First things first. The title is a lie. Well, kind of.
Content Marketing World was packed with loads of tips and inspiration from some pretty brilliant content marketers. However, if you’ve ever been to a large conference, you know that it’s near impossible to soak in information from all the choices in sessions. So, half-truth-filled titles aside, here are the takeaways that stuck with me.
Short Attention Spans Are a Myth.
Andrew Davis kicked off the conference with his keynote that debunked a nagging voice inside many marketers’ heads—attention spans are dwindling, therefore we should make content as short as possible. Davis argues that, “Our audience is capable of paying attention as long as we grab and hold their attention.” He went on to say explain, “All the effort to make our content shorter has eliminated every element that makes it interesting… Our audience will make time to consume content that maintains their interest… The key ingredient is to create a curiosity gap.”
Content is the Number One Way to Scale Relationships.
Relationships aren’t something I usually think about scaling, but when John Hall of Influence & Co. spoke, I realized it’s something we already do when building and implementing content strategies. John discussed how, “Commitment and consistency to putting out content helps you move your brand from short-term to long-term memory.” John encouraged the audience to not be so focused on producing great content that you forget about forming relationships. He then went through a list of steps to focus on when crafting your content strategy:
Step 1 – Create a culture of helpfulness
Step 2 – Find out what is truly valuable to people
Step 3 – Identify ways to be truly helpful (this could include introductions, recognizing people, gifting, and cross-marketing)
Step 4 – Build Up Your Own Credibility
Step 5 – Be a Courageous Marketer
Stop Acting Like An Expert. Start Acting Like an Investigator
In his session titled, “Break the Wheel,” Jay Acunzo challenged us to question best practices to make better decisions, faster. All too often, conventional thinking comes in the form of recommendations based on supposed industry best practices (i.e., how many emails you should send each month). “We all want to do our best work, but our obsession with best practices is holding us back. We have to ask better questions.” As Jay further explained, “When you pay more attention to what the customer wants than what your industry recommends, the customer pays more attention to you.” To get away from best practices he recommended we:
· Ask better questions
· Stop acting like an expert
· Start acting like an investigator
Keep It Fresh. Make It Visual. If It Doesn’t Throw New Light On Something, Don’t Use It.
Doug Kessler started out his session about metaphors by jokingly asking, “What kind of person attends a workshop on Metaphors… at a Content Marketing Conference… in Cleveland?” Now, I’m proud to fly my nerd flag and was excited to be in a room with other marketing nerds not afraid to laugh at themselves. But despite my nerd status, I’ve never felt very strong in the use of metaphors and appreciated the examples of and reasons to use metaphors in marketing. When at their best, metaphors “can teach, surprise, delight, ridicule, or galvanize.” And while I don’t recommend striving to do the last two in your marketing, the point is to try and use language that makes a difference.
Email is the Only Place Where People (Not Algorithms) are in Control.
I keep hearing the claim “email isn’t dead.” On the other hand, my inbox is filled with boring emails that almost make me wish that it was. In her keynote, Ann Handley assured us that “email is still very much the backbone of many brands out there,” and gave solid advice on how to make your newsletter relevant.
According to Ann, “The most important part of the newsletter isn’t the news. The most important part is the letter.” She asked the audience to think about what kind of letters we love to get and gave examples that illustrated we like letters that make us feel we matter. She encouraged us to “Write your newsletter as if you are writing to one person.” Imagine you are writing that mass email to a close friend or even a favorite client. The trick is to, “Be specific enough to be believable and universal enough to be relevant.”
When someone subscribes to your email, they are inviting you into their inbox. They also have the ability to unsubscribe. The person is in control, not an algorithm.
Green Loop Marketing is a marketing agency located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We combine solid social media skills with great content, community outreach, and strong overall strategy to drive visitors to your website or place of business.