Editor’s Picks: 20 Favorite Digital Marketing Articles from 2017

Rachel Haberman

A woman works at her laptop

With 2017 almost in the rearview mirror, I foolishly decided that the perfect thing to publish on Christmas would be a list of my twenty favorite Content Standard articles from this past year. A gift to our readers, if you will. And a gift to myself, I thought, because how hard is it to make a list anyway?

As it turns out, hard. My trip through the 2017 back catalogue felt a bit like looking through an old yearbook and remembering all the people you’d lost touch with. I rediscovered a lost favorite at each turn. How could I pick just twenty? Why couldn’t I list fifty? Why couldn’t I list them all?!

But in the end, I reigned myself back. Here you have not my twenty favorite but twenty of my favorites. I hope you enjoy rediscovering them as much as I did.

Happy holidays,

Rachel Haberman, Managing Editor

Editor’s Picks: 20 Favorite Articles from 2017

two women gossip

The Problem with Women in Stock Photography (and How Freelance Writers Can Help)

by Erin Ollila

Looking back at this article, written last January, from the #MeToo moment we find ourselves in eleven months later makes me hopeful that our heightened awareness of both individual and structural sexism will also lead to heightened awareness of the problematic representations of women that we are unwittingly complicit in.

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The exterior of the Google building

What NYT Editor Quentin Hardy’s New Job Says About 2017 Marketing Trends

by Linsey Covino-Deaso

If any single piece of news in 2017 illustrates the dissolution of barriers between traditional media publishers and brand publishers, it’s that Quentin Hardy left the New York Times—arguably the zenith of journalism in the US today—to take a job as head of editorial for Google Cloud. The subtext: Content marketing is becoming ever more editorial, and that’s a good thing.

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A man uses Square to pay for his coffee

With Great Power: Ethical Marketing in the Face of IoT

by Jonathan Crowl

Jon brings attention to the very real issue that policy on data privacy lags far behind what marketing technology is capable of (even with GDPR now set to go into effect in the EU) and makes the case for brands to think critically about the unintended consequences of their data use.

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A father and son on a carnival ride

Marketing to Dads? Think Audience Insights, Not Stereotypes

by Taylor Holland

I’ll let Taylor’s words speak for themselves: “In a world where content is how brands connect with customers, and audience insights are at the center of that process, marketers must push themselves to uncover truth about people beyond a typical demographic—father, millennial, Latino, homebuyer, business owner—and to instead present more nuanced representations.” Preach.

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A young man consumes content on his smartphone

Your Audience Isn’t Stupid. Is Your Content Marketing?

by Taylor Holland

An eloquent (and also quite funny) case against the gawd-awful trend of writing for the lowest common denominator. Treating your audience like the intelligent and discerning people they are is a cause I’ll get on my soapbox for.

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A young woman plays with a string of lights against a dark background

Cognitive Technology Won’t Take Away Your Job (It Will Make You Better At It)

by Liz Alton

Many of the marketers I know have spent 2017 vacillating between excitement and anxiety over what advances in AI will mean for the future of our discipline. Liz paints a compelling picture of what’s possible at the intersection of creativity and new marketing technology.

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An arm reaches out towards a school of fish, as seen from underwater

“I Have a Rendezvous with Death” But No Long-Form Fear: It’s Time for Digital Storytelling

by Jacqui Frasca

An impassioned plea for brand storytellers to get creative with the digital media available to us and embrace experimental long-form storytelling. Plus, this article introduced me to one of my favorite examples of multimedia storytelling: National Geographic’s stunningly beautiful and haunting “Killing Kennedy.”

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An anthropomorphic robot

Perpetuating Bias: Why We Should Think Critically About Artificial Intelligence in Marketing

by Nicola Brown

With the idea of algorithmic accountability bubbling up into the national consciousness as a result of the Facebook, Google, and Twitter hearings this fall, this article feels particularly prescient.

