After returning from Content Marketing World with over 2,500 fellow attendees in Cleveland, Ohio last week, I was left with one resounding insight: Like many things we complicate in life, we often complicate content marketing. If we look at it for what it really is, creating something that attracts, entertains and inspires people to take action, we see that content marketing is unbelievably simple. That’s not to say that it doesn’t require time, strategy and work to achieve, but content marketing, when carried out with a well-laid plan, can mean measureable success for businesses.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the experts at Content Marketing World 2014:
Would you seek out your content?
It’s easy to get into a pattern of following a schedule and creating regular content. Though a content marketing strategy is essential to the process, are the blog posts, social media messages or eBooks you produce something you would find compelling to read?
Explained time and again from the experts at CMWorld, every piece of content needs to count. If it’s between producing more content or connecting with your audience, less is always more.
“Focus on empathy and experiences, instead of more articles and blog posts.” -Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs)
Let your favorite stories be your guide.
What is it about your favorite books, TV shows or movies that capture your attention? Consider how your content can intrigue your audience and leave them wanting more.
“The first important element of good storytelling is conflict. Conflict creates tension, and tension keeps people engaged with your story. Without those elements, there’s no motive, there’s no intention, there’s no driving force, and without that, there’s no passion and no involvement.” @KevinSpacey
Navigate through the eBook overload.
We know that long form content like guides and whitepapers can be effective lead generation tools. But when former Head of Content at HubSpot, Jay Acunzo, noticed leads drying up with eBooks, he and his team decided all future content had to meet a new standard: “If it doesn’t save your audience time or money, don’t do it.” With this, HubSpot put an emphasis on creativity and tried a different approach. Stepping away from their overly saturated eBook niche, they offered free stock photos and free customizable templates to save their audience time any money.
“Know what people desire, identify the steps they need to take, and use creative content to take out some of the steps for them.” @Jay_zo
Don’t lose site of common sense.
If you want to laugh… at yourself, then President of Unmarketing, Scott Stratten, is the man for the job. Tearing up everything from useless QR codes, to tactless newsjacking, to why going viral doesn’t matter, to the false “Twitter reach” metric, Stratten jolted common sense and authenticity to top of content marketing essentials.
“The scheduling time or day does not matter. Just create something good.” @unmarketing
Content marketing is universal.
A few words from Kevin Spacey showed us just how far-reaching content marketing can be.
“You may call yourself marketers, I may call my self an actor, but the truth is, when you strip everything away, and put it down to its essential, we’re all striving toward the same goal, and that’s making a connection with our audiences.” @KevinSpacey
Did you attend Content Marketing World this year? We would love to hear some of your favorite moments and best takeaways. If you weren’t able to join, follow the hashtag #CMWORLD to see some of the great conversations that happened during the event.