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Every CMO Needs to Read the New York Times Innovation Report

newspapersYou were never meant to be able to read the New York Times Innovation Report.

It was an internal document that cost the company thousands of hours of time and money to research and assemble. The report is as much about the internal culture there as it is about the digital media landscape.

The Nieman Journalism Lab has an amazing breakdown of the key takeaways from the report. You should take the time to read it, too. Both will give you plenty to think about.

I wanted to highlight a couple of key points that I believe every Chief Marketing Officer must be thinking about and acting upon if they want to keep their job. 

A Solid Content Management System is the Foundation for Success

Having the technology in place to support everything you create is critical.

It was revealed that the Times’ staff was spending lots of hours on fixing their technology when it wasn’t working or they wanted to do something new with it. If the technology you are using gets in the way of your audience being able to find, consume, and share your content, you have an issue.

Marketing and IT have always been two sides of the same coin to me, but I know that in most companies they are eternally at odds with each other. Don’t let that happen in your organization and make sure you understand the technology that you are using.

Always Make Time to Look to the Future

The Times’ first priority is to put out a daily newspaper. Your first priority is to market your company’s products or services. 

This is business 101, but today you need to carve out dedicated time to look forward, or you will fall behind.

Employees must feel empowered to experiment, bring new ideas to the table, and strategically strive for the future. 

The Times didn’t allow for this, and they are paying the price as they, and the entire newspaper industry, have fallen behind the changing times.

Hiring the Right People Is More Important Than Ever

The last point also applies when hiring staff. Don’t only look at their current skill set, but also at where they want to go in their career. 

Are they interested in the ever-changing web, or does change scare them? Will they only want to do what they are hired for, or will they be open to new responsibilities and tasks that might not even exist yet?

No matter the size of your company, if the employees are not happy then your business will not be as successful as it could be. 

The Long Tail Is Alive and Well. The Homepage, Not So Much.

In the report, the Times learned that only a third of their visitors ever visit the homepage.

Knowing how much time goes into what appears on your homepage, this should shock you, too.

People are sharing links directly to articles, videos, and other content that got their attention. They don’t always discover it the day or week after you hit the publish button. 

While you may have a detailed editorial calendar and only look at the hits and shares in the immediate moments after posting, you need to always be thinking long term. People will search out content they want and as long as you’ve got your SEO bases covered and are producing new and relevant content, they will find yours.

Reimagine the Content You Already Have

We covered this concept at length in our book Content Rules, and yet so few are doing it properly.

The New York Times has more content than most of us can ever imagine creating, but once it hits newsstands they are not doing much to breathe new life into it.

Why wouldn’t they (and you) do a monthly recap of the most popular blog posts? Perhaps assemble a YouTube playlist of your top videos on a topic. Transcribe your favorite podcast interviews and put them together in an ebook that you sell or give away as a lead generation tool.

Thinking that once you create something, you never go back to it is shortsighted and silly. Always think about ways you can reimagine what you create.

These are just a few of the major takeaways. When you read the report, which points jumped out at you that you’ll be putting into practice at your business? What did I miss? Let me know!

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