Updated: Oct 21, 2020

If only our annual predictions were true. It's only January and already we have a plague running amok. Australia is burning. Kobe Bryant is dead in a helicopter crash. I don’t think anyone saw them coming.

I rarely make predictions because they rarely come true. This is why you'll never see one here in this newsletter. Hopefully, content marketing isn't going to be as dramatic but the year isn't over yet. But there are signs that brand storytellers and content marketers are ready for a new perspective on marketing content. This week, there haven't been many surprises, but let's not hold our breath.

How the Nazis are running wild in the World of Warcraft and Blizzard is doing nothing.

"The user-generated content found in World of Warcraft is just one example of how far-right extremists are infiltrating online platforms and video games,” Congressman Lou Correa said. White supremacist and racist guilds in World of Warcraft have been an open secret in the

WoW community for at least a decade. And Blizzard, the game publisher, hasn't done anything about it since 2007.

Even Warren Buffet's golden touch can't save the newspaper industry

When Warren Buffet bought 63 newspapers from Media General in 2012, the journalism industry received a huge psychic boost. But, alas, that is to be no more. Buffet admitted defeat and has sold his stake in the newspapers to Lee Enterprises and walked away. Why can't the world's most successful investor save the newspaper industry?

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The $413B content marketing opportunity for freelance writers

Good writers are in huge demand and great writers commanding high fees, there never has been a better time to become a journalist and a writer. In 2017, Technavio reported that the growth of content marketing sees no sign of stopping in their in-depth industry analysis. The explosive growth of content means more earnings for writers and many revenue streams. Why creating more content provides more opportunities for writers...

Hack your grammar without trying too hard

I suck at writing. I know I do. And I want to get better at it, but like everyone, I'm lazy. So this cheat sheet from Ali Mese from Growth Supply Studio is a godsend. Here's how you can improve your grammar the easy way.

How to make people remember your content: Finding the right angle and context

It's definitely in the headline. But surprisingly, the way the headline is "angled" determines what the reader remembers. Angles don’t just decide whether we click—they decide how we read.

What else we are reading around the web

<Case Study> The SaaS Marketing Bible: 41+ Strategies and Case Studies using Content Marketing *

We get it, you've been hurt before. You've put out a piece of content and didn't feel the love. In the age of transparency, personalization, and authenticity — it can feel like a daunting, uphill battle to win over the hearts and minds of consumers. Luckily you don’t need to have all the answers, that’s what the smart people at Apollo Digital are here for.

Feel that your content is lost in the sea of market saturation? This huge guide was written just for the purpose of helping you find new innovative content strategies. Meant for the advanced growth hacker who understands ranking landing pages is more than just backlinks; has a thorough understanding of what customer personas are and isn't lost when creating marketing funnels. In this guide, they dive deep into each strategy and uncover:

  • Theory. How and why you should use this strategy

  • Actionable instructions on how to implement the strategy

  • A practical example or a case study

  • Links to further readings

Let Apollo Digital usher you into the age of good content

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<Content Marketing Tool> How your online community can amplify your content marketing strategy. *

Content comes in many different forms, ranging from the humble blog post to lengthy whitepapers. For the most part, your content marketing strategy involves developing, publishing and sharing your own content – but it doesn’t end there.

Consumers are far more interested in what other customers have to say.You can leverage the power of online communities to amplify your message and encourage the creation of user-generated content (UGC) that supports your brand. It’s this customer-oriented approach to marketing that makes UGC an essential component of any content campaign and drive brand credibility.

Vanilla Forums knows a thing or two on building communities and how to leverage user-generated content to your advantage. Learn how you can create more authentic and believable user-generated content campaigns using communities.

