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Over half of businesses today use content marketing in some way. And that number is only going to grow, according to the latest survey conducted by The Manifest. The study traces the concepts roots back 300 years, when Benjamin Franklin used Poor Richard’s Almanack to actually promote his brother’s printing business. Content format has evolved…

The Growth of Content Marketing

Over half of businesses today use content marketing in some way. And that number is only going to grow, according to the latest survey conducted by The Manifest. The study traces the concepts roots back 300 years, when Benjamin Franklin used Poor Richard’s Almanack to actually promote his brother’s printing business. Content format has evolved over the years, but the concept has remained the same. Here are some interesting findings from their data:

* “Companies produce a variety of content, but videos (72%), blog posts (69%), and research and original data (60%) are the most popular.”

* “Nearly two-thirds (62%) of companies with more than 5,000 employees publish content daily.”

* Businesses are also publishing a variety of content to appeal to different audiences


The field is only growing; a recent study by Technavio predicts that the content marketing could be worth nearly $413 billion by 2021.

“In recent years, legacy publishers such as Atlantic Media, The New York Times and Time Inc. have spun off agency-style units that create branded content for clients that mimics editorial,” observed The Marketing Insider in a recent post, “to engage in compelling new ways with their ad-blind customers, major brand marketers turned to them, as well as to their ad firms, to compose everything from native articles to explainer videos to social posts.” However, they noted that many brands are setting up their own editorial shops, poaching journalists and art directors, to create their own on-brand content internally.

This is welcome news for those who began their careers in newspaper publishing and other media. According to this chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in newspapers declined from 457,800 in July 1990 to 183,200 in March 2016. More than 50,000 periodical jobs have also gone away during the same time period.

These are interesting times for those in the “content” field indeed.

Posted by Joel on May 08 2018 • Content Marketing

Print and Paper

imageI recently came across this study extolling the virtues of print and paper in a digital world. Now I’m sure you have to take the results with a grain of salt, seeing that they come from a group called Two Sides, “a global initiative by companies from the graphic communications industry including forestry, pulp, paper, inks and chemicals, pre-press, press, finishing, publishing, printing, envelopes and postal operators.”

Nevertheless, I agree that there is a place for paper in the digital world. The study, conducted last June, drew from polling data gathered from ten countries: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Overall, the survey found that consumers prefer reading in print. In the U.S., readers preferred printed magazines (66 percent), books (62 percent) and even newspapers (61 percent). The survey also found that consumers trust print to privide an environment that allows for deeper understanding of the subject matter. The data also provide trends about online advertising as well as the impact of global digital consumption on health.

Some interesting data quoted directly from the study results:

* The amount of time that consumers spend looking at screens is concerning to them, especially for the youngest age group. 54% believe they spend too much time on electronic devices (65% for 18-24 year olds) and 53% are concerned the overuse of electronic devices could be damaging to their health (62 percent of 18-24 year olds). 36 percent feel they are suffering from “digital overload” (47 percent of 18-24 year olds).

* 74 percent indicated that fake news is a worrying trend: 56% trust the news stories they read in printed newspapers, and only 35% trust the news stories they read on social media.

* 73 percent feel that reading a printed book or magazine is more enjoyable than reading them on an electronic device, followed by newspapers at 65 percent.

Posted by Joel on May 02 2018 • Multimedia

Audience vs. Traffic

There’s a difference between audience and traffic. This piece from L2 Inc shows that there is a hunger for real news and information. Consumers are willing to pay for it too. Businesses that fail to understand the difference between audience and traffic are likely going down the wrong path.

Posted by Joel on April 16 2018 • Journalism

Living the Dream

This post from Big Think offers some clarity, with the help of an ancient Japanese concept, about the idea of what it means to live a fulfilling life. The concept is called Ikigai, a term that according to the post can be interpreted in different ways: “to live the realization one hopes for’ or even “that which makes life worth living.” For those trying to find where they might fit in, the concept can help clarify anyone’s thinking on the subject.

Boiled down, the answers may be found by answering four simple questions: What do you love? What are you good at? What does the world need from you? What can you get paid for?

The story comes with this handy Venn diagram as well. Check it out.


Posted by Joel on April 02 2018 • Personal

The Root of our Existence

imageI have added another book to my reading list for 2018. It’s called Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations by David Montgomery. I first learned about this book from an Idaho wheat producer, who I met this past fall at an agriculture conference in Utah. Farming where he does poses a challenge to keeping top soil in place while working to keep sustainable practices in place. He recommended the book for producers across the country, as producers need to think about reducing runoff and protecting the topsoil that sustains human life on this planet. Here is the publisher’s book description:

“Dirt, soil, call it what you want—it’s everywhere we go. It is the root of our existence, supporting our feet, our farms, our cities. This fascinating yet disquieting book finds, however, that we are running out of dirt, and it’s no laughing matter. An engaging natural and cultural history of soil that sweeps from ancient civilizations to modern times, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations explores the compelling idea that we are—and have long been—using up Earth’s soil. Once bare of protective vegetation and exposed to wind and rain, cultivated soils erode bit by bit, slowly enough to be ignored in a single lifetime but fast enough over centuries to limit the lifespan of civilizations. A rich mix of history, archaeology and geology, Dirt traces the role of soil use and abuse in the history of Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, China, European colonialism, Central America, and the American push westward. We see how soil has shaped us and we have shaped soil—as society after society has risen, prospered, and plowed through a natural endowment of fertile dirt. David R. Montgomery sees in the recent rise of organic and no-till farming the hope for a new agricultural revolution that might help us avoid the fate of previous civilizations.”

Posted by Joel on March 02 2018 • Books

Enlightenment Now

imageSteven Pinker’s latest book was published this week and I can’t wait to get a copy. Enlightenment Now can be seen as an extention of the argument made in his previous book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, that says, contrary to public opinion, the world is getting better not worse. Data show that with regard to health, violence and poverty, science has allowed humanity to improve living stadards around the globe. That is not to say that we no longer have big problems to solve. Instead, it argues that that the ideas tools brought about by the Enlightenment (science and reason) are those which should be cherished in today’s overheated political environment.

I’ve read everything Pinker has written, and I am sure this will be another wonderful book. In fact, Bill Gates has already called it his favorite book of all time. Here is an excerpt from the publisher’s book description:

“Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature–tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking–which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation.

“With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.”

Extra: Read Pinker’s essay, The Intellectual War on Science, in this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education. It will give you a good framework for his arguments.

Posted by Joel on February 14 2018 • Books

Trust, Media and Democracy

Results from the 2017 Gallup/Knight Foundation Survey on Trust, Media and Democracy have just been released. The results show that technology had made it easier for Americans to connect with each other and to find information, but those advances also present both “challenges and opportunities for individuals and U.S. institutions,” according to the report.

“Not only is more information readily available, but so is more misinformation, and many consumers may not be able to easily discern the di erence between the two. Amid the changing informational landscape, media trust in the U.S. has been eroding, making it harder for the news media to ful ll their democratic responsibilities of informing the public and holding government leaders accountable.”

Most Americans “believe it is now harder to be well-informed and to determine which news is accurate. They increasingly perceive the media as biased and struggle to identify objective news sources. They believe the media continue to have a critical role in our democracy but are not very positive about how the media are ful lling that role.”

Medium has a good summary article about the study, 10 Reasons Why American Trust in the Media is at an All-Time Low.

Here are a few key findings that I thought were interesting from the study:

Americans believe the news media have an important role to play in democracy, particularly in terms of informing the public, yet they do not believe the media are fulfilling that role."

* Eight in 10 U.S. adults believe the news has a critical role to play in our democracy. They feel it is important for the medial to make sure Americans have the knowledge they need to be informed about public affairs and hold leaders accountable. Yet at the same time, they are more like to say the media perform these roles poorly. And “less than half of Americans, 44%, say they can think of a news source that reports the news objectively. Republicans who can name an accurate source overwhelmingly mention Fox News®, while Democrats’ responses are more varied.”

It’s increasingly harder to be a well-informed citizen

* “By 58% to 38%, Americans say it is harder rather than easier to be informed today due to the plethora of information and news sources available.”

Also, only half of Americans believe they are enough sources of information to allow people to cut through bias and sort out the facts in the news--down from 66% a generation ago.

Fact from Fiction

• “Today, 66% of Americans say most news media do not do a good job of separating fact from opinion. In 1984, 42% held this view.”

Fake News

* A majority of U.S. adults consider “fake news” a very serious threat to our democracy.”

* “Four in 10 Republicans consider accurate news stories that cast a politician or political group in a negative light to always be ‘fake news.’”

American Views: Trust, Media and Democracy is a fascinating look into how we view and trust the news today. I encourage anyone with an interest in democracy or the media to download the PDF and read the entire report.

Posted by Joel on January 18 2018 • Journalism

A Library of Human Imagination

This must be the most remarkable personal library in the world. I’ve highlighted it before, but I recently came across this video highlighting some of its features in greater detail. It is called a library of human imagination, and it is the brainchild of Jay Walker, founder of Walker Digital. The three-level, 3,600-square-foot library includes such items as an actual Sputnik sattlelite, fossils and other artifacts, including an American flag that went to the moon. Amazing.

Posted by Joel on January 05 2018 • Books

Capitalism without Capital

imageOne book that I am looking forward to read in the coming year is a new release titled Capitalism without Capital. Its premise (in the subtitle) is how the growing importance of the intangible economy is becoming the driving economic force in today’s modern world. The book was written by Jonathan Haskel, professor of economics at Imperial College Business School, and Stian Westlake, a senior fellow at Nesta, the UK’s national foundation for innovation. The authors are are co-winners of the 2017 Indigo Prize. Here is the book’s description from Barnes and Noble:

“Early in the twenty-first century, a quiet revolution occurred. For the first time, the major developed economies began to invest more in intangible assets, like design, branding, R&D, and software, than in tangible assets, like machinery, buildings, and computers. For all sorts of businesses, from tech firms and pharma companies to coffee shops and gyms, the ability to deploy assets that one can neither see nor touch is increasingly the main source of long-term success.

“But this is not just a familiar story of the so-called new economy. Capitalism without Capital shows that the growing importance of intangible assets has also played a role in some of the big economic changes of the last decade. The rise of intangible investment is, Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake argue, an underappreciated cause of phenomena from economic inequality to stagnating productivity.

“Haskel and Westlake bring together a decade of research on how to measure intangible investment and its impact on national accounts, showing the amount different countries invest in intangibles, how this has changed over time, and the latest thinking on how to assess this. They explore the unusual economic characteristics of intangible investment, and discuss how these features make an intangible-rich economy fundamentally different from one based on tangibles.

“Capitalism without Capital concludes by presenting three possible scenarios for what the future of an intangible world might be like, and by outlining how managers, investors, and policymakers can exploit the characteristics of an intangible age to grow their businesses, portfolios, and economies.”

Posted by Joel on December 20 2017 • Books

The Battle for the Net

Net Neutrality is one of the most important issues of our time. Here is a great three-minute video from Co.Design that outlines the problem and what’s at stake with the FCC regulations.

Posted by Joel on December 04 2017 • Current Affairs