Must-Know Topics, Companies, and People for 2016 [CCO Recap]

Here are my favorites from the year. Content marketing for engineer types February is always our content strategy issue. (Think of it as the content marketing for engineer-types issue.) We gave you a list of key content strategy terms and a beginner’s guide to structured content, but my favorite article was a profile of the amazing content team at Cleveland Clinic. (Little did we know at the time that Amanda Todorovich, the team’s content marketing director, would go on to win Content Marketer of the Year!) In a world of high-utility content, it doesn’t get more useful than that. Among other things, we always print a list of content agencies around the globe. In 2016, Cheyfitz called out advertisers for all the creepy tactics they use to get attention. His passion for how great data visualization can transform business is truly inspiring. Want to see what CCO magazine creates in 2017?

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chief-content-officer-recap

For all of us at CCO magazine, 2016 felt like the year when content marketing truly grew up. The year marketers transformed from dabblers – warily testing new channels and tactics – to confident practitioners focused on quality over quantity.

Our magazine focuses on the topics that will push marketers to become better: more efficient, more creative, more ambitious, and even more fulfilled. We know we’ve hit on a worthwhile topic when it’s not easy to summarize into a quick sound bite. The tough ones take time and deep expertise from our community of contributors to pull off well … but the results are worthwhile. Here are my favorites from the year.

And, if you want to stay ahead of trends, get your free subscription for 2017.

Content marketing for engineer types

February is always our content strategy issue. (Think of it as the content marketing for engineer-types issue.) We gave you a list of key content strategy terms and a beginner’s guide to structured content, but my favorite article was a profile of the amazing content team at Cleveland Clinic. The article focused on how Cleveland Clinic uses brand guidelines to tell a consistent story across the organization. (Little did we know at the time that Amanda Todorovich, the team’s content marketing director, would go on to win Content Marketer of the Year!)

amanda-todorovich_joe_pulizzi-content-marketer-year

Also in February there was a short little number about interactive content. We brought you an example from PotashCorp, a fertilizer manufacturer that created a web-based app to help farmers calculate how much fertilizer to use. The app includes a nutrient ROI calculator and rainfall tracker. In a world of high-utility content, it doesn’t get more useful than that.

nutrient_roi-calculator

Content marketing by agencies and brands

April is our agency issue. Among other things, we always print a list of content agencies around the globe. When we started the list in 2014, it barely filled two pages. In 2016, it filled five pages and in 2017 the list will grow once again. (You can submit your agency as well.)

What CCO roundup would be complete without an entry from Kirk Cheyfitz, founder of Story Worldwide? In 2016, Cheyfitz called out advertisers for all the creepy tactics they use to get attention. Cheyfitz entreated advertisers, “If you want to serve your clients, you must be a ferocious advocate for their audiences.”

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Among my favorite case studies published in 2016 was one about Church’s Chicken (in an article about documentary storytelling). The fast-food restaurant produced a web-based documentary series about the world of competitive speed drumming. (For a niche hobby like speed drumming, it’s amazing to think the eight webisodes generated 5 million views.)

Barry Poltermann, founder of About Face Media, which produced the series, explained: “Documentaries have huge audience appeal – just click on your Netflix menu to prove it. Documentaries also happen to be a practical and affordable way to communicate with an audience.”

Content marketing riches

In our ongoing effort to profile content marketing savants, we took a long look at the content machinery behind Autodesk’s award-winning platform, Line//Shape//Space (now Redshift).

autodesk-redshift-example

Autodesk sells software to designers, architects, engineers, developers, artists, and even hobbyists to create masterworks in their respective fields. Given that, Autodesk is in the enviable position of having many dozens of possibilities of compelling topics to write about. And therein rests the challenge: With so many ideas ripe for exploration, the company needed to tame the complexity and impose order on so much possibility. Dusty DiMercurio, Autodesk’s head of content, clearly explained the content marketing strategy underlying its highly successful blog.

Here at Content Marketing Institute, Michele Linn is my editing North Star (yeah, it sounds…

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