Curation Corner – Best Marketing Reads of December



This is the first of my periodic round-ups of new “Best Reads” related to marketing, public relations or social media.

These are the pieces from the last two weeks that have struck me as the most memorable, insightful or valuable.

Click on the titles in blue below to read the articles themselves.


Best Articles of Medium in 2015

Medium, December 28

I’m curious about Medium, and the platform tops my list to study in 2016.

I plan to begin publishing to Medium shortly, but it caught my attention this year not only for some truly insightful articles by authors famous and not, but also for bucking recent trends with its emphasis on long-form journalism and prose over pictures.

In recent years in journalism and infotainment has shifted toward shorter pieces (I’m looking at you, Buzzfeed) , the better to grab our ever-shrinking attention spans.

So too has there been an increased emphasis on visuals over text.

In this environment Medium and The Atlantic stick out as outliers for their emphasis on longer-form essays.

If you’re new to Medium (like I am) I recommend starting with “Best Articles of Medium in 2015” by Levent Askan. He curated the 20 best-reviewed articles of the year.

Included in the list is “7 Rejections” – rejection emails that the founders of Airbnb received from venture capitalists in 2008 when they were trying to sell a 10% stake in the company for $150,000. (Note: according to Wired, that $150,000 stake would be worth $2.5 billion today).

Also included is the first piece I ever read on Medium, “Why Twitter’s Dying (And What You Can Learn From It)” by Umair Haque.

Read it – you’ll learn something.


Time for the Pay-to-Play Video Racket to Come Clean,

RH Strategic’s Blog, December 29

This one hurts because it hits close to home.

A few months ago I fell prey to one these pay-to-play video vendors, who had reached out to me because a client had been honored as part of this year’s Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. Because of this, they (ostensibly) wanted to include a profile of our client in a national documentary that was hosted by a famous actor.

Despite several weeks of due diligence calls on my part it was not until I finally had my client on the line with the producer to discuss scheduling that said producer revealed it was pay-to-play. Ugh.

I urge all current and aspiring PR professionals to read this essay as a cautionary tale, and to share your own experience with these scammers in the comments below.

The author is John Raffeto, CEO of a competitor PR firm to mine, but his message is important and his words are true.

Hat-tip to Jack Kantelis, my friend & former colleague who flagged the article.


2016 Social Media Marketing Predictions From the Experts,

Social Media Examiner, December 31

Yeah – I know.

We’ve all been inundated with “Best of 2015” and “Predictions for 2016” articles.

But in the realm of social media, this was the best I’ve read.

Covering such topics as the rise of privatized social networks; increased prevalence of live video; and a trend toward instant gratification (I’m looking at you, Twitter “Moments”), this is a short and substantive summary of the trends all of us in social media will be watching for and adapting to this year.

P.S. Author Lisa D. Jenkins, Managing Editor of Social Media Examiner, is worth following across channels.


What We Learned About Management in 2015, in 25 Charts and Graphics

Harvard Business Review, December 28

The title is self-explanatory but author (and HBR editor) Gretchen Gavett earns my geekly love for including management lesson # 20: “Robots can be threatening or friendly, whether they’re humanoid or not.”

When Your Boss Where's Metal Pants

3 BIG Trends for 2016

LinkedIn Pulse, December 17

I didn’t know who author Tom Goodwin was, but to me one of the best things about LinkedIn opening its contributed blog platform to everyone 18 months ago is how it has helped democratized business writing, bringing to the surface really good pieces regardless of the author’s relative fame or anonymity.

As it turns out, Goodwin is an SVP for Havas Media who has a weekly column in The Guardian.

But the point is – I neither knew nor cared who he was.

What caught my eye was the writing – his insights are good, and I’m not just saying that because his third identified trend (“Last mover Advantage”) echoes (and thus, validates) points I’d made in one of my own LinkedIn Pulse pieces earlier last year (Strategy and the Second Mover Advantage).

The Top 5 Digital PR Trends to Watch in 2016

AdWeek, December 30

Self-explanatory. Kudos to author Shawn Paul Wood.


Infographic: The True Life of a PR Professional

PR News, via Upraise PR, December 18

This is for all of my friends and relatives who wonder what I do all day, working in “PR.”

It’s also a testament to the power of

  • infographics
  • humor
  • vitality

On that last bit, Upraise PR created the infographic, but it reached my desk via PR News, where writer Richard Brownell introduced it with this valued-added gem:

“100% of PR pros think that statistics are important, 101% believe that not all statistics are real.”


The True Life of a PR Professional

1 Comment on "Curation Corner – Best Marketing Reads of December"

  1. In the end, we all graduate into responsible adulthood and citizenship. And that foundation forms the real difference between whether we stay ordinary or become extraordinary. No matter how great their leadership, people who don’t approach their career with an “entrepreneur” rather than a mere “employee” mindset are doomed to fail.

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