14 Lessons From Our Content Marketing Conference

content marketing conference

I’ve been to a lot of content marketing conferences, and I finally got to see one from the inside out.

Last week, the Convince & Convert team partnered with our friends at Uberflip to produce and host CONEX: The Content Experience.

750 content marketers joined us in Toronto, including many Convince & Convert readers, clients, and fans. Thank you!

It was a fantastic experience, and I can’t wait for the next edition of CONEX: The Content Experience (which will be August 20-22, 2019)

I learned a lot about hosting and co-producing a content marketing conference, as well as some new ideas from our lineup of amazing speakers. But instead of just passing along my own recollections and notes, I thought it would be more interesting to provide my favorite tweets from CONEX, so you can see what real attendees thought of each speaker. Tweets are presented in chronological order.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can watch the livestream of the event here: https://contentexperience.uberflip.com/live-stream-2018/

No More Random Acts of Content

Karine Bengualid picked this up from our very own Anna Hrach (a strategist here at C&C) who ran an outstanding pre-conference workshop on how to create the ultimate editorial calendar. (note: We will be offering this material as an online course this Fall).

Content Success is About Remixing the Content

The theme of the CONEX content marketing conference was “Remix” and several speakers talked about repackaging content, and merchandising it better for content consumers. This trend was kicked off by Uberflip CMO and co-founder Randy Frisch, in his opening keynote. Kevin Webb tweeted this concept from Randy’s talk.

Viral Means Nothing

My old pal Scott Stratten brought some thunder to the opening keynote and indicted the entire notion of trying to go viral with content marketing and social media. Yvonne Tsui tweeted one of many quotable Stratten-isms. (listen to Scott on the Social Pros podcast)

The Best Content Marketing Experiences Have 4 Ingredients

A highly relevant presentation from Nate Skinner of Pardot was next up on the agenda. I hadn’t heard this framework from Nate before, and I really liked his construct. So did Alex Fasken, who also grabbed a photo of the accompanying slide.

Behavior Change Starts with Perception

Tamsen Webster is on fire. She’s a content coach and idea whisperer who’s Red Thread system is being used by more and more executives and professional speakers to add clarity to their messaging. (disclosure: she’s worked with me) Tamsen brought her ideas to the stage at CONEX too and had a big impact on Madison Harbin and many other attendees.

Content Is Critical at All Stages

As I mentioned in my introduction of him (I was the emcee at CONEX: The Content Experience) Carlos Abler of 3M may be the smartest bald guy I know. Or perhaps he’s the smart guy with the least hair. Either way, he knows a LOT about content. He brought a ton to the stage at the event, especially his ideas about content at every stage of the customer journey. Stephanie Totty tweeted about it.

Honest and Transparent Content Creates Customers

This may be the quintessential quote from a Marcus Sheridan presentation. Marcus preached the gospel of no b.s. content at CONEX, and had the audience transfixed, as usual. Nice .gif usage here from Katrina Couto! (Listen to Marcus on the Social Pros podcast)

Time to Play the Feud

One of the highlights of our particular content marketing conference is The Content Feud, which closes out day one.  Inspired by Family Feud, we pit content marketing strategists against content marketing practitioners in a five-round quiz show, with me as the host. In a nail-biter that went down to the last question, the strategists (captained by Ann Handley) retained their title.

Customer Retention is the New Marketing

As anticipated, a tremendous day two opening keynote from Joey Coleman, whose book “Never Lose a Customer Again” may be my favorite business book so far this year. Joey also co-hosts the awesome ExperienceThis! show that we used to produce via Convince & Convert Media. Thinking through retention-based content resonated with Melanie Persaud. (Listen to Joey on the Social Pros podcast)

Social Video Isn’t TV

The delightful Caitlin Angeloff runs global social at Docusign and brought a supremely relevant and tactical presentation about social video, especially Facebook Live, to the CONEX event. Demand Gen Report tweeted one of Caitlin’s key points, about the real-time interactivity of social video. (Listen to Caitlin on the Social Pros podcast)

Engage Buyers on Their Terms, Not Yours

Laura Ramos from Forrester delivered tremendous advice rooted in new research. Her talk centered on empathetic content: being prospect/buyer focused instead of company focused. Brandi Smith grabbed this photo and Tweet.

Create More Content Without Actually Creating More Content

Corinne Sklar is the super smart CMO of Bluewolf, and shared her concept of “Plucking the Chicken” at CONEX. What she means by that is that if you have a piece of content, if you keep plucking, you can create several other iterations and version of that content, boosting content efficiency. We call that “atomization” here at C&C, but I like a good chicken metaphor, as does Deirdre Buckingham (who won a return trip to next year’s CONEX during the event).

Don’t be Clever. Be Vulnerable

I wore a Buzz Lightyear outfit when I introduced Matthew Luhn, a legendary storyteller from Pixar.

A post shared by Jay Baer (@jaybaer) on


With that less-than-ordinary lead-in, Matthew took the stage at CONEX and blew us away with heart and poignancy. His advice that content marketers are trying to get too cute was spot-on. His talk really resonated, including with Function 1, who grabbed this great photo in their tweet.

Ignoring Video is the Avoided Handshake of 2018

Amy Landino brought a warm, story-filled approach to her presentation on the importance of video content. She emphasized video’s ability to build community, and also shared her own formula for creating authority videos. Super useful! Dionne Mischler grabbed this photo from the balcony at the Royal Conservatory of Music, in Toronto. (Listen to Amy on the Social Pros podcast)

Bridge the Curiosity Gap to Create Content Success

The legendary Andrew Davis delivered a hilarious and important keynote presentation about curiosity and delayed gratification, poking holes in the “audience is too distracted” excuse for poor content performance. Watch this one on the live stream: you’ll be glad you did! Mo Waja was on the scene to capture this tweet.

Mobile isn’t for Serving Content it’s for Utility

Bonin Bough is the former head of digital of Pepsico and the former global head of media and digital for Mondelez. Bonin closed out Conex: The Content Experience with a roaring keynote that reminded attendees that mobile can (and should) do a lot more than it’s doing today, in most cases. Maya Chendke was paying close attention!

 

That’s a wrap. 14 lessons from our content marketing conference. You may have your own takeaways. Watch the on-demand livestream and see for yourself. It’s free!

Huge thanks to everyone at Convince & Convert and Uberflip for their work on the event. And massive thanks to all the speakers, sponsors, and attendees.

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