marketing these days is about producing high-quality content that gets published and shared.

You can control the publishing part. Can you control the sharing part?

Sharing begins with promotion--the timing, targeting, and strategy behind solid distribution.

To achieve your social media benchmarks, you need to understand what type of content will resonate in specific verticals, and when.

Fractl recently partnered with BuzzStream to analyze 220,000 articles from 11 verticals over six months - June to November 2014 - to determine how and when to publish content in order to score big on social media.

We're excited to share with you what we found and to hear your thoughts!

how and when to publish social media

Infographic: How and When to Publish Content in Order to Score Big on Social Media

We took the guesswork out of six months of content planning and created this social content calendar, which can help strategists determine the optimal month, vertical, and format for all of their content in 2015.

Social Content Calendar

Study by  Fractl and BuzzStream.

The 5 Types of Content (and Which Gets Shared Most)

First and foremost, know which content type performs best with your audience.

A successful campaign begins with great content, and the best content offers something new and valuable to your target audience while making an emotional connection. There are multiple ways to produce informative and engaging content, but if you want high social shares, your final asset depends on your promotion cycle's month and vertical.

A successful campaign begins with great content, and the best content offers something new and valuable to your target audience while making an emotional connection. There are multiple ways to produce informative and engaging content, but if you want high social shares, your final asset depends on your promotion cycle's month and vertical.

We divided the content of articles into five types: how-tos, lists, what-posts, why-posts, and videos:

How-to posts introduce a problem, offer a solution, and then discuss each step to reach an end result.

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Ex., How to Create Shareworthy Twitter Images: 10 Ways to Maximize Engagement on Your Tweets

Lists focus on a particular topic, offer a number of points about the topic, and provide a brief conclusion.

Ex., 15 Great Landing Page Design Examples You Need to See

What-posts provide further information on a specific topic, with many articles making comparisons of one thing to another.

Ex., What SEO Used to Be Versus What SEO Is Now

Why-posts typically provide readers with a reason or purpose and provide details that support a focused conclusion.

Ex., Why Introverts Now Rule the World

Videos provide the audience with a dynamic visual of the topic discussed within the article.

Ex., A Look at the Economy of the Future

The most consistently shared formats were lists and why-posts, varying less than 2.5 percent and averaging around 21,000 shares per month.

What-posts were the riskiest format, with a high variance at 13.45 percent, performing lowest in July with fewer than 15,000 shares, yet outperforming every other vertical in October with nearly 30,000 shares.

Further analysis of the six-month period revealed:

October was the most popular month for shares: all but one content type (videos) exceeded 20,000 shares.

Lists narrowly claimed the most social traction at 22.45 percent with why-posts in a close second at 22.32 percent.

Videos drew 18.94 percent of total shares and performed well in Q4.

How-to articles earned 18.42 percent and saw extra shares in August and November.

What-posts had the lowest social traction, earning 17.88 percent of total shares, but got the most shares out of every content type in October.

custom types shares per month

The content type also influenced social metrics depending on which vertical published the asset, proving that each audience has its own preference.

For example, lists earned 40 percent of total shares in the automotive vertical but only managed 10 percent in education. How-to posts did the best in the food vertical at 37 percent. And although they earned around 30 percent of shares in both the education and entertainment verticals, videos were one of the lowest-performing content types overall, coming in last in multiple verticals.

How Social Shares Vary by Month

News was the only vertical to see three content types reach more than 5,000 shares in June.

None of the five content types reached 6,000 shares in any vertical during July and August.

All content types exceeded 4,000 shares in October although not within the same vertical.

Only two content types - videos and what-posts - exceeded 6,000 shares in September.

A great example of a high-performing article in June is this feature on Twitter reading levels by state. Lists was one of only two content types that exceeded 7,500 shares during the month, and the campaign capitalized on this trend by including an interactive map that lists each state's average IQ. The result? The article earned over 9,000 shares.

The Most Popular Industries for Social Shares

Next, get to know your verticals and their target audience.

An effective social content calendar looks at all channels for promotions in order to determine what is popular and timely for your target audience. Within each of the 11 verticals - automotive, education, health, finance, food, business, technology, travel, entertainment, news, and lifestyle - we identified the top 20 websites.

Filtering these results by content type and date, we saw that although the average number of social shares per vertical did not vary wildly - usually less than 10 percent each month - some verticals outperformed others.

For example, the news vertical saw the highest social traction, averaging more than 28,000 shares each month. Its high performance is likely due to it being the most all-encompassing vertical.

The second highest-performing vertical, entertainment, averaged more than 17,000 shares a month, while travel rounded out the top three with an average of more than 10,000 shares.

average shares per month

A breakdown of the other verticals revealed:

Lifestyle, tech, finance, business, and education averaged between 5,000 and 9,000 shares, nearly three times less than the news vertical.

Business was the only vertical to have a single-digit variance for all content types, emphasizing that its readers have a consistent sharing habit.

Automotive, health, and food averaged between 2,000 and 5,000 shares, food being the lowest-performing vertical with fewer than 2,500 social shares a month.

News was the only vertical that saw specific content types pass 5,000 shares.

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A high-performing article that reaffirms the entertainment vertical's high social traction is this feature on superhero style. Videos within the vertical were some of the highest-performing content type during the entire month of August, and this post earned over 5,000 views.

Content type vs. vertical

The type of content that performed well per vertical also reflected audience behaviors within the specific niche.

For example, lists proved the best content type for the travel vertical, claiming 32 percent of shares. The list format corresponded with what people do when planning for a trip: Write down where they want to go, what they need to pack, and other details.

Similar findings include:

Social shares within the technology vertical increased during the end of the year, possibly corresponding with when its audience searched online for the latest gadgets to complete their holiday shopping.

July was the lowest-performing month for the education vertical, claiming only 10.57 percent of total shares; this coincides with school being closed for the summer.

How-to articles were the most consistent performers within the automotive audience, corresponding with the highly practical and technical nature of the subject matter.

Final takeaways

With more than 128,000 shares, October emerged as the month with the highest social traction, while June and August seemed to have the lowest shares for most verticals.

But that doesn't mean you should save your promotional efforts for the fall. A closer look at the data determined:

Automotive earned most of its shares in July, specifically with what-posts exceeding 3,000 social shares.

Social traction in the business vertical remained consistent for five months, between 8,000 and 9,000 shares, before dropping in November.

Lifestyle and finance both saw their highest monthly shares in September, with what-posts performing the highest in lifestyle and lists providing the highest social traction in finance.

Videos did best in September with more than 24,000 shares.

Great content is at the heart of successful content marketing strategy, but one of the biggest takeaways from our research is timing.

A month early or a month late can make your campaign less relevant and affect its overall social traction.

Using our social content calendar as a reference, you can create a promotions strategy that will deliver timely content to a highly-engaged target audience, especially if you want your content to "go viral." Understanding what type of content will resonate with your audience and when to publish it will help you hit high social metrics, and continually monitoring these metrics is the best way for content marketers to create a successful outreach strategy.

Over to you

What stood out to you from this research?

Might the findings impact the type of content you create and when you schedule it?

It'd be great to hear your thoughts in the comments. And if there's any questions I can help answer, too, I'd love to help.

Image sources:  UnSplash, Pablo, IconFinder


Bitly Refreshes Brand for Enhanced Clarity Across Devices

Bitly recently announced a brand refresh, featuring a new logo, a logo mark and a new tagline. The company that started as a link shortener for Twitter has become a powerful tool that enables marketers and publishers to reach users all over the world.

