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How To Create Content That Leads Niche Discussions


How To Create Content That Leads Niche Discussions

Executives don’t find thought leadership content all that insightful.

A recent Edelman-LinkedIn study revealed that 71% of decision-makers say half or less than half of the thought leadership content they read or watch gives them valuable insights.

How can your brand’s content fall into the half of content that provides valuable insights? Enter ownable conversations – a more intentional and substantive approach to creating thought leadership content.

Ownable conversations are editorial perspectives that highlight a brand’s unique value and category expertise to its audience. As “big ideas,” they allow a range of expert-driven discussions, industry nuances, and clear perspectives that help to increase market awareness and build brand reputation.

More simply, ownable conversations are typically big ideas within your target industry that develop more detailed discussions, industry nuances, and intentional perspectives.

Ownable conversations are your insurance against generic content. Investing in an ownable conversation can help you to:

  • Steal share of voice from competitors
  • Drive increased traffic to your digital properties
  • Retain and engage your target audience
  • Steer clear of the cycle of creating generic content
  • Establish credibility by highlighting your expertise
  • Prime future customers for your products and services

Ownable conversations are your insurance against generic content, says @lieuthi via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

How to create an ownable conversation

Ownable conversations have some key trademarks:

1. Harness something proprietary

Offer audiences something no other brand can – your proprietary information. This often comes in the form of data insights or original research. A study by BuzzSumo and Mantis Research reveals 94% of responding marketers agree “original research elevates their brand’s authority in the industry.”

94% of marketers say original research elevates their brand’s authority in the industry, according to #research from @BuzzSumo and @MantisResearch, via @lieuthi via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

If you’re in a hyper-competitive category or building a new one, original research is one of the fastest routes to making a good impression and establishing your credibility. Consider turning any type of first-party data (anonymized and aggregated) into content. And if you don’t have access to that data internally, you can easily generate it via surveys.

IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report is a highly anticipated annual report in the IT, technology, or cybersecurity industry — whether you’re an IBM customer or not.

Why it works: A lot of brands and media cover cybersecurity topics, but few have the breadth of experts IBM has who can put that news into context with thoughtful analysis and real-life applications. Against a backdrop of proprietary data, IBM uncovers what makes cybersecurity exciting for the people behind it and what’s next for the industry while emphasizing the brand’s authority in this space.

2. Exhibit your niche expertise

A CMO Council study finds that only 12% of marketers think their content marketing programs reach the right audiences. One possible reason is that brands are failing to serve the content that B2B professionals need. The more niche your expertise, the better. An ownable conversation asks you to meet your audience’s needs by showcasing what you’re uniquely good at. For example, if you’re in digital advertising, which lane within the topic can you drill down into and claim as your area of expertise?

As exemplified in case studies, the niche for Google’s navigation app Waze is in-car advertising. Via this lane of expertise, the brand illustrates its ability to drive awareness, reach new customers, and increase visits to brick-and-mortar stores.

Why it works: Waze offers a unique option for brands to reach their audience. By occupying this niche corner of the market, Waze highlights its competitive difference in a highly fragmented landscape via executions across a suite of content, including case studies, blog articles, och proprietary insights by category.

3. Be innovative

A global B2B study conducted by Edelman reveals 81% of business executives want provocative insights that challenge their assumptions rather than validation of their thinking. An innovative point of view helps your brand stand out and strengthens brand awareness.

An innovative point of view helps your brand stand out and strengthens brand awareness, says @lieuthi via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Being disruptive should come from a natural place for your brand. Every company has a value proposition, and that value proposition usually has something to do with improving the status quo. Brands should seek to elevate the category rather than merely keep up with the competitors. By doing so, you take a natural leadership position.

GE’s 2017 Balance the Equation campaign was crafted to address the gender imbalance in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) industries.

Why it works: This GE campaign expertly identified a sweet spot between what was happening culturally (a lack of women in the STEM industry) and GE’s agenda for innovation. While GE had historically been known for innovation in aviation, renewable energy, and other industries, this campaign allowed the brand to emerge as a change-maker and champion of diversity.

By pledging to put 20,000 women in STEM jobs by 2020, the campaign’s unifying message of #BalanceTheEquation increased GE’s share of conversation, as evidenced by several earned media mentions, heightening the brand’s reputation and increasing its appeal as an employer of choice.


Ownable conversations take time

Like any investment in content, ownable conversations take time to build traction. I see three distinct phases – how long each takes is based on your budget and resources.

Ownable conversations take time to build traction. How long? That’s based on budget and resources, says @lieuthi via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Phase 1: Establish the conversation

Identify ownable conversations by locating the gaps in thought leadership content across the customer journey (vertical-specific trends, consumer insights, etc.) and within your category. Create editorial content to show your coverage of these key areas and drive an organic share of voice.

Phase 2: Hone your niche

Find the content within each ownable conversation that drives the highest traffic to your domain and the highest engagement (e.g., time on page, engagement rate). Explore how you can go deeper on those topics and carve out an even more specific corner of the market.

Phase 3: Grow your impact

Extend your reach, build brand salience, and amplify your messages through rich, multi-channel content experiences and campaigns, reaffirming your brand as a leader in your industry landscape and the authority in the category.

Let your content own the conversation

As marketers and content creators, it should be our mission to create the most value we can for our audiences and our brands. But we fail when delivering B2B thought leadership content that doesn’t offer value to decision-makers. We can win the conversation only when we create ownable conversations by elevating our content to meet audiences where they are, with the information they need.

