Content Catchup: Virtual Reality at NYT, the Ultimate Guide to Audience-Building, and More Must-Reads

Here’s what you missed while trying to recruit Bill Simmons to be your new brand editor once he leaves ESPN…

The Ultimate Content Strategist Playbook No. 4: Engaging and Building an Audience

Our latest Ultimate Content Strategist Playbook gets down and dirty on exactly how to build an owned audience through four primary channels: email newsletters, organic social media, paid content distribution, and SEO. Also, there’s a story about me getting drunk on Air France wine. Read it.

Why Paying for Social Is Better Than ‘Doing’ Social

Contently co-founder Shane Snow crunches the numbers to take on a big question in social media today: Should I pay for it?

Because social media provides a direct line to consumers, we’ve bestowed it an enormous amount of perceived value for business. But as the industry matures, our buck’s bang will slip to an inevitable equilibrium—like it has with Google AdWords and other saturated marketing channels. In a nutshell, social is becoming less easy to exploit. We were on a high; now we’re on a comedown.

For a long time, the echo chamber preached that the best way to reach people is to create ongoing content on social (either promoting more substantial content from an owned property or creating so-called “snackable” social-native content), and that by doing so we’ll rack up loyal audiences who we can repeatedly reach whenever we want. Recently, it’s become clear to me that that’s no longer entirely the case. Read it.

‘VR Is the Next Frontier’: The NYT’s Branded Content Boss Dishes on the Future of Marketing

Arguably the biggest winner in native advertising over the past 16 months has been T Brand Studio, The New York Times new award-winning branded content shop that spent its first year-plus in existence creating ambitious and stunning work for brands. Now officially leading the team is Sebastian Tomich, recently named SVP of advertising and innovation, who’s tasked with expanding the successful program. Tessa Wegert sat down with him to talk everything media—and to learn more about the Times‘ expansion into branded virtual reality. Read it.

Infographic: How to Write a Headline That Gets Badass Results

Everyone wants to write better headlines, and Amanda Walgrove is here with an infographic and some top-notch tips:

“You Won’t Believe What Happens Next” headlines may be past their heyday, but readers still love a bit of sensation.

According to a new infographic from CoSchedule, headlines containing negative superlatives (like “never,” “worst,” and “no one”) perform 30 percent better than those with positive adjectives (like “best,” “always,” and “greatest”). The power of the hate read, it seems, is alive and well. Read it.

Contently Comic: Brands Saying Bae

Click through for my accompanying rant, but otherwise, just enjoy our latest comic by Martin Kozlowski:

It’s time for the content team to hit a beer garden. We’ll see you guys on Monday.

Image by Benjamin Albiach Galan

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