10 Interview Questions to Find the Best Content Marketers


Organizations of all sizes and across a range of industries are busy hiring people to manage their content. After all, the expertise and skills needed to run a successful content marketing strategy differ from those of the average marketer, so it makes sense to bring content specialists into the fold.

But how do you go about finding the right person? What competencies should you look for? And how can you determine if a job applicant fits the bill? Below I outline three critical core competencies for content marketers of all levels, along with 10 interview questions you can ask to determine candidates’ proficiency in each area.

Talent for writing AND passion for content marketing

Content marketers must be great writers and editors, with a strong ability to tell a story. However, beyond that, they need to love what they do. Ask:

1. What do you enjoy about writing?

Look for signs of excitement and enthusiasm. You likely have a keeper if the person touts the personal benefits of creating great content.

2. How did you determine the style, tone, and voice for a recent piece of content you wrote?

Content marketers should have their own voice and writing style. However, they also need to be able to adapt to fit the company, the audience, and the content format. Ask for specific examples of how they’ve modified their style – and why doing so was important.

Content marketers should have their own voice & writing style says @TweetsFromPawan #hiring

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3. Have you created content that entertained or educated your readers? Describe it.

Every content marketing piece should benefit readers in some way while maintaining their attention. Look for examples of storytelling, humor, or educational information that go beyond selling products.

4. Has your content been critiqued in the past? How so?

Watch their body language and listen for cues that indicate they see feedback as an opportunity to improve – and that they willingly apply it to their writing.

Ability to align content with readers’ needs

Content marketers must understand the market, industry, and audience they’re serving. That means listening to customers and influencers, identifying customer needs, and providing content relevant to the industry. Ask:

5. How do you decide what topics to focus on and what format to use?

It’s important to understand candidates’ thought process when it comes to generating ideas or deciding which are worth pursuing. You want someone who has a plan for surfacing the best ideas rather than relying on a supervisor to tell them what to do.

6. If it were your first day here, what steps would you take to develop a content marketing strategy?

This one tells you whether candidates can handle the role you have in mind for them. For example, if you need a complete overhaul, does the person have the initiative? Or if you need someone to step in to an established system, can the person adapt to your way of doing things?

Understanding of what drives successful content

Being a successful content marketer is equal parts writing skill and marketing acumen. Even the best writers won’t succeed if they don’t have a general awareness of what sells, how to measure performance, and how to translate data into action. Ask:

A successful content marketer has equal parts writing skill & marketing acumen says @TweetsFromPawan

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7. What makes content successful?

Candidates must be able to define what “success” is when it comes to generating content. As they respond, you should hear the words “traffic,” “repeat visitors,” “retweets and likes,” and “search engine ranking” to show their understanding. Even better if they provide details about their own successes in those areas.

8. How do you decide what content to create?

The ideal candidate will talk about industry news and trending topics, and explain how to use Google AdWords to find topics that will drive the most traffic to your website.

9. After you have published your content, how do you promote it?

With this one, you learn if candidates can think beyond writing and can come up with a plan for promoting content. Ideal candidates will lay out a marketing plan, including sharing it on multiple social media accounts, repurposing it in outgoing newsletters and emails, and finding influencers to link to it.

10. How do you know if your content has performed well?

Sending content into the world isn’t enough. Candidates should know how to monitor and analyze content by tracking social media shares and using Google Analytics to evaluate the success of each piece.

Of course, finding a well-rounded candidate doesn’t stop with those questions – you’ll need to dig deeper to find the perfect fit for your team. For a full list of questions, the ideal responses, and evaluation criteria, download Curata’s Content Marketing Interview Template.

Want to help your great content marketers become even greater? Subscribe (and encourage them to sign up for) the free CMI daily or weekly newsletter.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

The post 10 Interview Questions to Find the Best Content Marketers appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

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This Home Décor Store Drives 93% of Its Social Traffic From Pinterest

walls need love shopify

Elizabeth, Patrick, Nina and Kelsey are the owners of Walls Need Love, a company that designs, prints, cuts and ships only the finest and freshest wall graphics.

In this episode of Shopify Masters, you’ll learn about the Pinterest strategy that drives the vast majority (93%) of social traffic to their online store.


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60+ LinkedIn Profile Tips for Marketers


Content marketing careers are constantly evolving, but one thing is certain: The power of LinkedIn for personal branding is here to stay, especially when you’re aware of all the tricks that can help you strengthen your profile.

If your “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” chart is flatlining week after week, these tips will help breathe new life into your profile, improve your presence in search results, generate more views, and impress your audience.

Finish your profile

According to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities such as job offers, mentors, or new business. Your LinkedIn profile is your digital resume. You can add more detail than you can on your printed resume. It will set you apart from your competition.

To achieve unofficial “all-star” status, include:

• Your industry and location

• Current position, including description

• Two past positions

• Education

• A minimum of three skills

• At least 50 connections

Bonus tips:

  • Don’t get too creative in the name field, but add professional credentials, suffixes, and designations (i.e., MBA, Jr., PMP).
  • Don’t use symbols, numbers, special characters, email addresses, or phone numbers in the name field because that could prompt LinkedIn to restrict your account.
  • Name field character limit: 60

Add a headshot that reflects your industry

A photo puts a face to a name so you’re not just another silhouette. It helps establish trust. A photo makes your profile seven times more likely to be found in a LinkedIn search.

A photo makes your profile 7x more likely to be found in a LinkedIn search via @LinkedIn. #LinkedIn

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What’s acceptable? If you’re a creative director, you might want an edgier photo, as compared to a CMO who might want a more traditional pose. CMI’s community manager Monina Wagner’s photo radiates her personality, making her likability factor skyrocket.


Whatever you do, don’t use a selfie, company logo, you with your furry friend (unless you are a veterinarian), or your #TBT college photo. These types of images could damage your personal brand. If someone wouldn’t recognize you at a professional event based on your profile image, change it.

If your #LinkedIn profile photo is outdated, change it says @Brandlovellc.

