Content Marketing Catchup: The Best Branded Content of November, Why Verizon’s SugarString Is Dead, and More Must-Reads

Here’s what you missed while wondering whether that ugly Christmas sweater is going to mess up your mistletoe game…

The Best Branded Content of November

The branded content world took some surprising turns in November. Old Spice won Thanksgiving with a psycho-stalker musical! Totino’s took on BuzzFeed and launched the trippiest content marketing site we’ve ever seen! Gap released a series of experimental short art films! (Seriously.) Read it.

Follow the Leader: Why Agencies Need to Embrace the Content Marketing Challenge

How can agencies evolve with content marketing? Contently CRO Brett Lofgren has the answer:

How will content marketing take its next leap? How will it go from an experimental, but undoubtedly effective, marketing channel to a full-fledged paradigm shift in how brands think about selling themselves? How will the trickle of media dollars currently going to content marketing become a full-on waterfall? While you’ll find a lot of different takes on these questions on the Content Strategist (Measurement! Compliance! Audience growth hacking!), I believe there’s one bigger answer: Digital agencies need to lead the way. Read it.

The State of Content Marketing Heading Into 2015

For our 2015 content effectiveness study, we surveyed over 600 content marketers to find out what’s working and what they have planned for 2015, and discovered some surprising findings:

— Sixty-nine percent of marketers back original content over licensed content.

— Fifty-seven percent of all companies have two or more people dedicated to content marketing.

— While a slim majority of marketers are devoting 25 percent or less of their marketing budgets to content, 23 percent are now devoting over half their marketing budgets to content.

Read the full study here.

How AirBnB Is Using Content Marketing to Stay on Top

You may know Airbnb as the king of the sharing economy, but when it comes to the best content marketing in the travel industry, they take the crown there as well, writes Tessa Wegert.

For the past 24 months, Inc. magazine’s company of the year has been crafting a lavish collection of branded content. The newest feather in its cap? Pineapple, a print magazine. The winter 2014 edition includes features like an interview with a London gallery curator and a culinary tour of Seoul. It has an initial print run of 18,000 copies earmarked for Airbnb hosts and book stores. But as you’ll see, that’s just the beginning. Read it.

Verizon’s SugarString Is Dead. Here’s What It Can Teach Us

In late October, a firestorm erupted when The Daily Dot revealed that Verizon was launching a tech news site that banned coverage of spying and net neutrality. This week, it disappeared from the web. So what exactly went wrong?

Was Sugarstring an honest mistake or a malicious attempt at manipulation? Personally, I believe the truth is somewhere in between. Verizon’s inclination to create an ambitious owned media property was smart. Brands like GE, American Express, and IBM have all built robust branded publications that continue to pay off. But the concept and strategy clearly hadn’t been thought through enough, and the execution was clearly misguided. There’s a lot to be learned from Verizon’s mistakes. Read it.

Enjoy one of your last weekends before the holiday madness begins.

Image by Roger Costa Morera

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