Mini content curation masterclass: A fortnight in content marketing

I read a disconcerting amount of content about content; you wouldn’t expect less from Forrester’s content marketing analyst. So I thought: Why not do something with it? I’m going to curate and occasionally publish a great little list of content links.

As introduction, here's my formula for curation.

Tight focus on audience: This is for marketing leaders who work with content in one way or other. If you don’t work in marketing or think about content, this will be of less value. My goal’s to give people who think about or work with content a list of recent articles on the topic, out of which at least a couple will be solid gold. (N.B.! I explicitly avoid the “16 golden tips for [this, that or the other]” types of linkbait posts. Duh.)

Process: I rock Feedly with a pile of RSS feeds from content sites, a private Twitter list of content influencers, a stack of email newsletters, and a host of other sources pretty much every day. I make a list of the best stuff as I browse. After a couple of weeks, I give each piece on the list one to four stars. Four stars and some three stars make the cut. Then I give each a succinct treatment and a comment to frame it. Serve cold!

Without further ado, here’s the best news, ideas, and opinions on content in the last fortnight! (P.S. If you want me to send the Content Marketing Fortnight to you next time, email me).

Retail + content = hard
CEO Ben Lerer of Thrillist (one of a stable of new retail/publisher hybrids) told Bloomberg, “Building a big digital media business is tough.” But, by the looks of it, profitable. Thrillist plans to make more than $100 million next year by combining content and commerce. Interesting.

Content strategy oracle gets 30 bullets
Kristin Halvorsen’s the doyenne of content strategy. Her most recent presentation at An Event Apart in Chicago last month got curated expertly by Luke Wroblewski, himself a web design celebrity and author.

Did Google just kill PR?
Credit to Tom Foremski (the guy who invented the phrase “every business is a media business”) for the headline. He reports that Google’s putting the kibosh on overt attempts to place links on other sites, to PR agencies’ chagrin. The same topic fired up a great comment thread over at Econsultancy. Conclusion: PR agencies aren't dead, but the SEO press release is.

Get into grey matter to get social shares
Want evidence that shareable content is all about understanding people’s psychology? A successful political media start-up, PolicyMic, credits much of its social edge to making a Ph.D. behavioral analyst their Head of Viral.

A loud call for a head of content
Media Kitchen President Barry Lowenthal writes a compelling call for organizations to get themselves a head of content strategy, creation, and distribution. I agree. The piece got 6,000 social shares. (He also used the word “dimensionalize” – can’t win them all.)

A matrix of content marketing tactics
First10 and Smart Insights wanted to one-up Eloqua’s Content Grid. They gave it different axes: Emotional/Rational and Awareness/Purchase. It’s fanciful but still a good high-level breakdown of content tactics.

The big news from Content Marketing World
Content marketers flocked to Cleveland this week for CMWorld. And Joe Pulizzi gave them something to chew on. More than 50% of marketers have no formal content marketing strategy, J-P De Clerck reports. And only 11% of “not effective” marketers have one. Hmm, telling.

Introducing the content funnel
Velocity Partners ran a great little experiment to test promoting content pieces sequentially to prospects; then, they shared all their data. The content funnel may be an idea to stay.

Banner ads get a user straight-arm
Ad-driven publishers hate them, but ad blockers may be going mainstream. The NY Times Bits blog wrote about them, and PBS’ On The Media did an intriguing podcast on them. Will it drive ad buyers and sellers to more native advertising?

Kevin Spacey is a content marketer
A speech by Kevin Spacey in Edinburgh last month pulled back the covers on the TV industry and got that industry buzzing. Key quote: “The audience wants the control.” Online content consumption habits will disrupt TV.

Making content? Think in terms of cards.
Digital Strategist Neil Perkin writes an interesting post about how Twitter’s cards (expanded content views in-stream) “as an interaction model are spreading widely.” Technical. But worth knowing.

Big creative gives way to co-creative
Brand strategist Matthew Holt nails pretty succinctly how agencies need to rethink their approaches to branding and advertising. It’s not about the big creative idea, but the co-creative idea. Six good criteria.

Social content shorts
FourSquare announced that it will push users content based on location. The NY Times will let users tweet right in to a quote. And after regularly deleting up to 75% of its comments, the Huffington Post decides to kill its anonymous comment policy (as research indicates anonymity leads to far more uncivil comments).

A marketing site isn’t a “website”
Digital agency: “We don’t build websites anymore.” An excellent perspective on how web development actually works now. The article’s a great lesson to storytelling kum-bah-yah types: Lock down your lead machine (CRM & marketing automation).

Content joy
Because I know you content people can’t get enough of grammar fetishism and jokes about mayonnaise, I encourage you to read “How and why to use whom in a sentence” by Matthew Inman (dude behind The Oatmeal).

Finally, remarkable content of the fortnight
GE knows how to experiment with content. So they made an homage to Thomas Edison with a Ryan Gosling “Hey girl” meme. Edgy. Runner-up: Depressed cake shop.

(Anyone wanting to contribute links to the next one, just send them through.)

Comments

What a great round-up

Fantastic trove of goodies, Ryan.
I'm going to spend some serious time with these.

Would you post or link to

Would you post or link to your RSS feeds? Thanks!

Thanks Ryan for the mention.

Thanks Ryan for the mention. On a footnote (and showing what curation and watching a live stream especially can do): I wasn't at #cmworld. Wrote the piece during the live stream and added context afterwards. The results remain predictable - lack of strategy - but we can't emphasize it enough.

PS: kudos for the initiative, can't applaud this degree of interacting with the non-analysts but practitioners enough, way to go!

Cheers

Brilliant post - and using

Brilliant post - and using all the tools, toys and tricks I try and use and convince others to do the same. Thanks for collating!