The Lean Content Marketing Blog

How to get more return on investment from content


How to unleash the power of storytelling to create memorable content for your readers

How to unleash the power of storytelling to create memorable content

Once upon a time I had an awesome high school History teacher named Jesse. He was short, balding, sarcastic, slightly overweight and wore the same pair of washed out jeans almost every day. For our first day of freshman year he whisked us away on an impromptu field trip downtown to San Francisco’s Nike Town […]

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Why you need a content marketing software

Why you need a content marketing software

Content marketing has a lot of moving parts. The good thing is there are a thousand ways to customize it, re-imagine it, and gain an edge on our competitors. The downside? It’s a lot to manage.

Fortunately, marketers today are way luckier than the marketers of yesteryear. We’ve got computers! We’ve got a thousand tools to create, manage and promote our content with.

The trick is to manage all those tools and the work they facilitate as nimbly and effectively as possible. This is why you need a content marketing software. You need one unifying tool or system to manage all the moving parts. Otherwise you’re working with a patchwork of systems, constantly trying to fill in the gaps between them.

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How to be good at marketing without a CMO (or a good one) – tips for marketers

Tips to marketing professionals who have to live without a (good) CMO

I really liked Dan Stasiewski’s article about the 8 mistakes CMOs make when structuring their marketing teams and I was going to curate it and add a few lines about what to do to be good at marketing without a CMO (or a good one). I got carried away. I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but sharing my own experience on how to manage and thrive as a marketing professional even when you’re not lucky enough to have a CMO or marketing leader – or even a team!- to help you structure things around.

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Can You Afford The 10 Creative Types Needed To Build A Killer Content Marketing Team?


Creating content, especially in a lean marketing team, is an all-hands-on-deck endeavor. Having a dream team in place to create not only the social posts, blog pieces, and video snippets, but the strategy, big picture campaigns and creative long-term vision should be a top priority for marketers in 2015.


Michael Brenner makes an interesting list of all the various creative talents you would need in an ideal Content Marketing team. But while there’s no denying that this would be a dream team, it’s anything but lean.

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4 Great things I learned as a community & content marketer

By this point, as a reader of this blog, it’s not unlikely that you’re familiar with my story. I was hired straight out of college as a community manager by and have spent the last few years diving into the worlds of community and content marketing on behalf of this awesome brand. As I prepare to move on to my life’s next adventure, I’d like to share some of my key learnings about community management and content marketing with you.

A majority of my day-to-day responsibilities at could fall under the umbrella of “non-traditional” marketing, which means that I put forth a lot of effort to learn about the space I had been thrown into. Today, I’ll share four key learnings and observations on community management and content marketing and I’d love to hear how you feel about them as well.

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The one decision we all make constantly. Or why we must curate or die in 2015.

The key to success in a myriad of web content that may drown us in 2015 is to curate content. The whys and hows are explained in-depth inside this article.


It’s interesting to see that content curation is evolving from an opportunity to a necessity as Julia McCoy from ExpressWriters recently noted in the Search Engine Journal explaining how we must curate content in 2015.

Why is that happening? Why is this accelerating?

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The Desert Island: the future is the curated Web for Steve Rosenbaum in Curate This!

Curate this! by Steve Rosenbaum

Three and half years ago, my friend Steve Rosenbaum came out with a book that had a huge impact: Curation Nation. He described perhaps better than anyone else how much content curation was needed and how important a trend it will be. His latest book Curate This! just got published and it’s a fantastic read: not only is it a curation jewel in itself but he also introduces a new concept that paints the future of what the Web could eventually become: the desert island.

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Community feedback: asking is just the beginning

This morning in the always fast-paced tweet chat run by Buffer, an interesting topic came up that I feel is often overlooked by community builders and brands. The subject of the conversation was Nir Eyal‘s Hook Model, which essentially helps brands build habit-forming products.

A question was raised concerning how to figure out the current pain points of users of a platform or product, and the number one answer, of course, was to “ASK!!!”

Asking is, of course, the first part of the answer to this question, but it certainly isn’t the only one; and I don’t even think it’s the most important one. Having led community input efforts for’s redesign last year, I learned the importance of the next two steps of the community feedback loop.

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Why even IBM needs SMB marketing software

“Employees at the brand at IBM. How about at your company?”

Marketers used to buy ads, PR and creative work. Now they also buy software. This is new and this is a big change. A clear example of that trend, Marketo‘s massive success is 100% built on marketing software – a category which didn’t exist 10 years ago. Beyond Marketo, an entire ecosystem has developed ranking from marketing automation to inbound marketing and content marketing. Some say this space is crowded but the fact is no one denies anymore that software tools have proven useful to understand “which 50% of my marketing spending is efficient“.

The success of these tools has been to be designed for marketers by marketers. The same way used the language of the VP Sales and not the language of CFO’s, marketing software vendors owe a big part of their success to speaking the language of marketers. Demand generation, campaigns, leads, funnel, nurturing, editorial calendars, brand assets, landing pages, open rates, click-through rates… The jargon is undoubtably omnipresent in these tools because they’re focused on being understood and used by one unique user category: marketers.

This needs to change.

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SMBs: You Don’t Need an Expensive Content Calendar Tool

…you need good content.

Last week, back from Content Marketing World 2014, Jay Baer noted that over the last 12 months, the number of content marketing software vendors had exploded, forcing the vendor and expo area to massively expand. How many exactly were participating? Too many according to him. And because these companies were not sustainable yet but spending their VC’s money, he predicted a big shakeout will happen.

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The Problem With “Staying Relevant”

I tend to find inspiration in strange places. Last week, I was listening to a podcast with a few of my favorite stand-up comedians expecting nothing more than a few chuckles. Interestingly, they began talking about what it’s like to be a comedian in the age of the Internet and the pressure to “keep their personal brands alive” and “stay relevant” with fresh jokes on a more consistent basis than they can write.

As comedians, these two were put off by the notion that everything online these days is about marketing, whether it be your product, yourself, or even your jokes. One of the quotes that specifically inspired me went something like this: “Everything online is marketing these days. Why can’t we just make good stuff and then people who like it will watch it?”

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How You Can Prepare for Twitter’s Potential Upcoming Changes

Twitter strategy might be shifting and the implications for our personal and business experience could be profound.


If you’re in social media marketing, you probably cringe at the mention of the word EdgeRank. I know I do, because it makes me think of how frustrating it is that even the best of my brand’s Facebook content might not be seen by more than 200 or 300 of our 57,000 fans unless I spend money to promote it.

Brace yourselves, social marketers, because algorithms just like Facebook’s EdgeRank might be coming to Twitter. In this post by our friend Mark Schaeffer, you can learn about some of the reasons why Twitter is thinking about implementing this, including the pressure from investors now that Twitter has gone public.

Mark brings up some great points for both sides like the fact that, with so many active users, “an unfiltered news stream can seem overwhelming,” but one of the best things about Twitter is that it’s completely unfiltered because  it allows for news to break in real time; something we see happening more and more each day.

According to Mark – and most marketers including myself happen to agree – Twitter will ultimately end up implementing an algorithm that determines what updates you see depending on elements like trending topics and interaction history, which will make organic reach plummet which would effectively eliminate the main differentiator of Twitter from Facebook.

What can do you, then, to prepare for this change?  

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College Students: 4 Tools You Can Use to Boost Your Learning Online

Raise your hand if you have ever sat in a lecture hall. Keep it raised if you have ever felt alone in the lecture hall. If you have ever felt alone while studying for that big exam. Or if you’ve ever missed a class, needed lecture notes, but knew no one in that class. Keep it raised, if by the end of the semester, of the 500 people in that class, you only met 1 or 2 of them, and by ‘met’, I mean gave them a formal head-nod or stared at the back of their head for 16 weeks. Keep it raised if you have ever bombed a test, but you feel like you studied a lot. (You really didn’t have to raise your hand, but if you did, props).

