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10 Content Marketing Articles Readers (Like You) Loved This Year

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10 Content Marketing Articles Readers (Like You) Loved This Year


How many of the 249-plus blog articles published in 2021 by CMI did you read? While I read each one (it’s my job), I’m guessing very few others did. I get that – we’re bombarded with content every day.

To help everyone get the highlights, I put together the 10 most popular posts from the past year based on data from BuzzSumo and Google Analytics (including social shares, email conversions, page views, and unique linking domains) and a dose of editorial discretion.

You’ll find all these articles have one thing in common: The authors share a ton of knowledge you can use right away in your day-to-day content marketing.

Given that everyone feels pressed for time these days, I listed the articles based on time to read (shortest to longest). I hope you find them as helpful as I did.

Time to read: 4 minutes

Author: Kate Bradley Chernis

Why read this: You don’t have to follow all those school-taught English lessons in your writing, but you do need to make sure your content is good. Kate shares some “easy-peasy” ways to spice up your content to entice your audience to read and take action.

Tweetable tip:

Read your writing out loud. If it feels awkward coming out of your mouth, it will read awkwardly to the #content consumer, says @LatelyAIKately via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

Time to read: 7 minutes

Author: Nady Khoja

Why read this: No matter how large your team, repurposing can be the solution to lighten the content creation workload. It’s also an excellent way to get your content in front of more people in formats they might prefer. Nadya shares how to get more from the content you’re creating. This one’s for anyone who’s ever wished they didn’t have so many pieces to write or edit in such a short time or who’s felt challenged to develop enough original content for multiple channels.

Tweetable tip:

Spin off a larger piece of #content into smaller pieces. Or combine several blog posts into a comprehensive guide, says @NadyaKhoja via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Time to read: 8 minutes

Author: Kim Moutsos

Why read this: Don’t read it if you believe ideas will always come to you when you need them. But give this one a look when you’re ready to dig in and unearth the hidden content opportunities all around you. Kim leads you down productive paths for finding raw materials and polishing them into something brilliant.

Tweetable tip:

Dig into your competitors’ #content to uncover topics, audience reactions, and channels. Then outdo them, says @KMoutsos via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Time to read: 11 minutes

Author: Shane Barker

Why read this: Maybe you already drive sufficient conversions. But do you really want to settle for sufficient? Shane offers ideas for getting more visitors to convert – including tips for making your content more engaging content, from the headline to the calls to action.

Tweetable tip:

Your headline is the bait. Your intro is the hook, says @shane_barker via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

Time to read: 11 minutes

Author: Jodi Harris

Why read this: Your content marketing program will be judged by the impact it makes on your business’s bottom line. Jodi offers tips, templates, and techniques to help you make sure you’re measuring (and acting on) things that make a difference.

Tweetable tip:

Know where your company’s priorities lie to decide which #ContentMarketing goals to measure, then figure out which metrics to track, advises @joderama via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Time to read: 15 minutes

Author: Mike Murray

Why read this: 2021 is almost over. But the 21 SEO tips, tools, tactics, and trends Mike Murray offered at the beginning of the year can still help you protect your rankings – and maybe even gain an edge.

Tweetable tip:

@Google’s passages feature helps searchers find sections of web page #content that answer their questions, which could help #SEO efforts, says @MikeOnlineCoach via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Time to read: 17 minutes

Author: Darek Black

Why read this: Your content must earn readers’ trust in order to get them to come back again, subscribe to your newsletter, buy your product, or take some other desirable action. If you create content that feels stilted, monotone, or academic, they may never return. Conversational copy offers the antidote to monotone content. Darek offers tips (not rules) for content that opens the door for connection – from one human being to another.

Tweetable tip:

In the name of conversational #copy, dismiss the grammar law that says never end a sentence with a preposition, says @ContentStride via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

Time to read: 18 minutes

Author: Stephanie Stahl

Why read this: CMI’s Visual Storytelling Summit offered stories, lessons, and examples that inspired, made people laugh, made them cry, and got them motivated. Stephanie rounds up the highlights you may have missed (or forgotten about). And you can click through to each session to watch on demand (a single registration form gives you access to all the sessions you select).