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Bonus tips:

  • Be mindful of your background. Using a bright color (like orange) will help you stand out from the crowd, especially in a thumbnail view. See what I mean?


  • Use the same image on all social media channels to help build your personal brand.
  • Headshot pixel size: 400 by 400 is ideal. Width or height cannot exceed 20,000. File size cannot exceed 10MB.

How to do it:

  • Move your cursor over Profile at the top of the home page and select Edit Profile. Move your cursor over your photo and click Change Photo.

Incorporate branding into your background photo

Your background photo is like a billboard for you. Use it to generate interest, build credibility and trust, and give your audience a quick glance at who you are, what you do, and why they would want to connect with you. Use the space wisely.

For example, if you are an author or consultant, include your book covers. Doing so will help position you as a thought leader and help build credibility. Check out the profile of CMI’s Robert Rose.


If you want to promote your company, include a branded image like the example below from CMI’s Michele Linn.


Or show your company pride as Amy Horgan does in her background photo.


Bonus tips:

  • Consider these things when designing your background photo:
    • Creating a collage (see Robert’s photo)
    • Advertising an employer event (see Michele’s photo)
    • Showing your company pride (see Amy’s photo)
  • Creating custom art is always best if you have design capabilities or can hire a pro.
  • If you don’t have budget and don’t have time or the skill to create custom art, LinkedIn premium members (paid accounts) have access to an image gallery. Choose industry-related art. LinkedIn offers a free one-month trial. (You’ll also be able to see exactly who your competition is in “how you rank for profile views.”)
  • If your photo is blurry or pixelated, LinkedIn recommends using a compression tool such as Trimage for Windows or ImageOptim for Mac before uploading it.
  • Background image pixel size: Between 1,000 by 425 and 4,000 by 4,000 is ideal. File size cannot exceed 4MB.

How to do it:

  • Hover your mouse over the background area (in the middle) and click on the Edit Background rectangular button that pops up.

Use keywords in your headline

Your headline – the text below your name – is prime real estate. The LinkedIn algorithm seems to consider it one of the few heavily weighted areas in search, and it is one of the first things your audience sees.

Your headline defaults to your current or last position. Customize it. Tell the world (specifically your target audience) who you are and what you do:

  • Be descriptive and use keywords that uniquely define you.
  • Include your city to help your profile stand out 23 times more.
  • Support what your headline says throughout your profile.
  • Use searched-for words like: content strategist, B2B blogger, author, content creator, social media community manager, or content marketer. Pamela Muldoon’s headline is a great example.

Include your city to help your profile stand out 23x more in location-based searches via @LinkedIn

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  • Promote your value proposition. Here’s an example: Proven Program Manager | Demand Generation Expert ► Driving Brand Awareness Through Integrated Marketing Campaigns


Bonus tips:

  • Don’t use words like ninja, guru, super star or rock star. Instead of saying you are great, demonstrate it in your profile.
  • Use keywords that your target audience would use to find someone like you. Incorporate them in your headline and summary description.
  • If you need help finding relevant keywords, use the free Google AdWords tool even though it’s not directly connected to LinkedIn search.
  • Headline character limit: 120

How to do it:

  • Go to your profile, move your cursor over your professional headline section (or any section) and click to add, edit, or remove content.

Tell your work story in your summary

Think of your summary as your elevator pitch. Brag about yourself, but keep it real and back up your claims throughout your profile.

While not talking specifically about LinkedIn, Jonathan Kranz’s advice applies to your summary: “Facts, figures, concrete examples – these are fundamental pillars for good content.”

Facts, figures, & concrete examples are fundamental pillars for good #content says @jonkranz

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Follow this approach to a well-crafted summary:

  • Say things like “award-winning” if you have won awards.
  • Cite publications where you’ve contributed articles.
  • List the industries in which you have expertise.
  • Add an “areas of expertise” section to incorporate relevant keywords that describe your skill set.

Dianna Huff, president of Huff Industrial Marketing, makes great use of her summary section:


Bonus tips:

Add personality to your @LinkedIn summary says @brandlovellc. 87% of recruiters are looking for it.

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  • Summary character count: 2,000 – use them all if possible (Write a summary of at least 40 words to rank higher.)
  • Use bullets and/or symbols, in your summary section to stand out but use them conservatively. Feel free to copy and paste the symbols and bullets for your profile.


►    ◄    ▲    ▼    ⇒  ⇓  ⇔   ⇕   ⇖   ⇗   ⇘   ⇙   ⇚   ⇛


★    ☆     ✱     ❉     ❊

Traditional bullets and ticks

■    □     ◊    ●    ♦    ◘    √

Miscellaneous symbols

™    ©    ®    ℠


✍     ✎   ✑     ⌨


✆    ☏

Horizontal lines (copy and paste the lines several times)



How to do it:

  • Go to your profile, move your cursor over your summary section (or any section) and click to add, edit, or remove content.

Create a vanity URL

Your profile’s default URL doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Create an easy-to-understand URL. Customize like I did: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lisadougherty. This URL is far more SEO friendly.

Bonus tips:

  • Include your custom URL in your email signature, resume, blog, etc.
  • Vanity URL character limit: Recommended to use between five and 30 – don’t use spaces, symbols, or special characters.

How to do it:

  • Change your URL by clicking “customize your public profile URL” on the right. You can learn more about the process here.


Add work samples

Images, media, and documents make your profile stand out and support the claims you’ve made in your summary. For example, if your summary or headline says you are a sought-after speaker, author, or consultant, upload examples that demonstrate your experience like Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group, did:


Another great example is from Roger Parker, publisher, blogger, and author. He includes a few SlideShare presentations, articles, and a book excerpt.


Bonus tips:

  • Find a couple statements in your summary to represent visually. Have you contributed to an industry blog or written a post for your company? Have you given a talk or presentation? Share the link, badge from the site, slides, or video.

Buddy Scalera shares a link from an article he contributed to the CMI blog.


