Psychology, Design and Content Marketing

Psychology of Colors

My second post about #Psychology, #Design and #ContentMarketing is now live.  

After the study of behaviors – Elaboration Likeliwood Model, Fogg Behavior Model – and Cialdini’s principles of persuasion, I investigate here psychology of colors and the impact they have on branding and content marketing across different geographies.

How to set up an Editorial Board for your Content Marketing

Editorial Board

If you work for a large enterprise, and you move from a “traditional” marketing model to a content/editorial marketing approach, you need to think about the transformation and the new skillset that your team/division might require. An Editorial Board is at the core of this transformation. 

An editorial board defines the full process around the content marketing strategy, handles all content-related requests and issues, manages the content distribution and amplification strategy, and establishes the content measurement framework. 

Here is my new piece, via NewsCred‘s Insights Blog. 

Featured image by Chris Knight

What exactly is Content Marketing?

In the last few months I have been asked many times the question: ok, but what exactly is content marketing? And it’s not just marketers. The question is coming in fact from non-marketers, colleagues, sales pros, even finance folks – just to mention a few. Friends and family included.

I try and answer using different examples; examples that match the area or the specific sector the person asking is familiar with: Amex and Sage for finance pros, GE and Capgemini for Engineers, IoT and Data centres experts,  Airbnb, Red Bull and Lego for friends, daughters and relatives.

But how to explain the difference between Content Marketing and Global Content Marketing? How to explain that what is working for a country doesn’t necessarily work for another, despite we live in a super-globalised world?Sometimes, I get lost.

And so here are two great posts. The first, from Newscred, defines what content marketing is. The second, from my good friend Pam Didner, explains global content marketing and clarifies what the implications of that world – global – are.

Next time someone will ask, I will point to this post.

Sailing and Content Marketing: The Tigers of North Sails

North Sails

I started sailing two years ago. It was the summer of 2016, and I was in Rhode Island. That summer I spent two weekends sailing in Newport, on the Atlantic coastline. Working in South RI during the week, I had lonely weekends and I decided to spend my time in Newport, one of the recognised sailing capitals of the world.

Sailing: long time passion, but only that summer, for the very first time, I had the chance to get things seriously. It was a lifetime opportunity. I decided to take it. I am passionate about Content Marketing too, and this is not big news. It was natural for me to combine the two passions and think about great examples of content marketing in the sailing sector.

I started looking for superb examples of content marketing. But, despite all efforts, I couldn’t find any. Which is interesting, considering the huge narrative and the fascinating stories that sailing and events like the America’s Cup or the Volvo Ocean Race can generate. Think about the victory of UK’s BAR in Portsmouth and the possibility to “bring the cup back” to the UK (#BringTheCupHome) after centuries of missed victories. Think about the amazing stories of Oceans, races, sailors and boats.

Unfortunately not so many brands are making full advantage of this narrative today, from a content marketing perspective. With very few exceptions. Volvo is sponsoring the Volvo Ocean Race, for example (where teams are forced to use Volvo’s catamaran models). BMW, Louis Vuitton, Henri Lloyds are among sponsors of the UK’s team within the America’s Cup race. Not surprisingly the event is generating sponsorship opportunities; but, with all respect for these forms of marketing, I was looking for something different (= content marketing).

And then I found it.

North Sails (NS) is the world leading sailmaker. It has a market share of +95% (data coming from my queries in Newport among the sailors community…). Company’s name comes after Lowell North, the founder. Engineer, sailor and entrepreneur. A few years ago NS started selling sailing apparel and accessories in Italy. Target: mass consumer market. Italy, the country of fashion. With few exceptions, nobody knew about NS in Italy. Neither as a sailmaker, nor as an apparel company. The brand had to enter into a new territory with very fierce competition, and had to position itself as a brand with a long experience in the sailing sector. How would you do that? How could you tell the market that this “new” brand has a so long and successful history in sailing? The company decided to tell the story of his founder and his team, and released a short movie. “Tigers”.

It was early 2012.

And then a magazine with the same title was made available the same year in all stores and mailed to subscribers and clients.

Michael Levitt, writer and sailor, and author of a book about NS and its founders, writes: “The story of North Sails closely mirrors that of professional sailing in the modern era – many of the most famous names in the sport spent at least part of their careers at North. The title (Tigers) comes from the name Lowell North, the company founder, gave to his sailmakers”.

“Tigers” are all men who decided to follow Mr. North in his business and sailing adventure. Lowell North, Tom Whidden, Peter Barrett, Tom Schnackenberg, John Marshall and Terry Kohler – all great sailors. All featured by NS’s content approach. Each piece of NS’s collections was dedicated to one of these well-known sailors; the founding fathers of NS. This can be seen through the beautiful patches and graphics on the garments. These are related to the special sailing events they have participated in, like the Olympic games, or the America’s Cup, and the titles they have won.

‘Tigers’ comes from the name Lowell North, the company founder, gave to his sailmakers.

It’s overall a great example of content marketing, dated 2012-2013. I wonder why NS decided to stop the approach after this inspiring start.

Hopefully the story of Mr. North and the Tigers will continue, maybe with new details and anecdotes, jumping across the years, from 2012 to 2018, and the geographical boundaries, from Italy to the UK and the States.

It would be a shame to end it here.

How to use Psychology to improve Design and Content Marketing

Design and content are inextricably linked. Confusing, dated, or unappealing design can reduce your content’s effectiveness. On the other hand, strong design can facilitate more conversions and content consumption.