Tweetable tip:

Livestreaming can build your brand, connect on a deeper level with your audience, and support the sales process and the sales cycle, says @dylan_hey via @EditorStahl @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Time to read: 22 minutes

Author: Ann Gynn

Why read this: Earlier this year, we asked Content Marketing World speakers what irritates them about our industry. They came back with a lot to say. Many of their comments fall into a few overarching categories: strategy, audience, and the content itself. Read this one to see if the things that drive you crazy about the practice we all love made the list (and ideas for what you can do to counter them).

Tweetable tip:

It’s time to start creating evergreen #content and stop wasting time, money, and energy on disposable, single-use content, says @carlijnpostma via @AnnGynn @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Time to read: 26 minutes

Author: Aaron Orendorff

What you’ll learn: Aaron’s article ends near the top of readers’ favorites year after year. (It first appeared in 2016, and we updated it earlier this year.) Why so popular? Figuring out which social media tools you should invest in is overwhelming – and it seems like it gets more complicated every year. Fifty influential online marketers share their top social media tool (and why they love it). Not every tool on the list will make sense for you, but it’s a great place to start your research (or gather social proof for tools you’re already considering).

Tweetable tip:

Use text overlays on videos – 80% of video ads on #Facebook are watched with sound off, says @MariSmith via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

We’re so thankful for our readers and the contributors who share their knowledge with us. If you’d like to write for us in 2022, read our blogging guidelines, then follow the instructions for submitting an article.

Don’t miss out on the 249-plus blog posts from CMI in 2022. Subscribe to the free daily or weekly newsletter.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute





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How Can You Improve Your Blog’s Content with a Paraphrasing Tool?

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How Can You Improve Your Blog’s Content with a Paraphrasing Tool?


Paraphrasing tools are getting extremely popular, especially among bloggers. The reason is that these tools allow them to rewrite some of the old stuff with very high accuracy.

Uniqueness is the most important factor that determines the search engine ranking of your website. Most search engines determine the worth of your site by looking at the content that you post.

This is why you need to make sure the material you write in your blog contains zero plagiarism. For this purpose, you can use paraphrasing tools. These tools allow you to come up with unique ideas, words, and phrases that you incorporate into your blog to increase readability as well as reader engagement.

What is a Paraphrasing Tool?

A paraphrasing tool can be used to generate new text to explain existing ideas, concepts, or themes. These tools take minutes to convert your old text into an entirely new form having new phrases, words, and synonyms while keeping the original theme intact.

These tools improve the readability, grammar, and other key aspects of your text to make it coherent and consistent. These tools use AI technology to make your content unique and to improve the tone, style, and other features.

There are many reasons to use these tools and in this next section we will take a look at some of these

1. Complete Analysis of Your Content

Before rephrasing your content, these tools analyze it completely to determine a few key things. These include word count, readability, spelling and grammar mistakes, and the main theme and tone of the content.

This complete analysis allows these tools to generate highly accurate content that you can post on your blog without fearing plagiarism.

These tools are very accurate when analyzing your content and that allows you to trust these completely to perform paraphrasing for you.

2. Changing Content Tone

The tone of your content is what separates it from others and engages your audience. Paraphrasing tools can rewrite your material while giving it a pleasant and consistent tone.

These tools can make adjustments that make your content easy to read, understand, and digest. By working on the tone of your text, these tools make it SEO-friendly which leads to better search engine ranking.

3. Better Content Flow

When writing content for your SEO or blogs, you need to make it seem like it’s connected and flowing in a consistent manner. Writing about different stuff randomly makes it seem all over the place which leaves a bad impression on your readers.

Paraphrasing tools can help you improve the flow of information that you provide in your content. This makes it more concise and understandable.

Some Ways in Which Paraphrasing Tools Can Improve Your Blogs

Paraphrasing tools are really a blessing for bloggers and general content writers. These tools save time and offer very high accuracy.

Here are some of the main ways in which such tools can help you write plagiarism-free blogs

1. Replacing Words with Synonyms

The main reason these tools are effective is that they offer a number of synonyms for every word in the content. You can use these tools to replace single words, phrases, sentences, or even paragraphs.

The paraphrase online turns your entire text into something new which makes it free from plagiarism of every type.

2. Improve Spellings and Grammar

Paraphrasing tools improve the grammatical errors and inconsistencies in your original text. These tools highlight lines that need to be changed and you can use some other tool to eliminate these errors.