With a new executive team, Bitly has grown over the last year, working to implement a new vision for the future.

The brand update is part of this evolution. With the introduction of Deep Links, Bitly is shifting its focus to enable marketers to leverage the link as an "omini-channel marketing asset," particularly on mobile.


Lauren Giansante, Bitly designer and "full force" behind the brand redesign told SocialTimes:

The brand refresh was designed to enhance our legibility across all of our assets and optimize our omni-channel efforts, while reinforcing Bitly as the tool of choice for marketers everywhere. We're excited for this new chapter.

The logo has been refined for a more polished look that renders legibly, even on monitors with low resolution. The new icon pays tribute to the @ symbol, and the heart of conversation on Twitter -- where everything began for Bitly.

The new tagline "The power of the link," underscores the foundation of the Bitly brand. According to the official blog post:

All of the data we collect and the stories we help tell stem from Bitlinks. They are the core of our business, our bread and butter.

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Get more details on the font choices and the future of the digital mascot Chaunchy McPufferson on the Bitly blog.Refresh+Blog+Post_3+2


The Content Strategist » Strategist

The Content Strategist » StrategistContent Catchup: Amex Raises the Bar for Brand Storytelling, Content Marketing Soulmates, and More Must-ReadsJason Nash Is Kickstarting the First Vine Feature Film, and He Might Just Pull It OffWhat the Hell Is a Microsite and Why Do I Need One?Contently Comic: The First MarketersThe 10 Best Songs in AdvertisingContent Express: How Amex Raised the Bar for Longform Brand Storytelling7 Things Marketers Should Know About Working With Journalists25 Stats Content Marketers Need to KnowInline Comments Will Make You Fitter, Happier, and More ProductiveKeywee and the War for Content Distribution SupremacyHow Sharing Credit Can Elevate Your Company and CareerThe 10 Best Skillshare Classes for Content Marketers10 Content Marketing Lessons We Learned From Buffer's AMAHow Sun Life Financial Turned Their Blog Into a Lead-Gen MachineQuiz: Who's Your Content Marketing Soulmate?Infographic: What Gen Z Wants From BrandsInfographic: The State of Data-Driven MarketingHow Portlandia Makes Hipsters Love Native AdvertisingContent Cookout: This Is What You Missed if You Didn't Make It to Our House at SXSWThe Best Branded Content of MarchShutterstock Reimagines Westeros as a Corporate Battlefield, and It's Pretty GreatViral King PlayBuzz Is Rolling Out Native Advertising. Will Brands Bite?4 Government Agencies That Rock InstagramHow HubSpot and LinkedIn Absolutely Crush Their B2B MarketingThe Beginner's Guide to Paid Content Distribution

Content marketing industry news and analysis, by Contently Fri, 10 Apr 2015 22:08:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fri, 10 Apr 2015 18:16:42 +0000

Here's what you missed while trying to figure out how to tell your boss that reading the Quarterly report over the course of 873 vines is a terrible idea.

The post Content Catchup: Amex Raises the Bar for Brand Storytelling, Content Marketing Soulmates, and More Must-Reads appeared first on The Content Strategist.


Here's what you missed while trying to figure out how to tell your boss that reading the quarterly report over the course of 873 Vines is a terrible idea...

Content Express: How Amex Raised the Bar for Longform Brand Storytelling

A lot of brands talk about "committing to content," but Amex showed what that overused phrase really means when they embedded a reporter in a North Carolina startup, Buchi Kombucha, for three months to document their unique and compelling story, writes Celine Roque:

"The Journey" is a prime example of what happens when a company executes its content marketing with an ambitious editorial mindset. Each of the story's seven chapters contains high-quality photos of the founders, their staff, and the 180-acre property that holds their farm and brewery. There are three short video documentaries that intimately profile the Buchi team, and the written part totals over 10,000 words. Read it.


As brands get serious about storytelling, a lot of marketers find themselves just now working with journalists for the first time, and they're inexperience with this relationship can lead to some frustrating and poisoned relationships. Ryan Galloway has the scoop on what marketers need to know. Read it.

Sun Life Financial Content Marketing

It's finance content marketing week here on The Content Strategist, and in this piece, we look at Sun Life Financial, which turned their content strategy around by doing something that's not exactly intuitive for brands--they stopped talking about themselves.

Brighter Life shaped itself as a resource by focusing on useful tips and tools about money, health, family, working life, and retirement. Sun Life made sure their content served consumers, not the company's bottom line.

"Consumers are quick to dismiss content that's little more than thinly veiled sales messaging," Brenda Spiering, manager of content strategy at Sun Life Financial and editor for, said. "Brighter Life articles do not discuss Sun Life-branded products and services. Instead, the site looks to engage consumers with content that's credible, unbiased, written in plain language, and free of marketing tactics." Read it.


Content marketing savant and best-selling author Jay Baer spends his days traveling the world and helping brands turn their content marketing around. In an in-depth interview, he reveals what your brand is doing wrong--and what you need to do to get it right. Read it.

Who's Your Content Marketing Soulmate

A little fun to end your week--because you know you're dying to know. Take it.

The post Content Catchup: Amex Raises the Bar for Brand Storytelling, Content Marketing Soulmates, and More Must-Reads appeared first on The Content Strategist.


0 Fri, 10 Apr 2015 16:27:45 +0000

Vine is full of talented people, and Jason Nash wants to bring them all together for one big social media adventure.

The post Jason Nash Is Kickstarting the First Vine Feature Film, and He Might Just Pull It Off appeared first on The Content Strategist.


What do you get when you mix TV and film stars like Rob Corddry and Busy Philipps with social media celebrities like Glozell and Brittany Furlan? Jason Nash is going to find out. After about a year of building his own social media fame, he's on a mission to get Vine stars on the big screen.

Nash launched a Kickstarter last week to fund his next project, FML: A Social Media Adventure, with his Vine partner and best friend Brandon Calvillo.

Nash stared creating Vines about a year ago in an effort to promote his movie, Jason Nash Is Married, which came out in June of last year. That film was based on his web series of the same name, and was the first feature released by CC Studios, Comedy Central's digital arm.

Loosely based on his real life, Nash says the plot for FML emerged from his friendship with Calvillo, who is half his age. "I just thought it was a super good idea for a movie," he said. "What I was going through, being 40 and having two kids, and what he was going through, being 19 and working at Gamestop, and how we were brought together by this app."

This will be the first-ever film by and starring Vine stars, whom Nash wrote as exaggerated versions of their real selves. It will also feature many of the same actors who were in Nash's first movie, such as the previously mentioned Corddry and Philipps.

He hopes that the movie can start a conversation about social media and the role of digital technology in modern life--both good and bad. "You develop feelings towards people that may or may not be true, like, 'Why isn't this person texting me back?'" he said. "We all kind of go inward and that's what the movie is about, going inward and having less human contact." He says that he sometimes gets trapped in allowing likes on his social media platforms to dictate his self-esteem.

Of course, with some of his Vines getting as many as 80,000 likes and 4 million loops, he's racking in a lot more social media currency than the average (Internet-savvy) bear. He says the ideas for his hugely popular Vines often come from things he sees around him--or by parodying bad movie tropes, "You know, you're watching an action film and they always say, 'You have 24 hours,' and it's like, why do they say 24 hours? Why don't they say 12? Why don't they say 6?" he said.

Nash started the Kickstarter after being unable to find funding through traditional routes, and hopes that fans will voice their support for the project on the Kickstarter site.

