Content Marketing Institute (CMI) is the leading global content marketing education and training organization, teaching enterprise brands how to attract and retain customers through compelling, multi-channel storytelling. CMI’s Content Marketing World event, the largest content marketing-focused event, is held every September in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Intelligent Content Conference event is held every spring. CMI also publishes the bi-monthly magazine Chief Content Officer, and provides strategic consulting and content marketing research for some of the best-known brands in the world.
CMI has been named an Inc. 5000 company for the last four years. As an international thought leader on content marketing, CMI is methodical about tracking the latest marketing trends. Vice President of Marketing Cathy McPhillips leads a lean team of four to oversee the marketing efforts for all of CMI’s magazine, website, and event divisions.
CMI faces a challenge that other brands might envy. “Lots of brands are trying to decide what content to produce. We’re trying to figure out which content to distribute and amplify,” says McPhillips. “We had so much content that trying to figure out which content to distribute became a gut-driven process. We needed better data to support our decisions.”
With two major events dominating the brand’s annual marketing calendar, the CMI marketing team is tasked with delivering measurable increases in brand awareness that can convert to event attendance and email subscribers. CMI turned to TrackMaven in December 2014 to help benchmark content performance against industry leaders, and discover the trending topics among the marketing community in real time.
From the onset, the CMI team spotted an opportunity for improvement. “When we launched with TrackMaven, I realized that, compared to some major players in our space, we weren’t covering all of the latest newsworthy things happening in the marketing industry,” says McPhillips. “We didn’t want to take our eye off our main goal, which is to educate our customers, but we realized we needed to find a way for people to get news and information from the industry from us, and make it part of our overall content distribution and amplification strategy.”
“The biggest thing the TrackMaven platform has done is allow us to make more fluid decisions, and be smarter and more reactive in our editorial calendar.”
First and foremost, the CMI team is focused on driving engagement-informed audience growth. Rather than merely amassing followers, CMI aims to maintain audience engagement while reaching a larger, relevant audience. To achieve this goal, CMI uses competitive insights from the TrackMaven platform to strategically repurpose past content. “By analyzing the top-performing content from top marketing blogs and thought leaders, we can see topics and keyword that are sticking out,” says McPhillips. “Then, we go back to our arsenal of content, and resyndicate those posts with the same topics and themes opportunistically across our social channels, focusing on Twitter and Facebook.”
To inform the community-oriented nature of the brand, CMI also uses TrackMaven to drive conversations around trending content topics from industry peers and competitors. “We’re very fortunate that many of our ‘competitors’ such as MarketingProfs and Copyblogger, are also some of our closest allies and friends,” says McPhillips. “TrackMaven has allowed us to better act as a good industry partner. Now, we have a faster ability to engage with content from a competitor that’s already doing well to one, support them, and two, to inform and engage our community of marketers in that conversation.”
“The biggest thing the TrackMaven platform has done is allow us to make more fluid decisions, and be smarter and more reactive in our editorial calendar,” says McPhillips. “We don’t just build a plan; we manipulate our plan by regularly taking the time to ask, ‘Is this really working?’ and ‘Can we move this post up in our calendar because of what our customers are talking about?’”
Insights from the TrackMaven platform aided the CMI team to sustain both audience growth and engagement. “TrackMaven has been a perfect place for us to find and identify news and content that our audience cares about,” says McPhillips. “We’re much more methodical in how we’re choosing to share and re-syndicate content.”
Since launching with TrackMaven in December 2014, the CMI brand has grown its total brand audience on social media by over 65,000 followers.
But that sustained audience growth did not come at the price of audience engagement. Since launching with TrackMaven, CMI has seen significant growth in engagement, measured by average interactions per post, on Twitter (+75%), Facebook (+40%), LinkedIn (+181%), and Instagram (+85%).
“TrackMaven is able to tell us, ‘Here are the topics that people care about, respond to and get the numbers and eyes – specifically the right eyes,” say McPhillips. “It captures things that tools like HootSuite and Google Alerts just can’t capture. It’s not just social. Across blogs and press mentions, we’re just seeing more of the topics that people are discussing, the topics that really resonate with our audience.
Actionable insights from the TrackMaven platform allow Content Marketing Institute (CMI) to implement a nimble content strategy based on real-time trends in their industry. As a result, CMI has massively grown their digital audience across key content channels with sustained brand engagement.