Author: Jonathan Crossfield

Jonathan Crossfield describes himself as a storyteller because writer, editor, content strategist, digital marketer, journalist, copywriter, consultant, trainer, speaker and blogger wouldn’t fit neatly on a business card. Jonathan has won awards for his magazine articles and blog posts on digital marketing, but that was so long ago now it seems boastful to keep mentioning it in bios. He lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with a very patient wife and one very impatient cat. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @Kimota.

By jcrossfield published July 18, 2022

Is Your Thought Leadership Content Missing the Point?

I’ve never been comfortable with our industry’s obsession with thought leadership.

As an aspiration, it isn’t a bad thing. Thought leadership is about building authority and trust – quite useful when your job is to persuade people to buy your products. So, I get why content marketing briefs and strategies list thought leadership as a goal.

However, I suspect the people behind those strategies missed the point. I question the methods brands often use to pursue this goal, as well as how they prove they’ve achieved it.Continue Reading

By jcrossfield published March 9, 2022

How To Take Your Content Idea From Generic to Original

Coming up with new content ideas isn’t easy in today’s content-saturated online world. But that’s not surprising when so many marketers compete to attract the same audience within the same topic while drawing upon the same information or facts.

If your business sells auto parts, you might publish regular articles on car maintenance. But how many unique or original takes on 10 things to check regularly on your car can there possibly be?Continue Reading

By jcrossfield published January 4, 2022

Why Typewriter-Like Linear Thinking Works Better Than Tools for Content Creation

Marketers routinely discuss content production in terms of tools, tech, and processes. Use that app or this device, and we’ll produce better content.

We want to know which tools other marketers or content creators are using as if they might reveal the secrets to their success.

I’m not criticizing – I’m just as guilty.

It’s incredibly tempting to imagine a new tool could be the path to stress-free and frictionless creative brilliance. You know, like in all those movies where the great author sits at the typewriter and bashes out a classic novel, only pausing to load each new sheet of paper.

Why can’t I write like that? Perhaps I could if I used the same tools and adopted the same practices.

That’s a more comforting thought than the truth: Creativity is hard.

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By jcrossfield published July 26, 2021

Curiosity May Have Killed the Cat But It Could Save Your Content

I’m a curious person.

No, not in the sense that I’m bizarre or odd (stop sniggering). I’m curious in the sense that my ADHD-addled brain becomes obsessed with finding answers whenever it stumbles across an interesting question. Interesting to me, that is.

I recently spent an entire Saturday afternoon confirming exactly how many issues of the weekly British comic Princess Tina were published between 1967 and 1973. (Or rather 1974 – I eventually proved all of the published sources wrong. Take that, Denis Gifford, and your Complete Catalogue!)Continue Reading

By jcrossfield published March 9, 2021

B2B Content Isn’t Boring Unless Your Writing Is

It’s a common refrain: “We’re a B2B company. We can’t do the same things those B2C funsters get up to.” Another good one is, “Our product/industry/niche is just too serious and boring for content marketing.”

But it’s also worth pointing out that shedloads of content are published every day for which “boring” might be a polite description (“predictable” and “unnecessary” would be others.) I regularly come across reports, white papers, and articles that would require me to stab myself repeatedly in the leg with a fork simply to stay awake beyond the opening paragraphs.Continue Reading

By jcrossfield published January 12, 2021

Why Rushing Your Writers Never Leads to Great Content

OK. Blank screen.

No problem. I’ve already agreed with the editor what this article will be about, and I kinda know what it should say. All I need to do is translate those thoughts into words on the page.

Welcome to the first of the five stages of grief writing: Denial.

Writing always takes me longer than planned. The more creative or reflective the writing, the worse this time dilation becomes – and I know I’m not alone. Creativity doesn’t like to be measured with a stopwatch when it can be measured in ice ages.

Each time I start a new project, I convince myself this time will be different. It won’t.

Before this article is done, denial will be followed by anger, bargaining, and depression. Eventually, I’ll reach acceptance that this draft is as good as it’s going to get and email it to the editor.Continue Reading

By jcrossfield published September 15, 2020

Do the Math: Creativity by the Numbers Won’t Add Up

Looking for a reliable, data-driven process to help your team consistently produce amazing content? Don’t. Instead, forget formulas and aim for the heart.

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By jcrossfield published May 19, 2020

Want the Best Ideas to Flourish? Learn How to Cultivate Support

So 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.

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By jcrossfield published January 17, 2020

What’s Killing the Case Study: A Whodunit Mystery

Why 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.

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By jcrossfield published October 14, 2019

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.

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