Within weeks of my final column for NETT in 2010, I was approached to write for the debut issue of a new magazine published by the US-based Content Marketing Institute: Chief Content Officer – more commonly known as CCO.
In 2012, I began writing a column called The Social Web, which has since become the magazines longest-running regular feature. I also inherited the role of editor, commencing with the May 2018 issue, overseeing the magazine’s transition from print to an all-digital publication. My final issue as editor was October 2019, although my relationship with the magazine continues with a new regular column launching in January 2020 – Creative License.
If writing for CCO is some of the most fun I’ve ever had with a keyboard, then editing CCO is the most fun I’ve had with “Tracked Changes” turned on.
B2B Content Isn’t Boring Unless Your Writing Is
Why Rushing Your Writers Never Leads to Great Content
B2B Content Isn’t Boring Unless Your Writing Is... in which I explore why so many B2B white papers and reports are downloaded but never actually read ... and how to make them less boring instead.
Why Rushing Your Writers Never Leads to Great Content… in which I attempt to write an article on writing, by writing about the experience of writing the article on writing that I’m currently writing. Unsurprisingly, this is harder than it sounded when I pitched the idea.
Do the Math: Creativity by the Numbers Won’t Add Up
Want the Best Ideas to Flourish? Learn How to Cultivate Support
What’s Killing the Case Study: A Whodunit Mystery
Do the Math: Creativity by the Numbers Won’t Add UpLooking for a reliable, data-driven process to help your team consistently produce amazing content? Don’t. Instead, forget formulas and aim for the heart.
Want the Best Ideas to Flourish? Learn How to Cultivate SupportSo much of what you do as content marketers relies on your creative abilities – coming up with new solutions to old problems or devising fresh angles for tired topics. However, all the creative genius in the world doesn’t matter if you can’t effectively convince everyone else to come along for the ride.
What’s Killing the Case Study: A Whodunit MysteryWhy brands muddy their case studies with self-promotion and bland or unsupported claims is an enduring mystery. Editorial detective Jonathan Crossfield pieced together the clues and discovered how to turn this format into a showcase of your brand’s strengths.
The Sound of the Crowd
Talking Points: Finding the Road to Better Engagement [Audio Extras]
Can Your Content Bridge the Generation Gap? [Audio Extras]
Reach or Niche? [Audio Extras]
The Hidden Consequences of Moderating Social Media’s Dark Side [Audio Extras]
Talking Points: A Special Relationship – Agencies and Clients [Audio Extras]
Why Your Audience Needs Stories: It’s a Brain Thing [Audio Extras]
Clarity Before the Click
Playing the Long Game
The Sound of the Crowd“Followers” is such a loaded term, with connotations of leadership, of rapt social media crowds awaiting guidance, of committed allegiance. But who is really the follower and who is the influencer in this relationship?
Talking Points: Finding the Road to Better Engagement [Audio Extras]Engagement is an oft-cited top content goal. Yet, marketers can’t agree on how to define it, clients often misunderstand its value, and is anyone really measuring it? Does this elusive concept still add up in the content equation? Includes streaming audio version.
Can Your Content Bridge the Generation Gap? [Audio Extras]Throughout history, younger generations have perplexed their elders. That can be baffling enough for parents, but seasoned marketers need to understand what makes each new generation of consumers tick if their strategies are to succeed. (Interview with Gordon Locke of Pace, sponsors of this section of CCO.)
Reach or Niche? [Audio Extras]For years, the content marketing mantra has been “quality over quantity.” But bigger audience numbers still look better on a monthly report. How can content marketers strike the right balance between BIG and bold? (Interview with Kate Rogers of MSP-C, sponsors of this section of CCO.)
The Hidden Consequences of Moderating Social Media’s Dark Side [Audio Extras]Far from trivial, inconsequential banter, social media can have genuine, potentially damaging consequences for employees faced with negative comments and extreme content every day. Are employers doing enough to support their teams?
