Content marketing thought leaders from around the world converged at Content Marketing World 2018 to share their wisdom with 4,000 marketers.
Here are the best 15 questions and answers from Content Marketing World #CMW2018:
Q. What’s the biggest problem in content today?
Kathleen Diamantakis, Managing Director-Strategy, T Brand at The New York Times: “It’s meaningless, empty. More noise than signal.
“People are discontent with content because of an epidemic of meaninglessness. Content is one cause of the epidemic.
She cited studies that show a loss of meaning in people’s lives:
- Just over half of people have a meaningful face-to-face interaction daily.
- One-fourth of people have no one to share personal problems with.
- On average, people spend 2 hours a day on social media.
- It takes just 10 minutes on Facebook to put people in a worse mood.
- News makes people feel powerless, vulnerable and desensitized.
“We’re at a cultural crossroads. Meaning is the next frontier, the reason why we see growing interest in spirituality, yoga and meditation.
“The model to create meaning includes comprehension, how we fit into the bigger picture as part of the greater culture. Purpose, a reason for being. And worth in the world, value, utility, meaningfulness.”
Q. “What’s your favorite part of writing?”
Tina Fey: “People who write for a living know writing is the worst.
“Printing is fun. Hitting command P is fun. Everything before command P is a nightmare.”
Q. What should you do when you find the right answer?
Dewitt Jones, photographer: “Don’t stop at the first right answer. Continually find the next one.
“Put yourself in the place of most potential. Open to the possibilities of what you’re given today.
“Focus your vision by celebrating what’s right with the world. Reframe obstacles into opportunities.
“Emancipate your energy.”
Q. How can you stand out in marketing?
Andrew and Pete, Founders, Andrew and Pete: “There are only 2 ways to stand out: be better or be different.
“Being better means the top 1% in your industry. Being different means being brave.”
Q. How to tell if your content is differentiated?
Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute Founder: “No other company in the world should have the same unreasonable goal.
Pulizzi cited a quote from George Bernard Shaw:
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
Q. What job does content need to do?
Andrew Davis, Author, Brandscaping and Town, INC: “Grab and hold the audience’s attention. The phrase ‘to pay attention’ infers that attention can be bought or sold, but attention is earned over time.
“Create a ‘curiosity gap’ between what the audience knows and what it wants to know. Show something the audience desires and threaten it as long as possible.
“Build tension, a need to know, a need for closure.
“Delay the reveal!”
Davis offered this equation for calculating how much attention content can generation:
ATTENTION = (TENSION / TIME) X PAYOFF
Q. How to make a newsletter better?
Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs: “Emphasize the letter in newsletter.
“Write to one person. Be specific enough to be personal and universal enough to reach an audience.
“Develop your tell. Ask: How could this newsletter have come only from me?”
Q. What are the secret 3 steps for content amplification and distribution success?
Heidi Cohen, Chief Content Officer, Actionable Content Guide: “Take 3 steps (TIP): Test and track distribution results. Improve and republish content. Promote repurposed content.”
“Build your audience before you need it. Become part of community platforms, not social media drive-bys.
“Republish and syndicate the top 50% of your content. Select the best content based on traffic, search and conversions.
“Then, create a new headline and image. Include a link to the original post. Republish on LinkedIn, Medium and similar platforms.”
Q. Why does influence (as in influencer marketing) need a better definition?
Lee Odden, CEO, Top Rank Marketing: “Influence takes personality, passion, popularity, persuasion and power – but that’s not enough. True influence requires the ability to effect action.
“Influencer marketeering activates internal experts and external experts with engaged networks to co-create content of mutual value and achieve business results.”
Q. Why does sincerity in marketing matter?
Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs: “Because quality matters. You need to know who you are.
“Ask: what content do you want to produce? What content do you need? Where do the two intersect?”
Q. What’s a career strategy for content marketers?
Dorie Clark, Author of Entrepreneurial You, Adjunct Professor at Duke University Fuqua School of Business: “Use content creation to network and meet people. Ladder up to more and more prestigious publications. Build an email list. Focus on maximum impact: eyeballs and prestige.”
Q. How can a content marketer become unique?
Mitch Joel, Founder, Six Pixels Group: “If you’re early in your space, you may be unique. But over time, others crowd into your space.
“Then, shift from being unique in your space to being unique in your voice.”
Q. Which industries are easiest for content marketing?
Andrew and Pete, Founders, Andrew and Pete: “There are 2 kinds of industries. Content-rich industries like marketing, fitness, travel and finance offer many opportunities. But they’re saturated with content already, so the danger is creating unoriginal content.
“Content-poor industries like law, printing and accounting are easier to stand out in. Why? Because there’s not as much content to compete with.
“To create distinctive content, follow the leaders in your medium, not the leaders in your industry … Even a B2B company can have a personality.”
Q. What are the main reasons content marketing fails?
Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute Founder:
“1.) It’s good, but not big enough.
“2.) There’s not enough time for content to work: it takes at least 9 to 18 months.
“3.) Lack of focus: first do one thing well. Build your base.”
Q. What one question should a writer ask the analytics expert?
Brian Massey, Conversion Scientist, Conversation Science: “Can I get a username and password to access the analytics?”
As a marketing change agent, I consult with clients, lead content marketing workshops for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and write the weekly Simplify Marketing blog.
With experience from Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, RR Donnelley and Tellabs, I've been named:
- Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute.
- Best Marketer by BtoB magazine.
- A B-to-B CMO to watch by Fierce CMO.