September 10, 2015
/ by Maria Materise
What happens when you place all of the world’s top content marketers in one place? You learn, you laugh and you try to keep up.
In its fifth year, Content Marketing World brings over 3,500 people from over 50 countries together and covers topics ranging from tools and technology to optimization to the future of content marketing.
Attendees are inundated with knowledge, advice and interesting thoughts from the industry’s top thought leaders – but not without having a little fun, too.
Here are seven highlights from the first day of Content Marketing World:
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Orange was the theme for Content Marketing World, and no one had more orange pride than Joe Pulizzi, founder and CEO of Content Marketing Institute, the power behind Content Marketing World. Decked out in an orange tuxedo, complete with blazer, waistcoat and tie, Joe set the conference off on the right foot with his opening speech.
Joe started off with a brief background of Cleveland and its role in the making of content marketing, calling it “Silicon Valley before its time.” Joe reminded us just how far content marketing has come in the last few years and how it is still changing and transforming today.
After Joe came the first keynote speaker of the morning: Kristina Halvorson, founder and CEO of content consultancy firm Brain Traffic. Kristina delved into the purpose behind content marketing and how our goals should drive content strategy.
We’ve gotten caught up in the need to produce more and more content, Kristina said, but more content is not always what’s best for your brand. You need to take a step back and assess your goals, as well as your consumers’ goals, and find out how your content marketing can fulfill them both.
David Beebe, vice president, Global Creative + Content Marketing at Marriott International, took the stage next to talk about how Marriott is going “all in” as a media company. David launched into the story of Joe and Alice, a husband and wife who founded a successful restaurant chain. The entrepreneurial pair were the epitome of innovation (the first to bring food onto commercial airplanes) and customer service (letting their audience’s needs drive their business).
At the end of his keynote speech, David revealed that Joe and Alice were none other than the founders of the Marriott hotels.
Jay Baer took a different route from his peers when he opted not to use slides to aid his presentation. Instead, he relied solely on words. While for some, this may have left the audience distracted without anything to focus on; for Jay, all eyes remained on him.
Jay encouraged us to put our content to the Mom Test: “If your mom doesn’t like it, nobody else will either.”
Moms are not afraid to tell the truth and can sense strengths and weaknesses. They can also sense passion. If you don’t love what you do, then your content will not pass the Mom Test, Jay says. And if the 3,500 attendees of Content Marketing World are any indication, there was no lack of passion at this event.
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Passion was also found in Ann Handley’s breakout session, “Good Content vs. Good Enough Content: A Fight for Sore Eyes.” Ann, the chief content officer of MarketingProfs, discussed the three keys to content creation: bigger stories, braver marketing and bolder voices.
As marketers, we need to stop playing it safe, Ann says. When you go bigger and bolder, you can create a unique voice for your brand that others will recognize and follow.
Ann showed several examples of brands that are already creating good content by being bigger, braver and bolder. My favorite example? The drink koozies called Freakers.
After a long day chock full of great content marketing advice and insights, John Cleese was a welcome closing keynote. John launched into an interesting and intellectual, though still hilarious, discussion of creativity.
John said there are two ways of thinking: the hare-brained way (logical and practical) or the tortoise-minded way (meditative and contemplative). There are appropriate times for both, but in the tortoise-minded way, we can employ the power of the unconscious and become more creative.
Day one ended on a high note with a special concert with the Barenaked Ladies. The band played several of their classics, including “One Week” and “If I Had a Million Dollars.” But they also shared one special song for Content Marketing World.
Ed Robertson, the lead singer, did a little rap, talking about marketing, content and even Joe Pulizzi. While the Barenaked Ladies may not know much about content marketing, they did sum up the day best with this quote:
“I know Joe Pulizzi is a marketing genius because he got people from over 40 countries to come to Cleveland,” Ed joked.
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