Sept 2018: The Creativity Issue

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Tina Fey looked uncomfortable. She was being asked, in her fireside chat that closed this month’s Content Marketing World, whether the process of creating content is enjoyable.
“Printing is fun,” she said. “Pressing ‘Command P’ — that’s a great feeling. Everything before Command P is an absolute nightmare.’
I’m not so sure. If the part after Command P — or however you post or bring your stories to the world — was so stress-free, a lot of B2B vendors would be out of business. Just this week, for example, Drift released several different tools, including an AI-based assistant it said would take away a lot of the “digital paperwork” marketers do today. HubSpot, meanwhile, came out with an Enterprise Growth Suite bundle that would assist with everything from social to video chores. And DemandBase made its own foray into AI with the launch of Targeted Solutions, which would help identify the right buying committees that might be interested in a particular brand’s content.
On the other hand, vendors can’t do much to address the nightmare phase Fey talked about. Walking around the Content Marketing World show floor, there wasn’t much in the way of tools to actually tell stories (apart from the Skywords and NewsCreds who work with writers like me). Instead, most of what you saw in the booths were tools to organize, coordinate and share stories once they’d already been done.
It’s easy for a comedian like Tina Fey to get big laughs for invoking the image of a tortured artist, but the creativity required for the best content marketing involves a mixture of art with science — and failure is no joke. That’s why I hope the stories featured in this month’s Creativity Issue will get you more quickly to the Command P mode, and maybe with a little more pleasure along the way.

The rock n’ roll element that may be missing from B2B content marketing
When I journeyed to Cleveland this past week I toured an exhibit at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame that triggered an odd sense of familiarity — and a thought on how enterprise brands need to evolve their storytelling.

Ann Handley takes CMWorld on her journey from content ghost town to boom town
This woman is considered marketing royalty in some circles, and her keynote looked at an all-too-common problem of when brands fail to make use of the platforms they’ve built. The best part? She uses herself as a case study.

The case for content experiences that go beyond demand gen
Uberflip’s recent customer event features experts from Forrester and Aprimo, who made an important point about including the story you tell in the post-sale phase of the buyer journey when you’re planning a strategy.

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.