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a series of newstands on the street in nyc

How the Huffington Post Redesign Can Inspire Digital Publishing

by Carlos García-Arista

This behind-the-scenes look at HuffPost’s strategy is an enlightened look at how changing content consumption trends have produced amazing opportunities for digital publishers—without sacrificing the journalistic integrity we associate with traditional print publications. It’s pure inspiration for content marketers who harbor dreams of true brand journalism.

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a wilted flower

Traditional SEO Is Dying

by Frantz Augustin

This article opened my eyes to just how much we don’t know about SEO—but more importantly, it left me hopeful that we’re entering an age where content marketers are incentivized to put the needs of the readers above the needs of the search engine.

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a young man works on his laptop in a cafe

The End of Net Neutrality: Should Marketers Be Worried?

by Jonathan Crowl

When we published this article in July, we were still hopeful that the FCC would reverse course. With the net neutrality vote now behind us, we’re one step closer to the dismantling of digital marketing as we know it—and it’s downright dystopian. Not the most uplifting of content, to be sure, but a must-read for content marketers.

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a man meditates on a grassy hill

Mental Health and Marketing: Learning to Let Go and Trust Your Instincts

by Lauren McMenemy

I was initially unsure if this publication was the right place to publish this article, but this beautiful exploration how mental health issues impact people in our field quickly became one of the most widely shared articles of the year.

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A close-up look at an apple

Is Snackable Content Making Us All Sick?

by Bethany Johnson

This article exemplifies everything I enjoy about Bethany’s writing. It’s witty, a touch quirky, and bitingly insightful—and the message here is the antidote to the long-form versus short-form debate that really needs to end already.

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a group cheers

Man, Machine, and Media: The Trends Shaping the Future of Content Marketing

by Michael Box

A whirlwind tour of the major ideas presented in during Content Marketing World 2017 and a glimpse of the world of content marketing to come.

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A man looks at a gallery installation made of neon tubes

What Marketers Can Learn from the Experiential Art Craze

by Krystal Overmyer

This article approached the oh-so-buzzword-y experiential marketing trend from an unusual angle, exploring the impact of experience through the lens of interactive and experiential art exhibits. It’s also a great excuse to ogle some seriously stunning works of art.

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holding a representation of bitcoin

What the Story of Bitcoin Can Teach Financial Marketers

by Kyle Harper

If you’re anything like me, you’re more than a little tired of the cryptocurrency hype. This article was the exception to my rule: a surprisingly engaging look at the rise of Bitcoin from an audience-building perspective with truly valuable lessons for marketers. I remain a dyed-in-the-wool Bitcoin skeptic, but I have a newfound respect for how an anonymous programmer created a devoted worldwide community.

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A woman looks out across a lake on a gray day

Disease, Disaster, and Divorce, Oh My! How to Keep Writing and Why

by Bethany Johnson

A heartbreakingly beautiful personal essay about the transformative power of doing work that you love at a time when everything else is falling apart.

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a mouthwatering pizza pie

A Tale of Two Sodas—In Coke and Pepsi’s Pizza Fight, Brand Storytelling Wins the Day

by Christine Kayser

This lovingly silly article illustrates the power of brand storytelling through a chance encounter with two thematically similar ad campaigns from two of the best-known brands in the world: Coke and Pepsi. A word of caution, though—don’t read it on an empty stomach.

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A close-up of two women showing just their eyes

How the Left-Brain Right-Brain Myth Hurts Marketers

by Nicola Brown

An unsparing takedown of one of the most pernicious myths in pop psychology. At a time when marketers increasingly need to be both creative and analytical, this is a message we desperately need to hear. And besides, the way the brain really works is much more interesting.

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Boats on a pond in Maine in autumn

How Place Works in Brand Storytelling

by Shannon O’Neill

This inside look at three brands—Detroit Denim, Ledbury, and Tom’s of Maine—that use their place of origin as a key component of their brand storytelling shows how powerfully evocative place can be.

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