Talking Points: A Special Relationship – Agencies and Clients [Audio Extras]Clients rely on agencies and agencies need clients, but the relationships between them aren’t always smooth. How can brands get the most out of their agency partners? And how can agencies win and retain more clients? Includes streaming audio version.
Why Your Audience Needs Stories: It’s a Brain Thing [Audio Extras]Like me, I’m sure there have been many times when you’ve been unable to switch off that otherwise awful movie or put down that badly written pulp novel (Dan Brown, I’m looking at you). Meanwhile, another technically brilliant film or book with exceptional production values just can’t hold your attention. The difference is the story. At Content Marketing World 2018, Joe Lazauskas — head of content at Contently and co-author of The Storytelling Edge — talked to me about narratives, neurons, and … Jason Biggs.
Clarity Before the ClickSocial media is great for content distribution, but sometimes those tweets and updates can undermine or misrepresent the article behind that link.
Playing the Long GameA month is a long time in marketing, never mind a decade. But that’s not stopped AIHA’s Ben Rome from publishing content to educate and nurture the next generation of members before they start their careers.
Can Account-Based Marketing Bring Content Marketing and Sales Together?
Data Privacy Law: Ignorance Is No Excuse
Want Engaging Social Media Content? Lessons From a Viral Smash
Brands Often Overlook This Superhero of Storytelling
What’s Accuracy Got to Do With Social Media?
What B2B Brands Need to Know to Succeed on LinkedIn
Can Account-Based Marketing Bring Content Marketing and Sales Together?In the Venn diagram of marketing and sales, Joe Chernov sits firmly in the overlap. While the partnership isn’t always hearts and roses, Chernov believes account-based marketing could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Data Privacy Law: Ignorance Is No ExcuseFrom the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal to the arrival of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), 2018 has pushed data privacy into the headlines. Ruth Carter – internet, intellectual property, and business attorney – talks to CMI’s Chief Content Officer magazine about how marketers should adapt to a world far less forgiving and far more skeptical of the ways we capture and use data.
Want Engaging Social Media Content? Lessons From a Viral SmashGraphic designer Chris Barker has twice won cover of the year at the British Society of Magazine Editors and recently won art director of the year. Yet he is probably best-known for an image he created for his own amusement at 2 a.m. one Nov. 9 while watching the rolling U.S. election coverage.
Brands Often Overlook This Superhero of StorytellingComics aren’t just SMASH, WHAM, KAPOW! One of the oldest mediums is also one of the most powerful — and one of the most overlooked in content marketing. Yet some brands are working with top comics creators and publishers such as Marvel Comics.
What’s Accuracy Got to Do With Social Media?Fast facts, quick quotations and statistical snippets are popular social media content drivers. They're easy to produce, attention grabbing and highly sharable. Unfortunately, the first casualty of all this "did-you-know" social media content can be accuracy.
What B2B Brands Need to Know to Succeed on LinkedIn"Why so serious?" B2B social media content can be just as creative, individual and trusted as any other content ... particularly on LinkedIn.
Full Disclosure: The Murky World of Influencer Marketing
Is Your Social Content Picture-Perfect or Merely Taking Stock?
Is Your Brand Really Who It Says It Is?
Is it Time to Abolish Social Media?
Going Potty for Facebook: How a Toilet Paper Brand Won Social
Full Disclosure: The Murky World of Influencer MarketingEver since marketers cottoned on to the potential for social media to drive influential word-of-mouth brand recommendations, they’ve tried to either foster or fake these discussions.
Is Your Social Content Picture-Perfect or Merely Taking Stock?Most content marketing workflows conclude with the innocuous phrase, "Share to social." Yet those three words encapsulate so much more than merely pasting a link into an update. The wrong choice of image can make a terrible first impression. Get the picture?
Is Your Brand Really Who It Says It Is?According to the famous 1993 New Yorker cartoon, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Are any of us – brands and individuals alike – really who we say we are? Welcome to the quagmire that is authenticity in social media. Watch your step. It’s a minefield!
Is it Time to Abolish Social Media?The phrase ‘social media’ may be doing more harm than good to the marketing industry. Why? By demanding specialised treatment when we can’t even agree on what it actually means.