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

Omslagsbild av Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute


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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!


(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!

It’s important to us that you, our valued customers and partners, can identify with the tools you use daily.  

In that pursuit, Optimizely set out to simplify the way we talk about our product suite. That starts, first and foremost, with the words we use to refer to the technology.  

So, we’ve taken a hard look at everything in our portfolio, and are thrilled to introduce new names we believe are more practical, more consistent, and better representative of the technology we all know and love.  

You may have seen some of these names initially at Opticon 2022 as well as on our website. In the spirit of transparency, the team here at Optimizely wanted to make sure you had full visibility into the complete list of new names, as well as understand the context (and rationale) behind the changes. 

So, without further ado… 

Which names changed?  

Some, but not all. For your ongoing reference, below is a complete list of Optimizely products, with previous terminology you may be familiar with in the first column, and (if applicable) the new name in the second column.  

Used to be… 

Is now (or is still)… 



Optimizely Digital Experience Platform 

A fully-composable solution designed to support the orchestration, monetization, and experimentation of any type of digital experience — all from a single, open and extensible platform. 

Content Cloud 

Optimizely Content Management System 

A best-in-class system for building dynamic websites and helping digital teams deliver rich, secure and personalized experiences. 


Optimizely Content Marketing Platform 

An industry-leading and user-friendly platform helping marketing teams plan campaigns, collaborate on tasks, and author content. 


Optimizely Digital Asset Management 

A modern storage tool helping teams of any size manage, track, and repurpose marketing and brand assets (with support for all file types). 

Content Recs 

Optimizely Content Recommendations 

AI-powered and real-time recommendations to serve the unique interests of each visitor and personalize every experience. 

B2B Commerce 

Optimizely Configured Commerce 

A templatized and easy-to-deploy platform designed to help manufacturers and distributors drive efficiency, increase revenue and create easy buying experiences that retain customers. 

Commerce Cloud 

Optimizely Customized Commerce 

A complete platform for digital commerce and content management to build dynamic experiences that accelerate revenue and keep customers coming back for more. 


Optimizely Product Information Management 

A dedicated tool to help you set up your product inventory and manage catalogs of any size or scale. 

Product Recs 

Optimizely Product Recommendations 

Machine-learning algorithms optimized for commerce to deliver personalized product recommendations in real-time. 


Optimizely Web Experimentation 

An industry-leading experimentation tool allowing you to run A/B and multi-variant tests on any channel or device with an internet connection. 

Full Stack 

Optimizely Feature Experimentation 

A comprehensive experimentation platform allowing you to manage features, deploy safer tests, and roll out new releases – all in one place. 


Optimizely Personalization 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to create/segment audiences based on past behavior and deliver more relevant experiences. 

Program Management 

Optimizely Program Management 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of an experiment. 


Optimizely Data Platform 

A centralized hub to harmonize data across your digital experience tools, providing one-click integrations, AI-assisted guidance for campaigns, and unified customer profiles. 


So, why the change?  

 It boils down to three guiding principles:  

  1. Uniformity: Create a naming convention that can be applied across the board, for all products, to drive consistency 
  2. Simplicity: Use terms that are both practical and concise, ensuring the names are something that everyone can understand and identify with  
  3. Completeness: Develop a framework that showcases the full and complimentary nature of all the products and solutions within the Optimizely suite 

 As the Optimizely portfolio comes together as a complete, unified platform, it’s important that our names reflect this, as well as support our 3 key solutions (i.e. orchestrate amazing content experiences, monetize every digital experience, and experiment across all touchpoints).  

Other questions? We’ve got you covered. 

Q: Why have you made these product name changes? 

    • We wanted to simplify how we talk about our portfolio. The renaming applies a naming convention that is both practical and concise.  


Q: Do the new product name changes affect the products I own? 

    • No, there is no impact to product functionality or capabilities.  


Q: Do the new product name changes affect who is my Customer Success Manager or Account Manager?  

    • No, there are no changes to your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager. 


Q: Do the new product name changes affect the ownership of the company?  

    • No, ownership of the company has not changed. We have only made changes to the Product Names. 


Q: Have any contact details changed that I need to be aware of?  

    • Only contact details for former Welcome customers has changed. These are the new contact details you should be aware of: Optimizely, Inc.| 119 5th Ave | 7th Floor | New York, NY 10003 USA. Phone: +1 603 594 0249 | www.optimizely.com 


Q: Where can I send any follow up questions I might have?  

    • If you have any questions about the Product Names, please contact your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager.  


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Trender för e-postmarknadsföring 2023: Förutsägelser från branschfolket


Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts

Every year, we see new trends entering the world of email marketing.


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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?

I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?

What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.

1. Write with an inclusive heart

There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.

You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.

Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns, says @rbcarter via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist

Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.

Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:

  • Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
    • Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
  • Red – dense and complicated text
    • Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
  • Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
    • Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
  • Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
    • Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
  • Green – passive voice
    • Fix: Rewrite for active voice.

Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.

In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:

“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.


“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.

Much cleaner, right?

3. Ask questions

See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.

4. Include links

Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  • You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
  • You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).

Add links to guide readers to more information on a topic – not just for SEO purposes says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.

5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text

Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.

First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).

If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.

General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text, says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.

For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.

An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”

Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.

It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”

Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”

It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.

Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.

Improve your content and better the experience

Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.

They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)

If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.

In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.


Omslagsbild av Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute


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