Storytelling was the major theme of the conference this year. And there were some amazing people talking about how they developed their skill at storytelling, or used it in their companies to change the direction in marketing their brand.
But a few sessions I attended really stuck with me, for reasons other than just storytelling. They were focused on the semantics and practice of content marketing—the “how, and why, and when can we get everyone on board?” of content marketing.
Having come from a global corporation where we frequently were challenged by this transition to a new mode of thinking, it seemed that these people were really getting to the essence of the challenges faced every day and they offered some interesting viewpoints.
Doug Kessler, Co-Founder, Velocity Partners
- Openly share the weaknesses of your product, have internal conversations and ask for input from a variety of stakeholders—this can be surprising for what people share, but builds trust and ultimately creates confidence in what you do. Allows for change and development to take place.
- The power of “insane honesty” in content marketing is what attracts audiences and builds trust.
- Using data in marketing drives traffic, your audience wants real, believable information.
- Invisible conventions are holding us back in our marketing practices--expose them, break them, change them.
Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group
- Content marketing development and support within organizations is still a struggle. The people we need to give us our support for CM and buy in are not here! (at CMWorld)
- You get buy in by “beating the teams into submission”. Stats, competitive research and results are what can get you over the hurdle.
- Content marketing is a culture focused on customers, not a campaign. Making your boss happy vs your customers is the conflict that exists in most organizations and remains a problem.
- Think about the org chart in your company---the most important person isn't on that chart! The customer should be at the center in the “bullseye”.
- Imagine if all departments of a company focused as if the customer was the center of their efforts?
- It’s a marathon to get the buy in and support for content marketing, it’s a changing mentality in most companies still. But if you pursue it and are dogged, and use success metrics and communicate, you’ll beat your naysayers into submission.
Seth Besmertnik, CEO and Founder, Conductor
- Want to show up in search engines? That’s great, but you really need to focus on the more important things that hit the hearts and minds of the audience. Search engine placement isn’t going to make them trust you. (this from a guy whose company is all about SEO!)
- How to create value? Know your customers and their intents. Give them information they need rather than pitching what you know. Be the expert in what your customer needs.
- Put your customers first and take away the bias in your message.
- Content should be designed for a long term investment with your customers.
- "When deciding between four brands, 83.6% of consumers who read a piece of educational content by a brand, chose the brand when prompted to purchase."
And this last point was one that resonated most for me. In fact, I quoted it in my presentation the following day. The act of offering your knowledge and expertise, and answering the questions customers are really asking, is when you become their natural choice at buying time.
When I worked at Schneider Electric, we shared this every day with thousands of global users who came to our Energy University site to gain the understanding and tools needed to make an impact in their jobs. And we did it through knowledge and learning. I refer to this as “knowledge marketing” and the company gained over 600,000 users in the course of 10 years as a result. It’s a compelling way to reach end users, and I’d like to do more of this with companies who have a natural ability and inclination to talk to their audiences.
Contact me for more details!