More than 600 people came out for last week’s annual Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland, OH. Representatives from 75 countries were present including people in town from Australia, Ghana, Hong Kong, Kazakstan, Japan and the United Arab Emirates, among others.
The theme that resonated most throughout the show was the need for business marketers to elevate content marketing’s role in B2B. Some 90 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing in some way, yet many struggle to prove its business value. “Marketing isn’t about marketing, it’s about driving business growth,” said Carla Johnson, Chief Experience Officer, Type A Communications. “We, as marketers, need to become business people first.”
With topics covering everything from joining an improv group to learning how to use humor, to the best ways to employ video and SEO, the main challenges addressed were how to create great content and how to get that content seen. LinkedIn’s Senior Manager, Content Marketing Sean Callahan rounded up some of the best quotes from the show. Some highlights include the following:
- “Ideas are common. Innovation is rare because it demands persistence.” —Doug Kessler, Creative Director, Velocity
- “Social media is nothing but a set of technologies that enhances our social nature.” — Lars Silberbauer, Senior Global Director of Social Media & Video, LEGO Group
- “Good marketers follow best practices. Great marketers craft their own.” — Jay Acunzo, Vice President of NextView Ventures
- “The goal isn’t to be good at content. The goal is to be good at business using content.” —Shafqat Islam, CEO, NewsCred
In a blog post, Jason Stewart VP of content at ANNUITAS, revealed his thoughts saying that “…content marketers continue to confuse a full editorial calendar with a well-defined content strategy” and that companies should pay “…closer attention to the buyer, their pains and their priorities.”
Stewart stressed that just because you build a strong content program, doesn’t mean that anyone is going to engage with it and that just because they read your content, doesn’t mean they will buy. In order to engage clients and drive conversion, B2B marketers must speak to their audiences and take a strong point of view. In fact, the most downloaded content features a strong opinion or original research. To succeed at content marketing in business, marketers must take a stand on issues that are concerning to clients and help share insights on how to address these problems. If you don’t plan to go the distance, then you should just do nothing, Stewart concluded.
Hollwyood actor Mark Hamill, aka Luke Skywalker from Star Wars, closed down the show by doing a Q&A with event founder and host Joe Pulizzi. In the Q&A sessions, Hamill shared his story on how he got into show business and how determination has been the key to his success.
His advice: “Believe in yourself! Work hard, never give up & anything’s possible. I believe in all of those things,” he told the audience. “Sometimes I think tenacity is more important than talent. You just never give up.”
Hamill revealed that when he didn’t get the part in a play or movie, he would accept work doing props, ushering, selling tickets or even catering. Still, Hamill joked that he has no business giving advice. He recounted giving bad advice to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the early days. “’Can I be honest with you? Here’s two things: No. 1, it would be really important for you to be able to lose that accent. If you can learn to lose it, it’s just going to open up the world for you,” Hamill said. “The other thing is that name. That name. People won’t be able to pronounce it. It’s so long that unless you plan on working exclusively with Cher, there’s no room for your name on the marquis.”
With such an eclectic mix of influencers, this years Content Marketing World was a perfect blend of who, what, when, where and why – making it a great success.