*sponsored content

Content Marketing Jobs

  • Senior Copywriter - Banana Republic Six-plus years of writing and editing experience, preferably with a fashion retailer or in retail advertising. (No technical writers, please.) Apply here

  • Digital Marketer and Video Producer - Backflip We’re looking for a Digital Marketer and Video Producer – all in one talented person! Apply here

  • Senior Copywriter - Amazon You are an experienced copywriter who has successfully demonstrated a strong ability to connect with customers through innovative storytelling. Apply here

  • Director of Content Strategy - Ad Action Interactive The Director serves as the creative strategist and content lead — and often the lead writer — on our growth strategy and content marketing projects. Apply here

  • Assistant Vice President, Content Excellence - L'Oreal Seeking a seasoned Content Marketer with extensive experience in Content and Digital Marketing strategy and execution. As the L’Oréal USA AVP for Content Excellence you will drive L’Oréal USA’s transformation to a digital and content best-in-class leader. Apply here

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Want to contribute an interesting link related to content marketing and brand storytelling industry? Send it to me here:

Looking to reach an audience of professional content marketers and brand managers through advertising? Contact me here.

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

Today’s lesson: Every brand has a story.

Telling yours in the right way allows you to shape the relationship you have with your target audiences, existing customers, employees and everyone else who engages with your brand.

Without storytelling, you’re simply left with sales pitches. You’re essentially shoving a product or service in someone’s face and leaving them with a yes/no decision to make. Craft a compelling story though, and you’re creating a narrative that people can believe and align themselves with the core values of your brand. It’s this narrative that builds brand familiarity or loyalty.

So brand storytelling matters.The consistent telling of your company’s brand story is what will differentiate you from the rest. Keep this in mind the next time that you create your ebook or blog posts.

How to take video testimonials to the next level

We all know that videos made by clients are great marketing assets. The only problem is that most of them are quite generic, not really outlining the uniqueness of the business. At the same time, it would be unethical (and weird) to ask your clients "Hey, could you please make me a video testimonial saying exactly this and that?"It might sound like an insoluble problem, but did you know there are ways to get outstanding and controllable testimonials, without dictating to your clients what to say? You can, for example, interview your best clients. Check out these 10 simple steps (and real-world examples) to get authentic and powerful case study videos from your clients.

Feeling dizzy with your competitor-based keyword research?

The Internet is full of tutorials teaching "how to find your competitors' keywords".

What most of them don't answer very clearly are questions like:

  • "Which competitors to choose?"

  • "How to define their best keywords to prioritize?"

These points are very important to be clarified, otherwise, there's a high risk of, for example, wasting time analyzing a competitor who’s targeting an audience totally different from yours.

Here's Rand Fishkin's approach to competitive KW research, in detail. I'm sure you're gonna love it.

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The ultimate guide to getting started as a freelance writer (even if you've got no portfolio)

If you ever talked with content writers who tried to work as freelancers, you’ve probably heard stories very different between each other. Lots of people see freelancing job boards as content mills, and several of them really are, but there are ways to find worthy gigs if you look for them in the right - and not always obvious - places. And what if you’re just starting out and have no portfolio of previous work? As far as you have writing skills and can prove it, you’re gonna be fine. Learn all you need to know to start out as a freelance writer here.

Introducing crowdfunding link building (and how to do it right)

Did you know there are lots of fundraising projects that offer a link to your site in exchange for a small donation? All you need to do is finding the right projects to donate for.

Here you can see Matthew Woodward's detailed tutorial on that and learn the process he used to get a link from a DR64 domain, relevant to his niche, for only $25.

[CASE STUDY] The best Facebook ads published by DigitalMarketer.com in 2019 (plus the lessons learned with them)

One thing I really like doing when it comes to paid advertising is “learning from the pros”, then when I spend money and time with my own tests, I already have a hint of what might work if properly executed. For example, when running ads to cold traffic, what works better: promoting a lead magnet opt-in or an article (or what else)? And what about people who attend a webinar but don't go further in the funnel? How to efficiently retarget them? And what to do with eCommerce cart abandoners? You can find the answers to the above advertising dilemmas, among others, in this didactic article published by DigitalMarketer, where they not only show their top 7 ads of 2019, but also explain the reason they worked so well in comparison to others.

<Content Tool> Email marketing is not dead. It still works and this is the tool that does it well. *

Doing email marketing right comes down to the right tools, valuable content, campaign planning and execution. If you’re a SMB marketer, finding a tool that does everything without killing your small budget is very difficult. With Convertkit, not only do you get a simple to learn and easy to use tool, it has all of the features you need without all the clutter of unnecessary add-ons.

