Among the 15 of us at Convince & Convert, we attend most of the major marketing conferences—and many of us speak at these events too. With this high level of exposure to the thought leaders and tacticians in the industry, I’m always excited when the team reports back on the topics that are on attendees’ lips following a conference. It gets us thinking about the content we want to create, podcasts we want to record, and of course, the recommendations we want to make for our clients.
At this year’s Content Marketing World, Jay Baer, content strategist Anna Hrach, and I not only spoke but attended a ton of interesting sessions. And for me, three overarching themes emerged within the event.
Data Needs Good Context and Good Storytelling
As data is becoming easier to come by and more companies are able to mine customer, audience, and even employee data for insights, we’ll continue to have important conversations about how we can best use the information at our fingertips to serve our audiences. However, speakers like Margaret Magnarelli of Monster and Adam Singer of Google focused on the importance of using storytelling and context to turn raw data into compelling information.
The opportunities aren’t just around telling interesting stories with the data we have, but also in developing engaging hypotheses around which to collect data.
Be a Writer First
“Be a writer first and a marketer second,” said bestselling author and MarketingProfs CCO Ann Handley. In her fantastic keynote, she explored the importance of prioritizing writing, telling stories, and connecting with our audience on an emotional level. You don’t move people with sheer logic; you move them through appealing to their emotions.
In content marketing, especially in the digital space, we are often distracted by shiny objects and cool features. That’s not what makes content compelling. If the story, the arc, and the characters don’t resonate with the audience, the medium doesn’t matter.
Own Your Audience
As content marketers, we are all faced with the fragmenting of our audience among many different networks. Furthermore, we only “rent” audiences on social media. Therefore, putting more focus on “owning” audiences through better nurture campaigns, building dedicated communities, and building higher quality email lists is important.
But more than that, we have to understand the value of our audience beyond just transactions. An engaged audience is self-sustaining, generating conversation, referrals, and interest. CMI’s Robert Rose explored these ideas in his keynote speech and even outlined a system for audience valuation.An engaged audience is self-sustaining, generating conversation, referrals, and interest. Click To Tweet
In the end, these three themes show that as far as content marketing has come through technological innovation, we as an industry will still find our success from digging into the fundamentals.
When Aristotle described the elements of the rhetorical triangle, he was really talking about the dynamics between the presenter, the audience, and the message. And isn’t that what these three takeaways really boil down to?
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