6 Exceptional Content Marketers (and the Traits That Make Them Stand Out)

What makes a content material marketer nice? You’ve most likely requested this query as you considered your profession development or questioned the best way to set up credibility to advance your content material program.

We studied these six 2022 Content Marketer of the Year finalists (together with the two winners) for clues.

Each finalist this 12 months labored on a successful entry in no less than one class in the Content Marketing Awards. But they’ve no less than one different attribute in frequent, too. While they obtain the honor as people, all of them say they merely characterize the wonderful work carried out by the groups that initiated, created, revealed, and distributed their content material advertising.

With that understanding, let’s peer into what makes these 2022 Content Marketer of the Year winners and finalists stand out.

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1. They make it private

Ebony Beckwith, chief enterprise officer and Chief of Staff to Marc Benioff at Salesforce

Handling the obligations of her high-profile job retains Ebony Beckwith’s days busy. In 2021, she willingly added host and interviewer of Salesforce’s LinkedIn Live sequence #BossTalks to her duties.

In every of the 22 episodes, Ebony brings herself to the job, chatting about the issues she has in frequent with the influential visitors. She’s tackled imposter syndrome with NFL player Kelvin Beachum, for instance, and talked about letting go of perfectionism with TIAA CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett.

“We saw this series as a way to familiarize a new group of LinkedIn users with what Salesforce does,” the firm explains in its CMA nomination type.

Salesforce additionally understands the energy of utilizing that invaluable interview content material on the firm’s weblog, packaging the interview content material into an in-depth learn.

Page views for the blogs exceeded expectations by 15%, however the common time on web page blew their assumptions away – #BossTalks is in the a hundredth percentile of all content material revealed by Salesforce. An article about being Black in corporate America saved guests studying for a mean of seven minutes, 42 seconds. An article about finding one’s voice at work retained readers for a mean of eight minutes, 9 seconds.

Anecdotal suggestions additionally reveals how Ebony’s sequence resonates with viewers. As one wrote on LinkedIn, “You have no idea how much I needed to read this and see this. Thank you.”

A personal touch matters. @EbonyBeckwith #BossTalks average time on page ranks in the 100th percentile for all @Salesforce #content, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. (*6*)

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2. They create with a particular viewers in thoughts

Rob Bedeaux, director, client engagement and content material technique at NBC Sports Next

When NBC Universal acquired Sports Engine in 2016, Rob Bedeaux took on a weighty mission: to draw younger individuals’s curiosity in the Olympics.

NBC had paid $7.75 billion to extend its exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics by means of 2032, and it wished to verify to have interaction youth who would develop into grownup viewers over the prolonged contract.

That was one in every of the causes NBC acquired Sports Engine, a supplier of internet software program and cell apps for youth, novice, {and professional} sports activities, and created NBC Sports Next, a youth-focused platform to introduce households and children to new sports activities.

As Rob developed the first digital Kids Guides to the Olympics for the pandemic-delayed summer time Tokyo Games, he saved one query in thoughts: Will this be fascinating to an 8-year-old?

He quickly bought the reply. Launched in June 2021, the 122-page information included explanations and athlete highlights for each sport, plus crossword puzzles, phrase scrambles, drawing challenges, and trivia.

The Tokyo Games information earned over 10,000 downloads and prompted 100 requests to be notified about the Beijing Games information. Then, with lower than six months earlier than the subsequent Olympics, Rob and his small staff shortly tackled the Kids Guide to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

That one generated greater than 12,000 downloads.

The information answered Rob’s query – the information did curiosity the younger viewers Rob saved prime of thoughts. But he discovered extra shifting proof amongst the kids themselves. At an occasion the place the printed variations had been distributed, some requested for 2 copies. They wished to put in writing in a single and maintain the different pristine.

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3. They develop (and double-down on) profitable fashions

Diane di Costanzo, chief content material officer, vp/editorial director, and editor-in-chief – Millie Magazine and Paw Print at Foundry 360, a part of Dotdash Meredith

Diane di Costanzo’s skilled content material profession spans conventional media, branded content material, and content material technique. She has straddled these worlds for the previous few years whereas overseeing the branded content material division Foundry 360 at Dotdash Meredith.

Diane developed two unbiased editorial publications made potential by an unique sponsor. The single-sponsor editorial content material mannequin first appeared in 2020 with the launch of Millie Magazine, a finance journal for girls. Published 4 instances a 12 months, Millie mails together with Real Simple journal to a focused group of subscribers. It consists of 4 pages of promoting from Synchrony, which signed on for a three-year unique sponsorship.

The mannequin proved to be a win-win for the studio and the sponsor. Synchrony will get 100% share of voice, Diane explains, and Dotdash Meredith will get an instantly worthwhile content material product.

The success of Millie’s content material mannequin led to the 2021 launch of Paw Print, {a magazine} for pet house owners of no less than one cat and one canine. Mars Petcare signed on as the unique sponsor, receiving 4 pages of promoting in every of the journal’s two points per 12 months.

After the first problem was mailed to 1 million readers, Diane’s staff requested the viewers what they thought. “We’re rigorous about conducting surveys of how our products are doing in the marketplace because we don’t have typical feedback of subscribes or unsubscribes,” Diane explains.

The survey discovered readers spent a mean of 80 minutes consuming the journal, with practically three in 4 saying they learn each web page. Almost all (98%) say they sit up for the subsequent problem, and much more (99%) indicated they’re more likely to act on one thing they learn.

These readers are also turning into ambassadors for the journal, with 93% saying they plan to share or focus on the journal with family and friends. Most importantly for Mars Petcare, eight in 10 readers say they’re more likely to buy a product featured in the problem.

That suggestions contributed to the choice to broaden Paw Print’s circulation to 1.25 million for its second problem. And her management on these initiatives led to her recognition as the 2022 B2C Content Marketer of the Year.

We’re rigorous about conducting surveys of how our #content products do in the marketplace, says 2022 B2C Content Marketer of the Year Diane di Constanzo via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

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4. They excel at main change

Matt Hartley, senior supervisor, head of editorial technique, company and public Affairs at TD Bank Group

Matt Hartley arrived at TD Bank Group to scale the TD Newsroom. Launched in 2018, the newsroom had developed to serve an inside viewers – solely 10% of holiday makers to the website got here from outdoors the financial institution.

Matt led the effort to reimagine the website to serve exterior audiences. As a part of that effort, TD Newsroom rebranded as TD Stories.

It made sense on many ranges. First, TD Stories operates inside the company and public affairs division. “We tell stories aligned with those communication goals – not necessarily to sell something. It’s about brand building, thought leadership, and financial literacy,” Matt says.

The TD Stories content material hub debuted in 2021 with 5 content material pillars:

  • Your Money (monetary suggestions and recommendation)
  • Innovation (new applied sciences for personalised banking experiences)
  • Community (tales about the banks’ involvement in the communities the place it operates and the place its staff dwell)
  • Colleagues (worker tales)
  • Insights (thought management from the financial institution’s executives)

In 2021, site visitors grew greater than 125% over the earlier 12 months, and importantly, 98% of site visitors now comes from exterior sources.

The relaunch of the former newsroom website basically modified how TD Bank interacts and communicates with its audiences.

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5. They problem the trade gamers

Nick Lake, senior director of worldwide content material advertising, Pega

Four years in the past, Nick Lake confronted a clean piece of paper. His task: to construct a content material advertising technique and staff for Pega, a B2B model for low-code AI-powered decisioning and workflow automation.

As a smaller firm competing in opposition to a few of the best-known firms in tech, Pega operates as a challenger model. So Nick got down to make Pega stand out in the sea of sameness. “We have permission to play on what comes next,” Nick says.

What got here subsequent turned out to be a have a look at what’s coming subsequent for its viewers. Pega’s Future of Work program included unique analysis primarily based on a survey of greater than 3,000 senior enterprise leaders and frontline IT workers. From that survey, Nick and staff spun off niche-focused studies primarily based on particular personas, together with the Future of Operations, the Future of Marketing, and the Future of Customer Service.

The success of the Future of Work marketing campaign led to Nick’s subsequent content material initiative, GO! Magazine. Moving away from the boring, stuffy conventional enterprise communication, GO! is a fantastically designed, journalist-written publication. (And its high quality is one in every of the causes Nick earned the title 2022 B2B Content Marketer of the Year.)

GO! operates as each a digital and print journal. The Pega gross sales staff circulates the print model, which serves as a dialog starter and leave-behind. The digital model, localized in six languages, drives regional advertising.

Audiences are responding. Between its second and third month, journal web page views jumped from 80,000 to 101,000. Average time on web page elevated by 27% between the January launch and the finish of March in the journal’s first quarter. It was the most visited web page outdoors of the dwelling web page.

Go! Magazine helps challenger brand @Pega stand out in a sea of sameness, thanks to the leadership of @NickLake1, 2022 B2B Content Marketer of the Year via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet


6. They know the best way to scale

Sarah Tolle, content material director at Black & White Zebra

When Sarah Tolle joined the firm in 2018, Black & White Zebra consisted of three individuals: the firm founder, a artistic director, and herself. Four years later, Sarah oversees a staff of about 30 individuals who create and run the firm’s 10 area of interest business-focused publications.

“Scale comes from how well we can build a system to facilitate real people who work in these fields,” Sarah says.

Judging by the firm’s prime publication, The Digital Project Manager, they’re doing superb. The Digital Project Manager serves as an academic content material hub for over 1 million digital mission managers.

In 2021, the staff revealed over 170 items of content material, primarily contributed by digital mission professionals. The website attracts 400,000 month-to-month web page views, however The Digital Project Manager is a decidedly multimedia endeavor:

  • Its podcast averages over 1,000 downloads every week.
  • It hosts a neighborhood of over 1,000 paid subscribers who can entry boards and dwell occasions.
  • A weekly e-newsletter reaches over 23,000 subscribers.
  • Its social media content material reaches 20,000 followers.

The Digital Project Manager nearly doubled its income purpose in 2021, bringing in additional than $9 million.

What do you suppose makes a content material marketer distinctive?

Did this glimpse into the spectacular accomplishments of the 2022 B2B Content Marketer of the Year 2022 B2C Content Marketer of the Year finalists and winners make it easier to perceive what it takes to face out?

Take a while to mirror on what you suppose makes a content material marketer shine. I’d love to listen to your ideas in the feedback.


Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute