2020 will probably go down in history as one giant albatross around our collective necks. But before you write it off as a cracked-and-rotten goose egg, take a minute to recognize a few positive things that have come out of this challenging year:2020 gave us a chance to prove just how resilient content marketers can be. When faced with limitations on face-to-face communication and live events, we found ways to pivot to virtual gatherings and remote collaboration. 2020 challenged our understanding of what our customers need most and drove us to answer their calls for help with more responsive solutions and timely experiences. 2020 motivated many of us to reexamine our personal biases and recognize systemic causes of inequality, and steeled our resolve to dismantle outdated practices that continue to feed them. 2020 forced us out of our creative comfort zone and gave us permission to experiment with new content formats and platforms, innovative ideas, and novel approaches for shaping and sharing our brand stories.
On this day devoted to gratitude in the United States, the CMI team is showing their appreciation for some of those who inspired us this year. Though it’s just a small sample of the best work and words these great industry minds have to offer, the following posts, series, and videos remind us to keep pushing to get better at what we do – and be better for those we do it with and for.
These posts, series, and videos remind us to keep pushing to get better at what we do – and be better for those we do it with and for, says @joderama via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Read more > Click To Tweet
1. Blog and social media post: 5 Lessons I Learned From Share the Mic Now
Author: Alberthe K. Buabeng
Why I’m thankful I read it: Albie’s Instagram post about #ShareTheMicNow put the challenges Black content creators face on social media into stark perspective – and was one of the stories that led to the nomination and ultimate win of #ShareTheMicNow’s founders for B2C Content Marketer of the Year.
Albie was so inspired by this social movement that she took it upon herself to amplify it with a related hashtag: #ShareTheMicNowHomeEdition. Many of the lessons she learned (and generously shared in this blog post) apply to all influencer marketing campaigns, whether brand sponsored or grassroots. My favorite takeaways: Remember that influencers are people too. Try video pitches. Trust your big, crazy ideas. – Kim Moutsos
Author: A. Lee Judge
Why I’m thankful I read it: For those who heard Lee speak at Content Marketing World 2020 (it’s still available on demand), you know he has great ideas and a clever way with words. He doesn’t want any of us to just be content with our efforts. He wants us to “Be the content.” I appreciate that Lee is challenging CMI to update its definition of content marketing. Though our definition has certainly stood the test of time, as Lee rightly points out, “… in the years since that explanation debuted, content marketing has spawned new job titles, careers, departments, and even new types of businesses.” Today, content marketing is much more than a marketing strategy that uses content to attract an audience. As Lee reminds us all, “Content marketing also is a full-on skill set. It’s no longer enough to market with content. You must understand how to market the content itself.” – Stephanie Stahl
#ContentMarketing also is a full-on skill set. It’s no longer enough to market with content. You must understand how to market the content itself, says @ALeeJudge via @CMIContent @EditorStahl. #CMWorld Click To Tweet
3. Blog post: Quick & Easy Digital Accessibility
Author: Alexa Heinrich
Why I’m thankful I read it: As marketers, we want our content to not only be diverse but accessible to everyone. And it’s not as difficult to accomplish as you may think. This article shares how we can make our content more accessible with just a few tweaks. It’s changed how I approach CMI’s social media strategy. – Monina Wagner
For more insights on the accessibility of your content, check out our CMWorld chat with Alexa Heinrich.
4. Blog post and video series: The Loyalty Loop
Author: Andrew Davis
Why I’m thankful I read/watched it: Drew is among the smartest and most savvy content marketers in the game. Not only is his video content extremely informative, his creativity and the production value of his work are top-notch. – Joseph “JK” Kalinowski
5. Blog post: The Decision to Capitalize Black
Author: AP Style Blog (John Daniszewski)
Why I’m thankful I read it: I’m an AP Style geek from way back (think spiralbound editions) and now I’m an AP Style Online fan. So, I’m always interested in changes to style and its explanations. This thoughtful post about its multi-year process to change the cultural identifier “black” to “Black” is a must-read (and must-use) for all. (And a subsequent entry about why AP will continue to lowercase “white” is interesting, too.) – Ann Gynn
[email protected] is to capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, says @jdaniszewski via @CMIContent @AnnGynn. #CMWorld Click To Tweet
6. Audio diary episode: The Founder’s Journal – Episode 87 – Scarcity and Exclusivity
Author: Alex Lieberman and Josh Kaplan
Why I’m thankful I listened to it: Alex talks about the power of scarcity – and how brands can use it to their advantage.