Yes, we’ve all been through these pain points. You probably wouldn’t even be reading this post if you didn’t passionately agree with me that these problems need fixing. They need fixing so badly that, if they don’t get it, they can put a damper on your college experience.

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Learning to Learn: How To Look Like an Expert From Day One


Working in the world of entrepreneurs and startups has given me a whole new appreciation for the phrase “fake it ’til you make it.” This isn’t to say that everyone who is just getting started in their companies or careers in general is completely faking it, but just that they are doing the right things to position themselves correctly before they might actually be a full-fledged expert.

In this post on, the extremely smart Dorie Clark tackles a question that almost all of us have tried to figure out at one point or another: how do I make myself seem like I know what I’m doing when I’m just getting started?

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5 Midwest Startups to Watch in 2014

The Midwest is more than great BBQ and Tornado Alley. It’s a veritable pool of ingenious startups that are giving their coastal neighbors from New York to Silicon Valley a run for their money. From foodie startups to companies revolutionizing education, it’s crucial for investors and consumers alike to keep an eye on this surprising hot spot of entrepreneurship. Heading into 2014, here are five innovative Midwestern startups to watch.

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How to Unleash the Power of Employee Advocacy

Every one of your people can become an advocate for your organization and your brand – an employee advocate.

Guillaume Decugis‘s insight:

Excellent point made by Mike Bailey that reminds me of an argument also made by Marketo here. And exactly the trend we see happening with more and more of our enterprise clients at while a lot of companies are still in a command-and-control mode with small marketing teams in charge of every aspect of outbound communication, we see a growing number of organizations realize they need to leverage their employees – and their employees social network – so that their communication becomes much more effective.

As the graph above explains, an employee sharing content to their networks has up to 20x more impact than when the brand does it (when you normalize their number of followers/friends).

Content curation plays a key role here: you not only need to create relevant and engaging content hubs for employees but they need to be easy for them to curate, share and publish from. As often, adoption is key and you need systems where employees can easily take ownership through a rewarding experience which seems to be what’s driving more and more demand to use internally within the enterprise.

See on

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Learnings From Two Years as a Community Manager: Just Ask

If it wasn’t extremely obvious from the majority of my writing, I’m obsessed with learning. When I started out my career as a community manager, I didn’t even know what that meant. Two years later, I’m still not quite sure there is a single definition, but I certainly have learned a lot about what it means to build community, run social media strategies, and bring value to the crowded web with a group of brilliant content curators who I’ve been lucky enough to meet through the journey.

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6 ways to measure and improve the ROI of Content Marketing

Content Marketing has been all the rage these past few years. We’ve heard from many speakers and influencers that content marketing is the new advertising and that “brands must become media to earn relevance”. But how do we measure its ROI and know our content isn’t just fueling some vanity metric but is actually helping our business?

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How content curation helps social media publishing

As a social media manager, you’re probably aware of many of the pains that come with staying visible online and managing many social media channels at once. Luckily, there’s an answer to the woes of social media publishing: content curation. Here are 5 problems that social media publishers face and how content curation helps alleviate the pain.

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Content Super Bowl I: Creation takes on Curation

Creating vs. curating. If you work in marketing, or maybe even if you don’t, I’m sure you’ve been a witness to this content debate at one point or another. There are numerous arguments for each side, and ultimately, both are included in any successful content strategy.

The ideal mix between content curation and original content creation is a debate that I often find myself having with my colleagues and industry peers. So, in the spirit of Super Bowl XLVIII this weekend, I decided to ask the experts what they thought in a matchup that I’ve officially dubbed Content Super Bowl I.

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Community Management Thoughts and Challenges for 2014

In 2013, the field of community management expanded more than ever. According to The Community Roundtablethe average community manager has 3.7 years of experience. Just imagine how many more companies are employing community managers now than in 2010!

Today, January 27th, is the 5th annual Community Manager Appreciation Day. In honor of this event, I’ve compiled a few interesting stats on the world of community management from 2013, and added in a few tips from my two years of experience in the field. Feel free to pass them along!

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