Content Marketing Catchup: The Sponsored Content Debate, the Storytelling Arms Race, and More Must-Read Stories

Here’s what you missed while running down Broadway painted red, white and blue, celebrating a bizarrely successful 1-0 USMNT loss to Germany:

What Top Brand Publishers Look for in Freelancers

At last week’s Contently Summit, we went around the room asking the publishers present what they look for in freelancers. Check out what they said and pick up a few tricks for your own writer search. Read it.

Serendipity! 5 Brands That Scored an Accidental Viral Hit

What’s better than slaving over a piece of content for months and having it finally pay off? Doing absolutely nothing, but having someone else’s creative genius score you a big content marketing win, writes Jon Norris:

Many brands work for years without ever feeling the sweet embrace of a viral hit; however, an ever rarer beast is the unintentional brand booster—the viral video that just happens to feature you. Impossible to plan or predict—and tricky to capitalize on—the inadvertent brand content moment is the albino unicorn of viral marketing. Read it.

‘Don’t Trick Them; Don’t Piss Them Off’: The Sponsored Content Debate Heats Up

Publishers are excitedly adopting sponsored content offerings like it’s the cutest puppy at the pound, but the ethics surrounding sponsored content remain murky. Contently Associate Editor Jordan Teicher reports:

When it comes to sponsored content, what counts as honesty? A large company logo placed prominently atop an article page? A “Paid Post” disclaimer? A change in font?

These questions were at the forefront of the “Truth in Advertising” panel that kicked off last week’s Contently Summit. And the most crucial part of the issue may actually be what wasn’t said. Though a lively debate around sponsored content has echoed across the Internet these past few months, there still aren’t widespread, agreed-upon best practices for labeling sponsored content. Read it.

How ‘Smartcuts’ Can Change Your Content Marketing

In his latest piece, Contently co-founder Shane Snow introduces the concept of Smartcuts and how it can transform your content marketing efforts:

What did Ben Franklin, The Second City comedy school, and history’s fastest-growing media company have in common? Their unconventional success follows a set of patterns that research finds among overachieving people and companies across industries. Boiled down: history indicates that regardless of the industry or discipline, whenever there’s “The Way It’s Done,” someone eventually comes along and finds a smarter way, and that’s how innovation and above-average growth happens. That’s how we got The New York Times, Disney, the Internet, Apple, 3M… even America. Read it.

Write Stories, Not Press Releases: Microsoft and AmEx Reveal How to Win the Storytelling Arms Race

With OPEN Forum, American Express has built one of the most successful brand publishing platforms in the world. Similarly, Microsoft has been one of this year’s standout brand publishers thanks to Microsoft Stories and its impressive collection of longform stories. So what’s their secret? You’ll have to read it to find out.

Contently arms brands with the tools and talent to become great content creators. Learn more.

Image by Chris Dixon

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