Back to blog Content Marketing World 2013

Last week I attended the gigantic conference-a-palooza that is Content Marketing World, taking over downtown Cleveland for three days of rockstar keynotes and jam-packed break-out sessions. Oh, and a guest appearance by Captain Kirk. #nbd

Now in its third year, CM World is riding a wave of industry-wide enthusiasm for the benefits of a content-based marketing approach. For me, the overwhelming message of the event was: helping people beats selling to people . Both in terms of (long-tail) bottom-line results, and in feeling good about what you do.

This definitely struck a chord. At Mint, we’re shifting our focus from just making awesome stuff, to making awesome stuff that actually improves people’s lives (expect more on that in the near future.) And I have to confess, at CM World, I drank the Kool-Aid...

As usual, my conference notes are a hodge podge of the interesting and the illegible, but here’s an assortment of my favourite takeaways:

1. The holy grail is marketing so good you would pay for it

Content so good people can’t believe you’re giving it away for free. This was the essence of Jay Baer’s keynote, drawing from his latest book Youtility. For Jay, “youtility” means relevant, quality content that places usefulness before attention-seeking, teaching before selling.

It’s not enough to create beautiful, awesome, interesting stuff - you need to think about answering the questions your customers have, providing the kind of information they are looking for online.

2. Distribute content creation responsibilities and remove barriers

I attended a great lunchtime workshop hosted by Dayna Rothman of Marketo. She’s managed to maximise her output as a content marketing team of one, by encouraging and empowering people across her company to create content. She offered one-on-one blogging training sessions and created a high value incentive programme to get people excited.

3. Be smart about repurposing and multiplying distribution channels

Dayna also recommended a “slice and dice” approach to creating content. At Marketo they put a lot of work into creating their “Definitive Guides” - 50-100 pages per quarter. From this “main event” they create slide presentations, blogs, infographics, ebooks, webinars and videos.

4. Value long term customer relationships over momentary traffic spikes

When evaluating the effectiveness of your content, you should focus on engagement, not big numbers - shares and comments are a much better indicator of a successful piece than page views. On YouTube in particular, a small but engaged audience can be incredibly powerful - it’s about being remarkable, not being big.

5. Market your marketing

Have a distribution plan for your content - think beyond just tweeting about it. Feature your strongest assets prominently - on your homepage, in a resources section. Don’t let your hard work get lost.

6. Place service before sales.

In his keynote, LinkedIn’s Jonathan Lister suggested that, for many marketers, the sales mantra has changed from “Always be Closing” to “Always be Helping”. This seems to be the sea change across the sales and marketing world (albeit decades in the making).

I recently finished reading Dan Pink’s excellent To Sell is Human , that discusses the idea of “servant selling”. Pink says: “It begins with the idea that those who move others aren’t manipulators but servants. They serve first and sell later.” 

7. As well as useful content, create emotionally resonant content

Think about what kind of content you can create to evoke emotions, content that creates an affinity for the brand (videos and images work best).

Tomorrow I’ll be back with a cherry-picked bunch of handy tools, live examples and tweets-I-deemed-worth-favouriting. Until then, obligatory Star Trek sign-off here .

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