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Content Marketing World 2011 Recap

CMW 2011

Guest post from Chris Sewell.

Earlier this month, Kiersten Lawson and I traveled to Cleveland for Content Marketing World 2011. And there, along with 600+ of our communications brethren, we listened and learned about how to best navigate and define the digital space.

As you might expect for a conference for digital communications pros,thousands of tweets were generated. So lots of great content spilled out 140 characters at a time. However, for those of you looking for a curated recap, here are some of the big ideas, quotes and highlights that resonated most with me. And the best part is I’m going to give this all to you completely free of charge.

  1. Because that’s the kind of guy I am.
  2. It’s good content marketing strategy (as you’ll read here).

Ready. Aim. Go.

Best definition of content marketing (of the several I heard).
“The goal of content marketing is to create a customer that creates a customer.”

“C” is for content, that’s good enough for me.
“Content is a cookie that, once people are done eating it, they’ll want more. But only if it’s good.”

There is no such thing as a boring product; only storytellers who fail to identify the passion people feel for products.
A product wouldn’t be successful if somebody, somewhere didn’t think it was important. As storytellers, it’s up to us to find out who these people are, where they are and what they’re passionate about. Then we need to feed this passion with stories that matter to them most.

Build the road and the car simultaneously.
Plan your content distribution at the same time as your content development. Don’t let distribution be an afterthought (as is often the case).

Give it away, give it away, give it away. Now.
Give away your best content. All of it. Build a following, then build a business model around it. (Not everyone agrees with this, but it was an idea shared by several during the conference).

You should be using Prezi.
Prezi rocks. It just does. Rather than the linear experience we’ve all become accustomed to with other presentation programs, Prezi turns your presentation into a diving, spinning, up-and-down-and-side-to-side storytelling experience. When you use it, you’ll wow people. And you’ll look like you’re on the cutting edge of digital storytelling. (Reason: You are.)

Infographics are hot! Which means a lot of people are out there making terrible ones.
If you’re going to produce an infographic, it needs to serve both the content and the medium. To make sure this happens, remember:

  • All infographics need to simplify the complex.
  • Data is the lifeblood of every good infographic.
  • If an infographic can be beautiful and informative, great. But do NOT mistake beauty for a high-quality infographic. It needs to inform first.

To be filed under: “Duh, but it’s worth repeating.”
Good story matters. So does authenticity. If your story isn’t both, don’t even bother. You’re wasting everyone’s time (including your own).

To be filed under: “So simple it must be true.”
User-generated content is powerful because, “People like hearing other people’s stories.”

When life hands you a white paper, make a podcast.
It’s not always necessary to create new content from scratch. Do a content inventory. If you uncover a dusty old white paper, don’t throw it overboard. Consider turning it into a podcast or a video.

Why should you put more emphasis on content gamification?
Because games are fun. Because games make us happy. And because, as Fusionspark Media co-founder Russell Sparkman noted in his presentation, gamification is predicted to jump from a $100 million to $1.6 BILLION business by the year 2015. That’s why.

Quote I liked that I’m simply going to tee up with a “Quote I liked” headline.
“We’re good at lots of little.” – Eloqua’s Joe Chernov on content consumption today.

Make your content easy to consume and easy to digest.

  • Use short sentences.
  • Break up copy with subheads.
  • Use bullet points.
  • Bullets work.
  • They do.
  • See how easy this is to read?
  • Told you.

Create valuable content – check.
Ahava Leibtag created a step-by-step checklist for creating valuable content. No joke. It’s free. Get it. Use it. Print it out, stick it to your wall. You’re welcome.

An important step in branding – define your audience.
You can’t define a brand story until you define your audience. And this process is a two-way street. Learn about your brand from your audience; learn about your audience from the brand. The brand story will unfold organically.

That content marketer sure plays a mean pinball.
Marketing used to be like bowling. Pick a lane, take careful aim at the pins in front of you, and try to knock them all down. We can’t take such a narrow approach to our target audiences any longer. Think pinball, not bowling.

Everybody has content, everything is blog-worthy.
Empower everyone in your organization to blog. They all have a story to tell.

Everybody is influential to somebody.
Social media’s wide reach means everyone matters. A consumer doesn’t need to have a huge Klout score to be deserving of your attention. Think about ways to make millions of small ripple effects instead of a handful of huge ones.

Content Marketing World 2011 Recap originally posted on September 19, 2011 by Chris Sewell – post courtesy of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide.