The Content Strategist

Contently Quarterly: The West Coast Issue, Spring/Summer 2015

If you’ve spent as much time around content marketers as I have, you get the sense that early ’90s rappers aren’t high on their list of inspirations. But as someone who grew up on Raekwon and now spends his days worrying about ROI, I’ve been thinking a lot about this one line from Raekwon’s 1995 album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx:

“From staircase to stage, minimum wage / But soon to get an article in Rap Page.”

What exactly does this have to do with content marketing? Well, as content continues to expand from the back stairwells of marketing departments, some of the most advanced practitioners have been turning up on the most unlikely stages.

For instance, it’s no shock that brands in New York, the media capital of the world, should be quick to embrace storytelling. But over the past year, we’ve found that many of content marketing’s most forward-thinking companies—from decades-old enterprise tech players to the new batch of venture-backed “unicorns”—actually have their roots in the West Coast.

In this issue you’ll read about how content marketing is taking over regions and industries in ways that would have been inconceivable just a few years back. You’ll hear how YouTube is using content to reimagine the Hollywood studio, how the hottest startups in Silicon Valley are hacking their growth with content, and how a brand mag is propelling the DIY movement. In between, we’ll give you insights and research from Contently’s own brand publishing efforts.

Raekwon would never have guessed it, but 20 years after Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, rap music is all over the pop charts. And while Rap Pages might not be as popular as it was in 1995, brand publishers are doing their best to pick up the slack.

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