Weekly Roundup: Why Design Matters, Why the Company Blog Isn’t Going Away, and More

content designWhat do Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook all have in common — apart from their multi-billion-dollar valuations? As Digital-Telepathy founder Chuck Longanecker explained this week, they all embrace bold, visual storytelling — and “give new meaning to the phrase, ‘show, don’t tell.'”

Content marketers, listen up. It can’t all be about about blogs, blogs, and more blogs, although for many that’s still a fine place to start. The explosion of the mobile and tablet markets now forces any publisher to think differently — about the type of content that engages their audience, and where they’re likely to get engaged. For years, the desktop Web was the primary destination. But that’s changing fast. Smartphones and tablets will soon become the rule, not the exception, when it comes to platform design.

CNET creative director Marc Mendell takes that concept a step further, detailing how the latest iPhone and iPad apps for CNET News were designed to provide a unified content experience, no matter what size screen, or device, users are browsing content. “Our users have a relationship with us through these screens of various shapes and sizes,” Mendell writes. “They access us both directly, or indirectly through search and the social graph. Thus, creators of media or utility can not rely on having a product on a single platform.” It’s an instructive read.

Is the company blog going out of business?

Hardly — but that’s the gist of a new report from USA Today, citing stats from a University of Massachusetts study and Inc. magazine. Only 37 percent of “fast growing” companies published blogs in 2011, down from 50 percent in 2010. The ratio was even lower for Fortune 500s — just 23 percent carried a blog last year.

So what’s going on? The piece suggests that businesses are migrating their blog and other content initiatives over to Facebook and other social media platforms — but it’s not quite that simple. As the story notes, and as the Original9 team knows first-hand, many companies give up too easily on blog programs, or underestimate the commitment they require to grow, or grow frustrated when marketing or promotional content does’t click. How many company blogs will there be in 2013? Here’s our response: Who cares! Two more important questions for content marketers to think about:

  • What types of great content and storytelling will click with our target audience?
  • What’s the best media platform where we can reach them?

The “company blog” is still a fantastic tabula rasa for many aspiring brand publishers. It’s what they do with the opportunity that determines whether it’ll be around next year or not.

Survey: Content marketing is a $16 billion industry, and growing

new study from the Custom Content Council and ContentWise shows that in 2011, companies spent more than $16 billion on online content marketing, or 26 percent of their overall marketing, advertising, and communications budget. Fastest growing channel: video. (Marketing Land)

How to smarten up your email campaigns

Between syndication, social media sharing, and just praying something goes “viral,” it can be easy to forget one of the easiest, and most direct, ways to speak to your audience: email.  But as BtoB explained this week, it’s more complicated than most marketers think. For instance, did you know three in four people use more than one email address? Or that over a third of respondents say they’ve shared email content on social networks? Some good insight here about ways to refine your email campaigns. (BtoB)

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