"The thing about Kickstarter is you know right away if you have something good. You know right away if people want to see the film," he said.

And with $21,707 raised so far of the $200,000 goal, from 223 backers, it's still up to the fans to decide if they want to see the movie made.

Even if Nash's project doesn't end up with the funding it needs, the influence of Vine cannot be denied. The company announced earlier this year that it reached 1.5 billion loops per day of its six-second videos. Brands are taking notice of the platform's popularity and young user base, hiring Vine stars for Vine-specific advertising and product placement. Last year, Vine star Megan Cignoli partnered with Lowe's for the "Fix in Six" campaign, using the platform to create bite-sized advice for home improvement.

FML also isn't the only example of Vine stars expanding beyond the six-second loop. Many are now releasing singles, touring the country, and acting in TV pilots. Nash emphasizes that this amount of talent he saw on Vine was a major motivation for him to write this film.

"I just really thought that this group of people had acting abilities and real comedic chops and they were meant for something larger," he said. "I see this group of 20-year-olds as the future of comedy."

The post Jason Nash Is Kickstarting the First Vine Feature Film, and He Might Just Pull It Off appeared first on The Content Strategist.


0 Thu, 09 Apr 2015 19:10:30 +0000

Admit it: You're probably not sure what a "microsite" actually is.

The post What the Hell Is a Microsite and Why Do I Need One? appeared first on The Content Strategist.


One of the most frequently tossed-around terms in the content marketing lexicon is "microsite." If you think it's used interchangeably with "branded blog," "communication platform," or "independent campaign," you're right. They're all essentially the same thing: a website on which your brand publishes content, and to which your desired readers (hopefully) visit.

Since there really hasn't been a formal definition of a microsite, I'll go ahead and create one:

A microsite is a branded content site that lives outside of the company homepage and/or brand URL.

That's it, really. What differentiates a microsite from a company blog or newsletter or any other branded platform is that it has its own independent URL--likely one that doesn't include the name of the company sponsoring the site. If you have to register a new domain name, you've got yourself a microsite.

But wait! you cry. Can't microsites exist within a brand's own site?

Sure. All rules have exceptions. But generally, if a microsite lives on the company's URL, we'll call it a "branded vertical." Like this one.

Now that we've gotten the semantics out of the way, let's break microsites down by their type and value. All microsites can be subdivided into two categories:

1. Sites based around a campaign

Campaign-based microsites are independent sites (i.e., their own URL) created for the sole purpose of anchoring and/or supporting a branded campaign. They're launched, populated with content (be it written, video, visual, etc.), amplified using whatever strategy the brand sees fit, and then left alone.

An example is Prudential's "Bring Your Challenges" site, which offers interactive features about the financial life cycle of the average middle-class American. You can watch videos, take quizzes, and track stats that might be relevant to your life. The Prudential-branded site, which lives on and is almost entirely self-contained (you won't get spit out to, is part of a multi-platform campaign including TV and print ads and plenty of digital buzz.

The advantage of sites like this is pretty clear: You build it, you amplify it, you leave it. If you've tackled the hard part of creating a great site--which plenty of brands are doing--then you can pat yourself on the back while the traffic rolls in. Whether you update the site every occasionally or amplify it on an ongoing basis, the bulk of the work is behind you. Your evergreen microsite stays forever green.

2. Sites that publish regular, ongoing content, presumably for the indeterminate future

These sites act like media sites, in that they publish original content on a regular schedule--and they never, ever quit (unless someone pulls the plug).

A familiar best-in-class example is Red Bull's aptly named Red Bulletin. It functions like a healthy online magazine in just about every capacity--daily publishing, full staffing, regular redesigns, constant iteration, and steady growth.

This category is a lot harder to pull off successfully. For one, it's not easy to launch, grow, and maintain a content site that stays relevant, and that people actually want to read. If these were simple tasks, mainstream media sites--run by creative professionals who do this for a living--would have an easy time finding a fit in the digital marketplace, and then growing ad infinitum.

This scenario, of course, is not the case. Finding white space in the marketplace (a.k.a., "finding an original way to write about topics that people care about and that aren't already being covered to death on other sites") is a challenge for anyone launching anything on the Internet. If you get this part wrong, your site is doomed.

Even if you get it right, as Red Bull did, you have to go bigger and bigger (and, often, use bigger budgets) to keep that audience, and to top other sites in the same space.

There's also the basic truth that creating new content, day in and day out, takes a level of work and commitment that would make most people run for the hills. The Internet is a beast that must be fed nonstop, and keeping it sated takes budget, time, and resources. This means hiring a team, overseeing and managing that team, then meeting and tracking and iterating and relaunching and all the other expensive, tricky tasks required to maintain and grow a content site. There's no end in sight, no guaranteed reward. Years of toil on a microsite might still result in meager readership. The Internet owes you nothing, whether you're a newbie blogger or a C-suite exec.

Are ongoing-content microsites worth it? It depends on the details of your situation. (And the discussion of microsites' ROI is worth its own column--coming soon!) If you can pull a microsite off successfully, there's a big upside: You'll have a powerful way to communicate directly with an audience, and build relationships over time.

Without question, though, before you embark on a microsite, you need to lay out a careful strategy to determine which of these two categories it should fall into, and why. Whether your microsite becomes the next Red Bulletin or dies a silent death depends on it.

Melissa Lafsky Wall (@Lafsky) is the founder of Brick Wall Media.

The post What the Hell Is a Microsite and Why Do I Need One? appeared first on The Content Strategist.


0 Thu, 09 Apr 2015 19:02:43 +0000

Before there was fire, there was branding.

The post Contently Comic: The First Marketers appeared first on The Content Strategist.



The post Contently Comic: The First Marketers appeared first on The Content Strategist.


0 Thu, 09 Apr 2015 15:43:49 +0000

Rather than create their own jingle, many brands now find a third-party tune that's so catchy that consumers will forever associate the track with the brand.

The post The 10 Best Songs in Advertising appeared first on The Content Strategist.


Ever since 1926, when the Wheaties quartet sang the cereal's praises, music has been an integral part of advertising. But in the ensuing near-century, the way companies use music has been modernized. Rather than create their own jingle, many brands now find a third-party tune that's so catchy--and matches their product so perfectly--that consumers will forever associate the track to the brand.

Here are 10 songs in advertising that top the rest:

1. United Airlines, "Rhapsody in Blue"

This ad is from a four-part United Airlines series called "Fly the Friendly Skies." If you ever complain that there's not enough room on your flight, you should think about booking United--all of those instruments actually fit on one of their aircrafts. Plus, since "Rhapsody in Blue" is such a classic, people are likely to remember the sight of a full orchestra on an airplane again.

2. Play 60, "The Power Is On"

It can be risky for a company to use an obscure song in their commercial. If the tune isn't already familiar, consumers might be more likely to forget the ad. But "The Power Is On" by the Go! Team, is catchy enough that people are compelled to look up the tune. I'd never heard this song before I saw the commercial--now it's officially on my workout playlist. And every time I hear the beat, a part of me thinks about the NFL. Advertising mission accomplished.

3. Amazon Kindle, "Fly Me Away"

"Fly Me Away" by Little Ashley is the kind of song that you put on repeat while snuggling with a book by the fireplace. What's that, Kindle is the new book? Ah, the magic of advertising.

4. Volkswagen, "The Clapping Song"

Advertisers get major bonus points if they can start a new trend with their commercial. I think everyone should have to clap out this song--aptly named "The Clapping Song"-- instead of doing the traditional "punch buggy." My arms have enough bruises from overeager children, thank you very much.

