As journalism has contracted—or, to put a positive spin on it, as it’s evolved—I’ve run across a number of people who started in journalism and moved into content marketing.
I departed journalism long ago. I was trained as a journalist and I love the skill and craftsmanship of great journalism, but I was never compelled to be a journalist.
At this point, I’ve been in marketing far longer than I was ever in journalism. What’s interesting is that many of the skills I learned in journalism are touchstones in my content marketing work.
This piece covers the core journalism skills that have shaped my content marketing strategies and tactics. I put this together primarily for journalists thinking about a move to content marketing, but it’s also useful for established marketers who want to apply journalism skills in their marketing projects.
When I’m working as a digital producer, I try to remember what I like and dislike as a digital consumer.
This link between content creator and content consumer should be obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it’s neglected. Something happens during the content creation process that makes smart people with considerable skill introduce unhelpful attributes to their content projects.
The folks behind Axios understand this disconnect, and they work hard to make sure it doesn’t happen. They’ve developed an entire methodology–dubbed “Smart Brevity”–to ensure their content provides the best content and experience. Continue reading →
Ever heard this one? “We’ve got all this unused material from Project X. Let’s repurpose it into articles. It’ll be easy!”
This is the equivalent of a movie studio saying “We’ve got all this footage we cut from the movie. Let’s put it together into a totally different movie. It’ll be easy!”
That second example is absurd and we all know it. So why is the first example any different?
The goal of this piece is to provide you—the diligent content marketer / editor you are—with ways to push back against repurposing requests. My hope is that you’ll be able to minimize the impact of these projects and avoid the unnecessary work and frustration they carry.
Does a popular mythology-laden TV show or film series need to stick the landing to be viable in the streaming world? This question came up around “Game of Thrones” in a recent “Binge Mode” episode.
I’ve been thinking about this in relation to my own viewing habits. Back in the day, when TV networks had all the juice and DVRs were still novelties, I wrote about “Lost.” It was a wonderful experience that connected me to people who shared my enthusiasm for the series. “Lost” meant a lot to me.
But here’s the weird thing: It’s been 10 years since “Lost” went off the air and I haven’t rewatched the show. Continue reading →
Note: I’m fascinated by content forms. I love popping the hood on a piece of content to see how the creators put things together. What choices did they make? What structures did they use? This piece is part of an occasional series I call “content deconstructed.”
“The Rewatchables” is a podcast from the folks at The Ringer that features lively conversations about films that are fun to watch over and over (hence the name). You might take issue with some of their selections—”Mr. Mom”?—but the execution is always strong.
The podcast’s consistency comes from five key attributes.
I’m sure you heard that Saturday Night Live returned last night and Tom Hanks served as a surprise guest host. Here’s the intro and Hanks’ opening monologue:
Everything about this makes me smile. It’s good to see Hanks up and about and looking well (he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March). It’s good to feel that same SNL energy. And it’s great to have proof that during tough times, creative people still find a way to share their creativity.
I was wondering when we’d see this. The organizers of Digital Book World are going ahead with their September event in Nashville. They published protocols for in-person events that hint at the new normal we could be dealing with in the months ahead.
Jodie Comer as Villanelle, an assassin who doesn’t mind standing out. Credit: BBC America
The following are notes and questions I jotted down as I watched the first season of “Killing Eve” on Hulu. There are loads of SPOILERS in this write-up. I don’t provide a lot of context, so this stuff won’t make much sense if you aren’t watching the show. Footnotes include a mix of random asides and follow-ups I posted after I finished the show.
What’s this show about?
Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) is a British intelligence analyst. Villanelle (Jodie Comer) is an assassin working for a murky organization with murky goals. As each becomes aware of the other, mutual interest turns into mutual obsession / infatuation / attraction (maybe?). Hilarity and a substantial body count ensue. Also, the show has brilliant production, a spot-on cast, unexpected bursts of dark comedy, and a fantastic soundtrack. You should absolutely watch it.
The following are notes and questions I jotted down as I watched “Money Heist” on Netflix. There are loads of SPOILERS. I don’t provide a lot of context, so this stuff won’t make much sense if you aren’t watching the show. Footnotes include a mix of random asides and follow-ups I posted after I finished the show.
What’s this show about?
Eight thieves—each using a code name that corresponds to a city—break into the Royal Mint of Spain. Their goal isn’t to steal money, it’s to print money. Their most valuable resources are hostages, time, anonymity, and public support: they need all four to print billions in cash and get away. The intricate plan is overseen from outside the mint by The Professor, a mastermind who’s been planning this crime for most of his life.
The ability to find a couple hundred people — maybe even a few thousand — who are interested in that one hobby, movie, TV show, team, etc. that you’re excited about is an amazing thing. I’ve experienced this a bunch of times, most notably with communities that formed around “The X-Files” and “Lost.” I had a blast writing and theorizing and talking about these shows. Those experiences wouldn’t have happened if I’d been limited by geography or time. My enthusiasm would have been stunted, and that’s just not right. If you love something, you should be able to really love it.
What’s important here is that the great things about the internet still exist. They’re still built in. And if we choose to emphasize those attributes, to double down on what’s good and avoid the pitfalls that are clearer now than ever before, it can continue to benefit us.