These tools also identify and remove spelling mistakes as well. The final content that you get from these tools is immaculate in every way. It is consistent with the main theme and each sentence flows from the last one.

3. Save Time and Energy

Paraphrasing without a tool can take so much of your time and energy. You need to consult various sources to learn new words and ideas to incorporate into your text which is very time-consuming.

Paraphrasing tools help you save a lot of time by rewriting more than 1000 words in a matter of a few minutes. Doing this yourself can take several hours which you can spend on something more important.

4. Cost-Effective

Hiring content writers to write unique content for your blog is quite expensive. You have to spend a lot if you hire someone else to rewrite content for you and there is still no guarantee that the contest will be plagiarism-free.

You can find several free paraphrasing tools online to do that for you. These tools require no registration or login which means you can just go online and convert the text instantly.

5. Creative Writing

Most paraphrasing tools can help you write creative content. These tools take your words and phrases as prompts and use AI to write creative material that you can post on your blog.

This is especially helpful for a writer suffering from writer’s block. These tools can inspire them to look at things from a different perspective. This improves their skill as a writer and enhances the quality of their content.

Final Thoughts:

So, these are some of the few ways in which paraphrasing tools can help you improve the content of your blogs. These tools can help you write better material that has zero grammatical errors and is more engaging.

Without these tools, you will only be wasting your time and money with little to get in return. Paraphrasing tools are being used both by academic and non-academic persons who often find it hard to rewrite stuff due to having limited vocabulary and a grasp of grammar.

Now you know what are some of the major benefits of using paraphrasing tools when writing content for your blogs. These tools can lead to better content for your blogs that is both search engine friendly and engaging.

We hope this stuff helps and we suggest you to use these tools for improving your skills as a blog writer.      



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Why we care about performance marketing

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Why we care about performance marketing


Performance marketing refers to a variety of online advertising programs where parties are paid when a specific action  is completed. It’s often associated with pay-per-click (PPC) models on search engines (where advertisers pay for clicks versus impressions). However, it isn’t limited to that, encompassing any marketing approach that’s tied to a specific action. 

In addition to the traditional affiliate relationships with publishers, performance marketing opportunities now include influencers on social media, e-commerce-focused web destinations and creators all across the digital landscape. Tech platforms help broker these relationships by setting and measuring specific goals and compensation that help deliver results from the third-party publisher, creator or influencer back to the brand.


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It can be a powerful tool for marketers since it allows you to track and optimize campaigns in real-time based on measurable actions. It can help with the ROI of your marketing budget by providing data and insight about how, when, and where to allocate your spend. 

Even so, performance marketing remains vulnerable to fraud from bots and other malicious actors. Marketers need to be vigilant and skeptical about the data they’re seeing to avoid paying for actions that aren’t real. 

There are many tools and software solutions that facilitate the planning, launch, tracking and optimization of performance marketing campaigns. These tools range from simple website tracking tools to more sophisticated platforms that offer a complete suite of performance marketing capabilities. In this post we’ll cover:

  • What is performance marketing?
  • Types of performance marketing models.
  • Why marketers should care 
  • How reliable is it?
  • Who uses or works with performance marketing tools?
  • What types of tools or software enable performance marketing?
  • How performance marketing can help marketers succeed.
  • The future of performance marketing.
  • Additional reading.

What is performance marketing?

Performance marketing is any online marketing activity that can be tracked and attributed to a specific action or result. 

It encompasses any digital marketing tactic that can be tied to a measurable action – influencer, video, affiliate, search, and content marketing are all fair game in the performance marketing ecosystem.

There are three main types of performance marketing payment models:

  • Percent  of sale – The advertiser pays a commission on each sale generated.
  • Leads – The advertiser pays a fixed amount for each lead generated.
  • New customers – The advertiser pays a fixed amount for each new customer acquired.

There are also hybrid performance marketing models that encompass multiple payment types. For example, an advertiser might pay a lead generation fee plus a percent of sale commission to their performance marketing partner.

It’s important to note that performance-based marketing tactics like paid search, where advertisers only pay when a user clicks on an ad, is not performance marketing. While PPC/CPC campaigns focus on an action (the ad click), they don’t necessarily lead to a performance-based outcome like a sale or sign-up. 

Why marketers should care about performance marketing

Performance marketing opportunities have opened up beyond traditional affiliate relationships with publishers to include influencers on social media, e-commerce focused web destinations and creators all across the digital landscape.