5. Sony, "Heartbeats"

Before seeing this video, I didn't realize that I needed to know what thousands of bouncy balls looked like rolling down a hill in slow motion. Trust me when I say that you need this knowledge in your life. Set the beautiful sight to the sweet sounds of "Heartbeats" by José Gonzalez, and you've got an unforgettable ad. Hell, you might even watch it again.

6. Apple iPod, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?"

The unique visuals alone are enough to set this ad apart. But with some cool dancing silhouettes in the mix, you've got a perfect song-brand pairing. After this ad was released, the Apple iPod forever became synonymous with "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?" In fact, the band Jet became so popular after this ad that Mashable labeled the art of bringing an obscure artist into the limelight the "Apple Effect."

7. Southern Comfort, "Hit or Miss"

I adore this ad because it makes viewers palpably uncomfortable. No one wants to watch an overweight man in a speedo strut down the beach for two minutes--but they do it anyway. Over 2 million times.

This ad would be positively creepy without music. Seriously, watch it again on mute. It's the happy-go-lucky song that makes this commercial such a hit.

8. John Lewis, "Your Song"

The song in John Lewis' Christmas is so sad and sentimental that viewers are going to need tissues the moment they hear the first notes. Come on, look at all these people clumsily wrapping gifts for their loved ones! Listen to the sad song! It's just too much!

Really, though, it's just enough. "Your Song," by Ellie Goulding, brought the singer so much attention that she was invited to perform at Prince William's wedding reception the following year.

9. Vodafone, "Bohemian Like You"

While commercial shows a bunch of people doing things that are totally not related to a phone service, the trendy song, "Bohemian Like You" by the Dandy Warhols, makes you completely forgive that fact. Feel tempted to buy that song? You're not alone. Like so many other once-obscure bands, this commercial brought the Dandy Warhols major commercial success. As one of the band members from the Dandy Warhols told The Independent, "As far as I'm concerned, Vodafone saved rock'n'roll."

10. Nike, "Revolution"

This is the kind of ad that only Nike could afford to make. No indie bands involved here--just, y'know, the Beatles. If you're a company with the money to pair your brand with one of the most famous songs in history, you should definitely do it. Because ever since this ad, sneakers and social rebellion have been a little bit more synonymous.

What are your favorite songs in advertising? Holler at us @Contently.

The post The 10 Best Songs in Advertising appeared first on The Content Strategist.


0 Wed, 08 Apr 2015 17:27:01 +0000

Amex spent three months covering a single story. The result? One of the most impressive pieces of branded longform content yet.

The post Content Express: How Amex Raised the Bar for Longform Brand Storytelling appeared first on The Content Strategist.


During the fall of 2013, Asheville, North Carolina, wasn't home to any calamity, revolution, or major world event--yet American Express assigned a reporting team there to cover a single story for three months. Why? Because the credit card company made a serious commitment to longform storytelling. And more than a year later, this investment led to "The Journey," a rich nonfiction multimedia project that chronicles the daily triumphs and trials of Buchi Kombucha, a brewing company specializing in kombucha, a type of fermented tea.

(Full disclosure: American Express is a Contently client.)

Content Express: How Amex Raised the Bar for Longform Brand Storytelling

"The Journey" is a prime example of what happens when a company executes its content marketing with an ambitious editorial mindset. Each of the story's seven chapters contains high-quality photos of the founders, their staff, and the 180-acre property that holds their farm and brewery. There are three short video documentaries that intimately profile the Buchi team, and the written part totals over 10,000 words. To complement these components, there's also a section devoted to journal entries from the founders, including daily ratings on a scale of one (very challenging) to 10 (perfect), written for each day during the three months they were being profiled. And to cap it all off, there are infographics illustrating the business's highs and lows over that time period.

Content Express: How Amex Raised the Bar for Longform Brand Storytelling

American Express is one of those rare companies that was already a brand publisher generations before "brand publishing" became a buzzword. Ever since the company started offering travel services in 1915, Amex has been publishing guides, booklets, magazines, and sponsored content for its audience.

One hundred years later, they're produced arguably their most refined content.

Finding the right story

When American Express launched OPEN Forum in 2007, small-business owners finally had a site dedicated to their needs. The site publishes blog posts, videos, and longform guides that help entrepreneurs make better business decisions, and it hosts a thriving community where readers can network, ask for advice, and share their own stories. Just recently the site has been redesigned to highlight four essential areas where small business owners need help the most: planning for growth, managing money, getting customers, and building their team.

This content-driven culture behind OPEN Forum makes it possible for Amex to experiment with richer content like "Local Business Stories," a series of long, interactive narratives that cover small businesses making an impact in their respective communities. Along with their recent redesign, they've also launched "Growth Stories," a new series that focuses on the emerging businesses and nonprofits that have found their home at Ponyride, a 30,000-square-foot building in Detroit's Corktown area.

American Express hasn't been the only brand in the last few years to seek out and share the stories of small-business owners in the U.S. In 2014, Ford Trucks underwrote This Built America, a 50-week documentary series profiling small businesses that are rebuilding communities across the country. And Basecamp, a Chicago-based software company, puts out an independent online magazine called The Distance that publishes one longform feature a month about a business that has been around for more than 25 years.

"The Journey" separates itself from these other storytelling endeavors with an unmatched level of in-depth reporting. Rather than covering several businesses, the project offers a glimpse into the daily life of a single business--an approach that requires an unusual amount of time and resources.

"What we wanted to do differently with 'The Journey' was to capture the story as it unfolded to get an unfiltered view of running a business," said Courtney Colwell, director of OPEN Forum and content marketing at American Express.

The first step of that process was finding the right startup to profile. OPEN Forum wanted to search outside of hubs such as New York or Silicon Valley, since these places already receive adequate press coverage.

As Colwell put it: "We wanted to show that there are a lot of amazing, fast-growing businesses across the country, operating in a variety of industries."

That's how Amex landed on Asheville, North Carolina, an emerging entrepreneurial hub powered by local initiatives such as Venture Asheville, an entrepreneurship program from the Economic Development Coalition and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.

The lead journalist of "The Journey," Darren Dahl, lives in Asheville and covers the small-business beat for publications like Fast Company and The New York Times. Dahl helped OPEN Forum find local companies they could consider for the project, and eventually they settled on Buchi.

Amex realized that Buchi's story of two female founders and mothers living and working in close proximity to each other would offer a unique look at how entrepreneurs balance personal and professional lives that are deeply intertwined.

"We were fortunate to find a company like Buchi that was gracious and, frankly, brave enough to open their doors and themselves to a reporting team and have them on site for so much time," Colwell said. "Through this account, we get an objective inside view of a business at what turns out to be a fairly pivotal moment for their growth."

Documenting this in real time meant one thing: American Express had no idea where the story would end up.

Going inside the machine

Given the scope of the story, Amex could've approached "The Journey" from a number of angles: covering it chronologically, organizing ideas by topic (such as hiring or sales), or focusing on a single interview subject. One idea the team initially committed to was publishing field reports to take snapshots of the narrative in real time. But the OPEN Forum team soon realized field reports were not enough. The story behind Buchi needed to be a focal point.

There was just one problem: The existing article templates on the OPEN Forum site were mostly static pages that wouldn't have suited such an expansive story.

"We put design and development into building more immersive content templates and connected chapters to lead you through the story," Colwell said. As a result, the redesign of "The Journey" received a major upgrade full of smooth scrolling and multimedia treatments.

