Content Marketing

Content Marketing Time Sucks, Part I: How to Find Them

I bet you’re working really hard to get your story heard. You’re writing blog posts, sharing them on social media … and probably not getting the results you want.

If that’s the case, it’s time to take a step back and look at what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

Evaluating your content marketing efforts can be a complicated and in-depth effort. This piece is going to look at one key area: Where are you wasting time in your content marketing?

8 Reasons Why Introverts Rule the Interactive Age

After spending the 20th century in relative silence, introverts are poised to rule the Interactive Age.

Social media has changed the way we communicate. The extroverted approach to communication in the 20th century—one-size-fits-all programming, in-your-face advertising, and dictatorial monologues—has been replaced by a more thoughtful and empathetic discourse that involves listening to the ideas of others, engaging in dialogue, offering comments and opinions, and sharing interesting content.

And no one is better prepared for this communication revolution than introverts. Here are the eight reasons why introverts will rule the Interactive Age:

The former CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters loved our book. Dig us!

"Upon reflection, I want to add one more 'really' because it really is that good." If you’ve spent any time in Washington DC, you’ve heard of David Rehr. When he ran the National Beer Wholesalers Association, Fortune Magazine ranked that organization as one of the “top ten most influential lobbying organizations” in America. When he was president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, Radio Ink magazine named him one of the “top 20 most influential people in radio.” And Washington Life magazine put him on their “Power 100” list. Yeah, he’s that good.

But what makes David Rehr so special (besides his eerie resemblance to Matt Damon) is his uncanny ability to identify talent. Take this book review he recently posted on

“Megan McDonald & John Doyle break through all the communications clutter and treat the reader to the essential "you have to get these right" elements in this easy to read, yet fascinating book. I have been in organizational communications my entire professional career but found myself shaking my head (while reading the book) and saying to myself, "yes, I have to be sure I do that..." This book is a great investment. It's has some lighthearted moments but the content is serious - we do live in a cluttered communications environment and virtually all organizations are terrible in getting their positive messages out to the public. I am certain I will continue to refer back to it on important communication projects. It's that good. No, it's really, really, really good.”

Now the fact that he was talking about our book is just icing on the cake. In fact, I didn’t even realize he was referring The TV Guide to Telling Your Organization’s Story until Megan pointed that out to me.

But it was our book he was talking about. And if a man as busy as David Rehr could find the time to order our book, read it, and post this brutally candid and informative review, you can too.

So go ahead and get yourself a copy. As David said, “It’s really, really, really good.”

Saccharine Vanzetti: Lessons you can learn from the Oreo-inspired miscarriage of journalism

"It's OK, Honey. Oreo says we cant still dunk in the dark. Can you bring back my glass of mill, please?" Oreo to launch two new cookie flavorsNew York Daily News

A New Oreo Rises! And It Will Probably Be As Addictive As CocaineEsquire Magazine

“It seems impossible to improve on the Oreo but Nabisco is giving the classic cookie a new twist, launching limited edition cookie dough and marshmallow crispy flavors.”NBC’s Today Show

To paraphrase Woody Allen, if Walter Cronkite came back and saw what was passing for journalism today, he’d never stop throwing up.

I don’t blame the good folks at Nabisco. They’re just doing their job, and doing it damn well, I might add. The fault lies squarely with the (generally) young and (astonishingly) naïve “journalists” who seem to have learned everything they needed to know about investigative reporting from Perez Hilton “exclusives.”

But this is the world we live in, so let’s make the best of it.

Following is an excerpt from our book, The TV Guide to Telling Your Organization’s Story, that should give you some insight into Oreo's 21st century thinking.

The Oreo. It’s not just a cookie. It’s a flash mob. It’s a meme. It’s a YouTube sensation. It’s a Twitter genius. It’s a Facebook monster. It’s milk’s favorite cookie.

It wasn’t always this way. Oreo's used to be just a snack, like Twinkies, Ring Dings and Devil Dogs. But while Nabisco was celebrating Oreo’s 100th birthday with flash mobs and online events, Hostess was filing for bankruptcy protection, which briefly killed off the much-maligned Twinkie at the relatively young age of 82. (The Hostess bankruptcy also put Drakes Cakes out of business, shutting down—at least temporarily—the Ring Ding and Devil Dog assembly line.)

