Content Marketing Catchup: The Best Branded Content of 2014, How to Woo Legal, and More Must-Reads
Even though I’m almost a foot taller than Joe Lazauskas, I still have big metaphorical shoes to fill. While Contently’s notorious EIC backpacks his way through Southeast Asia for the rest of the year, I get to run the editorial show, which means writing my first content catchup.
Alas, here’s what you missed while figuring out if you can expense holiday gifts for clients to your boss’ credit card…
Lazauskas dropped his must-read year-end list of the best branded content, focusing on campaigns that brought style (Net-a-Porter’s Porter magazine), success (The LEGO Movie), and a whole lot of sexy (Jeff Goldblum’s shirtless video spot for GE).
Also, we may have outdone ourselves with the prizes this year: It’s kind of like Cannes, except instead of a gold lion, you get a picture of our soccer team with Drake.
First comes hiring, then comes publishing. Brands are so eager to produce content that they often stumble out of the gates without a fleshed-out plan for hiring the right people, writes Melissa Lafsky:
Creating a position is always a challenge—there’s the push and pull between filling the role with someone who knows how to get something new up and running, versus someone who knows how to run something. In this case, the skill set required to create and launch a content operation is not the skill set required to run and grow a content operation.
Think of it this way: You wouldn’t hire a brand manager and then tell them, “Oh, hey, we need to create an entirely new brand. Can you take care of that?” Same deal with a content editor.
Many people expect editorial teams to clash with legal teams: What can we publish? What can’t we publish? Will we really get sued if I reference Keanu Reeves in Point Break? But as John McCrory and Anna Balkrishna explain, with clear communication channels and an outline for oversight, there’s no reason both sides can’t get along.
Facebook drives so much referral traffic to publisher sites that it beats all other social networks combined… three times over. With Facebook recently changing their algorithm to punish brands that are too self-promotional, Amanda Walgrove shares some wisdom on how to get the most out of your sponsored posts.
If you count all articles on TCS and The Freelancer, we hit four digits this year. Getting to that threshold required too many sleepless nights; industrial-sized quantities of coffee, tea, and Red Bull; and, most importantly, a willingness to take risks. Now, we A/B test as much as possible and pay close attention to our engagement metrics—and we still believe in print.
Reflecting on the year that was, Lazauskas gives some insight into our most important mantra: The best way to learn about content marketing is to do content marketing. I can picture my boss weaving his way through traffic in Thailand, cup of mysterious grain alcohol in hand, repeating that line to himself over and over.
Happy Almost Vacation Time.
Image by Jakub Mrocek