Going Potty for Facebook: How a Toilet Paper Brand Won SocialWith the right strategy and the right content, any brand or product can find a loyal and active audience in social. If a toilet paper brand can do it, so can you.
Social Media Mistakes: What Brands Should Do to Avoid Epic Fails
Social Media: Is Your Content All Rhetoric?
Do You Operate in a Social Media Bubble? 3 Questions to Ask
A Day in the Life of a Social Media Marketer (2026 edition)
Every Event Should Be Time for Social Media
Is Your Social Media Content as Popular as You Think?
Social Media Mistakes: What Brands Should Do to Avoid Epic FailsIf you’re ever in doubt as to why marketers are often treated with such scepticism and derision, spend a little time in social media after a major celebrity death or tragic news event!
Social Media: Is Your Content All Rhetoric?In social media, the audience pulls the strings. If the audience doesn’t agree with what we have to say or sees an opportunity for mischief, we can quickly lose all control.
Do You Operate in a Social Media Bubble? 3 Questions to AskOur social media feeds are increasingly personalised, and this presents a major challenge for anyone hoping to reach the right audience with the right message. Just ask Alice...
A Day in the Life of a Social Media Marketer (2026 edition)Editor’s note: Due to a failed attempt to integrate Evernote with an alarm clock, this column accidentally synced with a column from 2026. Normal service will be resumed as soon as someone remembers the account administrator’s password.
Every Event Should Be Time for Social MediaI’m a sucker for a good conference, particularly when there’s a vibrant hashtag to keep me entertained. The ability to discuss the presentations with other delegates as they happen is extremely powerful.
Is Your Social Media Content as Popular as You Think?Metrics such as shares, retweets, and views are often the easiest and most obvious to gather, but they may be the most deceptive and unreliable when evaluating whether your content is genuinely making a difference.
Is Viral Content Making You Sick?
When Followers Attack: A Monty Python Guide to Maintaining Social Media Harmony
Social Media Automation: A Little Less Conversation, a Little More Action
Why BuzzFeed Shouldn’t Blow Your Marketing Mind
Avoiding a Social Media Tragedy
Don’t Believe the Hype: What Ello Really Means for Content Marketers
Is Viral Content Making You Sick?Most of us know that achieving a viral hit is a crapshoot, even for the most skilled marketer. Yet, some still exploit meme culture to spread brand messages without understanding what it really means to “go viral.” [#Facepalm]
When Followers Attack: A Monty Python Guide to Maintaining Social Media HarmonyThe day starts like any other – a bit of trivial hashtag banter, a share of a new infographic, and answers to customer queries. But then an unexpected and highly negative comment kicks you right in the sentiments.
Social Media Automation: A Little Less Conversation, a Little More ActionI’m a strong believer that good writing should never sit on the fence, which is why I was pretty scathing in my column last year about social media automation. If a magazine column can be said to have a sequel, then this one should probably be retitled “Automation Wars 2: Jeff Bullas Strikes Back.”
Why BuzzFeed Shouldn’t Blow Your Marketing Mind“Roll up! Roll up! Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to be amazed! In this tent is something truly horrifying. Gentlemen will shudder. Ladies will swoon. Children will scream. Can you bear to look upon these monstrous freaks? Enter … if you dare!”
Avoiding a Social Media TragedyThe tragic #SydneySiege showed just how off-key marketers can be when they ignore (or worse, capitalize on) unfolding tragic events.
Don’t Believe the Hype: What Ello Really Means for Content MarketersPrint magazines being what they are, I pitched the idea of writing about the invitation-only, ad-free social network, Ello, at the beginning of October 2014. This was not long after both mainstream media and various online marketing communities achieved peak Ello hype.
Group Think: How to Improve Your Social Content Results
Are Social Media Content Agencies and Experts Taking You for a Ride?