Even better, as you scale your website, you’ll be able to integrate with the Convert Kit integrates with most market leading tools and many others. Integration is always important so that each tool you use can leverage the value that each creates. If you are new to creating email courses or drip campaigns, Convert Kit is the tool for you.

It’s not just a piece of software, rather it is an email marketing tool that teaches you as you build out your courses and campaigns.

If you’re an online entrepreneur that is starting out a blog or an audience, and send regular emails, this is the tool for you.

If you’re interested in that, you can checkout ConvertKit. It might save you a massive headache.

*sponsored content


  • Director of Content Marketing - Kaplan You will oversee the strategy, production and execution of content that drives engagement before, during and after a product experience through Kaplan owned digital properties as well as with our partnerships. Apply here

  • Head of Content Marketing - Zeotap Develop thoughtful and engaging content that positions zeotap as a thought-leader among Customer Intelligence Platforms and Identity Resolution providers Apply here

  • Content Strategy Manager - Health Care Consultants Inc. 5+ years’ experience in content strategy – planning, researching, and creating interactive content – and 5+ years experience writing and editing for digital media required. Apply here

  • Content Marketing Specialist - Luma Touch seeking a Content Marketing Specialist who will help the company refine its voice on social media and play a role in developing content Apply here

  • Content Manager - HigherEducation.com - RedVentures We’re looking for content managers who have a sharp editorial eye, possess the skills of a product manager, and can work in tandem with the company's marketing verticals to develop the best content on the web for the education vertical. Apply here

What else we are reading around the web

  • Why people still fall for fake screenshots The surge of misinformation accompanying the coronavirus outbreak has included several cases in which people have been deceived by fake screenshots.

  • How The Economist designs charts for Instagram As social-media platforms go, Instagram is one of the most visual. Though it is a natural home to photos, other types of visual journalism also have a place. Over time, The Economist has formed a loose set of guidelines to help optimise the content in their feed. These principles are especially important on a platform where people can easily scroll past content that doesn’t immediately grab their attention.

  • Audobon Society’s amazing use of gifs, illustrations and magazine style content has made the drab topic of climate change eye-catching and engaging. Great use of creativity to make a statement.

  • BuzzFeed News is recruiting teenagers to make election-themed TikTok and Instagram videos BuzzFeed News is looking for a few good teens. Hiring young, camera-ready content creators for social media is hardly surprising for BuzzFeed. But these teen ambassadors will work with the election team at BuzzFeed News.

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Updated: Oct 21, 2020

Today's rant. Get out of the garbage-pile of shitty content.

As Liana Patch wrote on Copyhackers, we're "drowning" in an ever spinning hamster wheel of garbage, only because, we, as content marketers, are in an arms race to produce more and more content.

And as a result, we are experiencing a tremendous amount of content fatigue. And we all know exactly what it means. There is more content on the web than ever before, and it just keeps coming. Pretty much every company is spewing out copious amounts of content for their niche buyer. Said buyers also have higher expectations than ever, so it can be difficult — if not impossible — to stand out from the crowd. The power has now shifted towards distribution, where advertising platforms can guarantee you the reach at a cost of creating clickbait ads to get more CTRs.

Unfortunately, what has been working then, no longer works now. Everyone is seeing dropping KPIs.. from reach, engagement metrics all the way down to MQLs. So what is the answer? What can be done as a group? I'd love to hear from you all in our slack group on how we can solve this mess and still drive results.

How do you beat content saturation? What do marketers at top companies actually read.

The following says it all. “While content is getting better, its reach is decreasing, CAC is increasing (faster than CAC for paid marketing), and competition is skyrocketing. ProfitWell recently published a study revealing some grim statistics that illustrate these points - compared to 5 years ago, 300% more content is being published per month, posts are almost 100% longer in word count, and shares per post have dropped 90%(!) in the last 2 years.” If you don’t adapt, you risk getting behind.

