Cam’ron, cops, and flying pink squirrels.

Greetings from Greenpoint, where we’ve recently discovered that our new office space not only has fast wifi, but also meditation workshops and wine tastings. It's like a woke WeWork. A WeWoke, if you would.  *ducks rotten tomato*

We're also pleased to report that ever since we installed our mini fridge, people seem to be working from home a lot less. And least importantly, we now have a Facebook page because  that’s what all the cool teens are into. 

As always, if you like what you’re reading, the powers that be would be thrilled if you’d pass this link along to your friends! Your enemies, too, really. Maybe you can start to resolve your differences by bonding over your shared love for this newsletter. 

On to the #content: 

The noise in blue
As veterans of the content game (srsly, we've been at this since before content marketing was even a thing), it's pretty hard to impress us with branded content. Sure, there's good stuff out there (some of it we've even helped create), but these days everyone’s in the business of content, and it's been a while since we’ve seen a non-media company create something that made our jaw drop. Imagine our surprise, then, when the series that had us spitting out our morning cappuccino came from none other than the New York City Police Department.

The New York Times has the story of Edward Conlon, an NYPD detective who left the force to become a novelist (you may know him from the best seller Blue Blood), then returned back after a brief flirtation with retirement as the department's director of executive communications--a newly created role that has Conlon writing magazine-style narrative pieces that live on the NYPD website. 

This is not your everyday public sector PR pablum. Instead of publishing the usual rote press releases and departmental updates, Conlon writes thoughtful, engaging, thousand-some-odd word reported features. The stories range from deep dives in a single neighborhood precinct, to a deeper look into the hostage negotiation team to historical profiles of past officers. In short, Conlon’s the department’s extremely well-qualified content marketer.

“What Ed does is breathe life into our policies and what we’re up to,” Deputy Commissioner William W. Andrews, who created Conlon’s new position, told the Times. “I mean, he’s got a wonderful ear for dialogue; he’s great at putting people on the page, and he knows policing inside out.”

Is it propaganda? Kinda sorta. But it feels honest, and that's because it is honest. It's clear that while this isn't journalism, and that these stories probably have to be OK'd by NYPD higher-ups, they've done so with a light hand, and the result is that it humanizes the NYPD in a way that typical marketing struggles to do. In that sense it is a textbook example of why good content marketing can be so effective. Conlon's stories are a compelling look at a brand; they examine who the brand is and what it does; they inform and engage the brand's customers; and they crucially do so in a way that goes down easy. And that makes for a pretty good story.