Every September, content marketers of all industries flock to Cleveland, Ohio to attend Content Marketing World — a conference dedicated to the latest content marketing trends and tips from world-renowned experts. This year was no exception. There were over 2,000 attendees, 150 speakers, and more than 120 hours of content. Couldn’t make the trip this year? We’ve got you covered with a round up of highlights from some of our favorite sessions at the event.
Power of Community (Rural or Otherwise)
Kim Olson, Chief Communications Officer at Land O’ Lakes Inc.
THE GIST: As a Fortune 200 company and a member-owned co-operative of mostly farmers, Land O’Lakes’ content focuses on the “why” before the “what.” With less than 1% of the population pursuing farming as a career — and 100% of the population relying on farmers to provide food to eat — the company positions farmers and retailers as the catalyst for bringing about a better world. Land O’ Lakes creates content under three main pillars: sustainable futures, vibrant rural communities, and a safe and plentiful food supply.
TIPS & TAKEAWAYS
- Talk about your company as if it’s a person to help potential customers gain trust in the organization.
- Create content that creates a platform for executives in three ways:
- Profiles: Help your audience understand the people behind the work by spotlighting the key players. Like this recent profile on CEO Beth Ford at the National Governors Association.
- Platform: Develop content that uses your platform to further causes that matter to your audience and reflect your mission.
- Performance: Share projects that highlight improved performance for customers, such as the American Connection Project.
📚 Related Resource: How to Tell an Unforgettable Brand Story
Voice Is the New Logo
Ann Handley of MarketingProfs
THE GIST: If your readers didn’t know what brand’s content they were reading, would the brand voice or tone be enough to identify your organization? If not, it should. Developing such a strong voice is not easy to accomplish, but in her keynote, Ann Handley delivered the road map to do just that. She shared that a brand voice builds trust, affinity, and influence when the brand cannot be there visually, such as with a visible logo.
TIPS & TAKEAWAYS
- Your brand voice can (and should) change over time. Consider using AI to help evolve your brand.
- Content creators should not simply follow a style guide when it comes to voice. Instead, the content should lead the evolution of the brand voice.
- Cover up your logo and see if you sound different — or if you sound like everyone else.
- Instead of trying to determine what voice will resonate with your intended audience, think about the company and writer’s voice internally.
Fight the Fatigue
Mark Bornstein, VP of Content Marketing at ON24
THE GIST: The conversations surrounding digital fatigue seem played out. However, according to Bornstein, people aren’t so much digitally burnt out as they are fed up with boring marketing. With more digital content and less in-person interaction, audiences are looking for content that is human, involves participation, provides interaction, offers engagement, allows for self-selection, and offers personalized experiences.
TIPS & TAKEAWAYS
- Look for opportunities for subscription models, which are key to the type of marketing more people want.
- Instead of blaming digital fatigue, pivot to reducing “bad marketing.”
- Shift your content creation mindset from presentations to programs, such as talk shows, news shows, virtual award shows, game shows, or community events.
- Consider outbound content experiences like targeted landing pages and inbound content experiences, such as curated content hubs.
🤝 Related Resource: What’s Human-to-Human Marketing? And How Can Today’s Brands Achieve it?
The Secrets of Creating Inspired B2B Content Experience
Lee Odden, CEO & Co-founder of TopRank Marketing
THE GIST: Many B2B companies fall into the trap of creating boring content with selling as the core focus. Odden offered a different approach, emphasizing how stories and emotions can increase performance. To prove his point, he posed a question about our reaction to a hitchhiker with a sign that says “To Jacksonville” or “To Mom’s For Christmas.” It’s a no-brainer as to which message would be more successful in getting them home for the holidays. However, Odden stressed it isn’t all about creation — a huge portion of success lies in effectively promoting the content after it’s created.
TIPS & TAKEAWAYS
- Tell stories that elicit emotion in your content whenever possible. Facts tell, stories sell. According to Stanford University, stories are 22 times more memorable than facts.
- Drive to a clear next step for the reader.
- Use influential “Other People’s Content” to inspire buyers.
- Treat the buyer as the cornerstone when planning content. Buyer-centric content is more likely to convert than company-centric content.
- Take the time to develop a thoughtful distribution plan to promote your content once it’s created. According to the Converge B2B Content Amplification Report, 93% of marketers say promoting content works, but 75% say they don’t spend enough time doing it.
🔑 Related Resource: The Key to Content Planning for More Efficient Distribution
Bloggers Mindset: How to Create 10X Content 10X Faster
Mike Allton, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Agorapulse
THE GIST: Creating content is time-consuming. But by taking a page from bloggers, who regularly churn out content at scale, content marketers can create more high-quality content in less time. Allton shared that by starting with a defined focus and narrowing your niche, you can save significant time — which means more content and, hopefully, a larger audience.
TIPS & TAKEAWAYS
- Use an idea-tracking app such as Evernote, Google Keep, or OneNote to jot down ideas.
- Ask yourself the following questions when considering a topic and only move forward if the answer is yes — to all of them.
- Is my audience interested?
- Am I interested?
- Can I add value?
- Do I have time?
- Is now a good time?
- Embed images, GIFs, charts, infographics, screenshots, and/or quotes within your content to make it pop.
- Make it easy for readers to find and share your content by linking to existing content and updating older articles with links to new content. Use Semrush and Google’s Keyword Planner to determine the best keywords to use.
📕 Related Resource: How to Plan Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy
While we hope you find these takeaways and tips helpful, the value of attending Content Marketing World can’t be captured in an article. There’s a certain energy that comes with being in a room with hundreds (or thousands) of others who share the same goals and passion for content that you do. The opportunity to forge connections with other marketing professionals is unmatched. And the conversations that happen post-session or over a drink at one of the many evening receptions make you think about concepts in a completely different light.
It’s these unique moments that keep us coming back to Content Marketing World again and again. We hope to see you at the 2023 edition of the conference.
Don’t forget to check out our speaking session from this year’s CMWorld. Watch Radical Transparency: A Pfizer Masterclass in Developing Earned Trust in Content Marketing.