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Content Marketing World 2017 Takeaways

by: Pam Didner

Published on
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Content Marketing World 2017 Takeaways

It’s not all about FUN at 2017 Content Marketing World. Here are my 3 lessons from this year’s event.

I had the pleasure of speaking at Content Marketing World for 7 years straight. This year was bigger than ever. 12 vertical labs, 18 workshops, 50+ exhibitors, 200+ sessions and 3500+ attendees. If you are a content marketer or doing anything related to content, this is the perfect place to start your September.

Content marketing on steroids!

While listening carefully and reading between the lines of various presenters and speakers, I’ve realized that there are common themes that most speakers try to communicate, although they use different case studies, examples and methods.

1. Find human in digital:

Linda Boff, GE CMO, discussed their secret sauce for content:

Finding the appropriate platforms makes sense. You go where the audiences go.  Activating unlikely audiences may seem bit perplexing, but it’s about galvanizing your employees and their family members and telling their stories. Here is a perfect example. In this video, it tells the story of a GE engineer, who overcame the stereotype gender obstacle and trailed a career path for herself in Pakistan. Find the unexpected story inside your company.  The writing is on the wall, but the ink may not be immediately available. You need to look for it.

But I really like “Find human in digital.” Linda said it nicely:

“Show up as a person not a company. People relate to people.”

A similar sentiment was also reinforced by the awesome Ann Handley in her session, “Writing Secrets from Productive and Prolific Writers (the Jerk!): How to Create Better Content When No One Has Enough Time.” I didn’t get a chance to attend her session, but Caitlin Burgess wrote a wonderful blog post about her presentation.

“Who is your audience of one?”

Handley asked rhetorically. Write your content to this person as if having a conversation with him or her.

2. Find time to analyze the data:

I went to Jessica Best’s e-mail marketing session. Her presentation style is get-to-the-point and no fuss. I love it.

For most of the people, email marketing is just sending e-mail to your target audiences.  It doesn’t seem like there is anything special, but that’s not true. It takes time and effort to craft a great e-mail to entice people to open. The holy grail lies in using data to optimize content, timing, and determine the impact.

She also reminded us that we DO have data on hand, it’s a matter of sitting down and taking time to understand and internalize the data. Gather data from different sources and spend time studying it. There is no other way. Like everyone else, I tend to look forward when creating content. Sometimes though, you need to look backward to understand what you did or didn’t do well in order to move forward.

3. Find your own formula:

I like the statement in this Tweet. I’d expand this sentiment to content marketing tools, process, plan and team structure necessary for each company’s success is unique. Unlike e-mail marketing or event marketing, content marketing is situational.

Each company does content marketing in its own ways.

In my session, I talked about ways of creating a messaging framework that resonates.  My presentation focused how to create a DIY product-specific messaging framework.  I shared two templates with attendees. At the same time, I encourage them to modify my templates.

Depending on their objectives, certain elements of my templates may not apply to them. It’s like learning all the basic moves of a Waltz.  Once you master the basics, you can start improvising and creating your own moves.  I told my attendees that my knowledge becomes theirs when they can add and delete elements from my templates.

Templates are the starting point but each has to make it their own.  Find your unique formula!

In summary…

It was not all about keynotes and sessions. The 80’s party was awesome (Thanks to Mintent who sponsored this fun party). A bunch of us (especially me) were dancing away with our quirky 80’s moves.

I had the pleasure of speaking at this event since its inception. I met so many great friends over the years. Speaking, in its essence, is learning. Along the way, I also learn a great deal from fellow speakers, attendees, and exhibitors. Now that the event is over, I ask myself what is the one thing I’d do differently?  I want to take some time to study and analyze my own marketing analytics before making my 2018 plan.  The best way to learn is by doing.

If you have never attended Content Marketing World, I’d strongly recommend to check out this event next year.  If you were there last week, I hope you will go again. #CMWorld

Thanks to our sponsors

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