Voices

‘Marissa Mayer v. Kim Kardashian’s Ass,’ and 4 Other Stories You Should Read

Here’s what what you missed while you spent the week not really understanding the Panama Papers…

Marketing Insider Group: Guess What? Visitors Don’t Want To Fill Out A Form To Get To Your Content

Selected by Shane Snow, co-founder and CCO

Savvy content marketers are now almost universally using gated content to generate leads and increase email subscribers. Readers can access some desirable e-book or other piece of premium content for the price of an email address. This post suggests publishers give away more premium content without the gate and ask for the email address afterward—or, at the very least, up the ante when qualifying something as premium.

It’s backed by a couple of interesting experiments and worth the read, although, like a lot of marketing about marketing, the preaching feels more like wishful thinking than the current reality. But hey—convincing marketers to do better content is something I can get behind. (Also: Kudos to the recently launched Marketing Insider Group for having such great stories right out of the gate.)

GQ: How Celebs Make Big Bucks for Doing . . . Nothing

Selected by Jordan Teicher, senior editor

It’s tough to feel for fading celebrities who are earning five and six figures per club appearance, but the story gives off a certain sadness that drew me in. Lil’ Jon, for example, makes millions DJing in clubs, but he’s somewhat bitter about the whole trade. When the writer asks if he can simply get paid to show up and drink, he replies: “Naw, I always gotta work.”

This weird economy of endorsement is where people go when they’re forced to sell out. I immediately thought of a parallel to content marketing, where some former reporters and journalists halfheartedly cash in on their past experience by working for brands. In these examples, there’s no creative passion, just the depressing realization that you’re making good money doing something you don’t particularly care about.

The New York Times: The Awkward Charm of the Promposal

Selected by Ann Fabens-Lassen, communications manager

Apparently people have been doing this for a while, although it’s news to me. I guess the main difference is that now when someone goes through an elaborate stunt to ask somebody to prom, the stunt gets posted all over the Internet.

Even though I think these promposal videos are sort of weird and self-obsessed, they also give an intimate and endearing look into the lives of people who are at such an awkward age. They’re so hopeful and willing to put themselves out there that it makes me feel hopeful about my life too.

The Atlantic: Female Characters Don’t Have to Be Likable

Selected by Erin Nelson, marketing editor

Be nice. Stay clean. Cross your legs. Smile. The commands given to young girls not only carry over into our adults lives, but seep into the literature we read to escape them, reinforcing the compulsion to act within a limited framework of what it means to be a women.

Here, Koa Beck celebrates the recent rise of “unlikeable” women in literature. The article is a call for more female authors to tackle the complexity of women who sometimes miserable, always reflective—just like Hamlet or any of the other tormented male characters who are timeless, unapologetic, and enjoyable to dissect.

Vanity Fair: Marissa Mayer vs. “Kim Kardashian’s Ass”: What Sunk Yahoo’s Media Ambitions?

Selected by Dillon Baker, associate editor

In media, intuition usually wins. What goes on the front page? That’s up to a few key editors who have their pulse on the news and readers. What story should our section cover this week? The editor knows best.

With digital metrics and algorithms, that assumption is being challenged more and more. The tension in places like Yahoo—which is part media company, part tech company—is reaching a head. Why don’t we let the people decide what to read and watch? At Yahoo, that’s how the homepage works: Algorithms serve up the most popular stories of the day and personalize the page based on user behavior rather than letting editorial intuition rule.

As a result, there’s a lot of Kim Kardashian’s ass and not much of the highly paid journalistic talent Marissa Meyer brought in to fix Yahoo’s struggling media business. Most of that talent has now been fired, and Yahoo continues its spiral towards irrelevancy. As more content gets filtered through algorithms (think Facebook), it’s a lesson media and tech companies should learn from.

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