Relevance is Google's buzzword of the day for the November 2019 update

If there’s one shred of explanation we’ve been given about this Google update, it’s the word relevance unhelpfully repeated over and over. Of course, even if Google’s true intention was to tweak results for relevance, it is very clear that they haven’t done an amazing job. One of the most frustrating things about this update is that many publishers which have long held #1 spots have seen them overtaken by seemingly outdated, thin and irrelevant pages. Although, it was considered a minor update, it affected some niches so badly, such as travel, health and even finance. SEO Expert Glen Alsopp takes a deep analysis on how thin content affiliate sites rank well even against large sites such as Business Insider. What he found was interesting, compared to general, high content sites, “hyperniche sites secured 33% more first place rankings, despite being present in six fewer search results.”

Non-sucky guide to transactional emails

Getting your emails labeled as spam is one of the last things you want as an email marketer. Not only does this label mean the recipient ignored the original email, but it also means they won’t receive your future emails. Consider the fact that every single email from your brand to the user’s inbox is a chance for an upgrade. You’re taking time out of your customer’s day asking them to open and read / act on / reply to / file those transactional emails so why not make that time they’re spending with you more awesome? Getting your transactional emails right.

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Ending the gated vs. ungated content debate once and for all

Inbound marketing is simply about creating super valuable content that people love, right? Well, not really. Sure, it’s about publishing awesome content. But even if your content gets thousands of views, tons of shares, that still doesn’t make you awesome at inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is about generating highly qualified leads that turn into potential customers. So if that energy-zapping viral article you wrote doesn’t deliver solid leads to your business, was it a waste of time?

Sometimes your content can be too good. How to protect yourself from the whales.

Here’s a realistic scenario that we’ve come across more than a few times. A content creator writes a piece optimized for a short-tail, top of funnel keyword—and it takes off! The article gains traction in search and pretty soon it’s lifting the entire site. You think it’s good, but these whales also have a bad side to them.

<Case Study> How to Rank on Page 1 of Google FAST (In-Depth Case Study) *

What’s the secret to getting authority links? It’s not an easy question to answer. But you know people who are able to generate backlinks from about anything they publish. How do they do it? It may happen behind the scenes, but some people know how to get backlinks with ease. Here’s how Brian Dean from Backlinko does it as he walks you through how rank a site fast.

*sponsored content

<Content Tool> The awesome tool that helps you find the content that performs best*

If knowledge is power, BuzzSumo is a content marketing cold fusion reactor. If content is a large part of your inbound marketing strategy, this tool will help you supercharge it.

Buzzsumo’s power is in telling you how your content performs online and breaks down that performance by multiple metrics across domains, keywords or topics. This data helps marketers like you better create, optimize and promote content.

From content insights, influencer information to alerts, it all boils down to saving you hours of time, increasing your success and helping you plan each step of your content marketing. Once you’ve planned and put things in action, it will analyze your efforts, giving you a chance to fine-tune the process. If you are

*sponsored content

Content Marketing Jobs

  • Director Digital Marketing, Full Price - Nordstrom Digital Marketing Director is skilled in developing direct response marketing strategy and channel marketing teams with the goal of driving strong marketing driven sales while focusing on efficiency, incrementality and achieving profitable long-term customer and business outcomes. Apply here

  • Content Strategy Manager - InsightSquared We're looking for an accomplished content marketer with a knack for sourcing and producing content that drives business value. You’ll shape the InsightSquared story by procuring or producing content for all stages of the customer journey, including content designed to help the InsightSquared brand resonate. Apply here

  • Digital Content Strategist - Hanley Wood Marketing The Digital Content Strategist is the “conductor” of successful content marketing projects for our clients, ensuring outstanding management and execution of deliverables to support that strategy. Apply here

  • U.S. Head of Influencer - Edelman US The ideal candidate will have a passion for and knowledge of influencer partnerships across all tiers of talent, branded video content, social platforms, digital media, and the talent management space. Apply here

  • Director of Content Marketing, Peacock, Direct-to-consumer - NBC Universal Peacock is seeking an innovative marketer to join the team. This marketer will help with creating and executing best-in-class marketing campaigns to support initiatives that drive the business. The Director, Content Marketing reports to the Vice President, Content Marketing. Apply here

What else we are reading around the web

** Want more content like this? Join thousands of content marketers and brand storytellers here and get this weekly in your inbox. **

Want to contribute an interesting link related to content marketing and brand storytelling industry? Send it to me here:

Looking to reach an audience of professional content marketers and brand managers through advertising? Contact me here.