How did Oreo's become a global Internet sensation just as Hostess was throwing in the apron? Because Nabisco used social media to tell the story they wanted to tell that would resonate with the audiences they needed to reach. They carefully planned and deftly executed intricate campaigns and skillfully seized unexpected opportunities. And they did it creatively, humorously, and relentlessly.

It wasn’t a story about sweet white stuff slapped between two black wafers. It was a story about your experience with their cookie. For Baby Boomers, the story was a nostalgic trip back to childhood. For the Millennials, the story was exciting, edgy and often political. And for the young ones, it was a story about Grandma and imagination.

Hostess, on the other hand, allowed the Twinkie story to be told by others. And we know how well that turned out.

And it isn't just thoughtful planning. Team Oreo also seizes opportunity--swiftly. During the 2013 Super Bowl (the night that the lights went out in Nawlins), Oreo carped the diem by conceiving, creating, approving, and tweeting a graphic ad that capitalized on the Superdome’s power struggle in just five minutes. The ad got re-tweeted thousands of times, and the brilliant marketing move was talked about worldwide. For free.

According to The Washington Post, Oreo’s ad team “required that ad agency and client executives be at the same place at the same time” which was a “social-media command center” at its digital ad agency 360i in NYC.

That is the reality of storytelling today. You’ve got to be quick. You’ve got to be relevant. And you have got to execute. The days of “running it by legal” are over.

A note from the authors of "The TV Guide to Telling Your Organization's Story"

"Kinda like a 21st century Moonlighting, right Megan?" "Not so much, John." Where would you be today if, back in 1994, someone gave you a book that explained how cell phones, PCs, and tablets were going to change the world over the next two decades?

This is that book.

No, John, it isn’t. But it does serve as a primer on some of the large-scale shifts affecting communications and provides strategies that you can adopt to successfully navigate them, using the model of a TV show.

A TV Guide, if you will.

And much like a TV Guide, it provides brief but enlightening overviews, not of shows but of concepts and tactics that you can use to tell your organization’s story more effectively. It also helps you identify areas that you are interested in spending more time learning about.

What it doesn’t do is teach you how to tweet, post, #hashtag, or Skype. And if you’re looking for scholarly insights about the literary themes in famous stories, you’ve got the wrong book.

Instead, it delivers the context and insights to help you become a better communicator in any medium.

And it does it in a way that allows you to jump around so you’re not forced to read a bunch of chapters just to get to the good parts.

Specifically, this book is comprised of four distinct sections which can be read independently or in any combination. The first section explains how we communicate with each other today—both as individuals and as organizations—and what we can do to communicate more effectively. Sections two, three, and four offer specific advice on how to successfully find, tell, and live your story in the Interactive Age.

And there are quite a few pictures and bullet points to make the reading feel a lot less like work.

One of the reasons our partnership works is that we’re extremely different in our perspectives, experiences, mentalities … and writing styles. So you will notice two distinctly different voices in this book.

I tend towards abstract and educational tones, while John provides concrete narratives.

The combination of two very different minds also went into the overall structure of the book. I usually read books from start to finish, and prefer a cumulative, linear approach to learning.

Blessed with the gift of attention deficit disorder and a dash of dyslexia, I like the freedom to hop in and out of a book without having to remember a lot of plot. So I need short sections, pictures and lots of white space.

Regardless of your preferred style of learning or level of background, this book will be helpful in navigating the future of communication.

And we hope you have as much fun reading it as you do buying it.


TV or not TV? Why your television may be your best social media mentor

"That's what 'twerking' means? Why didn't somebody tell me BEFORE my speech?" The following is an excerpt from our new book, The TV Guide to Telling your Organization's Story--Insights and tools to help you navigate the Interactive Age.

Like what your see? Get yours here.

  • In 2011, part-time nanny Molly Katchpole told Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and the online world that she didn’t want to pay a new $5 monthly debit card fee. Moynihan was “incensed by the bad press,” and vowed that he “won’t budge on the new fees.” But the banker budged … and the nanny won.
  • In 2012, Hollywood’s top lobbyist Chris Dodd blasted his former colleagues in the US Senate for killing his signature legislation, the Stop Online Piracy Act, which would have allowed the government to censor the Internet. Upon losing what had appeared to be a slam-dunk deal, an enraged Dodd said, “Don’t ask me to write a check for you [politicians] when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.” This refreshing candor resulted in its own online petition on the White House website calling for an investigation into Dodd’s alleged “open admission of bribery.
  • In 2013, Canadian PM Stephen Harper announced that he “has a lot of fun twerking,” but only with close friends and “every now and then with President Obama.” Before a media aide could update the PM on early 21st century parlance, he added that he “would like to twerk with every Canadian but that of course is impossible.”

There was a time when emulating society’s leaders was a viable strategy for success. But those days are truly gone. The 20th century leadership skills that catapulted people to positions of power—being unilaterally decisive and hogging the megaphone, to name just two—are liabilities in the Interactive Age, where collaboration trumps intimidation.

The sense of unassailable superiority by those in power is resulting in regular digital spankings as the once-untouchable establishment titans go head-to-head with “little people” who may lack executive prerogative, but more than make up for it in social media savvy.

But if successful business and political icons of the 20th century can no longer guide us to success, who can?


Yup. The faithful companion that taught you how to run faster, jump higher, and build strong bodies 12 ways can now help you navigate the roiling waters of social media.

Think about it. The world is changing faster and more dramatically than at any point in human history. Every aspect of communications is changing in ways we could never have imagined a decade ago. Keeping up with the changes is next to impossible and the struggle can overwhelm the strongest of us.

One way to get grounded and to regain a sense of balance is to filter these new experiences through the lens of something familiar; something that is feeling its way through this brave new world like you are. And there’s nothing more familiar and universal—in the 20th century, anyway—than television.

As the television industry navigates its way through these tectonic changes, it can teach us how to respond to similar challenges.

Coming up ... "Channeling your inner TV show." Stay tuned!

Television. AmIright??

Let your TV be your guide. “I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts.” —      Orson Welles

“If television's a babysitter, the Internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.” —Dorothy Gambrell, Cat and Girl Volume I

“The difference between TV and the internet was how far you sat from the screen. TV was an 8 foot activity, and you were a consumer. The internet was a 16 inch activity, and you participated.” —Seth Godin

Want to know the 33 things your television can teach you about storytelling in the Interactive Age? It's all in here.

The End of the Public: Interactive Age Storytelling

The following is an excerpt from our upcoming book, The TV Guide to Telling Your Organization’s Story. In the Information Age, we were (generally) able to share a set of cultural norms and experiences to create a (generally) mutual understanding of morality and reality. The Interactive Age signifies the end of any opportunity to “teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony.” Instead, the Internet has given everyone the opportunity to apply their own, highly fluid set of beliefs and experiences to their entertainment and information choices, which ultimately determine what information they consume and who they share it with.

These beliefs and experiences bring people together in online tribes—some large, some small. Some long-lasting, some just short bursts of communal energy—but all of which are constantly in flux.

This creates a distinct challenge for organizations trying to tell their story or communicate a consistent brand image: different people will interpret and react to these efforts in different ways and at different times.

For instance, compare the norms of earlier days to those of today. Ads that might have drawn a giggle or a wink in 1963 could cause you physical harm today.

And because there is no “sunset provision” for information in the Interactive Age, you have to be mindful of how your messages today play in the not too distant future. You are communicating with a spectrum of generations, beliefs, knowledge bases, etc. every time you post online.

One of the better ways to facilitate communication among very different communities is to spell out the assumptions and beliefs that are behind a given conclusion.

With organizational storytelling, this translates into considering your organization as a new world for your audience. Like a TV show, it may have many similarities to the world that some of these individuals inhabit, but interaction is aided by repeatedly citing the core tenets on which your communications are based.