Tech platforms help broker these relationships by setting and measuring specific goals and compensation that help deliver results from the third-party publisher, creator or influencer back to the brand.

How reliable is it?

It’s impossible to talk about digital advertising (the machine that drives performance marketing) without addressing the $68 billion dollar elephant in the room—ad fraud.

 Globally, digital ad fraud will cost companies nearly $70 billion this year, with $23 billion lost by U.S. companies alone. That will amount to about $100 million per day by 2024.

A (short) list of why ad fraud happens:

  • Bots simulate real user traffic on websites or apps to generate ad impressions.
  • Invalid traffic is generated by humans who click on ads to deplete their competitors’ budgets, or are paid to click/view ads (click farms).
  • Fake websites (with fake traffic) are created to inflate impressions for programmatic ad buys.
  • Domain spoofing imitates a premium website (e.g., the New York Times) to sell fake ad inventory.
  • Cookie stuffing which uses affiliate tracking cookies placed on a user’s device to track a purchase on a site like Amazon (thus stealing the commission from a legitimate affiliate).
  • Ads are stacked and the same inventory is sold multiple times – technically the impressions are real, but web visitors only see the ad on top of the stack
  • App install fraud occurs when a bot generates fake app installations or a user is incentivized to install an app and then quickly uninstall it

Since performance marketing campaigns look at actions (sales, conversions, leads) rather than superficial metrics (views, clicks, impressions) it’s theoretically a better approach.

Even so, the scale of click fraud is so massive it inevitably impacts the amount you’ll pay for your desired action. The cost of digital ads is increasing – up 11% in the first quarter of 2022 versus the previous year with no noticeable improvement in performance.

That makes it more expensive for your affiliates and partners to buy digital ads and increases the cost per action (CPA) for you.

Another issue: while faking sales is difficult, faking certain actions isn’t, particularly on mobile devices. Bots can simulate real user downloads and app installs, click on links and fake in-app events.

The best way to ensure that your performance marketing campaign is, in fact, performing is to monitor the quality (and validity) of the actions you’re paying for.  For example, you can use a lead verification tool like LetsVerify to ensure that the leads you’re paying for are real people who have been contacted and are interested in what you’re selling.

Read next: Gannett ad mishap highlights concerns about programmatic advertising

It’s also worthwhile to monitor your CPA along with lead quality and/or sales volume. If your CPA is going up (or suddenly spikes), this can be  a sign that you’re being targeted by fraudsters.

Performance marketing is a very specific and data-driven — and digital — approach to generating results, so it tends to fall within the purview of digital marketing teams. 

That said, regardless of where performance marketing sits within an organization’s marketing ecosystem, many people/departments use its tools and strategies.

Here are some ways different groups use performance marketing technologies:

  • Marketers plan, execute and measure performance-based campaigns.
  • Publishers track performance and get paid for results.
  • Influencers find opportunities, set goals and measure performance. 
  • Advertisers find publishers and influencers to work with, set performance-based goals and track results.
  • Business growth leaders identify and track opportunities for growth.
  • Agencies find and work with publishers and influencers on performance-based campaigns. 

Tech tools in the performance marketing space span from tracking and attribution to influencer and affiliate management. They also include features for identifying and reaching out to influencers, publishers, and partners.

The types of performance marketing tools include:

  • Partner software: This helps brands find, connect and manage relationships with performance-based partners like publishers, influencers and affiliates.  Tools like PartnerStack and Everflow enable businesses to manage influencers and referral partners (e.g., consultants, agencies, customers), track their performance and get paid for results. 
  • Referral/affiliate software:  This allows marketers to manage affiliate programs and partners with features that enable commission payments, program launch and marketing automation (e.g., emails, social media, paid search, etc.) Tools like LeadDyno and OmniStar Affiliate fit within this category. They also help with recruitment, SEO and tracking/reporting.
  • Influencer management software: Influencer management software helps brands identify, manage and track relationships with influencers. Tools like Grin (for eCommerce businesses) and Upfluence help with influencer discovery and outreach, performance tracking, campaign management and payments. 
  • Marketing attribution software: Businesses can use this to attribute results to specific marketing activities using marketing analytics and data. Attribution tools also help marketers understand which activities are driving the most ROI. Tools like Google Analytics and MixPanel focus on website analytics while campaign-specific tools like Sprinklr and Pointillist measure customer journey analytics across all digital marketing channels. 