For example, the fifth chapter, "The Daily Grind", opens with a full-width photo of two Buchi employees packing kombucha bottles. This photo fades out as the reader scrolls down to read the text. The rest of the page itself is simple, clean, only including the text, an infographic, and crucial pull-quotes. The overall design is responsive, making the story look stunning across different displays. And OPEN Forum members have access to another layer of interaction since they can follow the Buchi founders within the OPEN Forum community as they would on Twitter or Facebook.

This enhanced layout provided readers with a richer experience beyond what's typically available from the OPEN Forum blog, but because of the additional time needed for developing the custom experience for "The Journey," the publishing schedule was delayed by almost a year.

"As time passed, there were questions of whether it was now stale," Colwell said. "We then realized there were a number of benefits to be had with additional time--a key one being that we could now end the story on 'what happened since' and share the results of those decisions made a year ago."

As the story grew, AmEx learned how to adapt. The extra content that collected over time eventually became the final chapter, titled "Buchi Now," which gives readers some closure to Buchi's emotional story. The audience learns about Buchi's new products, an 86 percent increase in sales, and even how a new investment in an expensive head brewer didn't work out. The last chapter succeeds because it leaves readers wanting more, feeling connected and invested in how the business fares long-term.

"You don't need to run a business, though, to appreciate 'The Journey,'" Colwell said. "At its most basic, it's a story about these authentic, entertaining characters, working together to achieve a dream. Like we say in the introduction, running a business is a series of ups and downs--financial, emotional, even physical. We hope it makes readers think of the journeys behind small businesses they encounter every day."

The post Content Express: How Amex Raised the Bar for Longform Brand Storytelling appeared first on The Content Strategist.


0 Wed, 08 Apr 2015 16:17:53 +0000

Here's what you need to know in order to attract--and keep--the kind of journalistic talent that drives great content marketing.

The post 7 Things Marketers Should Know About Working With Journalists appeared first on The Content Strategist.


The freelance journalist you hired to cover SXSW just filed her first story. Only problem: You don't like the way she refers to your industry, and you're a little irked that she mentioned one of your competitors.

So you ask her to revise it. She makes your changes and files again. You show the revision to your boss, who alerts you that it's too long. You request another revision, this time asking her to cut 200 words. When she files the next version, you show it to another colleague who decides it might go over your audience's head. You ask her to revise yet again. Now you're past your publication date, your boss is upset, and your journalist is on the verge of quitting. Oh, and she still hasn't been paid for the project.

I've seen this happen countless times, and it never ends well.

That's largely because few marketers know how to work with journalists. The two industries rarely interacted in the past, but the content marketing boom is bringing these two formerly disparate professions together. Here's what you need to know in order to attract--and keep--the kind of journalistic talent that drives great content marketing.

1. Journalists are not copywriters

Hoo boy. This is mistake #1, and it's a doozy.

Here's the thing: journalists and copywriters are two very different animals. Copywriters expect every paragraph of web copy, every product description, and every promo email to be endlessly workshopped and iterated. Journalists, on the other hand, turn in an article and move on to the next assignment, because that's how journalism works. Their editor may request a revision here and there, but that's relatively rare. That's because they know what their editors expect in terms of length, voice, style, and POV.

This doesn't mean you should be afraid to ask a journalist to rework a piece, but you do need to keep this sort of thing to a minimum and make clear what changes you want the first time you request a revision. So how do you avoid too much reworking? Well...

2. Be clear about what you want

Most revisions happen when marketers don't express their expectations at the start of a project. You have a clear vision of what you want (if not, you're not quite ready to commission content), so make sure you articulate that vision to your journalist in the form of a short but informative brief.

For example, how long should the piece be? Do you want them to cite a specific source? Should they interview someone? Are there words or concepts they should avoid? What about mentioning competitors? Does your brand have a specific stance on this particular topic?

This means you need to do a little work up front, but it'll pay off in spades when you don't have to work through multiple revisions to get it right. While we're at it...

3. Build a style guide ahead of time

Your company almost certainly has a set of clearly defined brand guidelines: colors, fonts, preferred terminology, etc. Start with those guidelines and use them to craft a style guide for your content campaigns. Major publications like The Economist have sprawling, comprehensive style guides, but you can get away with a shareable doc that's four or five pages long. Be sure it includes:

What your content goals are and how you'll be measuring them

Who your audience is, why they're reading your content, and what you want them to take away from it

What your overall voice and tone of your content should be (formal, conversational, authoritative, lighthearted, etc.)

The topics you want to cover and how you want to cover them

Terms and topics to avoid. Include any competitors you'd prefer not to mention

Examples of content they can use as a reference

This is your best bet for getting consistently on-brand content. It's also going to save you time by keeping the number of edits down in a major way. Check out our second Ultimate Content Strategist Playbook for a step-by-step guide to creating a style guide.

4. Don't cheap out

This one's simple: You get what you pay for. If you want great content, be willing to pay your talent a respectable rate. If your budget is flexible, ask the journalist how much they normally charge for a project like yours. If it's not so flexible, make it clear up front how much you can spend, and ask if that rate works for them. Even if they decline the project, they'll appreciate your honesty and respect for their time and expertise.

So what's a good rate? For most projects, start at a dollar per word and use that to come up with a flat rate for the project. Does the piece require extensive interviews or research? If so, pay more. Will web research suffice? If so, you can pay a little less.

If you absolutely must pay by the word, make sure you set boundaries with language like: "$1 per word up to a maximum of 800 words." Otherwise, you'll be in a bad spot when your writer turns in a 2,000-word epic that shreds your content budget.

5. Give them time to do good work

I recently worked with a marketer who was furious that a journalist couldn't produce a 3,000-word white paper in two days. "He's got two full days!" she said. "Surely that's enough time."

Guess what? It's not enough time. And he doesn't have two full days, either. The journalist in question is a highly in-demand professional with a lot on his plate. He had other deadlines in play during those two days, and he needed some leeway to fit this project into his schedule. Had the marketer planned more effectively and started the project sooner, none of this would've been an issue.

Build yourself an editorial calendar. Know what you want to publish and when. Commission pieces as far in advance as you possibly can. And keep a few stories in your pocket, just in case.

6. Give them a byline

For journalists, compensation isn't just about the money. Bylines are a form of professional currency in the industry, and having your name attached to a great story or a respected publication (or both, ideally) is massively important to your career. Too many publishers shy away from this for reasons I don't fully understand, but doing so is a mistake for three reasons:

It removes a powerful incentive for journalists to do their best work

It discourages top talent from writing for you

It makes your content seem less trustworthy

This last point is critical. As Jess Adamiak, one of Contently's own brand editors, often says, "Good content is trusted content." Your content appears far more trustworthy when it's coming from a human with a name than when it comes from the Acme Blender Content Team.

7. Trust them

A good journalist takes his or her craft seriously. They want to find the smartest angle and the best sources. They want to turn in clean, concise copy. They know what they're doing because their skills have been honed by years of practice.

So trust them.

Let them do what they do. Unless they really missed the message--or unless you're an experienced editor--resist the urge to twiddle with their stories. I've seen too many marketers fail to resist this urge, and the results are invariably negative. Think about it like this: You don't tell the plumber what wrench to use or the dentist which implement of torture to stick in your mouth. So why would you micromanage a journalist?

The takeaway

Working with a journalist probably means stepping outside of your comfort zone. Be prepared. Know what you want and communicate your vision effectively. Compensate them appropriately. Trust them to do great work, and try to stay out of their way. If can do all these things, you'll get great content that exceeds your expectations.

