Guest Post by: Jason Miller

I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at this year’s Content Marketing World conference which wrapped last week in Columbus, OH. This is the mecca for content and social media marketing, and on hand were the superstars of the industry from across the country and around the world.

Content marketing experts such as Ann Handley, Michael Brenner, and CC Chapman were in attendance along with social media experts like Jason Falls, Jay Baer and Amy Porterfield to name a few.

Here are my key takeaways from the event:

1. Only 36% of Businesses Believe that Their Content Marketing Is Effective

CMI founder Joe Pulizzi previewed the 2013 Content Marketing Benchmark Report citing the report’s highlights:

Photo Courtesy of Content Marketing World

  • 54% of businesses plan to increase spending on content marketing over the next 12 months.
  • Businesses are still struggling to find a process that works and to gain C-level buy in.
  • The biggest challenge content marketers face is producing enough content, followed closely by producing the kind of content that engages.
  • The other two major challenges are lack of budget and buy in.

2. There Are Five Massive Movements that Have Changed Marketing Forever

Author and content marketing advocate Mitch Joel delivered an incredibly inspiring keynote, focusing on the five movements that are keeping marketers on their toes.

  • The Power of Direct Relationships - You no longer need a newspaper to share your message. You can create the content yourself. As a business, ask yourself if you are truly building these direct relationships.
  • Have Sex with Data – Move beyond customer intimacy and get right to the good stuff. Customers are not looking for advertising, what they want is a personal experience that is highly targeted and relevant.
  • Be Useful or Die - Create utility by creating something that people really want/need to use. It begs the question, can brands shift from being narcissistic to utilitarian?
  • Passive media vs active media – TV, radio and newspapers are passive media while Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are active media. The real value of any platform is when you get active with it. Create content that people will engage with and that will lead to a conversation. Focus on making your messaging as shareable and findable as possible.
  • One Screen World – We talk about the four screen world: TV, mobile devices, computer, and tablets when the only screen that matters is the one that is in front of your consumers. Ask yourself what you are going to do to make your connections more valuable?

3. The Most Powerful Thing in Content Marketing Is the Brand Narrative

What is your business doing to tell a better brand narrative? When it comes to content marketing it’s important to tell your story in different ways and connect the pieces across several marketing channels. Ask yourself, is this something I would pay for? If the answer is yes, then you are creating compelling content.

4. Content Is the Best Form of Marketing When It Is Put Together in an Integrated Plan

Photo Courtesy of Content Marketing World

Copyblogger’s Brian Clark said it best, “Creating content for content’s sake doesn’t get you anywhere, thats where the marketing comes in.” The goal of your content is to attract people over time. Repurpose and adapt your content to support every element of your marketing mix. Marketing automation plays a major role in disseminating your content to your most important channels such as emails and events. Social media exposure drives natural links and boosts rankings as Google pays more attention to social signals instead of keyword placement.

5. If You Are Not Measuring the Results of Your Content Marketing You are Not Going to Be Successful

SAP’s Michael Brenner had an incredibly insightful session about choosing the right metrics for measuring the success of your content marketing. He suggestst the following metrics as essential points to measure:

  • Percent of search traffic from non-branded keywords – A measure of how well you capture early stage buyers and influencers.
  • Percent of leads from inbound sources –  A measure of how well your content is generating leads.
  • Percent of early stage content – A measure of how much early stage content your business is producing.

Brenner finished off his session with the three goals for a successful content marketing strategy; reach, engagement, and conversion.

These are my main takeaways from a fantastic few days of all things content marketing. Joe Pulizzi and company really know how to put on a conference that is incredibly informative and inspiring without losing the element of fun and creativity.

Were you at Content Marketing World? What are your main takeaways?

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