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Writing Is Writing, Right? Not If You Want To Keep Your Content Creation Team

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Writing Is Writing, Right? Not If You Want To Keep Your Content Creation Team

“It’s time to make the donuts.”

This phrase from a 1981 Dunkin’ Donuts ad campaign has become part of our workplace culture. People use it to talk about preparing to do something repetitive, grueling, or meaningless.

But that’s a misreading of the original message.

The ad featured Fred the Baker, who woke up very early every morning, struggled out of bed, and repeated his mantra, “Time to make the donuts.” By the end of the ads, Fred greeted his customers with a big smile, proud of his work.

“It’s time to make the donuts” wasn’t a lament about doing the same menial task day after day.

It conveyed Fred’s commitment to creating something special day after day.

The tension between creating content that feels special and constructing useful (but menial) content resonates with so many content practitioners. Without an adequate balance between the two, content creators may lose interest in their roles.

Many #content practitioners experience the tension of wanting to create something special but needing to construct menial content, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Writing is writing, isn’t it?

I talked with an extraordinary young writer at a B2B technology company the other day who told me about her career path. She’d landed a job at an agency where she wrote brilliant articles and blog posts for B2B clients. A couple of years later, she took a job in content marketing at this large tech company.

Initially, she loved her role, which involved writing short-form news articles about the company’s industry trends. She got to dig into the industry and the products, interview people, and go deep into the topic.

After a couple of reorganizations, though, she found herself serving as the website editor. Her daily job involved editing – not creating – content describing technical specifications and product how-to help.

Three months into her new role, she asked her manager about the possibility of expanding her assignments for more variety. The manager replied, “Writers are writers. And writing is writing.”

The first statement is true. The second is not.

Some say writers are writers, and writing is #writing. The first statement is true. The second is not, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Heading down a wrong path

I often meet people who’ve found great joy in their careers as content practitioners. They feel free to create valuable content that delights and informs an audience. They enjoy creating innovative, fun experiences that stretch imaginations.

This is the marketing task people mean when they say, “Everybody has two jobs – theirs and marketing.” The flame of creating cool, thoughtful content burns so brightly it attracts everyone – from the front desk to the C-suite.

On the other hand, I also run into talented content creators – like my acquaintance at the tech company – who spend their days constructing the most mundane but necessary content for the business.

These content creators often struggle with the pressure of constructing pieces that meet business needs while still trying for creativity. They often feel frustrated that their hoped-for creative role turned out to be more akin to laboring away in a content factory.

To be clear, the tech writer-turned-website editor recognized the importance of the technical documentation and the expertise or skill needed to transform those pieces into engaging materials. She just didn’t feel she offered much value in that role.

She didn’t feel she could really dig into the material because she lacked technical expertise. Her role was simply to ensure that the data and information were well constructed.

She recently left the company. That’s a real loss for the business.

I worked with another company to advise on their plan for assembling new content teams. The leaders seemed convinced that each group – product, brand, marketing, comms – should work only on their content. Product content creators should focus on the ingredients, specifications, and instructional how-tos of using the product. Brand content creators should work on taglines and thought leadership. Marketing content creators would work on sales enablement materials.

I disagreed and argued that product content could also be thought leadership. Brand content can be high-level promises and a simple list of ingredients. Marketing content can be ad copy for search engines and the cool videos that make us all laugh.

The difference is whether the content is created or constructed.

Creating vs. constructing content

One of my favorite quotes comes from G.K. Chesterton’s analysis of The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens:

The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.

Talent acquisition and retention might be a content marketer leader’s most critical job today. And fostering and retaining content talent comes down to balancing how much someone constructs vs. how much they create.

It’s easy to assume “constructed content” is the boring stuff like navigation, tech-spec sheets, documentation, contracts, and compliance documents and that “created content” is the fun stuff like storytelling or viral videos.

That thinking isn’t correct. Almost anything can be constructed content, and almost anything can be created content.

The difference lies not in the thing created but in the why and how it’s made, to echo Chesterton’s quote. As he said, the essence of a piece “exists before the book or before even the details or main features of the book; the Robert Rose enjoys it and lives in it with a kind of prophetic rapture.”

Of course, not all content deserves or requires that level of enthusiasm.

Constructed content is important, but it’s usually something that needs to be created as efficiently as possible. Its value only exists after it’s completed.

While some people might love creating the 50th SEO-focused article for a product or the 10th compliance document for a service, the intrinsic value of the creation process would be quite small. Very few people love the essence of that compliance article before it’s constructed. That document’s value lies solely in its usefulness after it’s created.

Created content gives the creator (and even those around them) joy before it’s finished. It’s that bright flame attracting people from around the business. It has intrinsic value before it even exists.

Creating #content is the bright flame that attracts people from around the business to participate in its creation, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

My argument to the company planning to segregate their teams’ content creation was that the method wouldn’t ensure they attracted and fostered the best content talent. That requires ensuring a balance between constructed content vs. created content.

All writers write. But not all writing is writing. I’ve never met any content creator happy with constructing content as their sole activity.

Created content drives most of us to get out of bed and make the donuts day after day. Understand the difference between creating and constructing. Then, balance those tasks across the team. That way, every content creator gets to wake up feeling excited to keep making the donuts.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just three minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute




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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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