Oh, and pay them on time, please. You don't want to end up here.

The post 7 Things Marketers Should Know About Working With Journalists appeared first on The Content Strategist.


0 Tue, 07 Apr 2015 21:47:06 +0000

Take in the numbers, ye content marketing nerds, and rejoice.

The post 25 Stats Content Marketers Need to Know appeared first on The Content Strategist.


As content marketing continues to evolve, so too do the stats surrounding its practice.

That's why we've put together 25 of the best, most recent stats to reflect on the present and future of content marketing. We also put together a framework for how the best content marketing is done--you'll find the statistics below each key phase in creating the most effective content.

Take in the numbers, ye content marketing nerds, and rejoice.

It's all about strategy

1. 43 percent of B2C marketers with a documented strategy considered themselves effective, vs. 33 percent of those without. --Content Marketing Institute (Tweet this!)

2. 36 percent of B2B companies with a documented content marketing strategy considered themselves very effective, three times more than those without a documented strategy. --LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community (Tweet this!)

3. 84 percent of B2B marketers said brand awareness was a top goal. --Content Marketing Institute (Tweet this!)

4. 68 percent of content marketers back original content over licensed content. --Contently (Tweet this!)

And following through

5. 70 percent of B2B organizations and 69 percent of B2C organizations report that they made more content in 2014 than in 2013. --Content Marketing Institute (Tweet this!)

6. Creating more engaging content was B2B marketers' top initiative for 2014. --Content Marketing Institute (Tweet this!)

7. 48 percent of B2C marketers and 42 percent of B2B marketers now publish more than once a week. --Content Marketing Institute (Tweet this!)

8. 57 percent of organizations now have two or more people dedicated to content marketing. --Contently (Tweet this!)

9. 24 percent of organizations now devote 50 percent or more of their budget to content. --Contently (Tweet this!)

While using social to get eyeballs on your content

10. Facebook now drives 25 percent of all Internet traffic. --Shareaholic (Tweet this!)

11. Facebook posts earn 340 percent more shares than each of the other four major social networks--except for food content, which does better on Pinterest. --Buffer (Tweet this!)

12. LinkedIn accounts for 21 percent of shares of high-engagement publications in the business vertical. --Buffer (Tweet this!)

13. 63 percent of B2B marketers rate LinkedIn the most effective social media platform. --Content Marketing Institute (Tweet this!)

14. 51 percent of high-engagement publications are shared on Pinterest. --Buffer (Tweet this!)

15. Pinterest drive 5 percent of all traffic on the web, nearly three times as much as all non-Facebook social networks. --Shareaholic (Tweet this!)

16. 25 percent of Gen Z'ers left Facebook in 2014. --Adweek (Tweet this!)

And measuring success

17. 77 percent of marketers are confident in their data-driven approach. --MediaMath (Tweet this!)

18. B2B marketers cite web traffic (63 percent) and sales lead quality (54 percent) as their top metrics. --HubSpot (Tweet this!)

19. 69 percent of data efforts are being focused on targeting of offers, messages, and content. --MediaMath (Tweet this!)

20. Leaders in data-driven marketing are more than six times more likely than laggards to report achieving competitive advantage in increasing profitability (45 percent vs. 7 percent) and five times more likely in customer retention (74 percent vs. 13 percent). --Forbes (Tweet this!)

21. 47 percent of content marketer reported better campaign measurement and 33 percent reported better campaign ROI as the primary benefits of using a tag management service. --eMarketer (Tweet this!)

To drive results

22. Having a documented content strategy nearly doubles the chance that you're successfully tracking ROI. --Content Marketing Institute (Tweet this!)

23. Inbound marketers who measure ROI are more than 12 times more likely to generate a greater year-over-year return. --HubSpot (Tweet this!)

24. Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to have a positive ROI. --HubSpot (Tweet this!)

25. Kraft estimates that it generates the equivalent of 1.1 billion ad impressions a year and a four-times-better ROI through content marketing than through even targeted advertising, according to Julie Fleischer, the company's director of data, content, and media. --AdAge (Tweet this!)

The post 25 Stats Content Marketers Need to Know appeared first on The Content Strategist.


0 Tue, 07 Apr 2015 21:06:55 +0000

Introducing our newest feature, inline comments.

The post Inline Comments Will Make You Fitter, Happier, and More Productive appeared first on The Content Strategist.


While there was plenty of beer, BBQ and honky tonk at the Contently Cookout at SXSW Interactive this year, there was also a lot of talk about the challenges content marketers face in collaborating with their peers, and especially with compliance.

As Tara Meehan of Guardian Life Insurance put it:

"Legal's first job, understandably is to protect the brand. Our job is to tell the story. So it's very critical for us to work with our compliance team very closely to make sure we're all on the same page. There's no demonization of compliance. We're not, 'Compliance bad. Content good.' It's not like that."

As content marketers, we have to be able to easily and effectively collaborate with our colleagues in order to stand a snowball's chance of being successful.

That's why Contently is very excited about the release of inline comments, a major advancement in our collaboration capabilities.

Introducing Inline Comments

So what's all the fuss about? Well, the main role of inline comments is to allow Contently users to do the same type of collaborative editing and redlining as familiar (and lawyer-friendly) products like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, all within Contently.

You'll now be able to leave detailed feedback on specific words or passages within a story, simply by highlighting the text and adding your comments.  You can notify your colleagues and contributors of the need to address changes by mentioning them within the comment, which lets them know you need their feedback. Once the comment has been addressed, you can "resolve" the comment, which will then be logged within a searchable database and included in your activity tab for better tracking and follow-up.

This log will then be searchable, and existing version control functionality will be updated to display comments added per version.

Wait, you're thinking. This sounds great... but does it mean I'm going to get even MORE notification emails from Contently? Glad you asked!  We've designed the notification system specifically to reduce the volume of emails you get.

Currently, collaboration-related emails are sent to everyone who is subscribed to a story. Going forward, emails will only only go to users who create, reply to, or are specifically mentioned in a comment. If you don't need to take an action, we won't bother you.

So if you don't select or mention someone in a new comment, they won't be notified. Comments will also no longer appear in your message center - go directly to the story or collaboration tab to keep track of all of the communications related to a story.

All of this is aimed at making your work more efficient and effective, whether you're working with your compliance team, or simply trying get that great new piece out to the market. Have questions? Contact our Product team today and check out our Product Update Center for other updates.

Richard Sharp is the Head of Product Marketing at Contently.

The post Inline Comments Will Make You Fitter, Happier, and More Productive appeared first on The Content Strategist.


0 Tue, 07 Apr 2015 17:17:34 +0000

The war over content distribution is heating up, and venture capitalists are rushing to provide ammo.

The post Keywee and the War for Content Distribution Supremacy appeared first on The Content Strategist.


The war over content distribution is heating up, and venture capitalists are rushing to provide ammo.

A few weeks ago, ad tech company Keywee raised $9.1 million from the likes of Google's Eric Schmidt and The New York Times Company to help brands and publishers distribute their content to the people most likely to read it, about a month after Taboola raised a staggering $117 million in its bid to accomplish the same goal.

In the year or so prior, similar companies like Sharethrough, TripleLift, and SimpleReach all raised millions of dollars with the intention of using some algorithmic sorcery to put a brand's content in front of the highest number of consumers likely to purchase one of its products, at the lowest possible cost to the marketer.