  • Use Internet Explorer, as I’ve had trouble doing this in Chrome.

How to do it:

  • Add media samples to your summary, education, and experience sections on your profile by moving your cursor over each section and clicking the “add media” icon.
  • Ensure that your video, audio, and images are on the list of supported file types that your profile can link to.

Publish directly from your profile

Writing long-form posts on LinkedIn can entice viewers to stick around to read what you have to say. It also helps you be seen as an influencer to a targeted audience – your connections.

You also expand your reach to the first-degree connections of anyone who engages with your post – a previously unreachable audience. Plus, LinkedIn automatically sends a push notification to all your connections notifying them of your post, reducing your content distribution efforts.

Bonus tips:

  • Create a short, catchy title. Paul Shapiro of Search Wilderness found that titles between 40 and 49 characters received the greatest number of views.

#LinkedIn titles between 40 – 49 characters received the greatest number of views says @fighto

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  • Add a custom image to your post. (LinkedIn adds the three most recent posts to your profile.)
  • Don’t publish anything that is self-serving. Provide high-quality, relevant content to your audience that will help them solve a problem or inspire an aha moment. Make it useful to the reader, as CMI’s Cathy McPhillips does:


  • Include a clear call to action at the end of your post. Ask your readers a question to encourage them to comment. If your post earns comments, “likes,” and shares, it has a better chance to be featured on LinkedIn Pulse, expanding the reach of your content to the potential of millions of views.
  • Send a tweet to Tip@LinkedInPulse with your post to improve the odds a LinkedIn editor will see it. One of Cathy’s posts was featured in the marketing and advertising category.


How to do it:

  • Learn how to publish long-form content on LinkedIn.
  • Not all geographic locations have this capability at this time. You’ll see a Publish a post button on your home page when you have access.

Complete your contact information

Make it easy for people to contact you. At the bare minimum, you should include your email, location, Twitter handle, and website address. If you don’t have a personal website, include your company’s, your blog, or your LinkedIn company page. The Contact Info tab is under your connections number on the right side of the top half of your profile.

Bonus tips:

  • Display up to three website links customized with your company or blog name. For example, rather than choosing LinkedIn’s standard “blog” label, brand it with keywords that indicate what your blog is about, like BrandLove Social Media Blog or Follow BrandLove on LinkedIn. This optimizes your profile and drives traffic to your other online properties.


  • Website anchor text character limit: 30
  • Website URL character limit: 256
  • Phone number character limit: 25 (only first-degree connections see)
  • Street address character limit: 1,000 (only first-degree connections see)

How to do it:

  • Customize the links by editing your profile, clicking edit on your website links, and selecting “other” in the drop-down menu to customize the anchor text.

Complete your experience section

At the bare minimum, include your current position, industry, and dates of employment. LinkedIn members with current positions receive up to five times more connection requests. Also, include a high-level summary of what your role is and some key achievements. A good rule of thumb is two to four sentences to summarize each job (plus bulleted achievements).

Amy Horgan’s experience section is a great example of describing her role and work achievements:

amy-horgan-experience-linkedin-example (2)

Bonus tips:

  • Link to projects, courses, certificates, honors and awards, work samples, recommendations elsewhere in your profile that relate to the position. This is more proof that you are who you say you are.
  • Add your work history, not just your current job. You never know what criteria people are looking for.
  • Customize your job title and company name so it’s more descriptive. You don’t have to use the default, as shown in Dianna Huff’s profile.


How to do it:

Get written recommendations

While LinkedIn no longer requires three recommendations to have a complete status, it still is important to have them from colleagues, management, people you manage, vendors, or customers. Recommendations show up underneath each position for which they are written along with a thumbnail profile photo of the person who wrote it.

Bonus tips:

  • Be specific when requesting a recommendation. Suggest points that:
    • Qualify your relationship by including how long you have known each other and describing your relationship.
    • Describe a project that you worked on together.
    • Note if they would work with you again or to provide their contact information for more information.
  • Have at least two or three recommendations for each position.
  • Solicit C-suite endorsements, which could do more for your brand than 10 recommendations from colleagues.
  • Gain additional exposure when the recommendations appear in your connections’ news feeds.

C-suite recommendations will do more for you than 10 from colleagues via @brandlovellc. #LinkedIn

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How to do it:

Add skills and get endorsements

Endorsements are one-click acknowledgments of your talents from your network. They also affect your ranking in LinkedIn’s search algorithm. Having at least five relevant skills help people connect you to opportunities. According to a LinkedIn study, inclusion of these skills will result in up to 31 times more messages from recruiters and other members.

For example, I have 99-plus people who have endorsed me for social media marketing. When a hiring manager or recruiter is searching for people with the skill “social media marketing,” my profile is more likely to come up on the first few pages of the search results.


Bonus tips:

  • Rearrange your skills in the order you prefer. Drag and drop the skills that match your work experience the best (and number of endorsements) near the top.
  • Endorsing your connections’ skills first encourages them to endorse you. (LinkedIn notifies them that you have endorsed them.)
  • Don’t send a mass email asking for endorsements. Segment your network according to how you met them or what industry they’re in. Write a personal e-mail telling them why you feel they best understand your expertise in (fill in the blank) and that you would appreciate an endorsement – if they feel you deserve it.

How to do it:

Showcase the extras

Volunteer experience and causes you care about

What you do out of the office says a lot about you and contributes to a higher search ranking. In fact, 42% of hiring managers said they view volunteer experience equal to formal work experience. Also, viewers may want to connect with you if they are passionate about some of the same causes. Take a look at Monina Wagner’s profile.



Adding organizations and professional memberships are another way to incorporate keywords into your profile and show viewers your commitment to your craft, as shown in Dianna Huff’s profile. They also can boost location-based searches.



The Publications section is the perfect place to link to your contributed blog articles, e-books, and other cited work. Take a look at Buddy Scalera’s profile. He links directly to Amazon where you can purchase his book. Brilliant.



If you don’t have a degree or certification that reflect your experience but have taken professionally related classes or received on-the-job training, showcase those in the Courses section.



If you have some college education but didn’t finish, add any industry-specific training you have completed in the Certifications section. Include a link to allow viewers to learn more.


How to do it:

  • Go to your profile, move your cursor over each section and click to add, edit, or remove content. Click on the View More button to see all the profile sections available.

 Add projects

Adding a Projects section allows you to name your project and input a URL so viewers can click to see what you did and give the originating site an inbound link. You can specifically relate your project to a position that you currently hold or to a previous position.

Bonus tips:

  • Add side or personal projects. Andrew Hanelly, creative director at Rev, says, “Usually, marketing job applicants emphasize the wrong details to an agency or brand. They focus on work experience, but what I get excited about are side projects. One amazing hire had a Tumblr (account); it was just a small note on his resume, but I found out he had about 100,000 followers, and I recruited him based on that.”
  • Add team members if you are connected to the project collaborators.


How to do it:

  • Add sections for projects by moving your cursor over each section and click Projects to add content. Click on the View More button to see all the profile sections available.

Join groups

Join groups related to your industry or niche and be an active participant in two or three. Only 16% of LinkedIn members are in the maximum number of groups (50). According to LinkedIn, your profile is five times more likely to be viewed if you join and are active in groups.

According to @LinkedIn, your profile is 5x more likely to be viewed if you join & are active in groups.

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When participating in group discussions, remember that groups are about community not about you or your services. Andrew Davis generally suggests sharing four relevant pieces of content from influencer targets and one original educational piece of content for every sales-related piece of content.

For every 1 sales-related content piece, share 4 from influencers & 1 original educational. @DrewDavisHere

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Bonus tips:

  • Directly message a member of the same group, bypassing the first-degree connection requirement.
  • View profiles of members of the same group without being connected.
  • Read these best practices on group participation so you don’t get sent to LinkedIn jail.

How to do it:

  • Find and join a group by searching for relevant groups from the search field at the top of your home page.

Rearrange your profile

LinkedIn enables you to reorder the sections of its profile template. For example, Vishal Khanna moved up his Honors and Awards section to directly below his Summary section.


Bonus tip:

  • You only have a short time to impress your viewer. What are you most proud of? Awards? Skills? A SlideShare presentation? If you’re a recent grad and don’t have robust experience, move Education to the top. Rearrange your profile so your most important work is at the top.

How to do it:

  • LinkedIn provides instructions on how to change the order of sections on your profile page.

Change your public profile settings

Once you’re satisfied that your LinkedIn profile is the best version of yourself and all sections are complete, choose to show all sections or just a few by adjusting your public setting. Setting your profile to full public view gives you several advantages:

  • Your LinkedIn profile will appear when anyone searches for you on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.
  • It can be displayed to LinkedIn members who email or have meetings with you if they connected their email or calendar apps to their LinkedIn account.
  • You can print your profile to a PDF format.

Bonus tip:

  • Including most sections of your profile adds credibility to your profile when potential hiring managers are trying to determine the credibility of a potential candidate or execs looking to do business with you.

How to do it:

  • Go to your profile, and click the “settings” icon next to your URL. Next, click on the pencil icon to edit. Make sure that you enable the setting that allows anyone to see your public profile.


Build your network

Once your profile is in good shape, work on building your network – not only does this help you grow your connections, it also helps you get found more through search. It makes good sense to surround yourself with good company. Start building up your network with vendors, industry influencers, friends, coworkers, and former coworkers to build up your personal brand. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • When asking to connect with someone, use “we’ve done business together” rather than “friend.” Do some quick research before reaching out and include a personal note that explains how you know the person, or where you met, or who you have in common. For example, let them know you just purchased their book, are in the same group, or saw them speak at a conference.
  • Beware. If you invite too many people to your network and they mark your invitation as someone they do not know, you will be banned from inviting new people to your network unless you know their email address. LinkedIn doesn’t say specifically how many is too many, but I’ve heard between five to seven “I don’t knows” triggers restriction.
  • You are allotted 3,000 invites and required to enter a Captcha (verifying you’re human) for each invite over 100 sent in 24 hours.

Bonus tip:

  • LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to segment your connections. Once you’ve made the connection, make sure you “tag” them into certain folders. This turns LinkedIn into a powerful CRM tool that allows you to target messages to individuals or groups of people. There isn’t an easy way to go back and tag your contacts except one by one, so I highly recommend doing this each time you add a connection.


How to do it:

  • You can tag or untag anyone who’s saved in your LinkedIn Contacts. They can be added to a person’s profile or from your Connections.


With over 433 million members and recognition as the go-to social media platform for professionals, LinkedIn cannot be ignored. A lively and comprehensive profile can be your ticket to a plethora of opportunities that will come knocking on your virtual door. If you follow these tips, you’re well on your way to making a killer first impression and your Who’s Viewed Your Profile chart will no longer be flatlining week after week.

How has your LinkedIn profile helped your personal branding? What opportunities have you seen because of it?

Want specific insight and help for your LinkedIn profile? The author, LinkedIn expert and CMI’s Director of Blog Community and Operations Lisa Dougherty, has offered an hour of consulting time for one lucky reader and CMWorld registrant. Register for Content Marketing World by Friday, August 28, 2016 for your chance to win! Use code BLOG100 to save $100 on registration.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

The post 60+ LinkedIn Profile Tips for Marketers appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

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11 of the Best Olympic Marketing Campaigns, Ads, Commercials & Promotions This Year


The 2016 Summer Olympics are officially over. But for two weeks, billions of eyes from around the world watched athletes attempt to break records and bring home the gold. What a perfect opportunity for marketers, no?

Many brands jumped on the Olympics bandwagon, leveraging its popularity for their own campaigns. Some of these brands created particularly inspiring campaigns, both to viewers and marketers alike — whether for the emotion they elicit, or for the reminder of exactly how to execute a remarkable ad or marketing campaign. Download even more examples of remarkable marketing and advertising campaigns here. 

We rounded up the ones that tugged at our heartstrings as viewers, or inspired us to be better marketers. (Sometimes both.) Check out this list of 11 of the best campaigns from the 2016 Summer Games and what made them so great.

11 of the Best Olympic Marketing Campaigns, Ads, Commercials & Promotions This Year

1) Under Armour: Rule Yourself

The Under Armour brand doesn’t just value the success that comes from hard work; it values the hard work and 24/7 dedication that leads to that success. Their emphasis is on self-improvement and self-reliance — which is why they acquired the fitness tracking platform MapMyFitness back in 2014.

Under Armour’s ad campaign for the 2016 Summer Olympics perfectly embodies these deep-seeded values. It focuses on the side of athletic achievement that no one sees. For Michael Phelps, that’s the ice baths, cupping therapy, and 12,500 calories he has to eat every day. For an ordinary person, it might be taking the stairs, getting a full night’s sleep, or tracking your meals using their MyFitnessPal app. But the message is the same, and it’s a powerful one: “It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light.”

2) Procter & Gamble: “Thank You Mom”

For the 2012 Summer Olympics, Procter & Gamble created a campaign called “Thank You, Mom” that showed flashbacks of Olympic athletes from all over the world growing up and practicing their sport with support from their mothers. That same campaign is back again this year, featuring athletes and their mothers from this summer’s Games.

This year’s campaign shows athletes’ mothers helping them through times of stress, cheering them along, and supporting them. Notice the clickable link they added to the video that takes viewers to a web page where they can send a personalized thank-you note to their own moms. Take a look … and maybe grab a tissue.

3) Panasonic UK: #Superfans

Cheering on your country is a lot easier when you’re the one hosting the Olympics, as Great Britain did in London in Summer 2012. With the Games in Brazil this year, Panasonic, a long-time official partner to the British Olympic Association, wanted to help Great Britain keep up the fan-fueled momentum. So in April 2016, they announced a crowdsourced campaign called #Superfans, which invited fans of Team GB to post pictures on social media using the hashtag to encourage engagement.

“It is a great opportunity for us to share our passion for the Olympics as a company and to connect with consumers on an emotional level,” said Managing Director of Panasonic UK Andrew Denham. “This is why Panasonic’s heritage as a global Olympic partner is so important to me – it adds some real spark and colour to the brand.”

All the fan photos posted with the hashtag #Superfans was posted on a dedicated web page on Team GB’s official site, and Panasonic UK offered extra incentives like Twitter contests.

Here’s a sampling of the fan-sourced content on Twitter:

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How to Create a Culture Where Content Marketing Thrives


When Dusty DiMercurio began his work at Autodesk, he had a bold vision of what was possible for the design-and-engineering software company. To win over allies, however, Dusty started small by launching a blog called Line//Shape//Space. Four years later, he’s grown that small pilot project into a multi-award-winning publication and is influencing the entire organization to think differently about content.

Leading by example, Dusty and his team are changing the culture of Autodesk, teaching how to tell stories that are so good their audience wants to engage with them. For all those qualities, Dusty is one of our 2016 Content Marketer of the Year finalists.

We asked Dusty to highlight how the culture at Autodesk has changed and what lessons he has learned from his years inside the organization.

Learn the ropes by starting small

Line//Shape//Space was among Autodesk’s first concerted efforts to connect with very small businesses (VSB). Autodesk’s business traditionally came from larger companies, so focusing on the small business market was a substantial shift.

The research into VSBs uncovered common needs and pain points among customers regardless of industry. First, Dusty learned many VSB owners had worked for larger companies and were familiar with the types of tools Autodesk offers. Paired with that finding, the research also showed that business owners’ greatest challenges were less about learning Autodesk software, and more about the struggles of running a business – which became the focus of Line//Shape//Space in those early days.

Dusty and his team set off to build a site specifically for this audience. They studied other successful content hubs targeting similar audiences, including American Express Open Forum. He says that understanding what others are doing is incredibly helpful as you build your own hub.

You can read about the ins and outs of how Line//Shape//Space was created in this recent profile from Chief Content Officer.

Help internal teams realize that marketing is fundamentally changing

Dusty’s team models what’s possible using content marketing, and in doing so helps the larger organization recognize the importance of great content as a means of pulling audiences in (while Dusty’s team runs Line//Shape//Space, the organization has industry-based content teams outside of Dusty’s purview). And Line//Shape//Space continues to inspire dispersed content teams to try something new, including new approaches to blogs and content hubs.

In fact, the Autodesk home page now leads with stories of customer success and achievements. Dusty describes this as an important shift of focus for the brand: “Our stories were more focused on customers’ struggles and successes, rather than the usual focus on products and solutions. In that way we were a catalyst to help drive cultural change … It wasn’t a forced change, but people saw the impact Line//Shape//Space was having and wanted to be part of it.”


Leverage formal, internal partnerships

Dusty’s team has a formal partnership with the Autodesk public relations team, which works to get the company earned media.

Line//Shape//Space often publishes bylines from executives at Autodesk that articulate the organization’s vision and point of view. These are written through a collaboration between the editorial team and subject-matter experts inside the company. The Line//Shape//Space editorial team shares these stories with the PR team which pitches them to media partners. The PR partnership results in a much wider reach than Line//Shape//Space could attain alone; the partnership has yielded bylines in Forbes, Huffington Post, and many others. What’s more, the PR team no longer relies on independent freelancers, as it can now leverage the editorial resources of the Line//Shape//Space team to grow earned-media wins.

Have a plan to get people to the next step

Line//Shape//Space has several goals:

  • Attract an audience
  • Serve up highly relevant, industry-specific content
  • Send readers ultimately to industry teams who can nurture the relationship

As with most content marketing efforts, the goal is not simply drawing in the audience but ultimately creating demand for a product or service using content. To that end, it’s critical that the content team work closely with sales and marketing to ensure a tightly aligned strategy.

The Line//Shape//Space team often partners with industry teams at Autodesk to figure out the most promising stories to tell. For instance, the editorial team may tag along as industry marketing creates a video about using an Autodesk product in a manufacturing setting. While the marketing team’s end-game is a product video, Dusty’s team uses the experience to write an article about a manufacturing success story – and includes a related-content link to the marketing video.

Connecting what Dusty’s team works on with industry-specific content and marketing efforts has been a key way to demonstrate the value of the Line//Shape//Space team. Though the industry teams are not reliant on Line//Shape//Space and drive traffic their own way, they gain from the Line//Shape//Space team’s journalistic skill set.

Focus on the right metrics

Choosing the right metrics and extracting meaning from them often separates good content marketers from great ones. Dusty’s efforts show how even the most sophisticated marketers focus on continuous learning and evolution. Among the notable actions Dusty and his team take to ensure that their efforts deliver results:

Focus on unique metrics for stages of the sales cycle: For pre-funnel content, the team wants to ensure that readers are spending more time onsite, soaking in knowledge and value from the resources on Line//Shape//Space. One useful metric is total-time read (TTR), or as Dusty puts it, “How much of people’s attention can I earn?” For readers who are more informed, and perhaps ready to consider an Autodesk product, the team aims to move them along the sales cycle toward more product/solution-centric content.

Analyze micro-movements: The Line//Shape//Space team uses a custom dashboard that examines the minutiae of how readers engage, going into far more depth than what Google can offer. The team looks at micro-mouse movements and scrolling, as well as whether someone opens a new tab while on the page. The dashboard also calculates how much time someone should be spending on the page (based on a simple WordPress plug-in) vs. how long they actually are spending. This is the completion rate.

Content Measurement Example

They also track some of the more traditional metrics such as:

  • Number of pieces published – they see a connection between that and site growth
  • Page views from organic traffic
  • Unique page views
  • Social actions – tweets, shares, up-votes
  • Sign-ups – number of customers who create an account

Help teams rethink how they engage via email

While marketers still use email marketing, each year it becomes more challenging to do it well. As such, Dusty’s team helped influence an initiative Autodesk marketers have implemented, which they refer to as “Earn the Right.” If an Autodesk marketer wants to email someone, she or he needs to have someone willingly follow the company or person. No longer can staff go to the marketing operations team and request an email list for a certain demographic to blast a promo.

“It’s a really interesting time because this initiative reflects the organization’s recognition that we need to engage differently with our customers; we need to earn the right to engage with them,” Dusty says. “Our email inboxes overflow with ‘offers’ on a daily basis; the only way to cut through that and stand out is to earn your audience’s attention.”

The result? People are thinking more carefully about creating great content that the audience really wants to consume. Through these efforts Autodesk marketing teams are focused on generating content that audiences actually want.

Train HR about the type of talent you need

Publishing so much great content, Autodesk is often looking to expand its marketing footprint with new hires – yet to stay effective, HR needs to understand the type of person who will succeed in the organization. To ensure a good fit, Dusty and his team helped create an outline of what the modern marketer looks like, which is a combination of right- and left-brain skills and competencies. Autodesk created a model called CAA (Content, Analytics, Automation) to coach hiring managers about the kind of people the marketing team seeks. These are the three attributes of CAA:

  • Content: First and foremost, the hires need to know how to tell great stories.
  • Analytics: New hires need to understand how to measure what they are publishing so they can refine what stories they are telling based on what they’re learning.
  • Automation: Marketers often think automation equals marketing automation, but this skill is broader. Dusty looks for people who understand the latest tool sets at marketers’ disposal to engage customers in new ways at scale. This includes tracking customer’s digital body language (explained in the “metrics” section above).

Recognize there is no substitute for quality

The editors and writers for Line//Shape//Space are all journalists – individuals trained in the complexities of telling great stories. Not only is high-quality writing important to attract and retain an audience, it’s also one of the reasons senior executives support the platform. Many of the senior executives with bylines on Line//Shape//Space collaborate because they know the site has high editorial expectations. Explains Dusty, “they wouldn’t want to be featured on it if it didn’t frame their vision in the right light.”

Dusty is also quick to explain that Autodesk has storytelling as part of its DNA because it sells tools that help others tell their own stories. For instance, Autodesk has tools to help architects create a project proposal or a video-game company create its story in a visual way.

As such, senior executives understand the importance of storytelling, which has helped with buy-in.

“At Autodesk, we recognize how important storytelling is. We’re self-reflective and think about the ways we want to be engaged. It’s an important part of the evolving ethos of Autodesk and our communication style. I call it karmic marketing: Engage people in the way you want to be engaged with … kinda like the golden rule of new marketing.”

Karmic marketing: engage people in the way you want to be engaged with says @dustycd #cmworld

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Looking forward

Dusty’s team recently moved over to digital marketing and e-commerce – meaning that instead of focusing exclusively on Line//Shape//Space, the team is now responsible for all content published on Autodesk.com. With a much larger scope of work, Dusty now needs an integrated content strategy – one that connects the dots across everything Autodesk is doing.

“It’s a continued revolution,” Dusty says.

Autodesk’s Dusty DiMercurio is a finalist for 2016 Content Marketer of the Year, which will be announced live at Content Marketing World Sept. 6-9. Register today to be there in person and to grow your content marketing skills. Use code BLOG100 to save $100.

Editor’s note: A special thanks to Ardath Albee who scoured the planet looking for the best of the best content marketers. She was instrumental in helping us find our 2016 Content Marketer of the Year finalists. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

The post How to Create a Culture Where Content Marketing Thrives appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

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How to ‘Un-Stock’ Your Photography: 8 Examples That’ll Change the Way You Choose Photos


With 46% of marketers reporting that photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies, it should come as no surprise that quality photos are in high demand.

Trouble is, most commercially available photos on the internet were taken to visualize broad overall concepts rather than concrete messages. That means they can be used in all sorts of campaigns … but also end up looking generic.

