Last week I had the privilege of attending the 2016 Content Marketing World Conference in the always beautiful Cleveland, OH (home sweet home!). Top minds from around the world gathered together at the Huntington Convention Center to listen to and share inspiring stories about the ever-changing landscape of content marketing, and the importance it plays on the success or failure of a business. I had the chance to speak with individuals from Belgium, Germany, Canada and more (which isn’t surprising when attendance reached just over 3,500).
Anything a marketer could dream of learning during a conference was covered — not to mention, an endless supply of Diet Coke was provided during each 11 hour day. Before I share my favorite parts, I want to commend the Content Marketing Institute on the app they developed for all registered attendees. It had every bell and whistle needed to help one navigate the experience from their mobile device. It especially helped me get in contact with others when I had any question or concern about sessions, after parties (those would need an entirely different blog post) and any other FAQ. Check out what it had to offer!
Now, let’s get to what I’m really here to educate you on, my favorite takeaways from my four days at CMW:
1. MILLION DOLLAR IDEAS DO NOT HAVE TO COST ONE MILLION DOLLARS!
Keynote speaker and marketing mega genius Lars Silberbauer of LEGO *R* discussed how he and his team divided their roadmap to content into two categories: “Building Together” and “Pride of Creation.” My favorite story from the conference was all about GEORGE. While brainstorming a social media campaign for LEGO, Lars decided that he’d force his team to think big, by spending small. During their meeting, he had everyone empty their pockets of any cash they had, and whatever the total was, that was what they had to use. So, they created George — a small, but significant character that they asked their online fans to take on their journeys all over the world. It resulted in 20 times more UGC (User Generated Content) than any other campaign they had created for their social media channels.
2. “AN ALLY IN CREATION IS AN ALLY IN PROMOTION.” – Andy Crestodina
Influencers. Contributors. Vloggers. They’re all around us! When you collaborate with a professional in your market, be sure to emulate that in your promotion of it. Writing a blog post? Acquire as many insights from a number of professionals, and credit them all in your writing. When giving someone praise and promotion in your content, they’re far more likely to share it with their network, thus creating a whirlwind of organic reach and engagement! Want bonus points? Crestodina also suggests writing each contributor a handwritten note thanking them for their cooperation, and really building that personal relationship for future collaborations.
3. “ANN HANDLEY IS MY SPIRIT ANIMAL!” – ME
TUFD, otherwise known as “The Ugly First Draft”, is a phrase coined by Handley referring to the place your brain unloads all ideas when creating copy for marketing content. I loved when she talked about using TUFD to keep asking yourself “so what?” Forcing yourself to develop an inner funnel where key details are acquired throughout each step will help you kick the fluff, and get right to the good stuff.
4. “SELL THE MEANS, NOT THE END!” – Jay Acruno
Serta Mattresses does not want to sell you a mattress, they want to sell you a better night’s sleep. Selling your audience on the means, requires you to find out exactly what the problem is that you’re solving with your service and product, and highlighting how efficiently you can solve it by advertising the means instead of the end.
5. “FIND YOUR WHY!”
A comedian inspiring you to make better content? You bet! Funny man, Michael Jr. hit the stage Thursday morning to deliver a VERY powerful message on purpose and finding your “why.” Your business should strive to make lives better, which will be your starting line for any marketing objectives you strategize. Finding your “why” will help develop each and every “what” in content creation.
As CMW approached, I was so excited for the educational opportunities that I knew awaited me. I had no idea, however, that I would leave so inspired. Inspired to grow as a team member, a thought leader, and most importantly, a content strategist. I’m honored that I was able to represent Likeable Media at such a fantastic conference, and I look forward to having the opportunity to return next year.