During that same time period, Yahoo, AOL, and Google all either developed, acquired, or were reported to be working on a content recommendation platform of their own.

Are you sensing a trend?

Simply put, Keywee's round of funding is the latest indicator content marketing has reached a tipping point: Major brands are all generally in agreement that creating stories people enjoy is a big part of any successful marketing plan. And in such a crowded marketplace, it's not enough for brands to merely create great content and stick it on their owned media properties. The winners and losers in the space are also being determined by how well they can build an audience for that content by acquiring new readers from other sites across the Internet.

Unsurprisingly, venture capital firms, startups, and the tech industry's biggest players are lining up to help brands find their next loyal customer and woo them with the stories they've spent hours perfecting.

"I think it's very easy to see that distribution is one of the big challenges today--it's not an afterthought," said Keywee co-founder and CEO Yaniv Makover. "You have to pay for distribution, and if you're paying for distribution, you might as well get it right."

If you're unfamiliar with Keywee, the tech platform uses a text-scanning technology to determine the characteristics of a piece of content and then distributes that content to the members of an advertiser's target demographic who are most likely to be interested in it. Right now, the platform purchases space across Facebook, Yahoo, and Reddit, and uses information about prospective readers to customize the headline and image that will be used to get their attention in the feed.

In a sense, Keywee and platforms like it are doing for sponsored content what the first demand-side platforms did for display advertising. They give marketers a chance to automatically tap into inventory across numerous websites while using data to reach the most desirable users.

Graham Hunter, head of growth marketing at the startup training program Tradecraft, said these platforms have emerged because as display advertising lost its effectiveness due to cookie clearing, private browsing, ad-blocking, and banner blindness, marketers started to see the value in branded content.

The ascendance of the Taboolas, Outbrains, Sharethroughs, and Keywees of the world has no doubt also been hastened by the rise of Facebook and the mobile web, which changed the way people consume content. Where users once actively sought out entertainment on their own by visiting their favorite websites, they are now content to stay on Facebook or Twitter and wait for whatever pops into their newsfeeds. In fact, a recent report from Shareholic found that Facebook's share of web referral traffic has grown more than 275 percent since December 2011. The social network is now the referral source for about one quarter of all web traffic.

That means brands need to be proactive about pushing their stories directly to consumers.

When I spoke with Intel content strategist Luke Kintigh for a story I wrote last month, he told me that, over the years, his team has shifted from spending 90 percent of its time creating content and only 10 percent for distribution to allocating equal time for the two tasks.

"People are looking for a new way to find marketing performance in the digital age," Hunter said. "You're seeing the same exact technologies that drove programmatic display now being applied to content marketing."

The importance of developing a multi-pronged approach to content distribution heightened when Facebook started limiting organic reach for brands toward the end of 2013. According to Colin Nagy, the Barbarian Group's executive director of media and distribution, Facebook's changing policies have made it expensive to get good reach on the social network, pushing marketers to experiment more with content recommendation platforms like Outbrain and Taboola.

Ultimately, Nagy sees a world where brands and agencies will be able to use a single platform to create, measure, and distribute their content across the Internet, a future you can see foreshadowed by the growing number of partnerships between companies that help brands create bcontent and social distribution platforms. Contently, for instance, is an official partner with Outbrain and LinkedIn, and Percolate is a partner with Socialcode.

"Rigorous analytics are essential, but also, I think it is important to stretch and try new platforms and not expect the world right off the bat," Nagy said. "I like brands that are willing to experiment with new platforms and publishers without over-committing ... There's a fine balance to be struck."

So where does all this leave the platforms vying for brands' advertising budgets?

Contently VP of Marketing Raymond Cheng believes the content distribution war will be won by the companies with the best algorithms, those that can bring in lots of data and accurately predict what content will resonate with consumers.

"Generally speaking, you want to go with somebody that's a little more established because it means their models have had time to get better," Cheng said. "You also want to go with a vendor that has extremely awesome account management support, because getting started is really hard and you don't want to blow a lot of money and figure everything out on your own. You want to have an account manager who will sit next to you and help you iterate and hold your hand and help you get better."

As for Keywee, the company will be looking to improve its product over the next several quarters by expanding its platform to offer placements on LinkedIn and Twitter. The company is also planning a subscription service through which customers will be able to use its performance analytics in the content creation process.

"A lot of the technology [around content distribution] needs to be rebuilt, and it creates a very big opportunity that's relatively untapped," Makover said. "I think it's very, very early in the way amplification is being done."

In the meantime, Keywee and its competitors will be hard at work trying to do whatever they can to capitalize on that opportunity.

As for who will come out on top in the end? Well, we'll just have to wait and see, but ammo and alliances seem destined to play a big role.

The post Keywee and the War for Content Distribution Supremacy appeared first on The Content Strategist.


0 Tue, 07 Apr 2015 14:27:31 +0000

Everyone benefits from "leaning in," not just women.

The post How Sharing Credit Can Elevate Your Company and Career appeared first on The Content Strategist.


Not long ago, I bought a business subscription that required a bit of training to learn. The account manager who walked me through the product on the phone did a phenomenal job. So good, in fact, that I wished others on my team had been around to see how she went above and beyond on the call.

This was the kind of person I would have loved to hire. On a whim, I decided to send her boss an email telling him as much. She embodied the two attributes I screen for when hiring for my company:



Her boss thanked me for the feedback. The next time I interacted with the account manager, it was clear that the praise had filtered down to her as well. I now had an advocate for life, and she had gotten well-deserved credit in front of her boss and peers.

Screening for problem solvers and givers has helped us build an office full of 80-some-odd obnoxiously kind people. But the real lesson I learned from this account manager is that being a giver--and specifically giving credit--isn't just good for building a happy company; it's also one of the easiest ways we can battle inequality.

Research indicates that women often tend to take less credit for their achievements than they deserve (typically a sign of a giver), and men are more likely to toot their horn (typically a good strategy for climbing the ladder). It turns out that we often do these things unconsciously.

What results, however, is a world where women earn less, get fewer promotions, and have more of their ideas ignored. This is bad for society, of course, and it's bad for business on two levels:

Innovation happens when we look at problems from different perspectives. Gender inequality robs us of valuable perspective at every level of a business (and thorough research backs this up).

When women succeed more at work, men succeed more, too. Inequality pulls everyone down.

I'm going to be honest: when I talk about inequality, I get self-conscious. Decades of studies show that I have things easier at work, on balance, than my female and minority colleagues. I--and doubtless other capable people in my shoes--often don't think about this because I'm focusing on my own work.

But focusing on myself and the way I feel is shooting myself in the foot. Aside from being the ethical thing to do, it turns out that it's in my own interest to speak up about workplace inequality. Recent studies show, unambiguously, that by helping others succeed, we make our own jobs easier. And research also shows that companies with successful women make more progress and more profit than homogenous teams.

In other words, everyone benefits from "leaning in", not just women.

I hadn't realized when I sent that note to my account manager's boss that the woman who'd done such a fantastic job was less likely to receive full credit in the workplace than a man doing a similar job. I sent the compliment because I was in a good mood. Now I realize that these simple acts of giving credit to people--to their bosses and peers--are part of how I can help end workplace inequality.

(Great news, too! My account manager was recently promoted to director-level. Well deserved, Blaire!)

We have plenty of habits to change when it comes to gender and work. One of the easiest ways for men and women to get started--to #LeanInTogether--is to give generous credit to our colleagues. We all need to build each other up and let others see our collective good work. As we look for ways to do this, we'll build work cultures filled with obnoxiously kind people. We'll build the kind of business world where powerful women lead and are heard.