As a content marketer, I’ve helped global corporations optimize their blogs, newsletters, and content destinations. During those processes, I realized that I was going beyond the boundaries of content marketing and web design. I was touching a new, unknown domain: psychology.

How to make advantage of psychology principles to improve design and content marketing? Here is my new post on the topic, just published on NewsCred Insights blog. Also, I am starting to dissect the post, adding lots more details and creating a three-post series on psychology and content marketing. The first post of the series can be found here on ContentXBorders: How to apply psychology to design and content marketing and attract visitors’ attention.

Enjoy the reading.

Featured image by Scott Webb

Content Hub strategy overview for global enterprises

Michael Brenner once wrote:

A content hub is the home of your content marketing efforts. It’s where most of your content lives, and it’s where you drive users. For many brands, it’s their strongest owned channel.

So, why would your company need a content hub? Why a content hub should be at the hearth of your global content marketing strategy? This presentation deck introduces and defines the content hubs, clarifies main points and put the content hub strategy into contest. Also, provides examples and can be reused by all content marketers who are putting together a wider global content marketing strategy for their enterprises.

Thanksgiving and Content Marketing

Thanksgiving analogy

What Thanksgiving and have in common? Why and  mention turkey slices when they explain content distribution? You will find all answers on my last post – the original has been published on NewsCred’s Insights blog.


Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and U.S. content marketers are looking forward to spending time with their families and taking a little break from thinking about content strategies, distribution, and ROI.

But in the days leading up to the holiday, we’d all benefit from reviewing the Content Marketing Thanksgiving Turkey Analogy.

The concept is simple: Look for opportunities to repurpose content you already have exactly as you would do with turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving. This analogy originated with content marketing strategist Rebecca Lieb. When asked about tips for companies struggling to produce enough content, she replied:

“I use a Thanksgiving analogy. You cook up this giant bird to serve up on one glorious occasion and then proceed to slice and dice this thing for weeks on end. If you are like most families, you are going to be repurposing this bird as leftovers for quite some time, creating everything from sandwiches, to soups, and more. Your content marketing strategy can be thought of in the same way.”

The idea is basic but straightforward. Marketers should not obsess over creating new content continuously. Instead, they should look for opportunities to repurpose the best-performing content they already have. For instance, through creative repurposing, an eBook can yield infographics, SlideShare presentations, blog posts, listicles, and videos – which marketers can then disseminate via social media channels.

Jason Miller, LinkedIn’s EMEA Head of Content and Social Media Marketing, has expanded this concept into the – now well-known among marketers – idea of “Big Rock Content.” He says:

“The Thanksgiving concept can be taken a step further and applied to ‘Big Rock’ pieces of content. The idea is to develop an all-encompassing guide to whatever your keywords or topics are, which is written strategically instead of instructionally. This type of content is very top-of-funnel and can serve many purposes such as SEO, fuel for social and lead generation, sales enablement, and event collateral, to name a few.”

Big rock content is a substantial piece, like “The Ultimate Guide to Problem-Solving,” for example. In his book “Welcome to the Funnel,” Miller explains: “A Big Rock content asset can be 20, 30, or more pages long. It should be visually compelling, of course. It can be gated for lead capture. Then, you ‘slice’ up the Big Rock content asset into blog posts, infographics, SlideShare decks, webinars, etc.” 

You then amplify those slices through owned and paid media.

My company, NewsCred, has used the Thanksgiving turkey analogy to create big rock content. For example, a long-form blog post, “Google Analytics: The Complete Guide to Setting Up Your Content Hub to Measure Conversions” spawned a webinar, a video, a gated content collection, a newsletter, dozens of social media posts – not to mention leads, deals, and revenue influenced.

Other content marketing strategists have created their own variations on the turkey analogy. Jay Baer frequently writes about “content atomization,” which is taking a strong content marketing theme (your big rock content), and executing it in many strategically sound ways. There’s also the mixology of content marketing, in which you formulate content in different ways, depending on your goals.

They’re all good concepts to consider, especially while you’re planning your 2018 content marketing strategy.

But in the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving!

How to apply psychology to design and content marketing (and attract audience’s attention)


As a content marketer, I have always considered design as the best friend of content. Can better design bring more conversions and content consumption? The simple answer is yes.

In the past, when working on the creation of hubs, blogs, newsletters and content destinations of known international firms, I discovered though that design principles were not as simple and straightforward as I imagined; I realized I was going beyond the boundaries of content marketing, touching a new ‘undiscovered’ domain.

Why do web visitors and content consumers behave the way they do? What can drive readers’ behavior and facilitate content consumption? I realized soon enough that the domain I was investigating was no longer content strategy: it was psychology. Even better, it was psychology applied to content and design with the objective to facilitate and attract visitors’ attention.

Other questions came soon to my mind. How can I apply psychology to content and design? Isn’t persuasion a bad word, or even a dark art? And what does it look like to design without considering users’ psychology? Continue reading “How to apply psychology to design and content marketing (and attract audience’s attention)”

Content Marketing Across Borders opens the doors to guest bloggers and writers

After years of being a lonely and grumpy blogger I decided to invite guest bloggers to write on ContentMarketingAcrossBorders. The first three authors that have kindly created custom content – or gave permissions to share existing content – for CMXB are Molly Clarke,  Maël Roth and Pam Didner.

CMXB is now open to all Global Content Marketing experts willing to share strategy and best practices with a global audience via this dedicated channel. Thank you!