It got me thinking a lot about our newsletters, community, brand advocacy, and how we can have fun growing our business by thinking about the products we have, valuable new offerings we could create, and more. This episode got me excited for my next creative brainstorming meeting. – Cathy McPhillips
7. Blog post: The Art of Alt Text
Author: Alexa Heinrich
Why I’m thankful I read it: If you’re thinking about accessibility and ways to make your content inclusive, this article is super helpful for writing alt text for images. It’s something that I continually stress about when finalizing CMI blog posts and posting on social media. Alexa clearly outlines tips to keep in mind for crafting effective image descriptions for people who use text-to-speech technology to consume digital content. It helped me a ton. – Lisa Dougherty
8. Blog post: LiveIntent SVP of Marketing Kerel Cooper on How Brands Can Take a Stand and Back Up Their Words With Action
Author: Joe Lazauskas
Why I’m thankful I read it: I love this Q&A that the always fantastic Joe Lazauskas, head of marketing at Contently, did with Kerel Cooper, senior vice president of marketing at LiveIntent and co-founder of The Minority Report Podcast – a platform where people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals talk media/marketing, business, and tech. In this interview, Kerel talks diversity, ad tech, data, and content investment. – Lisa Murton Beets
9. Blog post: Web Content Best Practices: Our 22-Point Checklist for Publishing High-Performance Articles
Author: Andy Crestodina
Why I’m thankful I read it: When I need a quick lesson on how to do something the right way, the Orbit Media blog is usually the first place I go for guidance. This post illustrates why you should too. The posts aren’t random tips curated and pasted onto a page – they’re thoughtful, well-detailed, supported by hard data, and presented in a way that makes the lessons easy to understand and implement. By providing clear reasons as to why his techniques work (not just how to work them), Orbit’s content isn’t just informational, it’s truly instructional. – Jodi Harris
10. Podcast and LinkedIn posts: State of Demand Gen
Author: Chris Walker
Why I’m thankful I listened to it: Chris does his podcast two to three times a week and then creates companion LinkedIn posts with a snippet from the episodes. It looks like he records himself doing the podcast, which is what he posts on LinkedIn. I love this approach – it’s a great way to repurpose content and extend its value. – Karen Schopp
11. Newsletter: Friday Reflection
Author: Megan Gilhooly
Why I’m glad I read it: Every Friday, Megan shares a snapshot view of what’s happening in the world of content, support, customer experience, and technology. But before you start clicking the links to her weekly selections, take a few minutes to read her perspectives on each story. You’ll find a thought leader who’s not afraid to ask tough questions, admit when she doesn’t fully understand the answers being presented, and offer a counterargument even as she praises the source material as a whole. It’s a refreshing take on news curation: By injecting her personality into her news coverage, Megan’s content stands out in a crowded field. – Robert Rose
12. Blog post: So What? Personal Brand MarTech Basics – Part 1
Authors: Katie Robbert
Why I’m thankful I read it: Do I need my own website? Should I put more of my content on my owned platform? What tech should I use? What should I post? How often should I post? Katie, Chris Penn, and John Wall dig into Katie’s personal brand and have some fun doing so. These are all questions I’ve asked – and I’m sure other marketers have as well. Oh, and if you enjoy this, make sure you watch the follow-up. – Cathy McPhillips
13. Podcast episode: An Interview with Renata Policicio – ESPN (Best of CRS) Ep. 19
Host: The Insights Association
Why I’m thankful I listened to it: Renata Policicio, ESPN’s vice president of international fan and media intelligence, global markets, not only believes in the power of content to tell stories, she measures it. In this podcast hosted by The Insights Association, Renata explains the story qualities ESPN measures, including relatability, humor, and substance. She stresses the need to be relatable in everything you do, as well as the importance of knowing the objective for each story and piece of content you create. – Lisa Murton Beets
14. Blog series: Worrying From Home
Author: Doug Kessler
Why I’m thankful I read it: This series of blogs authored by Velocity Partners is a great mix of business and personal thoughts, insights, and questions that we all have as we deal with the stress of the pandemic. The blogs are a great take on issues marketers are facing right now, plus what we as professionals are personally dealing with on the work-from-home front. – Joseph “JK” Kalinowski
15. Social media: Gloria Atanmo on Instagram
Author: Gloria Atanmo
Why I’m thankful I follow her: In my desire to find new voices to follow, I was introduced to Gloria Atanmo. She is a graphic designer who uses her Instagram account to spark honest conversations about race.
Gloria creates engaging visual content that addresses questions like, “What does it mean to ‘whitesplain’ racism?” and “Are you guilty of Black tokenism?” Her images hold valuable lessons on how we can practice genuine allyship in the fight for racial equity. – Monina Wagner
16. Blog post: Video Marketing for Industrial Companies (With Examples)
Author: Chris Bryant
Why I’m thankful I read it: Thomas Publishing Company offers great resources for industrial marketers, including content marketing guidance. This post, which focuses on video marketing, contains stats, examples of manufacturers who use video, and information for succeeding with video content. – Lisa Murton Beets
17. Blog post: Words Matter: A Case for Leadership and Writing
Author: Scott Monty
Why I’m thankful I read it: If you want to read something that makes you really think, where you can learn something valuable, timeless, and timely, then follow Scott. I enjoyed this article because it hit on something so important – reading to improve your writing. I’ve been trying to read so much more since staying at home, and I feel that my stories and my thoughts are clearer, which is making my writing better. – Cathy McPhillips
18. Video channel: Evan Carmichael on YouTube
Author: Evan Carmichael
Why I’m thankful I watched it: Evan is a proficient content creator, motivational speaker, social marketer, and author of Built to Serve. He has 10 YouTube channels containing hundreds of interviews with inspirational people along with guidance on topics ranging from customer service to thought leadership to brand strategy – all of them are well worth watching. – Lisa Murton Beets
[email protected]’s #YouTube channels contain guidance on topics ranging from customer service to thought leadership to brand strategy – all of them are well worth watching, says @LisaBeets via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet
What are you most thankful for this year?
As we close the book on a remarkably disruptive year, 2020 should serve as a reminder that there’s always more we can learn, new ideas to consider, and plenty of things – in business and life – that we should never take for granted. Is there a content effort you found to be particularly useful, insightful, or inspirational this year? We’d love it if you would share them in the comments.
Want inspirational ideas and practical advice to wrap up the year and head into 2021? Watch the sessions and keynote presentations from Content Marketing World. Didn’t attend? You can sign up for on-demand access. Sessions will be available until April 30, 2021, for all registered participants.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute