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How to Plan Your Instagram Posts [+22 Free Instagram Planning Templates]



When you’re not following a plan on social media, it’s easy to forget to post regularly.

Additionally, creating image and video-based content meant to drive revenue for your business can seem far from your bottom line.

However, 90% of people on Instagram follow at least one business nowadays. To compete with other companies in your industry, you must have a solid Instagram strategy, especially if your intended audience uses the app.

Fortunately, once you have an ideal plan for your Instagram content, you can create content more intentionally and ultimately drive more results for your team and organization.

In this post, we’ll cover everything from determining what kind of content you want to post to picking a content theme. Then, we’ll get into the details of planning individual posts.

HubSpot, AdobeSpark, and Iconosquare teamed up to create a 30-day planning guide for business Instagram planning.

We’ve also thrown in 30 templates to help you get started. Click here to get the planning guide.

Your Instagram’s Visual Theme

Once you’ve decided on the type of content you want to post, you’ll want to select a visual theme for your posts.

Aesthetic consistency will help you in several ways:

  • When an Instagram user finds your business’ account, the images will appear coordinated and well-thought-out.
  • Your followers will begin to sense patterns in your content and pause when they see your post as they scroll because they recognize that pattern.
  • When you’ve pre-selected a go-to font and color scheme, it takes away some of the pressure of planning because there are fewer decisions to make for each new post.

If you use Adobe Spark, you can download our free Adobe Spark Instagram templates to create a new post with a template rather than starting from scratch. You’ll also get access to the previously-mentioned calendar of content ideas.

To establish visual consistency across your posts, pay attention to the colors in your photos, the filters you use, the fonts you use in your images, and, if you’d like, the pattern of content types you’re posting.

  • Colors – Keep your brand colors top of mind when creating Instagram posts. Pick a few colors that complement your primary brand color and ensure that the most prominent color appears in your posts.
  • Filters – When using filters, do so lightly, as over-editing can dilute the quality of your photos. If you decide to use filters, use the same one or two across all posts.
  • Fonts – Select one font to use whenever you want to overlay text on photos or videos and use one of your brand colors for the font. Since Instagram is a friendly platform, aim to use an easy-to-read, sans-serif font and keep it the same across all posts.
  • Content Pattern – To create a visual pattern for your overall feed, ensure that every third post has a specific background color. Since Instagram has three columns in the grid view, you’ll end up with a column that shows you thoughtfully planned your posts. You might consider using a white background with the same font style and color to share an industry tip for every third post.

Once you’ve decided on the content type and visual theme you’ll use on your brand’s Instagram account, it’s time to start planning posts.

Create a spreadsheet with the following columns (or download our free, pre-made spreadsheet along with planning templates for all of your other social media channels, too):

  • Date of publication
  • Time of publication
  • Image caption
  • Image file name or a link (if it has been uploaded to the web)
  • The link that you’ll add to your bio when the post goes live (or add to a Linktree-type multiple links tool)
  • Campaign/Goal: What is the goal for this post? Are you trying to amass more followers? Drive sign-ups for your product, a free trial, a consultation, or another next step toward becoming a customer? A well-articulated goal will help you ensure that each post exists for a purpose. You won’t be creating a dead-end for your followers but rather an opportunity for continued engagement with your account, brand, or product.

When you’re done, it should look like this:

Social media spreadsheet example

Download This Template

Pro Tip: Duplicate the spreadsheet tab for Instagram Stories, as well, to leverage Instagram’s other avenue for engaging with your followers. Stories are best used for interactive content like polls and quizzes, sharing photos or videos from live events, and more casual, friendly updates.

Once you have your spreadsheet ready to go, decide on your frequency. We recommend ramping up to posting around three times per week.

1. Define Your Content Posting Schedule

Post at least once a week to establish a reliable posting pattern for your followers. You’ll risk losing followers if people feel that they’re not consistently seeing interesting or helpful content from your account.

To establish that consistent pattern, set dates and times for posting first. For example, if you decide to post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, fill in the date and time column with the next month’s Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Then, add a recurring event to your calendar for post planning for the following two to four weeks. Set a recurring 10-minute calendar invitation at your selected posting times to reference your spreadsheet and quickly post what you’ve planned if you’re not using an automated scheduling tool. With the planning sheet handy, you’ll be able to copy and paste captions and links and locate the images for your posts easily.

When slotting specific posts into your spreadsheet, begin in whichever column you’d like. For example, you could start by evenly splitting the rows into separate campaigns and filling in the caption or image link for each post later.

2. Add Visuals

If you already have a repository of photos that you can post, you might start pasting the links into the Image File Name/Link column and fill in the other columns afterward.

You’ll also want to start creating more visual content for future posts. For example, consider repurposing event images that your company has taken, soliciting photos of your employees or customers using your product, or simply creating visually-appealing text graphics like this one on a tool like Canva or Photoshop.

Upload each photo to a centralized folder and use a standardized naming convention so that it’s easy to find the file you’re looking for. If you’re not using a post-scheduling tool, you’ll likely have to post directly from your phone.

To easily access photos with their file names from your phone, you can upload photos to a Google Photos album on your computer and then use the Google Photos app to download the content before posting directly.

3. Write Engaging Captions

Finally, decide on your caption for each post. The ideal caption style depends on your audience and the type of content you’re sharing. For example, aesthetics-focused content may perform best with a quirky, short, and clever caption. In contrast, education-focused content may be most likely shared and liked if the caption includes a couple of concise, straightforward tips.

How to Plan Instagram Posts: Write Engaging Captions, example of a two toned orange on Instagram

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4. Choose Hashtags

Make sure to include three to five thoughtfully planned hashtags in your caption or in a comment on your post to ensure it gets in front of new audiences. You’ll want to include a mix of branded hashtags (e.g., #HubSpotAcademy or #OnlineLearning) and trending hashtags so that more people see your post.

You can research the hashtags you might want to use by typing them into Instagram (head to the ‘Search’ tab and then tap ‘Tags’) to see how much volume they get. Prioritize the higher-volume ones.

Types of Content to Post on Instagram

Regardless of which kind of content you decide to post, it should always be content that attracts your ideal audience. Think beyond your product, service, or office. What does your ideal customer actually care about, and what motivates them to follow a business account on Instagram?

Bite-Sized Education Instagram Content

If you know your audience is interested in consuming bite-sized education on social media, you might use Instagram to share industry tips and tricks.

Types of Content to Post on Instagram: Bite Sized Educational content

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Videos or well-organized captions can be useful vehicles for providing your audience with well-researched information for their benefit rather than the benefit of your business.

Showcasing Products Instagram Content

If your product or service lends itself to being photographed, consider sharing photos or videos of real customers using it. You can lighten your content creation load by relying on user-generated content. Have your customers send in photos of your product in action.

Here’s an example of how Beats by Dre uses Instagram to showcase customers using their products:

Types of Content to Post on Instagram: Beats by Dre portable pill speaker

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Still, there’s no need to make these product or service posts promotional. Instead, the value for your Instagram following would come from drawing personal connections with real stories about how others have successfully used your product.

Inspiring Imagery Instagram Content

However, if your audience isn’t consuming education on Instagram and your product or service isn’t easily photographed, you can take a more aesthetically-focused route, posting images and videos that people would simply love to consume. These may not drive a significant number of conversions, but a visual-first Instagram can amass a large number of followers.

Types of Content to Post on Instagram: Designboom shows a home on the outskirts of Vienna that was completed in 1971

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The key to the aesthetically-pleasing route is to check in frequently to ensure your posts are driving actual value (perhaps in the form of brand awareness or community among your followers) for your business.

Experiment With Content

If you’re unsure of the type of content you want to post or the kind that will succeed for your brand, pick the one you believe your audience will be most interested in seeing. That can include product-agnostic education, product-centric content, usage-focused content, or aesthetically pleasing content. Try it consistently for a month.

Types of Content to Post on Instagram: Casetify Instagram page

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Then, try another type for the following month and compare engagement rates. How many people are liking and commenting on your content? How many followers did you gain each month? What other business outcomes, if any, were impacted by your Instagram posts?

In addition to deciding the general topics you’ll post on Instagram, you’ll want to experiment and determine which content formats you’ll post. For example, if you take an educational approach, experiment with videos versus text-focused images and various lengths of captions.

Alternatively, if your educational content lives on your blog, knowledge base, or in another library, consider using Instagram posts to point people to those resources rather than squeezing too much information into one Instagram.

For example, HubSpot Academy’s Instagram often promotes in-depth courses that HubSpot Academy produces rather than trying to dive into the details in the caption, image, or video itself. The account keeps followers interested by sharing short clips and tips from the courses, too:

Types of Content to Post on Instagram: HubSpot Instagram post

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Additionally, we’ve put together this downloadable calendar of creative content ideas if you’re not sure what type of content to try first.

Instagram Planning Apps

Who has time to come up with every post at a moment’s notice? It takes time to create compelling content, and that timing won’t always line up with your content calendar. Using planning apps to schedule Instagram content in advance makes the most efficient use of time and sparks creativity. It can also allow you and your marketing team to become more informed marketers.

1. Preview

Instagram planning App: Preview app

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Preview allows users to design, edit, and analyze their Instagram business page. With Preview, you can create a calendar to schedule photos, videos, albums, and stories for your business’ Instagram page. Preview lets you plan reels and IGTVs and access a suite of editing and analytical tools, including hashtag testing, engagement rates, and interactive charts. Preview also allows your entire social media team to plan your Instagram page together without sharing your Instagram password.

Pricing: Free Plan, free for 1 user; Pro Plan, $6.67/month for 1 user; Premium Plan, $12.50/month for an unlimited number of users.

2. Later

Instagram planning App: Later Instagram scheduler.

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Later’s Instagram scheduler can be used on your desktop or mobile devices. The scheduling tool offers a calendar with drag-and-drop functionality, hashtag tools, personalized scheduling insights, analytics, a stock photo library, and many more features to help you make the most of your business’ Instagram presence.

Pricing: Starter Plan, $15/month for 1 user; Growth Plan, $40/month for 3 users with an additional $5/month for each additional user; Advanced Plan, $80/month for 6 users with an additional $5/month for each additional user. Later offers a 14-day free trial of all of its plans.

3. Sked Social

Instagram planning App: Sked Social

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Sked Social makes it easy to edit your photos, queue posts, create a linked landing page for your business’ bio, and quickly add hashtags and mentions to your posts using templates. Sked Social also features a robust content calendar pre-filled with holidays from around the world, so you can plan content that celebrates and commemorates the special days that matter to your audience.

With Sked Social’s Essentials and Professional plans, you can collaborate with your team to manage your business’ Instagram marketing, no matter how many team members you have.

Pricing: Fundamentals Plan, $25/month for 1 user; Essentials Plan, $75/month for an unlimited number of users; Advanced Plan, $135/month for an unlimited number of users. Sked Social offers a 7-day free trial of all of its plans.

4. Planoly

Instagram planning App: Planoly Instagram scheduler.

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Planoly’s Instagram post planner and Reels planner allow users to plan, design, and schedule their business’ Instagram posts and Reels.

Planoly lets users analyze post metrics and add to their content with stock photos and photos from Canva. Users can also create a linked landing page and respond to Instagram comments from within Planoly.

Planoly’s scheduling tools include a content calendar that sends users reminder emails and push notifications when it is time to post content.

Pricing: Starter Plan, $11.25/month for 1 user; Growth Plan, $19.50/month for 3 users; Professional Plan, $36.50/month for 6 users. Planoly offers a 7-day free trial of all of its plans.

The right kinds of content planners ensure that your business’ Instagram posts are well thought out and draw consumers to your product or services. The following tools provide visual support as well as ideas that can transform content from dull to engaging:

1. HopperHQ

Instagram Content Planner: HopperHQ

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HopperHQ claims to be the number one Instagram tool. It goes beyond crafting posts, giving users the ability to access analytics that help determine the best time to post.

HopperHQ’s Instagram planning tools include a drag-and-drop content calendar, automated posting features, an Instagram grid planner, and a team manager that allows you to collaborate with your business’ social media team and customize each member’s posting permissions.

Pricing: $19/month. HopperHQ offers a 14-day free trial.

2. Brandwatch

Instagram Content Planner: brandwatch

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Brandwatch is a platform devoted to creating strategies to help you plan your next Instagram campaign with progressive insights. Brandwatch helps you monitor your business’ brand and benchmark it against your competitors.

With Brandwatch, you can monitor social media trends, convert your Instagram posts to ads, and create workflows that repurpose assets to help your business save time and money.

Pricing: Brandwatch offers a $108/month plan for small businesses of 1 – 2 users. Larger teams can access Brandwatch’s full suite of products by booking a demo.

3. Content Scheduler in Adobe Express

Instagram Content Planner: Content Scheduler in Adobe Express

Adobe Express’ Content Scheduler, previously known as ContentCal, allows Instagram users to plan and schedule content. With features such as snippets, pinboards, and a web clipper, Adobe Express’ Content Scheduler makes planning for Instagram campaigns more organized.

Adobe Express’ Content Scheduler offers free downloadable tools and templates, including content calendars, an engagement rate calculator, and a marketing plan template that help you plan and execute your business’ Instagram strategy.

Pricing: Free plan with limited features; Premium Plan, $9.99/month with a 30-day free trial.

Tools for Making the Most of Your Instagram

To stay organized, we recommend using two types of tools — a post-scheduling tool and a tool that allows you to link to several different places from your Instagram bio.

By using a post-scheduling tool, you’ll be able to plan out as far in advance as you’d like, ensuring you have a steady stream of content ready to be posted even when other projects pop up in your day-to-day work. Posting consistently is important for follower retention and will give you more opportunities to experiment and figure out which posts get the most engagement.

Scheduling your posts allows you to visualize which types of posts you have coming out and swap posts if needed. You can see the weeks you’ve planned enough content and those during which there are still empty slots.

You can also use a spreadsheet like this one (download for free here):

Instagram post-scheduling calendar from Hubspot

Download the Calendar

Examples of post-scheduling tools include HubSpot Social Tools, Later, Buffer, and Hopper.

Expanding Bio

An Instagram bio can either entice a potential customer, make them laugh, or make them keep scrolling past a page. Unfortunately, writing an eye-catching bio with an enticing call-to-action that tells visitors everything they need to know about your business can be tough because of Instagram’s limiting structure for bios.

Since Instagram only allows you to place one hyperlink in your bio at the top of your profile, we recommend investing a few dollars per month in a tool that creates one landing page that links out to several other pages.

Then, in individual posts, you can reference clickable links available at the link in your bio, which provides a much more user-friendly experience than having your followers copy a URL manually into their browser, toggling between apps. MilkShake is a tool that allows you to create a mini-website with links and videos that users can access through a link in your business’ Instagram bio.

HubSpot Academy coursesImage Source

Examples of post-scheduling tools include Linktree, Lnk.Bio, and Link In Profile.

Enhance Your Instagram Experience

By taking a thoughtful approach to planning your Instagram content, you can ensure that your posts deliver value to your followers, convert those followers into leads or product users, and expand the reach of your brand’s messaging to new audiences.

Using tools such as schedulers and links to help carry out your Instagram journey can improve your business’ social media presence and extend its reach. It takes time to determine what resonates with your audience, so be patient as you experiment and evaluate your strategy.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How Does Success of Your Business Depend on Choosing Type of Native Advertising?



How Does Success of Your Business Depend on Choosing Type of Native Advertising?

The very first commercial advertisement was shown on TV in 1941. It was only 10 seconds long and had an audience of 4,000 people. However, it became a strong trigger for rapid advertising development. The second half of the 20th century is known as the golden age of advertising until the Internet came to the forefront and entirely transformed the advertising landscape. The first commercial banner appeared in the mid-90s, then it was followed by pop-ups, pay-by-placement and paid-pay-click ads. Companies also started advertising their brands and adding their business logo designs, which contributes to consumer trust and trustworthiness.

The rise of social media in the mid-2000s opened a new dimension for advertising content to be integrated. The marketers were forced to make the ads less intrusive and more organic to attract younger users. This is how native advertising was born. This approach remains a perfect medium for goods and services promotion. Let’s see why and how native ads can become a win-win strategy for your business.

What is native advertising?

When it comes to digital marketing, every marketer talks about native advertising. What is the difference between traditional and native ones? You will not miss basic ads as they are typically promotional and gimmicky, while native advertising naturally blends into the content. The primary purpose of native ads is to create content that resonates with audience expectations and encourages users to perceive it seamlessly and harmoniously.

Simply put, native advertising is a paid media ad that organically aligns with the visual and operational features of the media format in which it appears. The concept is quite straightforward: while people just look through banner ads, they genuinely engage with native ads and read them. You may find a lot of native ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – they appear in the form of “in-feed” posts that engage users in search for more stories, opinions, goods and services. This unobtrusive approach turns native ads into a powerful booster for any brand.

How does native advertising benefit your business?

An average Internet user comes across around 10,000 ads a day. But even physically, it is impossible to perceive this amount of information in 24 hours. So, most of them use adblockers, nullifying all efforts of markers. Native ads successfully overcome this digital challenge thanks to their authenticity. And this is not the only advantage of native advertising. How else does your business benefit? Here are just a few major benefits that prove the value of native ads:

Better brand awareness. Native ads contribute to the brand’s visibility. They seamlessly blend into educational, emotional, and visual types of content that can easily become viral. While promotional content typically receives limited shares, users readily share valuable or entertaining content. Consequently, while you incur expenses only for the display of native ads, your audience may go the extra mile by sharing your content and organically promoting your brand or SaaS product at no additional cost.

Increased click-through rates. Native ads can generate a thrilling click-through rate (CTR) primarily because they are meticulously content-adaptable. Thus, native ads become an integral part of the user’s journey without disrupting their browsing experience. Regardless of whether your native advertising campaign is designed to build an audience or drive specific actions, compelling content will always entice users to click through.

Cost-efficient campaign performance. Native advertising proves to be cheaper compared to a traditional ad format. It mainly stems from a higher CTR. Thanks to precise targeting and less customer resistance, native ads allow to bring down cost-per-click.

Native ads are continuously evolving, enabling marketers to experiment with different formats and use them for successful multi-channel campaigns and global reach.

Types of native advertising

Any content can become native advertising as there are no strict format restrictions. For example, it can be an article rating the best fitness applications, an equipment review, or a post by an influencer on a microblog. The same refers to the channels – native ads can be placed on regular websites and social media feeds. Still, some forms tend to be most frequently used.

  • In-feed ads. This type of ad appears within the content feed. You have definitely seen such posts on Facebook and Instagram or such videos on TikTok. They look like regular content but are tagged with an advertising label. The user sees these native ads when scrolling the feed on social media platforms.
  • Paid search ads. These are native ads that are displayed on the top and bottom of the search engine results page. They always match user’s queries and aim to capture their attention at the moment of a particular search and generate leads and conversions. This type of ad is effective for big search platforms with substantial traffic.
  • Recommendation widgets. These come in the form of either texts or images and can be found at the end of the page or on a website’s sidebar. Widgets offer related or intriguing content from either the same publisher or similar sources. This type of native ads is great for retargeting campaigns.
  • Sponsored content. This is one of the most popular types of native advertising. Within this format, an advertiser sponsors the creation of an article or content that aligns with the interests and values of the platform’s audience. They can be marked as “sponsored” or “recommended” to help users differentiate them from organic content.
  • Influencer Advertising. In this case, advertisers partner with popular bloggers or celebrities to gain the attention and trust of the audience. Influencers integrate a product, service, or event into their content or create custom content that matches their style and topic.

Each of these formats can bring stunning results if your native ads are relevant and provide value to users. Use a creative automation platform like Creatopy to design effective ads for your business.

How to create a workable native ad?

Consider these 5 steps for creating a successful native advertising campaign:

  • Define your target audienceUsers will always ignore all ads that are not relevant to them. Unwanted ads are frustrating and can even harm your brand. If you run a store for pets, make sure your ads show content that will be interesting for pet owners. Otherwise, the whole campaign will be undermined. Regular market research and data analysis will help you refine your audience and its demographics.
  • Set your goals. Each advertising campaign should have a clear-cut objective. Without well-defined goals, it is a waste of money. It is a must to know what you want to achieve – introduce your brand, boost sales or increase your audience.
  • Select the proper channels. Now, you need to determine how you will reach out to your customers. Consider displaying ads on social media platforms, targeting search engine result pages (SERPs), distributing paid articles, or utilizing in-ad units on different websites. You may even be able to get creative and use email or SMS in a less salesy and more “native”-feeling way—you can find samples of texts online to help give you ideas. Exploring demand side platforms (DSP) can also bring good results.
  • Offer compelling content. Do not underestimate the quality of the content for your native ads. Besides being expertly written, it must ideally match the style and language of the chosen channel,whether you’re promoting professional headshots, pet products, or anything else. The main distinctive feature of native advertising is that it should fit naturally within the natural content.
  • Track your campaign. After the launch of native ads, it is crucial to monitor the progress, evaluating the costs spent and results. Use tools that help you gain insights beyond standard KPIs like CTR and CPC. You should get engagement metrics, customer data, campaign data, and third-party activity data for further campaign management.

Key takeaway

Summing up the above, it is time to embrace native advertising if you haven’t done it yet. Native ads seamlessly blend with organic content across various platforms, yielding superior engagement and conversion rates compared to traditional display ads. Marketers are allocating higher budgets to native ads because this format proves to be more and more effective – content that adds value can successfully deal with ad fatigue. Native advertising is experiencing a surge in popularity, and it is to reach its peak. So, do not miss a chance to grow your business with the power of native ads.or you can do digital marketing course from Digital Vidya.

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OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons



OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons

A week or so ago, the extraordinary drama happening at OpenAI filled news feeds.

No need to get into all the saga’s details, as every publication seems to have covered it. We’re just waiting for someone to put together a video montage scored to the Game of Thrones music.

But as Sam Altman takes back the reigns of the company he helped to found, the existing board begins to disintegrate before your very eyes, and everyone agrees something spooked everybody, a question arises: Should you care?

Does OpenAI’s drama have any demonstrable implications for marketers integrating generative AI into their marketing strategies?

Watch CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose explain (and give a shoutout to Sutton’s pants rage on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), or keep reading his thoughts:

For those who spent last week figuring out what to put on your holiday table and missed every AI headline, here’s a brief version of what happened. OpenAI – the huge startup and creator of ChatGPT – went through dramatic events. Its board fired the mercurial CEO Sam Altman. Then, the 38-year-old entrepreneur accepted a job at Microsoft but returned to OpenAI a day later.

We won’t give a hot take on what it means for the startup world, board governance, or the tension between AI safety and Silicon Valley capitalism. Rather, we see some interesting things for marketers to put into perspective about how AI should fit into your overall content and marketing plans in the new year.

Robert highlights two takeaways from the OpenAI debacle – a drama that has yet to reach its final chapter: 1. The right structure and governance matters, and 2. Big platforms don’t become antifragile just because they’re big.

Let’s have Robert explain.

The right structure and governance matters

OpenAI’s structure may be key to the drama. OpenAI has a bizarre corporate governance framework. The board of directors controls a nonprofit called OpenAI. That nonprofit created a capped for-profit subsidiary – OpenAI GP LLC. The majority owner of that for-profit is OpenAI Global LLC, another for-profit company. The nonprofit works for the benefit of the world with a for-profit arm.

That seems like an earnest approach, given AI tech’s big and disruptive power. But it provides so many weird governance issues, including that the nonprofit board, which controls everything, has no duty to maximize profit. What could go wrong?

That’s why marketers should know more about the organizations behind the generative AI tools they use or are considering.

First, know your providers of generative AI software and services are all exploring the topics of governance and safety. Microsoft, Google, Anthropic, and others won’t have their internal debates erupt in public fireworks. Still, governance and management of safety over profits remains a big topic for them. You should be aware of how they approach those topics as you license solutions from them.

Second, recognize the productive use of generative AI is a content strategy and governance challenge, not a technology challenge. If you don’t solve the governance and cross-functional uses of the generative AI platforms you buy, you will run into big problems with its cross-functional, cross-siloed use. 

Big platforms do not become antifragile just because they’re big

Nicholas Taleb wrote a wonderful book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder. It explores how an antifragile structure doesn’t just withstand a shock; it actually improves because of a disruption or shock. It doesn’t just survive a big disruptive event; it gets stronger because of it.

