Five content tips I learned from Mark Ragan

I know that earlier in the year, I wrote a post offering my list of why I’m tired of lists. And I do think we tend to overdo them.


I was fortunate to attend Mark Ragan’s Content Marketing Boot Camp in Toronto – thanks for the invitation, Mark – and one of the things he said was: Listicles work. (Though the word almost looks obscene.)

And as many times as he’s tried a more serious approach at Ragan and PR Daily, people notice, read, like and share them. 

Mark’s a high-energy, entertaining presenter. He tells funny, informative stories and works the room like a seasoned comic.

And we’re on the same page – er post – about many of the best ways to practice new PR.

So, in that spirit, I thought I’d offer five other ideas from Mark’s session that stood out for me:

  1. Content should be emotional in whatever medium you use. Mark says that corporate communicators have had a license to bore people for more than 20 years and we have to change that. Become better storytellers by thinking about your audience first.
  2. Create a news desk mentality in your organization. Rather than those dull process meetings, communications should adopt a more journalistic approach by conducting story meetings, assigning posts and distributing them to your community. With fewer and fewer people to pitch stories to, why not do it yourself?
  3. Bring internal and external stories together when you create content. As Gini Dietrich says, break down those silos and especially the one between inside and outside communicators.
  4. Embrace criticism. Organizations should consider feedback a gift because it lets them look at their business from the perspective of a customer or community member and get honest comments they might not otherwise hear.
  5. All of life is a good lead. A 21st century social media variation on ‘all the world’s a stage’. So pay attention to the world around you. You never know when you’re going to stumble onto an amazing or just a plain good story you’ll want to share.

What do you think about Mark’s approach and what would you add?

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have three or four more lists to create – including an important one for groceries.

About Martin Waxman

Martin Waxman is a digital, social media and communications strategist, content marketer, social media trainer and instructor and co-founder of three PR agencies. He blogs at myPALETTE and hosts the Inside PR podcast.


Wait... did you just reference Mark Ragan and Gini Dietrich in the same blog post? Looks like I have someone new to follow. :-)

"Content should be emotional" is something we preach to our clients all the time... especially since we produce videos. I think the thing many mistakenly think is that this means the content has to be funny or make people cry.  The emotion we're most frequently trying to illicit from our audiences is a sense of confidence in our clients.

--Tony Gnau


I like Mark's approach. I'll keep an eye out for the next time he is presenting in Toronto.  "‘all the world’s a stage" ...also has a ring of 16th century Bard, to it. 

Thanks Martin. 

martinwaxman moderator

@T60Productions Thanks Tony. I try...I try! I like your point about emotion not always having to be entertainment. And as you say, it's got to be evocative. 

martinwaxman moderator

@Digital_DRK It sure does. Along the lines of everything old is new again - there's a lot we can learn about social media from looking to the way we did things in the past. Thanks Darryl!