The Future of Social Media Content Strategy is Really Déjà Vu
How Automating Your Social Media Content Can Hurt Your Brand
How to Spot True Social Media Talent Amongst the ‘Experts’
#Hashtagology 101: How to Use Hashtags in Your Social Media Content
Group Think: How to Improve Your Social Content ResultsAbout once a week, my letter box contains a real estate flier. “We recently sold a house in your area for a record amount,” declares the smiling, yellow-jacketed headshot. “Have you considered selling your home?”
Are Social Media Content Agencies and Experts Taking You for a Ride?There are many agencies, consultants, and “experts” living off the perception that social media marketing is a complex science, beyond the ken of mere mortals. Their social media content strategies are driven by as many graphs, metrics, and loosely defined abstract concepts as the client is willing to pay for.
The Future of Social Media Content Strategy is Really Déjà VuRemember all those articles a few years ago that predicted Google+ would overtake Facebook and revolutionize search? The +1 button was going to be the most important social media share button you could, you should, you MUST install on your blog.
How Automating Your Social Media Content Can Hurt Your BrandI have a rule. Actually, I have many rules, but you don’t need to hear the ones concerning black jelly beans or why tequila is no longer allowed in our house. The rule that’s relevant to this column is about Twitter, and although it may seem arbitrary, it’s about maintaining certain standards for social media content.
How to Spot True Social Media Talent Amongst the ‘Experts’How many social media experts does it take to change a light bulb? Never mind; we’ll come back to that. But first let’s look at what we mean by the term “social media expert” in the first place...
#Hashtagology 101: How to Use Hashtags in Your Social Media ContentIt took a while, but Facebook finally succumbed to the hashtag in June 2013. Now this humble little symbol can connect conversations on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest.
Beware the Social Media Content Algorithm Chasers
How Social Media Content Tools Can Work for Your Sharing Strategy
Stop Treating Social Media Content Like Spinning Plates
Fight or Flight: Responding to Social Media Threats
Beware the Social Media Content Algorithm ChasersI’ve never understood lepidopterists. They admire the beauty of moths and butterflies, chasing them across meadows with a large net. But once caught, the creature is dropped in a killing jar and pinned to a display board.
How Social Media Content Tools Can Work for Your Sharing StrategyForgive me for a moment while I make an incredibly broad and general statement — the sort of simplistic statement I usually complain about when made by other people. But I’m not other people, and I need a hook for this article.
Stop Treating Social Media Content Like Spinning Plates“Drum roll please, as we welcome to the stage The Amazing Brando and his spinning social media plates!” (Cue polite ripple of applause, followed by a cheesy organ rendition of “Baby Elephant Walk.”) "
Fight or Flight: Responding to Social Media ThreatsSpectacular social media flameouts over the last year should teach companies to curb impulsive reactions to social media threats. Let's review this one more time.
Followers Don't Make You a Leader
Hunting Hippos: Winning Approval from the C-Level for Content Marketing
Red Alert – Social Media in Crisis
Followers Don't Make You a LeaderDigital marketing, particularly social media, has led to an obsession with meaningless numbers. Followers, “likes”, and connections may give some indication of the size of your potential audience. But those numbers say nothing about whether your audience is really following your lead, liking what you have to say, or connecting with your message.
Hunting Hippos: Winning Approval from the C-Level for Content MarketingIf your business has a hippo culture (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion), where decisions always seem to defer to the most senior person in the room, just how do you get approval for your content marketing strategy?
Red Alert – Social Media in CrisisMarketers love slapping each other on the back for the good times. But what about when disaster strikes and the social media team finds themselves at the centre of an online storm?
Marching to a Different Beta
In the Blue Corner ...
Marching to a Different BetaIs Google+ destined to replace Facebook or follow MySpace into obscurity? Jonathan Crossfield wonders whether Google's newest offering might finally be a social network worthy of our attention.
In the Blue Corner ...Just who do you think you are? Yes, you! Wanna make something of it? OK, maybe I'm not advocating that your writing should emulate a schoolyard scrap with a linguistic kick to the goolies. But there are significant advantages to be had when writers allow themselves to get angry and take to the soapbox.