“Remember somewhere the sun is shining” sang Chet Baker. It was certainly shining in Chicago last Thursday for Content Jam. The event, organised by our friends at Orbit Media and sponsored by our friends at SEMrush, was attended by over 300 enthusiastic content marketers. We were privileged to listen to a great set of speakers including Robert Rose, Ardath Albee, Brian Fanzo, Ian Lurie, Andy Crestodina and others, who provided ideas and inspiration in equal measure.

chicago view

View from the Gleacher Center venue

I originally intended to write a short review of the event but I found myself making so many pages and pages of notes that I decided to list the key points and ideas.  Here is my take from the event.

  1. Content shock is real. For those that don’t believe in content shock, consider this. If you search for “How to drive more

Facebook announced on Wednesday last week that it planned to make a series of changes to its news feed algorithm so that it will more favorably promote content posted by friends and family rather than publishers. The company said that content posted by publishers will show up less prominently in news feeds, resulting in ‘significantly less traffic’ to these publishers. This will be a concern for publishers and content marketers.

We decided to have a look at the Facebook share data and trends over the last year. This will establish a baseline to review future numbers and trends following the upcoming changes. We reviewed 25m Facebook posts published by the top 10,000 publishers over the last year. Note: all charts below are based on this data.

What we found might surprise you and make you rethink your strategy. 

Average Total Shares

Over the last year there has been small increase

To paraphrase Guy Kawasaki there are two types of website managers: those that want more backlinks and those that are liars.

Backlinks matter, a lot, but gaining backlinks is difficult. A good backlink requires someone to write a relevant article mentioning you and to link to your site. This is far harder than getting someone to share your content.

The single best opportunity to gain new backlinks is to find articles that mention you but that do not link to you, and to request a link.

We have to thank Syed Balkhi of WP Beginner for this simple but powerful insight on how he used BuzzSumo to gain over 100 new organic backlinks each month. We tried it and gained over 200 new organic backlinks in the first month. We liked it so much we have built a new feature so you can quickly apply his technique and start gaining

Content that answers questions is one of the most effective forms of content marketing. In preparation for our upcoming webinar with Lee Odden on ‘How To Be The Best Answer’ we analysed over 600,000 answer posts. We set out below our findings including:

  • the benefits of being the best answer, including authority, longevity and links
  • the 10 key elements of a ‘best answer’ post

If you want to find out more and benefit from Lee’s insights you can view the webinar here.

The Benefits of being the Best Answer

a) Achieving links

When people find a good answer they like to share it but more importantly they like to bookmark or link to it for reference later. Take as an example the question “what is content marketing?”

The Content Marketing Institute have written a comprehensive answer to this question on their site.


This CMI post has been shared less …

“Data-driven storytelling is poised to be the next big trend in content marketing.Harvard Business Review, October 2015.

“Data-enhanced storytelling is rapidly reshaping both content and advertising.” Adweek, January, 2016.

There is a growing interest in data driven stories. Some people refer to it as a new form of data journalism, although the reality is that data driven journalism has been around since the mid-1800’s.  The Guardian newspaper, a pioneer of data driven journalism, has pointed out that their very first stories were data driven in 1860.…

Our webinar on outreach and influencer marketing with Paul May, CEO of BuzzStream, created a lot of discussion this week. There were many questions about the right and wrong ways to approach influencer marketing. We have summarised below the key takeaways from the webinar and shared Paul’s practical advice on how you can use BuzzStream and BuzzSumo to maximise the success of your influencer marketing.…

This week we were privileged to partner with Scoop.it on a webinar to discuss content marketing return on investment (ROI). Their CEO Guillaume Decugis shared his views and tips for maximizing the returns on your content investment. His advice has made us rethink our own content strategy. This is what we took away, along with our own thoughts on content marketing ROI.…