5 Content Tips from the CNN Pros

CNN is no small news agency. In fact, as one of the world’s largest news reporting agencies, they’ve pretty much got content creation down to a science. With over 100 million cable subscribers, their process for creating content is one of the best in the world.

I was able to sit down with Mira Lowe, Features Editor for the Health, Technology, Entertainment, and Living sections of CNN.com. During our discussion, Mira filled me in on how they use content to retain their status as an industry leader, and shared some great tips on how B2B companies can do the same. Let’s take a look at some of her advice:

Tip #1: Break your content down into categories.

 To get more out of your content, try breaking it down into categories. CNN uses the following:

  • Evergreen: “How To’s” and other stories that will be relevant for a long time.
  • Breaking News: Quick and timely content
  • Enterprise: Long lead time, usually involving interviews and large production.

Using categories will help keep your content more organized, and will make it easier for your audience to figure out what they can expect out of your content strategy.

Tip #2: Involve multiple layers in your story.

Mira suggests putting multiple layers into stories so that content can be broken down and repurposed later on. For example, giving video content a few layers allows for it to be tied to a broader story. You can even repurpose B-roll footage (all of the extra footage that’s been collected) into another creative project. With multiple angles to build off of, you can extend the life of your content by using different mediums or breaking it into smaller pieces. When creating content, it’s key to learn how to get the most value out of your research or investigative efforts.

Tip #3: Conduct daily meetings.

Mira and her team meet every morning at 8am. They go over the hot stories for the day, and review what worked the day before. This helps them manage their daily and weekly publishing schedule. B2B marketers should have similar methods of communication in place to make sure that content is always fully supported. Your writers, designers, and marketing operations team members should be on the same page when it comes to deadlines, the creative needed, and promotion and distribution. Daily meetings might be a little much for the needs of your team, so play around to find a cadence that works!

Tip #4: Publish multiple times per day.

Mira and her team publish three times per day. They have a morning, afternoon, and evening publishing deadline based on the times they have historically seen the most engagement. Similarly, B2B marketers should monitor engagement with their content, and try to find a posting schedule that works for their audience — whether that’s multiple times a day, once a day, or just a few times per week.

One interesting note: CNN’s evening publications are mostly engaged with on iPads and mobile devices, while at other times of the day, their engagement is mostly via computers.

Tip #5: Learn to increase engagement in new ways.

Content is all about engagement. Mira’s efforts are measured by several different metrics, and driving engagement is one of her main goals. One technique that her team uses is including questions at the end of articles to drive further engagement. These questions are used to spur additional discussions on topics, and encourage conversations that might not have taken place otherwise. This is a simple way to increase engagement with your audience.

A huge thanks to Mira Lowe at CNN for taking the time to share some insight on her content strategy. If you’d like to learn more about content marketing, check out these content marketing statistics, or our free Content Creation Guide.