Think of all the photos of smiling receptionists and perfectly suited business leaders you’ve come across. These images may compete for attention, but often fail to register, simply because your customers can’t identify with them. Download the free stock photos you've been searching for here. 

As a marketer, you can cut through the noise by using images that more closely relate to your audience. It’s what we call “real photography” here at EyeEm: Unique captures, delightful moments, and surprising perspectives. Images that are more concrete will resonate with audiences much more powerfully since they show real life rather than staged situations.

To visualize what we mean, we put together a handful of generic images alongside a ‘real’ counterpart sourced from our community of photographers. The proof is in the pictures, but we’ll let you see for yourself …

8 Examples of Authentic Imagery For Your Campaigns

1) Business

When it comes to business-related photos, there’s no shortage of clichés. Rather than deciding on an overly clean, generic image like the one below of the woman holding an “open” sign, dig deeper for something more authentic — something that tells a story.

You’ll notice that our suggestion ties in a more personal side of business by highlighting two people working together on a project. You can see the emotion in the woman’s face, as she uses her hands to explain something to her coworker in a seemingly authentic exchange. 

Do This:


Source: Sebastian Kopp via EyeEm

Not This:


Source: Pexels

2) Technology

Technology is notoriously hard to visualize, since a concept like “connectivity” is quite abstract. Old-school stock photography usually puts people next to the tech to achieve that connection, but the results are clumsy and constructed. Or worse, they add in a weird futuristic digital overlay like the image below.

Our suggestion is inspired by contemporary social media culture — and it’s more recognizable. It also features soft focus, natural lighting, and it shows a person truly interacting with the technology.

Do This:


Source: Moritz Otto via EyeEm

Not This:


Source: 123rf.com

3) Travel

Let’s be honest: When we the last time you went on vacation hoping to come home with a suitcase full of sand? In many cases, travel photos are just plain corny, and they lack the excitement and sense of wonder that comes with exploring new places.

These days, customers’ attention can much more effectively be captured by showing the actual experience of travel, as depicted by our suggestion below. The shot shows the view from a window on an airplane. It captures that thrilling feeling of embarking on a trip — a feeling that many people can easily relate to.

Do This:


Source: Dina Alfasi via EyeEm

Not This:


Souce: 123rf.com

4) Happiness

According to one study, pictures with smiling faces can positively impact conversions. Trouble is, while picturing happiness with a simple smile might have worked in the past, it has long become a tired cliché.

While the image of the group of people smiling in brightly colored shirts feels forced, our suggestion reads more natural, as it radiates a positive emotion while including an interesting element of movement. The image looks like a snapshot, taken in a genuine moment of fun and togetherness.

Do This:


Source: Sasha Dudkina via EyeEm

Not This:


Source: 123rf.com

5) Office

Representing an office by the tools one might (or might not) use there looks incredibly staged. It’s better to show context.

In this case, the image we suggested shows a creative space of a freelancer, with a pleasing color palette to underline the tranquility and focus of the workplace. 

Do This:


Source: @dersash via EyeEm

Not This:


Source: Pexels

6) Phone

Most images of phones show people awkwardly handling them, presenting their devices in a way nobody in real life would. Exhibit A: The image below of a young girl holding up her phone with a blank screen. 

Now, notice how our suggestion sets highlights the phone without feeling forced or cheesy. The person in the image is shown using the phone in a really natural way, and it’s easy to identify with — after all, who doesn’t love taking photos of their pets?

Do This:


Source: Markus Spiering via EyeEm

Not This:


Source: Pexels

7) Productivity

Being productive isn’t about doing many things at once, as the photo on the left suggests — but about focus and a clear sense of what matters. (Check out this free guide for tips on how to be more productive.)

While the stock photo below is just plain creepy, our suggestion shows a woman at work, with her focus being underlined by the headphone she wears. It also uses much softer, natural light to remind the viewer how common this activity is.

Do This:


Source: @jedrzej via EyeEm

Not This:


Source: 123rf.com

8) Leadership

Leadership is all about building trust and establishing credibility. Unfortunately, leadership-inspired photos often miss the mark.

The photo below portrays an artificial and thereby very conventional idea of what leadership looks like. To combat that, we choose an image that while more loosely related to the idea, manages to demonstrate the emotive aspect of leading a team.

Do This:


Source: Inbal via EyeEm

Not This:


Source: 123rf.com

What are you best tips for unstocking your stock photography? Share them with us in the comments below.

80 royalty-free stock photos

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How One Brand Created a Movement by Investing in Purpose


A software company that helps civil and industrial contractors manage projects from bid to completion, HCSS has been in business for 30 years. Its customers build everything from roads and waste treatment plants, to bridges, dams, and pipelines.

While the company traditionally has had a rich marketing culture, four years ago it opted to emphasize content and brought in Dan Briscoe. Soon after, he went on to hire Skyler Moss to run the digital marketing department. Anchored by a strong content foundation, Dan, Skyler, and their team (which has grown in size from five to 23 in four years) have reached towering heights of success, one story at a time.

Together, they form a dynamic content marketing duo whose shared philosophy is simple: Talk to customers to figure out what they need to help them do their jobs better. Dan’s goal is to provide helpful content for customers and give HCSS a bigger footprint. In short, he wants to get the right content to the right person, which is a big task considering all of the people in the buying process.

Talk to customers to figure out what they need to do their jobs better says @dfbriscoe #cmworld

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Dan and Skyler’s collaboration resulted in new and highly useful audience personas that have helped fuel HCSS’ customer-focused content initiatives, as well as their construction industry initiative called I Build America.

This focus on both audience and a greater purpose is why we chose Dan and Skyler as our first Content Marketer of the Year finalist duo.

Here are the lessons they’ve learned from the ground up.