And we just might get more work done, too.

Let's #LeanInTogether for equality. Visit to learn more.

The post How Sharing Credit Can Elevate Your Company and Career appeared first on The Content Strategist.


0 Mon, 06 Apr 2015 20:48:21 +0000

Admit it: Isn't there something at your job that you wish you could do better?

The post The 10 Best Skillshare Classes for Content Marketers appeared first on The Content Strategist.


Admit it: Isn't there something at your job that you wish you could do better?

Last month, we published "The 10 Best Skillshare Classes for Freelancers" on our sister site, The Freelancer, and we figured it would only be fair--to our readers, and to Skillshare's varied selection of classes--to dig in and find the best Skillshare classes for content marketers.

Skillshare gives anyone with Internet access the ability to learn about a specific craft and expand creative boundaries. On the platform, classes are mostly free and divided into categories such as writing, design, photography, and DIY. Most classes run between one and two hours, and all are divided into roughly 10-minute videos students can watch on their own time. Fo


10 Mistakes Hiphop Artists Make On Facebook.

Twitter has emerged among the most powerful social networking tools. Twitter is the home for a lot of hip hop artists about the word. Even though Twitter is fairly new, there are already hiphop artists such as Sean Combs who had success with advertising on twitter. However, there as also been a number of people who have made some mistakes on the subject of branding themselves on twitting.

I have compiled a listing of social media the 10 most frequent mistakes rap artists make while applying twitter:

1. Adding too many people at one time. So you want to brand yourself, yet you'e got 50 men and women following you, while you're following two, 001? How does that genuinely portray you? If not only forces you to look extremely desperate it shows that you're not on twitter to develop relationships with people, only to gain a huge amount of followers in order to spam them with your current links. Take it slow, let the follows are available naturally.

2. Bad photo. Using photos of inanimate objects with your avatar

or profile picture, even worse-not using any profile photo in any respect. People feel more comfortable getting together with people online when they know they are communicating with a genuine person.

3. Posting nothing but totally random drivel daily. While this could work in case you are only using the circle to connect with family and friends, if you are making use of Twitter for business then you certainly should post meaningful messages that will help you grow your company. You can post advertisements, updates, and links to articles that provide value to people in your network. You can also post humorous tweets as well as other more personal tweets just be sure that they are interesting.

4. Using the default tweets layout. If you are a professional and need to be seen as so, take a few moments to either create facts packed twitter background, or at least anything with some style. Who knows, you might even get featured within an article about twitter floor plans and end up gaining lots of subscribers because of the item.

5. Carrying on long discussions between two users. The temptation to use Twitter as an IM service is generally there, but to fill a timeline with replies to a single person in a short span of your time is aggravating enough to generate other followers reach to the unfollow button. If you sense ones convo will drag in, use direct messages, or better yet, just call the person the phone.

6. Not making regular Myspace updates. If you want to realize followers on Twitter, you need to article updates or tweets at least one time a day. You can't expect visitors to follow you if they note that the last message on your own feed was posted a month or two ago.

7. Failing to add you to ultimately twitter directories. You want to gain followers but you don't add yourself to places can be found. Directories such as and or powerful places to add yourself and be found by twitter users. Blacktwitters is a twitter directory for African American twitters.

8. Tweeting famous people. Nothing looks more obscured then to discover unknown hip hop artists tweeting circumstances to Jim Jones like delivered you my mixtap and you didn't respond.? This makes you look bad for a network and it's not professional.

9. Selling in your twitting. You want to tell people about your brand name? Do it in your bio. Put your URL presently there and leave it from that. Focus your time and creating quality filled twitter updates. If they like anyone, they'll look into what we do because they appreciate what you're saying and believe you might be a valuable source, not just someone which spams the twitter globe with random 揵uy the particular hot song.

10. Dising other hip jump artists. Internet beef are super weak. Beefing with other hip artists on twitter is simply dumb.


Create a Facebook Fan Page.

Maybe you have a Personal Facebook Survey and also belong to a couple Facebook Groups, but do you use a Fb Fan Web page on your company? You may be lacking out on most significant marketing approaches if you won't. Today I need to share with you one way you incorporate the use of Facebook for enterprise: by generating an Recognized Fb Page, also known as a Fan Website page.

If you still aren't certain Facebook is suitable for your company, initially I'm going to provide most statistics that could possibly have you getting a minute look, after that I'll analyze why and how to setup a Facebook Web page. Does Facebook actually matter? Sure! Definitely yes! Here are most noteworthy information regarding Fb which plainly point out its significance and likely effect on your producer

Half of Facebook's 400 million customers spend approximately 55 mins on the spot every and every evening.

The average consumer features 130 friends and relates to 60 pages, teams, and events-this means huge viral publicity to your articles is possible. Individuals are sharing greater than 25 billion objects connected with curiosity (web links, information stories, weblog posts, and many others.) each and every couple of months.

Females over 55 years are the quickest growing band of users and the standard individual on Fb will be 35. Hopefully you can observe from those facts and also demographics, your company belongs on Facebook and starting a Fb Fan Page for your organization is an very sensible marketing tactic.

The Value of Establishing a Fb Site. The biggest distinction social network sites separating your own report, group, and page is which on your own viewable to the general public and listed twitter by search engines like google is a page. This supplies you, your business enterprise, and your page together with SEO value-you can rank larger in Google any time people search for your services or products. And because it's public, those don't possess to possess a Fb account to check out your page-there's no hurdle to entry.

Also however you can only have one personal profile (using a limit of 5, 000 pals), Facebook will let you set up quite a few webpages with an unlimited choice of followers. You're also capable to concept all of your current followers at after using a Fan Page, but can concept a couple of individuals at after on your personal report. What's even much better is which you may concentrate in on a focused market when you deliver a notion. For instance, you could message only females of your certain age in Dallas, Tx.

The viral prospective of Fb is additionally vital to be aware of. This implies that posts on your Official Page's wall make an appearance in the News Give which reaches a broader target audience on your entire followers' personal report pages (recall the normal Facebooker has 130 friends-that's a further 130 people with typical which watch your publish X kids of followers for your website).

An additional common trait of Facebook is Groups, but bear in thoughts, Teams aren't general public material and therefore, aren't listed by search engines like google. If you would like to set up a Group, I advocate you initially develop an Genuine Site for your company, and then set up friends as a subpart of your Page.

How to Produce the Formal Facebook Page. It's simple to create a Web page for ones business on Facebook. Simply go to your Facebook homepage and visit "Develop a Page. " Following, you'll either signal directly into your Fb accounts or produce a new one.

When developing your Formal Web site, keep in mind these triumph recommendations:

Function on it and create it earlier than you post it. Rather than inviting all your good friends to "enjoy" your page, only propose it to individuals with your target market. Construct your web page and written content with SEO in ideas - make your page search phrase rich.

Interact and engage; begin discussions, ask questions, get to know your current followers.

Offer fans a point special-an incentive to turn out to be a fan. Possibly this is a discount code, unique low cost, no cost reward, and many others.

Connect your Page using your various sociable advertising specifics prefer your weblog, Twitter, and YouTube (check out utilizing an software get pleasure from Involver).

Often be discussing useful, related written content, also if it's not your personal.

Don't mostly overlook to build your list! Add an opt-in box for just a free reward instantly to your Fb Web page having an software enjoy Static FBML, which lets you add ritual HTML to any webpages.

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