Content Marketing Catchup: The Best Branded Content of October, the Model That’ll Save Journalism, and More Must-Reads

Here’s what you missed while spending far too much time debating whether to buy a winter Snuggie…

The Best Branded Content of October

Our monthly roundup of the best branded content in the marketing universe includes some incredible, experimental storytelling that you have to see to believe. There’s also a big-name director producing holiday shorts, outdoor GIFs, and the first ad for Snapchat—which, incredibly, was actually pretty well received. Read it.

5 Lessons on Innovation From Picasso

If you think that Picasso’s influence is limited to the art world, think again, writes Contently founder Shane Snow:

This summer, The New York Times pulled the curtain back on Apple Computer’s “University” secretive training program for internal employees. The primary reveal was a surprising devotion to Pablo Picasso.

Apple is well known for minimalist product design; its notebook computers are carved from a single block of aluminum to eschew seams. Founder Steve Jobs was fond of the saying, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

But it’s the Spanish painter and inventor of Cubism to which new Apple employees today pay design homage. A striking example leaked to the Times is a series of lithographs in which Picasso deconstructs an intricate drawing of a bull into a few thin lines: Read it.

The 2014 Branded Content Approval Matrix

To commemorate a big year in content marketing so far, we gave the marketing discipline its very own approval matrix. From Taco Bell’s Snapchat exploits, to Facebook’s algorithm changes, to the most controversial PSA of the year, see which posts made the cut.

Do You Regret Something That You Published? Here’s How to Respond

Thinking of unpublishing a story you regret posting? Think again, writes Herbert Lu:

In August, it came to light that BuzzFeed had deleted over 4,000 articles from their site, a lot of them from before 2012. What really drew the recent negative press was that they didn’t announce that they would be unpublishing work. Rather, they did it in secrecy, and were caught red-handed.

According to BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, early BuzzFeed writers were told to go back and delete any of their articles that didn’t meet BuzzFeed’s new editorial standards. Smith soon came to regret how the entire process turned out. Read it.

The Business Model That Will ‘Save’ Journalism

Can journalism be saved? Shane Snow takes on this question in this week’s monster, must-read feature story:

I’m not worried about the death of content. The Internet is made of the stuff. Nothing captures the human mind and attention like a great story, and I believe nothing ever will. It’s in our biology.

But the Journalism business is an old man on life support.

That’s what the news tells us, at least. One thing that’s become painfully obvious in my last four years building a media-tech company (Contently) is that the shaded area of the Venn diagram between “Effective Journalist” and “Effective Businessperson” is geometrically tiny. Creative brains are naturally great at providing value without managing to capture it. But I don’t think that means we journalists need to give up—we just need to help the suits find a business model that works. Read it.

Read up, and enjoy your last weekends before hibernation season hits.


Image by jsutcliffe

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