Do you ever feel you’re in need of a professional reboot?
It’s not so much the feeling of hitting a wall—I can certainly identify writer’s block when it comes along—it’s more of a confidence issue. Basically, I was feeling stale.
That’s when I stumbled upon the Content Marketing Conference in Boston. I only had two weeks to get approved, booked and registered, but something about their superhero enthusiasm for writing got to me. Plus, they promised good laughs throughout.
The experience turned out to be everything I needed. The speakers were engaging and dynamic, and that humor they promised went a long way in making me feel more inspired about my work.
In addition to the learning opportunities, conferences are a great place to get affirmation. There’s a feeling of validation in being among your tribe—in my case, my content marketing squad.
Here are eight takeaways from presenters who inspired me:
“Don’t tell me what you do, tell me why it matters to me.”
Ann Hanley emphasized that content gives us the opportunity to offer our audience a full experience, a packaged story.“ It goes beyond just being “different;” the package must be extraordinary. “It should sound like a movement; it’s something you want to be part of; it’s your squad,” she said. Exceptional content builds an experience that offers much deeper value and translates into real life, seamlessly.
“Smart marketers don’t just join conversations, they lead them.”
There is stiff content competition on the web. We must ask, “What story can I tell with a depth and breadth that doesn’t already exist?” Fine-tune the brand’s tone of voice, first. From there, we can build actual relationships with our target audiences. Be someone they want to know. Today’s content marketer has to be “bigger, braver and bolder” with their creative choices.In a nutshell: “Does your content tell a different story with a specific point of view?”
This is the “source of the squad.” Empathy builds trust. It takes walking the talk for a customer to believe you when you tell them, “we hear you; we see you.” The relationship between brand and consumer is real and impactful. We can creatively narrate a story that resonates and builds an emotional connection on its own.
“Content marketing is hard work—you’ve got to actually rub some brain cells together and make friction.”
This comment echoed Ann Handley when she noted that content marketing is far more about “brains than budget.” There’s a crossover between psychology and marketing for a reason. The content marketer has to study and listen before executing any creative elements. It’s a lot of responsibility, but great content is useless if not planned and executed thoughtfully.
“If text is to Google is to 2007, video is to social is to 2017.”
That was self-admitted risky statement to make to an audience full of writers!
It was hard to hear, but important. We have to remain open to the changes in our industry—they are, after all, constant. Our role has to evolve with the digital landscape, and sometimes that means getting comfortable with new trends and new media.
“Engage them where they live.”
As a social media manager, I had to include this quote. It was followed up with the statement, “Invest more in social.” The opportunities to connect and build community are limitless. These people become that aforementioned “squad.” They can become loyal brand ambassadors.
“Sometimes success is random, but you need quantity to find the quality.”
Let the data speak! Experimentation is necessary. Not every idea is going to work, but a fraction of those do work. If there is no process in place to track our content, we cannot measure performance. This is the longest haul of the process for many, but it’s essential.
“Write without the bullshit.” That’s the summary—but for more, check out Josh’s infographic: