The Content Strategist Strategist

posted on 22 Apr 2015 13:58 by womanlycity6183
The Content Strategist StrategistHow ING Built Europe's 'Best Branded Web Mag' in Just One YearWhy Are Brands Suddenly Embracing 4/20?Infographic: 2015's Biggest Content Marketing TrendsMap: How Manhattanites See New YorkContent Marketing's Future Is in the Hands of Two Groups, and They're Not TalkingContent Catchup: Our Secret ROI Formula, Social's Surprising New Weapon, and More Must-ReadsTagging Content: The Simple Thing Most Brands Get WrongStory Hackers: How the Hottest Startups in Silicon Valley Are Using Content to Fuel Their GrowthThink With Google: How the Search Giant's Online Mag Is Schooling MarketersThe Ultimate Content Marketer's Guide to Syndication and Licensed ContentThe Hot New Weapon in the Social Platform Wars: ContentBrian Grazer and Ron Howard Are Making a TV Series for GEWhat Gallup's Most Admired People List Tells Us About ForgivenessHow We Calculate the ROI of Our Content Marketing--in One Duck-Themed TaleTellUsYourStory Tumblr Reveals the Tone-Deaf Social Media Strategy Brands Use Way Too MuchContent Down Under: Aussie Bank ANZ Kicks Back and Lets Content Propel Its Marketing7 Pieces of Tech That Will Make You More ProductiveContent Catchup: Amex Raises the Bar for Brand Storytelling, Content Marketing Soulmates, and More Must-ReadsJason Nash Is Kickstarting the First Vine Feature Film, and He Might Just Pull It OffWhat the Hell Is a Microsite and Why Do I Need One?Contently Comic: The First MarketersThe 10 Best Songs in AdvertisingContent Express: How Amex Raised the Bar for Longform Brand Storytelling7 Things Marketers Should Know About Working With Journalists25 Stats Content Marketers Need to Know

http://contently.com Content marketing industry news and analysis, by Contently Tue, 21 Apr 2015 21:58:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/20/how-ing-built-europes-best-branded-web-mag-in-just-one-year/ http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/20/how-ing-built-europes-best-branded-web-mag-in-just-one-year/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 21:43:52 +0000

http://contently.com/?p=530510586

Meet the brand magazine structured similarly to "This American Life."

The post How ING Built Europe's 'Best Branded Web Mag' in Just One Year appeared first on The Content Strategist.

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A little more than a year ago, the Dutch bank ING Group decided it needed to change the magazine it had been giving shareholders.

The magazine, published in print and transposed to the web, was the sort of inwardly-focused corporate publication going out of fashion these days. The content was almost exclusively about ING, and the opinion pages served as a platform for the bank's senior leaders to opine on global trends--regardless of whether those trends fell under their areas of expertise.

Instead, Head of External Communications Egmont Philips and his team chose to embrace a new format, one that put both the digital experience and the reader first. In May 2014, the company introduceding.world, a digital quarterly magazine that broadened the editorial scope to include thoughtful analysis of the business world at large. In doing so, ING has been able to reach an audience beyond the small slice of highly-interested shareholders who used to read the old print magazine. In fact, the sleek, insightful publication now sees up to 35,000 unique visitors per issue and recently won an award for being Europe's best branded web magazine.

"By revamping our magazine, we have attracted a completely different audience, which was our target, and the reach has been higher as well," Philips said. "Basically, we were surprised by its success. We had hoped it would work, but we actually have had greater reach than we had aimed for."

The new publication, published in both English and in Dutch, is structured similarly to the popular public radio program "This American Life," as each issue has a theme that is explored from several angles.

For instance, the theme of the most recent issue of is "family," a topic ing.world delved into with a feature story on how important family businesses are to the economy, and an interview with the Dutch psychologist Frans de Waal comparing the way humans and animals relate to their respective family members.

Each issue is released alongside ING Group's quarterly financial results and includes both a roundup of ING news and a video interview with CEO Ralph Hamers. Philips said the magazine's primary goal is to help its readers get ahead in their lives and in business.

By choosing broad topics and exploring them from angles that don't always have to do with finance, ing.world is able to provide readers with content that is relevant to their interests even if they are not ING customers or lack financial literacy.

"There's different content, and different audiences start by reading different articles," Philips said. "It's a bit like how a painter has a palette with different colors and blends it into one painting. That's how we do it as well."

From a visual standpoint, the publication relies on large photos, white space, and a clean, responsive design to pull the reader into an experience that feels somewhat shielded from the rest of the white noise of the Internet.

Each issue is crafted by two ING employees--who also have other responsibilities at the firm--and two employees from the creative agency Born05. Some of the articles are written in-house, while others are done by freelancers. ING Group's central corporate office in Amsterdam, which publishes ing.world, works with the regional offices in the 12 countries it has retail banks to make sure the magazine does not interfere or contradict with the content each office is producing locally.

For instance, the head office is responsible for ing.world and press releases, but the company's retail banking branch in Belgium is responsible for the print content found in its offices and online packagesthat educate customers about the different financial tools they will need for life milestones such as going away to college or buying a house.

When it comes to distribution, the company's primary tools are its website and social media. In addition to the organic reach of its owned channels, ING amplifies its social distribution by asking employees and influencers featured in the magazine to share the publication from their personal accounts.

ING will also pay to seed its content in targeted LinkedIn groups that have members interested in finance. The company, at one point, tried placing banner ads for ing.world on a Dutch financial news site, but while the effort drew lots of clicks, most of the readers left the site almost immediately. This last bit is important because the bank considers attention time a crucial metric for determining the success of its content.

According to Dagmar van der Plas, an ING senior advisor who manages the publication's distribution strategy, ing.world strives to keep its audience members on the page for at least two minutes. Otherwise, it's unlikely the reader will have had time to absorb a typical story.

The amount of time someone spends on a piece of content is the difference between whether ING successfully engaged with the reader or merely communicated with him.

"When you communicate, you spread your message and that's about it, but to reach a real engagement with your reader, you have to be really at the heart of what they want to hear from you," van der Plas said. "Our profession is 'communications,' but I believe more in 'engaging,' so I would prefer to be called an 'engagement manager' rather than a 'communication manager.'"

By the looks of things, ING is succeeding in developing a base of readers that do, in fact, want to engage with its content. According to its internal metrics, the publication is getting more than three times as many readers per issue as the old magazine, and an impressive 60 percent of those readers return to the magazine a second time.

In a corporate culture, it can be tough for a company to take a step back and make such a drastic overhaul to its marketing strategy. But ING is a great example of what can happen when content informs the reader rather than just promoting a company's services. And as ING continues to build long-term relationships with consumers, it can now bank on content to drive its business forward.

The post How ING Built Europe's 'Best Branded Web Mag' in Just One Year appeared first on The Content Strategist.

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http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/20/how-ing-built-europes-best-branded-web-mag-in-just-one-year/feed/ 0 http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/21/why-are-brands-suddenly-embracing-420/ http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/21/why-are-brands-suddenly-embracing-420/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 21:01:26 +0000

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Pepsi, Spotify, and more are getting in on the reefer madness.

The post Why Are Brands Suddenly Embracing 4/20? appeared first on The Content Strategist.

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The nation's attitude towards marijuana is changing, and with that, we're starting to see more brands let loose and embrace cannabis culture.

Just a few years ago, we were hard-pressed to find a ton of brands acknowledging April 20, a.k.a. Weed Appreciation Day. But this year, major brands like Pepsi, Spotify, and HBO came out in droves to drum up engagement around the big day on Twitter.

Many content marketers still suffer through layers of legal and PR restrictions to get a simple white paper published. So how did these big brands get away with maybe-kinda-sorta encouraging their audiences to smoke weed?

Alec Rochford, CEO of Duby, a social networking app for cannabis enthusiasts and medical marijuana patients, has been particularly invested in this shift of attitude.

"If you think about the fact that almost 10 percent of the country consumes cannabis--depending on what industry you service--you could have a lot of cannabis consumers in [your audience]," Rochford told me.

He pointed to the gradual legalization of marijuana--especially for medical purposes--in the U.S. as a reason why we're starting to see the media present weed as more acceptable.

"Over the last year, since it's gone legal in Colorado and few other states, you're seeing people starting to be open about cannabis that you would never expect to consume it, and I think that that is right in line with brands starting to come out and talk about it," he said. "And it's not just brands that are in cannabis, but we're seeing it with outside brands and a lot of larger brands now. I think that they're slowly starting to come out."

Major social platforms are also aiding this trend, with moderators becoming more lax about posts and pages that promote cannabis use. For example, Rochford noted that Facebook and Instagram have started to allow more cannabis businesses to create pages, whereas in the past, they just got shut down.

In fact, if it weren't for Apple's ease of attitude towards marijuana use, Rochford could have never launched Duby.

"Apple wasn't allowing cannabis apps," he said. For example, Apple kicked MassRoots, an social network app for cannabis users, out of the Apple store for a couple of months. But recently, they were brought back in. "They wouldn't have allowed us to launch there four months ago, but now they are allowing us."

Rochford's app invites anonymous users to "light up" a new Duby in the form of a picture, video, or text post, and pass the message to a designated number of anonymous users nearby. The more influence you have (based on popularity of posts), the more users your message gets passed to. Taking a page from Tinder, Duby users can swipe left to "put out" a Duby and swipe right to keep it spreading across the map.

While Rochford doesn't plan to monetize his app just yet, he has seen a good deal of brands create accounts on the platform in just the two weeks since it launched. These brands are, of course, mostly marijuana dispensaries like Weed Maps, Stoner Daze, and Bud Puff. But now that brands like Ben Jerry's and HBO are comfortable playing up 4/20 on social media, could they one day produce content for an app like Duby?

Down the road, Rochford says he could monetize his app by posting certain brands' ads in certain locations to target users who might be interested in their products. Given that the app is already accessible to users in Canada, the Netherlands, Jamaica, Guam, the Virgin Islands and the 23 U.S states with medical marijuana laws, there are no shortage of audiences to engage with.

Until that happens, we'll continue to marvel at how comfortable brands felt to joke about marijuana use on social media. And, oh, did I say brands? I meant police departments.

Screenshot (6)

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We still don't have flying cars, but we do have some fascinating trends.

The post Infographic: 2015's Biggest Content Marketing Trends appeared first on The Content Strategist.

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Earlier this year, we tried to help you sound wiser at your next meeting by offering 10 content marketing predictions for 2015 from the pros. And now, with 2015 almost halfway through (and still no flying cars), we're starting to see just how accurate some of those forecasts were.

Visually and JBH offer some insights into the state of content marketing with a new infographic that includes stats from marketers and tips for boosting your content strategy.

The first prediction from our article, that content marketing budgets would reach record highs, seems to be accurate thus far. As visualized in the infographic, 50 percent of B2C marketers plan to increase their budgets this year. Why? Because content marketing has become the most commercially important marketing trend of 2015, with almost 30 percent of marketers saying it's the most crucial strategy for driving results.

Marketers are also understanding how to get the most value out of the content by engaging audiences with helpful and/or entertaining information. With that in mind, it's no surprise that the top goal for marketers in 2015 is to build customer relationships and loyalty.

For a few industry leaders like HubSpot, KISSmetrics, and Moz, building those relationships is contingent on maintaining a top-notch blog. HubSpot reportedly receives 37 percent of traffic share from its blog, whereas only 13 percent of traffic is flowing to their homepage. Likewise, KISSmetrics receives a whopping 70 percent of traffic share to its blog, which features a healthy mixture of articles, marketing tips, and infographics.

To feel even smarter about your content strategy, scroll through the whole infographic below.



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Based on precise mathematical data.

The post Map: How Manhattanites See New York appeared first on The Content Strategist.

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*Based on precise mathematical data.



The post Map: How Manhattanites See New York appeared first on The Content Strategist.

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http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/20/map-how-manhattanites-see-new-york/feed/ 0 http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/20/content-marketings-future-is-in-the-hands-of-two-groups-and-theyre-not-talking/ http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/20/content-marketings-future-is-in-the-hands-of-two-groups-and-theyre-not-talking/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:44:17 +0000

http://contently.com/?p=530510576

The rapid growth of content marketing has left many initiatives living in silos--disconnected from a brand's broader content strategy.

The post Content Marketing's Future Is in the Hands of Two Groups, and They're Not Talking appeared first on The Content Strategist.

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Over the last four years at Contently, we've seen content marketing go from something no one was talking about, to something brands found interesting (but not worthy of much budget), to the #1 digital priority for brands. To say money is now pouring into content marketing would be an understatement. It's happening now from all sides, from inside the CMO's office and through their agency partners alike.

Lasting content marketing success requires more than writing a check, however, and the rapid growth of content marketing has left many initiatives living in silos--disconnected from a brand's broader content strategy.

Nowhere is this more true than the gulf between those responsible for formulating and enacting a brand's long-term content strategy (usually someone in the CMO's office), and those responsible for getting that content in front of the right audience (the media agency).

Why is this a problem? Well, as the industry inevitably moves beyond "check the box" mode--where just doing some form of content marketing is enough to show progress--to more mature programs that require real business results to justify the expense--it will be necessary to break down the silos in order to build content marketing programs that really work.

Here are a few areas where we've seen our customers succeed in bridging this gap:

1. Agency cooperation

Having a brand's agencies as the driving force behind content strategy and adoption helps generate a holistic strategy. When PR, media and creative agencies collaborate on content strategy, it means all the bases (creation and distribution) can be covered from the outset.

2. Media agencies moving beyond campaign-based thinking

The true power of content marketing is building owned audiences--putting the brand in a position where it's connecting directly with its potential customers, instead of relying on the traditional media properties of old. The infrastructure now exists for media buyers to drive traffic to owned properties at scale, it simply represents a change in thinking.

3. Brands fostering a culture of content

The content teams that sit within the brands can do a better job of packaging up their content and making it available to their agency partners. There are tools that can help them do this, but it's also about fostering a culture of content and evangelizing their work internally. Long-term, it's going to take buy-in at the highest levels.

Content marketing is here to stay--but content without proper distribution can't be effective, nor can distribution work without a coherent content strategy. The best content marketers will find a way to bridge the gap.

Joe Coleman is the CEO of Contently.

The post Content Marketing's Future Is in the Hands of Two Groups, and They're Not Talking appeared first on The Content Strategist.

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http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/20/content-marketings-future-is-in-the-hands-of-two-groups-and-theyre-not-talking/feed/ 0 http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/17/content-catchup-our-secret-roi-formula-socials-surprising-new-weapon-and-more-must-reads/ http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/17/content-catchup-our-secret-roi-formula-socials-surprising-new-weapon-and-more-must-reads/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:34:37 +0000

http://contently.com/?p=530510574

Here's what you missed while wondering whether your cost-of-living raise will take into account your growing fondness for happy hour gin and tonics.

The post Content Catchup: Our Secret ROI Formula, Social's Surprising New Weapon, and More Must-Reads appeared first on The Content Strategist.

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Here's what you missed while wondering whether your cost-of-living raise will take into account your growing fondness for happy hour gin and tonics...



For many content marketers, the only thing more terrifying than ROI is the lingering image of that time Steve from accounts had seven too many drinks and decided to show you his very--um, personal--tattoo. But fear not. Contently VP of Content Sam Slaughter is here to let you in on the secret of how we tie each piece of our content to hard revenue figures. Read it.



All your favorite platforms are gearing up for their next big battle for your attention, with content as the weapon that's changing the game:

There's a fundamental shift underway. Social media used to be about technology platforms that connected you with friends and got out of the way. But now, the world's biggest platforms are increasingly trying to keep your attention with extra content. After all, that content might be better than what your friends are offering. It's not that your friend's seventh blurry Snapchat message from the bar isn't interesting, it's just that National Geographic snapped you and--my god--that bear is amazing. Read it.



HBO's Silicon Valley gets a lot right about the startup world out west--the social awkwardness, the brogrammers, the insane VC rat race--but the one thing it's missing? A whole bunch of content marketers. That's because, as Tessa Wegert reports, the hottest companies in the cradle of innovation are getting a leg up on the competition in old-school fashion--through print mags and other content. Read it.



In his latest epic post, Shane Snow takes us through the history of syndication and what it means for content marketers today.

My personal interest in syndication stems in part from my own company, where we help brands become publishers of education and entertainment in order to build loyal audiences. (We provide software tools and freelance talent to create original content, engage readers and viewers on the web, and optimize the process over time.) As our business has grown from three guys in coffee shops to 80 employees and the world's largest network of freelance journalists, we've debated: Should we get into syndicated content, helping brands like Coca-Cola to license articles from traditional publishers like CNN? Or should we stick to helping brands just do original content? Read it.



Have a stupendous, beer garden-filled weekend. We'll see you Monday.

The post Content Catchup: Our Secret ROI Formula, Social's Surprising New Weapon, and More Must-Reads appeared first on The Content Strategist.

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http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/17/content-catchup-our-secret-roi-formula-socials-surprising-new-weapon-and-more-must-reads/feed/ 0 http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/16/tagging-content-the-simple-thing-most-brands-get-wrong/ http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/16/tagging-content-the-simple-thing-most-brands-get-wrong/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:55:37 +0000

http://contently.com/?p=530510566

The simple act of using tags and tracking their performance is often enough to get content marketers a seat at the big table.

The post Tagging Content: The Simple Thing Most Brands Get Wrong appeared first on The Content Strategist.

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In meeting after meeting, I run across content marketers who worry that their work isn't being taken seriously by the rest of the company. I like to give them an analogy to explain why:

Imagine that you've just been named the CRO of your company, and you're trying a lot of new tactics to grow the business--hiring new people, opening new offices, or changing the price of your product. After a month or two, it would be reasonable for others to ask how each move affected the company's bottom line. If you can't answer with quantitative results, you're left to conjecture--which, in our data-driven world, is a fast track to getting fired.

Unfortunately, this is how a lot of marketers are treating their content strategies; do a lot of things, but then only look at the total end result. In a way, this is understandable; content marketing is still new, and there's a lot of debate about the best way to measure its effectiveness. Marketers are rightfully wary of investing time in the wrong content measurement strategy, but I've found that many are shooting themselves in the foot before they even get started.

Time and again, we see that there's a simple, overlooked fix that produces huge results: tagging content is the foundation for successful content marketing operations.

You may be thinking that you can put this off--perhaps content isn't a company priority, your operation is small-scale, no staff to backfill--but having a robust taxonomy can solve all three of those problems. It helps you demonstrate that content is supporting key business goals, compare content's value in cross-channel campaigns, and optimize what your staff works on. The simple act of using tags and tracking their performance is often enough to get content marketers a seat at the big table.

Creating an effective taxonomy isn't easy, but it's not rocket science either. It's important to know that at the start, you're going to be wrong, and that's okay! To cover the basics, considering the following categories: topic, type of content (by length, media type, etc.), audience (potential buyers, info-seekers, advocates), marketing campaigns (if you have multiple messages in digital), and business themes/goals (leads, signups, awareness).

It's that simple. At the end of the quarter or month or week, check the results. For those that have been riding their intuition, the results can be shocking: what you thought was a great recurring topic or format may turn out to be a dud, while another may be surprisingly effective. But the important thing isn't what's performing--it's that you're accountable.

That's the only way content marketers are going to get the budgets to play with the big boys.

The post Tagging Content: The Simple Thing Most Brands Get Wrong appeared first on The Content Strategist.

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http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/16/tagging-content-the-simple-thing-most-brands-get-wrong/feed/ 0 http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/16/story-hackers-how-the-biggest-companies-in-silicon-valley-are-using-content-to-fuel-their-growth/ http://contently.com/strategist/2015/04/16/story-hackers-how-the-biggest-companies-in-silicon-valley-are-using-content-to-fuel-their-growth/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:37:18 +0000

http://contently.com/?p=530510562

Content marketing can get a startup out of the blocks--and on the track to growth--fast.

The post Story Hackers: How the Hottest Startups in Silicon Valley Are Using Content to Fuel Their Growth appeared first on The Content Strategist.

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When people look at Silicon Valley, they probably associate startups with billion-dollar valuations, whimsical company t-shirts, office foosball tables, and technology products. And to some extent, these tropes ring true, which makes it easy to lump together tech companies under an umbrella of stereotypes.

But beneath the surface, many of these startups have unique stories worth sharing with their customers. What's the appeal? Original media assets help startups gain the exposure, traffic, and trust they need to ensure a steady trajectory of growth. In other words, content marketing can get a startup out of the blocks--and on the track to growth--fast.

If you lined up Uber, Airbnb, and Buffer, they'd all have one thing in common: They've fueled their growth with compelling content.

Driving home engagement

At first glance, it might seem odd for Uber to invest in a print magazine--until you understand just how important drivers are to the company's culture.

In March, Uber launched Momentum specifically for its 150,000 drivers. Since the company expanded to 210 new cities last year and is currently adding 50,000 new drivers per month, those workers can now learn about Uber's new markets, read about some of the company's very first drivers, and learn how to stay healthy while working on the road.



Travis Kalanick, Uber's co-founder and CEO, once told Fortune, "In the beginning, (Uber) was a lifestyle company." Though Uber has since been referred to as everything from the "future of logistics" to "the family chauffeur," its focus on lifestyle has remained consistent.

Since Uber drivers come from all walks of life, the company has the chance to tell some incredible stories just by looking within and profiling its employees and satisfied customers. Take a video like, "Why uberX Is so Popular in Australia," for example, which follows a freelance CEO, a radio personality, and a model as the trio travels around Sydney in car driven by an uberX driver who's working toward financing his upcoming wedding.

In addition to the print magazine, Uber has made video a priority. Its YouTube channel is brimming with creative content that's split in categories like The Uber Experience, Spotlight on Uber Cities, and Behind the Wheel. Clips profile driver partners, demonstrate value through interviews with global users, and showcase corporate social responsibility efforts. They're also used to get potential customers interested in the service, which is now worth an estimated $40 billion.

One element that sets Uber apart from other startups is its appeal to celebrities, who can use the premium service as an alternative to limos and cabs. The company has taken advantage of this unique position by teaming with celebrities for its videos. For instance, Uber recently documented the adventure that ensued when impromptu uberX driver and world-renowned musician Deadmau5 picked up Toronto passengers in his McLaren.

These tales are helping Uber connect with new customers and stay relevant with existing customers. After all, the relationship between a taxi driver and a passenger is very distinct; both parties have to share a small space for a short amount of time. To call attention to that in a positive way requires a commitment to content. And Uber's content team has shown the ability to use these uncommon relationships to tell personal stories, one fare at a time.

Making room for storytelling

Like Uber, Airbnb, the hospitality service that helps travelers find rooms from local hosts, has an insanely large audience of people that come from all over the world. Plenty of people have stories about their homes, or where they stayed on vacation, so it wasn't a surprise when Airbnb started using those stories of adventure and hospitality to market its services.

The company's content strategy might best be described as "more is more." In the past three years alone, it has created a series of neighborhood guides; released close to a dozen Economic Impact Studies displaying its positive effect on cities; created a groundbreaking crowdsourced Vine; released several short films; and launched Pineapple, a quarterly print magazine targeting both hosts and guests.

Pineapple is designed in-house in the style of a traditional print magazine, full of glossy photo spreads that highlight vibrant places people visit around the world. But to be clear, it's not just a blatant marketing brochure that runs fluff pieces about the best places to stay in each city. As Christopher Lukezic, the magazine's publisher, told Fipp: "This isn't a magazine about homes, it's about the connections that our community makes in the environments where they live or travel. For us, print was the perfect medium to tell these stories."

The latest issue of Pineapple includes longform stories that look at London, Seoul, and San Francisco. Putting together a print publication that runs 128 pages required an immense amount of collaboration. "We... enlisted excellent writers, photographers and illustrators, all very local to each city," Lukezic added. "The process has brought together people from different departments within Airbnb, from the photo, video and design teams to those working on social policy."



Besides Pineapple, Airbnb also runs Stories, a microsite that profiles hosts and travelers with video profiles from within the community, going in-depth to reveal motivations for why certain peo