There’s a lot of crossover with features and functionality among these types of tools. So it’s important to choose a performance marketing platform that offers features specific to your needs and easily integrates with your tech stack.

How performance marketing can help marketers succeed

Performance marketing can be a very effective way for marketers to drive results and grow their business. Instead of paying up front for advertising programs and inventory that may not produce results, performance-based campaigns are a low-risk way to test and measure what’s working (and what’s not.) 

In addition, performance marketing allows you to effectively allocate your marketing budget by only paying for results. This can help stretch the marketing budget further and ensure that every dollar is working as hard as possible to drive ROI. 

Key benefits include:

  • Trackability:  Performance marketing provides marketers with data and insights that can be used to continually optimize campaigns and improve results. Campaigns are tied to specific transactions and KPIs, so performance can be tracked and reported at a granular level.
  • Diversification: You have the capacity to expand your reach beyond traditional sales channels and revenue streams. It gets your partners and affiliates involved in the success of your business, which can lead to long-term relationships. It also helps you reach new audiences and niche markets in organically discoverable ways (e.g., when an influencer promotes your brand or product to their followers). 
  • Efficiency: It is a low-risk way to grow your business. You only pay for results (e.g., a sale, sign-up, etc.), so there’s no wasted spend on inventory or ad placements that don’t produce results.
  • Creativity: Working with partners, performance marketers can develop unique campaigns and content that resonates with their specific niche audiences. This means you capitalize on new trends, technologies, and channels as they emerge.

What’s next for performance marketing

There are several digital marketing trends converging right now that are impacting the efficiency and ROI of standard CPM and CPC/PPC-based digital marketing programs. 

  • Digital ad fatigue: The average person is exposed to between 6000 and 10,000 ads a day. This is fueling an ad avoidance phenomenon among internet users. Most consumers are proactively avoiding advertising with ad blockers, ad skipping and the consumption of ad-free media. According to Blockthrough, an adblock recovery platform, 81% of people who use ad blockers in the U.S. do so to avoid annoying or intrusive ads.
  • Increased competition: There’s a marked increase in advertiser competition online, as the number of brands and businesses competing for consumer attention continues to grow. Two-thirds of global ad spending will be digital in 2022. According to eMarketer, spend is expected to exceed $867 billion by 2026.
  • Data and privacy issues: Consumer concerns about how companies use their data, combined with an increased need to comply with privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA, are impacting the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns. Consumers are increasingly aware of their data being collected and used and less willing to click on ads or give up personal information. 
  • The death of cookies:  With the demise of third-party cookies on browsers like Safari, Firefox, and (very soon) Chrome, digital marketers will need new ways to target audiences and track campaigns. This has marketers relying on  first-party data and server-side tracking, or the use of alternative tracking methods like unique identifiers that are privacy compliant. 

Performance marketing, which focuses on quality over quantity, enables marketers to develop unique campaigns on emerging digital channels which tend to resonate more with digital audiences. Since they’re tied to actual results (e.g., sales, revenue and leads), they also deliver a higher ROI. 

These campaigns can also garner a wide reach in terms of impressions, clicks, and views since performance marketing partners use a variety of tactics, including reaching out to their existing networks. 

As a result, performance marketing is poised to continue growing in popularity among marketers looking to drive real results from their digital marketing programs. 

Additional reading

Want to learn more about performance marketing’s capabilities and applications across the digital landscape? Here are some resources to help you improve your practices:


About The Author

Jacqueline Dooley is a freelance B2B content writer and journalist covering martech industry news and trends. Since 2018, she’s worked with B2B-focused agencies, publications, and direct clients to create articles, blog posts, whitepapers, and eBooks. Prior to that, Dooley founded Twelve Thousand, LLC where she worked with clients to create, manage, and optimize paid search and social campaigns.



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What is Employee Engagement? [+11 Data-Backed Benefits and Strategies]

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What is Employee Engagement? [+11 Data-Backed Benefits and Strategies]


If you’re playing along with buzzword bingo, you’ve heard the term “employee engagement.” But it would be a mistake to dismiss it as just a buzzword. Ignoring engagement costs the global economy 8.1 trillion dollars each year, according to a study by Gallup.

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