Content Marketing World 2017 Lessons That Will Make You A Better Marketer

How To Transform Your In-Person Event Into Memorable Content

While content marketing continues to gain increased marketing attention, standing out in today’s information stream is difficult, if not impossible.

Content Marketing Institute’s Robert Rose put it best: “Your job [as a marketer] is to break through the BS!”

As major in-person events, conferences deliver content curated for a targeted audience and Content Marketing World leads the way. The name says it all. 

Conferences teach you how to improve your marketing skills from the stage, in the exhibit hall including the bookstore, and from peer exchanges.

Even better, you can use your conference experience to create memorable content. Doing so has the benefit of sharing the information with your addressable audience and helping you to learn the concepts better.

So it’s no surprise that 68% of B2B marketers use in-person events as part of their content marketing mix according to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ 2017 research.

Further if you’re trying to reach a specific targeted audience, conferences provide the ideal setting to break through the noise. When you’re physically at an event, it’s difficult not to give at least some of your attention to the presenters, exhibitors and other attendees even if WiFi connected smartphones and computers are within reach.

Leaving for Cleveland-based Content Marketing World feels like I’m coming home to my content marketing besties. I arrive ready to share my deep content marketing knowledge, learn from my peers, connect and build relationships with my friends and soon-to-be friends, and create amazing post-conference content.

3 In-person event learnings from Content Marketing World 2017

Content Marketing World 2017 was chock full of content marketing wisdom. Here are my 3 favorite learnings that can help you improve your content marketing.

1. Go deep with your content

Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina told us:

“You don’t need 1,000 articles. You need 100 great articles!”  – Andy CrestodinaClick To Tweet


Further, Crestodina advised us, “Never waste a good conversation in private.” (BTW, this is what inspired Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose to start their This Old Marketing podcast.)

2. Skip the spaghetti content marketing

Low quality content is a bad marketing strategy. TrackMaven’s Spaghetti Throw illustrated what most marketers won’t admit: “We throw our content at digital walls (aka: media entities) and pray some of it sticks!”

TrackMaven Serves Up Spaghetti Content Marketing at Content Marketing World 2017

3. Hop on other people’s live content

Share conference information and insights in real time to a broader social media audience.

Why limit your presentation’s reach to those people physically attending your session? If you’re a presenter, ask someone to tweet your session or pre-schedule key take-aways. Hat tip: Kelly Hungford and Pam Didner.


Get inspired by in-person speakers

Every conference includes big name headliners to attract attendees. (It’s the live version of influencer marketing!)

At their best, high profile keynotes lay the framework for the show’s big idea themes.
Pro attendee tip: Arrive early to get a good seat and network!

1. Joe Pulizzi: “Build an audience.”

92% of successful content marketers focus on building an audience. – Joe PulizziClick To Tweet


Pulizzi’s example: Star Wars director George Lucas wanted to ensure his vision for a scifi series was produced without getting lost in development. As a result, Lucas negotiated a deal to retain sequel rights.

2. Linda Boff, “GE loves stories as long as they’re told in a way that’s engaging, inspiring and memorable.”

Know who you are as a business to tell your story effectively.

Know who you are as a business to tell your story effectively. – Linda BoffClick To Tweet


Specifically, understand your company’s DNA and what you stand for. While this sounds like branding, it’s a core element of your content creation that makes your organization stand out. (Check out branding DNA to help your company.)

Find the stories hiding under your nose. They make your business relatable in human terms. (Here are 29 stories to consider for your business.)

Further use your stories to find unlikely audiences. Many content marketers stay close to their traditional target audiences. As a result, they miss other potential audience opportunities. Think beyond your existing marketing personas.

GE’s Content Formula:

(First on platforms + Activate unlikely audiences + Find the human in the digital) * Continuous motion

3. Jay Acunzo: “Be exceptional in a world of average marketers.”

I get it: Average is easy.

Face it: Whose boss will fault them for actions based on past experience and best practices? But can you really drive only looking in your rearview mirror?

“Pay more attention to your customer than your industry…and your customer will pay more attention to you.”


Find your peeps to build your squad

At in-person events and conferences, use every personal interaction to connect. 

So break bread with fellow attendees, literally. Mealtime and parties are a key element of every conference. It’s when people cement their relationships and do business.

Actionable Content Marketing World 2017 Tips:

  • Give speakers time and space to network with each other. They need peer-to-peer time. Jay Baer invited the 200+ speakers to Convince & Convert’s The WarmUp @ CMW sponsored by Fabl.

    Speaker Party at Content Marketing World 2017 – Hat tip Jay Baer & Fabl

  • Tap into other people’s in-person events to build your community. DIY Marketing’s Ivana S. Taylor shared her local hospitality before the second night’s festivities.
  • Use your exhibit presence to build community. NewsCred is my favorite #CMWorld exhibitor. They serve local Cleveland coffee with pour-overs that are worth your wait. As a result, there’s always an interesting group of people at their booth helping sales conversations.


Transform conferences and in-person events into memorable content

Conferences and in-person events provide the opportunity to create new content and/or communicate the deep knowledge presented.

For must-read conference content, you’ve got 2 options:

  • Co-create user-generated content. Gather knowledge and input from influencers and attendees.
  • Tap into presenters’ content by reporting the news. Like a reporter, highlight the best conference information.

Actionable Content Marketing World 2017 Tips:

  • Live blog conference sessions. Capturing quality information in real time is an art form that requires practice. Top Rank Marketing’s Lee Odden and his team carefully plan their sessions when covering the top marketing conferences.
  • Plan ahead but be nimble to connect with key thought leaders. Aaron Orendorff won a coveted speaker slot by killing last year’s event with How To Network At A Conference. This year he expanded his piece to 101 tips! Follow his lead by planning your content in advance but allowing room for last minute opportunities.
  • Get influencers to interview each other. Jeff Julian set up his video camera for dueling marketers. He allowed marketers to probe each other. I had the honor of speaking with NewsCred’s Nichole Mills.

    Content Marketing World 2017-Transform in-person events into memorable content

    Heidi Cohen and Nichole Mills interview each other at Content Marketing World 2017

  • Batch your conference content creation. Take advantage of co-located influencers. LinkedIn’s Sean Callahan set up his video gear to ask 5 questions of each person for 5 different pieces of content.
  • Keep your brand at the core of your conference content. Flipboard used their Red Couch for prescheduled interviews and attendee photos.Heidi on Flipboard Red Sofa


The Content Marketing World 2017 Lessons Conclusion

At its best, content marketing transforms your promotions into human-to-human communications. This was the essence of Content Marketing World 2017, a conference focused on helping marketers improve their content marketing effectiveness.

To succeed at content marketing, put your customer at the center of your content. Remember, she’s a real person with her own set of priorities and needs beyond your marketing needs.

Don’t diminish her value by forcing her to fit into your existing marketing persona.

Rather pull her into your content by getting her invested in your most memorable stories that touch her life and needs.

Tap into the wealth of content and knowledge at your next live event or conference to become a better marketer.

Follow the Content Marketing World 2017 attendees and create must-read content based on the information shared and/or user-generated content.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.


Photo Credits: 

  • Warm Up Party via David Beebe and Jay Baer
  • TrackMaven Spaghetti Throw courtesy Kara Burney
  • Flipboard Red Couch courtesy of Christel van der Boom
  • Dueling marketers courtesy of Jeff Julian
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