Last week, Content Marketing World was held for the seventh year in a row in Cleveland, Ohio. Once again, the conference gathered nearly 4,000 ...

3 takeaways from Content Marketing World

Last week, Content Marketing World was held for the seventh year in a row in Cleveland, Ohio. Once again, the conference gathered nearly 4,000 participants from more than 50 countries to present and discuss the latest in content marketing. Here are some of the most important takeaways. 

Content Marketing World has since the start in 2011 been a growing and essential meeting point for the international content marketing industry. With 14 parallel tracks and nearly 230 speakers, there is almost an unlimited amount of knowledge you can take home with you.

Spoon Academy will during the autumn dig deeper into the most interesting topics, but today I’m content with three takeaways that I couldn’t stop thinking about, despite the jet lag and my desperate attempts to re-adjust to everyday life.

Dare to be the exception

At this stage, everybody knows that there is too much mediocre content online. But few people have managed to figure out what to do about it. Putting quality before quantity is easier said than done when the channels are many, demands are high and the resources too few.  

Jay Acunzo has for about a year conducted a crusade against mainstream content marketing. He proclaims that you shouldn’t follow best practice but instead trust your intuition. And he does so with examples that make any marketer become a rabid naysayer to list articles, ”how to content” and simple shortcuts that rarely lead to actual results.

In his presentation, Jay Acunzo shows how companies that have followed their own path, often opposing other actors in their industries, managed to create a unique position through content marketing. He claims that by using your intuition, you can produce content that creates engagement and connection with an audience, which you can never achieve through streamlined content.

Takeaway #1 from Content Marketing World: 

“When we pay more attention to the customer than the industry, the customer pays more attention to us.” – Jay Acunzo. Click to tweet. 

Quality is more important than quantity

Ann Handley is one of content marketing’s sharpest minds and most entertaining speakers. She is also – together with Jay Acunzo – one of the foremost advocates that marketers should create less content, but with higher quality. Something that is easy to say, but hard to do.

In her presentation at Content Marketing World, she showed figures from Content Marketing Institute’s and MarketingProfs’ annual survey, which found that 85% of the most successful marketers focus on quality, not quantity.

For businesses that have the objective of creating X number of blog posts, Y number of videos, and Z number of social media posts every week (and to tell the truth, many companies have those kinds of quantitative goals), these figures ought to turn their strategy upside down.

The full study is released in October. We will most likely have good reasons to return to it.

Takeaway #2 from Content Marketing World:

“The difference between creative and desperate is an abundance of ideas.” – Ann Handley. Click to tweet.

Is love a new measure of loyalty?

One of the first marketers to speak of the risks with an abundance of mediocre content was Mark W. Schaefer. He introduced the term Content Shock already in 2014 and described it as: ”The emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.”

In his presentation at Content Marketing World, Mark W. Shaefer questioned whether loyalty truly was the ultimate measure of our customers’ engagement. Or is there another step? Maybe it’s even love? And what is then required of us marketers?

According to Mark W. Schaefer we must have the courage to be more personal, and dare to make use of our employees who are the ambassadors for our brand. ”Personal branding,” he says, is ”the future of corporate branding.”

Schaefer argues successfully that a personal brand requires presence, reputation and authority within a specific industry, and he claims that companies here have a golden opportunity to create client relationships that go far beyond loyalty.

But can anyone become known? According to Mark W. Schaefer, the answer is yes. But it requires organisations that have the courage to let employees take up space, being present, and creating a reputation and showing proof of their authority.

Takeaway #3 from Content Marketing World:

”You don’t love a logo or a press release or a piece of content. You love a person.” – Mark W. Schaefer. Click to tweet.

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