Content Marketing World: Reflections on Cutting Edge Content Strategy

Content Marketing World

With a game show, 123 hours of presentations and 225 speakers, Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio provided the definitive, state of the art view into content strategy in 2016 and beyond. It’s not easy to summarise all these insights in a single blog post but were game to give it a try and here we discuss their most interesting takeaways for those who are serious about maximising their returns on content strategy. How important is content online? Well, without content, we’d all be looking at blank screens and you certainly wouldn’t be reading this. So, the internet would be just a little less interesting. But what makes great content? Content Marketing World brought the best content minds together to share their insights.

It’s all about the customer

How thrilled are we at parties to be cornered by the bore who wants to tell us all about how great he is? Not that thrilled, right? It’s pretty much the same with content. The customer doesn’t want to hear you talk about how great your brand is. That should be his call, shouldn’t it? Instead, let the customer do the talking.

Example: Lego’s customer-centric strategy

According to Lego’s Global Director of Social Media and Search Marketing, Lars Silberbaurer, Lego is no longer protected by a design patent. So they create value around user-generated content, showing customers having fun interacting with the product. It’s the content equivalent of selling the sizzle, not the sausage.

Eight out of ten cats…

Creating some original research around your brand or product really works. Customers respond positively to well-presented data and fun surveys. Don’t be afraid of strong opinions. Grab the bull by the horns and ask the questions that your competitors aren’t brave enough to tackle. Nobody will share bland content.

SEO Tip – Look at topics, not just phrases

Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media suggested an interesting content SEO strategy. He advocates using Google search or other tools find words and phrases that are semantically linked to your own keywords. Use those words and phrases in your content to avoid boring repetition and to create a richer user experience that also performs well in SEO terms.

Give away your babies!

There really isn’t any point in only sharing mediocre or generic stuff. So, you need to give away some genuinely valuable information and insights to encourage sharing and to build your credibility. The boost to shares and search will also drive people to your commerce pages.

Your customer enjoys looking good

Instead of sharing stuff that makes your brand look good, think about sharing info that will make your customer look good. Facebook guru, Mari Smith, pointed out how most of us like to look good in front of our friends and colleagues. Content that helps us do that can only encourage us to share.

Lights, camera, action!

Mari also mentioned the power of video. Creating videos needn’t be the reserve of big companies who can afford professional film crews and production facilities. Instead, online tools like Animoto provide a simple way to createshort, compelling videos. Use text, images and the sort of video clips you can capture with your smartphone.

No need to rush

Ann Handley, content boss at Marketing Profs, encourages us to slow down amongst the light speed of the internet and take some time to consider why we are doing things. Why would customers find your product beneficial? How will it improve their lives or business? Is this clear in your content strategy?

One idea, just one

Ann’s talk focused on producing better written content by ensuring each piece is relentlessly focused on a single ideaor topic. Resist the temptation to complicate and elaborate. Instead, hold the reader’s attention by delivering on the promise of your article introduction and heading. Don’t give them an excuse to click away.

Content network or content hub?

Mirum President, Mitch Joel, questioned whether the corporate website is the true hub for our content. Instead, he suggested that the real hub extends to everywhere your content connects with the audience. In other words, it is theaudience that provides true content value and decides on the value and extent of that content.

The rise of the machines

New technologies are changing marketing. Algorithms and artificial intelligence will increasingly change how we create good, relevant content. The potential for early adopters is huge and anyone who is serious about content marketing should ensure they keep up to date in this area.

Read all about it

It’s important to keep up with conversations online and what is trending. Often, you can align content with a trending subject and ride that wave to reach a huge audience. Big brands like Marriott hotels major in this. Google Elizabeth Gallagher and see if you can spot Marriott’s innovative intervention in a trending story.

It’s all about you – not!

It’s the job of any content producer to create content that fits with the company’s goals. This may mean ignoring the latest fads and trends in content strategy. It will certainly mean taking time out to gain a true and deep understanding of those goals and sense checking content against them.

Put your best foot forward

OK, you have a lot of content and there is a lot of internet. So why not just throw all that mud at the wall and see what sticks? Don’t. Instead, examine what one of two posts work best every week and back them by promoting only those items on social media. Don’t dilute your message with mediocre content.

Written by Derek McKenzie

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