If you’ve ever groaned at the cliche expression that “content is king,” you may have found this year’s Content Marketing World conference somewhat refreshing. Rumors spread between breakout sessions that distribution has now taken the throne. New pressures facing both publishers and brands certainly gave CMWorld attendees plenty to discuss. (When they weren’t speechless from a keynote session with Joseph Gordon Levitt about democratized content or breathless from Colson Whitehead’s depiction of the writer’s journey, that is.)
The annual event attracted over 3,500 attendees in September 2017. CMWorld has now gained enough of a global draw that it’s earned Cleveland the title of the Content Marketing Capital of the World.
Major themes spanned video production, social media and influencer marketing, attribution models, analytics and audience or channel targeting. Our CMWorld learnings may have spanned departments and timeframes - but here are some of the first tips we’re putting straight to use:
1. Think carefully about the first 48 hours of your YouTube video. The algorithm weighs success in this initial publishing window most critically. According to Jonathan Stanley of Lowe’s, this is the time to put your CTAs to use. Don’t be afraid to use voice over to ask viewers to subscribe, like or comment.
2. Innovate your storytelling by rethinking the lens. Literally. Drones, GoPros, user generated content - all great ways to change your brand’s lens. Framing your concepts this way will add diversity and authenticity to each story your brand tells. Linda Boff, CMO of GE, should know. Have you seen GE’s Instagram storytelling lately?
3. The #dataviz Twitter content is a treasure trove of inspiration. A session all about making good charts, by Scott Berinato of Harvard Business Review, simplified data visualization for the generalist marketing crowd. Ask yourself: what context can be taken away, without interrupting the story being told?
4. Develop your “How To” content by focusing on micromoments: I want to go. I want to buy. I want to do. I want to know. Get your brand started with utility-focused content marketing by putting yourself in the consumer’s state of mind and creating actionable, keyword-laced content accordingly. According to Eric Hess of REI, “your consumers have questions. You should answer them (or someone else will.)”
Much of the attendee conversation challenged the conventional approach to content marketing. For example, how can you stress test the difference between your advertising vs content marketing efforts? Start by asking yourself whether you’re taking a push or pull approach? Is the content offering consistent value to the end user, or is it pitching an item or service for sale?
Having a strong grasp on how well your brand content is serving its end user has never been more important. As top conversion and analytics tools are growing in their ability to deliver true conversion attribution, valuable content will increasingly show its true value. After all of the promise we saw at this year’s #CMWorld, and the exciting things we’re drumming up at Mindstream Interactive, we’re feeling great about the direction that content marketing is headed.