It’s hard to imagine a company the size and scale of OpenAI could self-correct or even disappear tomorrow. But it can and does happen. And unfortunately, too many businesses build their strategies on that rented land.

In OpenAI’s recent case, the for-profit software won the day. But make no bones about that victory; the event wasn’t good for the company. If it bounces back, it won’t be stronger because of the debacle.

With that win on the for-profit side, hundreds, if not thousands, of generative AI startups breathed an audible sigh of relief. But a few moments later, they screamed “pivot” (in their best imitation of Ross from Friends instructing Chandler and Rachel to move a couch.)

They now realize the fragility of their software because it relies on OpenAI’s existence or willingness to provide the software. Imagine what could have happened if the OpenAI board had won their fight and, in the name of safety, simply killed any paid access to the API or the ability to build business models on top of it.

The last two weeks have done nothing to clear the already muddy waters encountered by companies and their plans to integrate generative AI solutions. Going forward, though, think about the issues when acquiring new generative AI software. Ask about how the vendor’s infrastructure is housed and identify the risks involved. And, if OpenAI expands its enterprise capabilities, consider the implications. What extra features will the off-the-shelf solutions provide? Do you need them? Will OpenAI become the Microsoft Office of your AI infrastructure?

Why you should care

With the voluminous media coverage of Open AI’s drama, you likely will see pushback on generative AI. In my social feeds, many marketers say they’re tired of the corporate soap opera that is irrelevant to their work.

They are half right. What Sam said and how Ilya responded, heart emojis, and how much the Twitch guy got for three days of work are fodder for the Netflix series sure to emerge. (Robert’s money is on Michael Cera starring.)

They’re wrong about its relevance to marketing. They must be experiencing attentional bias – paying more attention to some elements of the big event and ignoring others. OpenAI’s struggle is entertaining, no doubt. You’re glued to the drama. But understanding what happened with the events directly relates to your ability to manage similar ones successfully. That’s the part you need to get right.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader



The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader

Introduce your processes: If you’ve streamlined a particular process, share it. It could be the solution someone else is looking for.

Jump on trends and news: If there’s a hot topic or emerging trend, offer your unique perspective.

Share industry insights: Attended a webinar or podcast that offered valuable insights. Summarize the key takeaways and how they can be applied.

Share your successes: Write about strategies that have worked exceptionally well for you. Your audience will appreciate the proven advice. For example, I shared the process I used to help a former client rank for a keyword with over 2.2 million monthly searches.

Question outdated strategies: If you see a strategy that’s losing steam, suggest alternatives based on your experience and data.

5. Establish communication channels (How)

Once you know who your audience is and what they want to hear, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. Here’s how:

Choose the right platforms: You don’t need to have a presence on every social media platform. Pick two platforms where your audience hangs out and create content for that platform. For example, I’m active on LinkedIn and X because my target audience (SEOs, B2B SaaS, and marketers) is active on these platforms.

Repurpose content: Don’t limit yourself to just one type of content. Consider repurposing your content on Quora, Reddit, or even in webinars and podcasts. This increases your reach and reinforces your message.

Follow Your audience: Go where your audience goes. If they’re active on X, that’s where you should be posting. If they frequent industry webinars, consider becoming a guest on these webinars.

Daily vs. In-depth content: Balance is key. Use social media for daily tips and insights, and reserve your blog for more comprehensive guides and articles.

Network with influencers: Your audience is likely following other experts in the field. Engaging with these influencers puts your content in front of a like-minded audience. I try to spend 30 minutes to an hour daily engaging with content on X and LinkedIn. This is the best way to build a relationship so you’re not a complete stranger when you DM privately.

6. Think of thought leadership as part of your content marketing efforts

As with other content efforts, thought leadership doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It thrives when woven into a cohesive content marketing strategy. By aligning individual authority with your brand, you amplify the credibility of both.

Think of it as top-of-the-funnel content to:

  • Build awareness about your brand

  • Highlight the problems you solve

  • Demonstrate expertise by platforming experts within the company who deliver solutions

Consider the user journey. An individual enters at the top through a social media post, podcast, or blog post. Intrigued, they want to learn more about you and either search your name on Google or social media. If they like what they see, they might visit your website, and if the information fits their needs, they move from passive readers to active prospects in your sales pipeline.

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