Make the customer the hero

One of the first significant projects Dan and Skyler worked on together was HCSS’ Most Interesting Project awards (now called the Construction Impact Awards). This program gives customers a platform and fun competition that allows them to showcase the work they do across the country (and beyond) using the company’s software. “It probably had 50 times the results we thought it would,” says Skyler. ” It blew up our web servers and almost crashed our site within the first 30 minutes.”


More importantly, it provided the lightbulb moment that made them realize that the pride their audience members had in their work should be the central focus of their marketing efforts. “That transformed the marketing department as well as the way the company views marketing,” says Skyler.

Building on this success, HCSS next launched a campaign to find the best interns in construction and make them heroes with the Construction Intern Awards. They encouraged interns to submit short essays and photos about their work, and then used this content to build a website and social media posts.


“The first year, we had 250 applicants who amazed us with the stories of the work they were able to accomplish. The program was so successful and the judges were so impressed that we doubled the size of the scholarship money to $50,000 in year two,” says Dan. “We’re just a few days into the second year of the contest, and already we’ve surpassed the number of applicants from year one.”

2015 Construction Intern Awards Winner – Chase Ekstam

Get to know personas

With this realization, Dan and Skyler decided to focus on getting to know their customers as people, not just demographics. As Skyler explains, “We knew our customers, but we wanted to actually define them. What is a good day for them? What do they worry about? Dan had the foresight to say this is what we have to do. The project helped us go down that path.”

The HCSS marketing team began using surveys, interviews, and subject-matter experts to nail down detailed descriptions of its target audiences, and build a persona content marketing model.

In May 2015, HCSS piloted its persona program focusing on just one of its audience types – the safety director, for whom they created three highly targeted websites, 100 pieces of content, and 15 to 20 graphics. Over the course of two months, the team used its research and customers’ actual words and insights to develop videos; mid-level content, including white papers on how safety software could improve the company; and high-level content like huge infographics and a website around best safety practices.


“Focusing on the customers and their day-to-day issues and making them the hero of the story, not our software, is a much better way to market than to sit in a room and talk about the features of our products,” says Dan. It also has led to more effective writing.

Focusing on our customers & making them the hero of the story is a better way to market says @dfbriscoe…

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Once the first persona was complete, they made the case for additional personas by using customer feedback, improved page views and downloads, and growing sales (for which Skyler says marketing was just one of several factors). HCSS now focuses on seven buyers personas.

In turn, the company is using the personas elsewhere to better bundle its products for sales. Instead of just listing the products, the company offers a carefully selected suite of products that would appeal to a particular persona, such as an equipment director.

Build a movement with the same audience in mind

The knowledge gained from the persona project also helped bring to fruition CEO Mike Rydin’s long-time vision to create a movement to highlight the positive contributions the construction industry has made (read: not HCSS).

“Our CEO walked down to our offices one day and started talking about how he wanted to showcase the construction industry to the public. He referred to it as I Build America. We bought the URL that day and ran with it,” Dan says.

The mission of the movement is threefold:

  • Build pride in the industry
  • Educate the general public about the value of construction
  • Help recruit the next generation of workers


So far, Dan says, I Build America has been adopted across the industry and created goodwill for HCSS, even though they made the conscious decision to not brand the site with the HCSS logo. And, while there is a store that sells hats and shirts to help offset the cost of the site, the goal is to break even. “When we show the amazing things construction professionals do, you can’t put a number on that. You realize you’re part of something way bigger than HCSS,” says Skyler. “And, the video truly helps to understand the persona as we brought it to life.”

Still, I Build America contributes real value to HCSS in that it has helped deepen relationships within the industry. Dan adds: “The goodwill in the industry is priceless for us. If it didn’t make a dime, it wouldn’t matter as we want to give back to the industry.”

Stay agile

In addition to developing I Build America, the HCSS team recently launched its own digital marketing agency to help clients in the construction industry with videos, brochures, website development, SEO, social media, and more.


This is part of the marketing team on site in Tempe, Arizona, filming a customer.

How do they get it all done? “Our team of 23 works faster than most marketing departments do,” says Dan. But he also attributes their productivity to the full buy-in and trust they get from the executive team, a willingness to work 15-hour days when necessary, as well as the talent of the interns they hire from a nearby college. “I’m constantly amazed at what we’re able to accomplish,” he says.

Skyler agrees, noting that HCSS’ learning-by-doing culture helps them keep up the pace. “We don’t get caught up in the editing process or making the page perfect,” he says. “That’s how projects get delayed by weeks or months.” His approach is to push for approval to get out that first piece, and then let the analytics tell him where to go. “The customers will tell you. You just have to be agile enough to make adjustments and keep going,” he says.

Improving company culture

Being able to apply the persona success to other aspects of the company, including its latest endeavor of helping the recruiting team fill internal positions, has been especially rewarding for Dan. For instance, everyone in product marketing is a former journalist. “Marketing can change a company and lead the way,” he says. “It’s helped open people up to ideas, and it can affect the quality and outcome of the work they produce,” he says.

Skyler says a large part of getting the company to rally around marketing is keeping others informed. He makes the time to give entertaining presentations at staff meetings and lunches and, at the suggestion of Dan, shares photos and videos when his team is out doing shoots with customers. Here is an example of the promo video they put together with all of the footage:

One shoot in which they were filming in a quarry with explosions being set off got the company buzzing. “When we got back, they were raving about how cool it was being out there with our customers,” says Skyler. A few pictures from the shoot are below.


Picture from onsite in Midland, Texas, filming a bridge deck pour over an interstate highway


Explosion at rock quarry caught as it happened with video and customers onsite


Explosion from rock quarry – materials are crushed and used in asphalt for roads

Ultimately, Dan says that their rapid expansion and industry recognition have been the result of a lot of moving parts working well together. “There are a lot of good people behind HCSS and I Build America,” he says. And the building has only just begun.

The Content Marketer of the Year will be announced at Content Marketing World Sept. 6-9. Be there to hear which finalist won, and even better, to meet the experts and gain the skills and insight to grow an award-winning content marketing program. Register today using BLOG100 as the code to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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