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The inaugural Content Marketing Show kicked off today, with a morning packed with great speakers and some fantastic insights into the fast-evolving world of Content Marketing.
Here’s our write-up of the morning session.
Influence Flows – Phillip Sheldrake (@Sheldrake)
Phillip kicked off the show with a great talk about the use of influence in Content Marketing. What we’re doing is nothing new, creating content is hundreds of years old. But we’re all too interested in filling the empty vessel with content.
There are 3 billion social web participants, each with our own channel. This means there is so much content, that it’s hard to consume it all. But why are we creating it? To communicate, to influence, but importantly, to be influenced; meaning that we no longer look at content as monologue, where we are just influenced, but rather an engaging open dialogue where we too are influenced ourselves.
“If society is ready to embrace a trend, almost anyone can start one – and if it isn’t, then no one can” Duncan Watts.
The best way of interpreting this quote is with ‘viral’ marketing. You can’t create viral, it just happens. It’s not something you can influence. This moved nicely onto the use Klout score as a standard of influence, which Philip saw as a very limited metric.
So, what is our measure of content marketing success?
We were then introduced to the idea of machines media, something that is set to get bigger and more influential. But ultimately Philip left us with the lasting message that the old taxonomy of having ‘paid, owned and earned’ content should be replaced with the ‘influence view of content’.
A great talk to kick off proceedings.
Agile content strategy – Lauren Pope (@La_Pope)
Something that a lot of Content Marketers can resonate with, is the ability to create quality content when you’re on a tight budget and short on time and resources.
Put simply, Lauren showed us that its achievable with having agile content. And to achieve agile content she used her own experiences working with energy clients. There are three core elements to agile content:
(The last two are reciprocal and on-going)
Always look to create a story, so see yourself as a user and fill in the gaps; “as a……..I want to……in order to…….”This allows us to provide a solution to a real problem, instead of engineering a solution.
Don’t wait iterate
Evergreen content should always be updated and never stagnate.
Organise your content ideas into three categories; ‘what didn’t work’, ‘what did work’ and ‘actions’.
Analysis and iteration should be an on-going reciprocal process, where your content is constantly being refreshed and updated.
Digital Storytelling: The Power of Content Marketing – Ian Humphreys (@ianphumphreys)
Something that is very important to creating good content is the art of the narrative, something that Ian was keen to show us.
Creating great narrative + using content marketing to drive conversions = amazing campaigns
Narratives are good. They provide us with structure by putting something into a logical order. Additionally, they make the user feel comfortable. So what makes a great narrative?
Using Chevrolet as an example, Ian tells us how their advert can have a huge impact because of a great narrative. However, it’s an advert, and not Content Marketing; but it can help us with or own campaigns to tell a story.
People want to share and tell their stories. Ian used Burbery as an example with their trench coat campaign. They effectively built a community of people uploading pictures of themselves in Burbery trench coats who got to tell their own stories. As a model Ian left us with the following:
How To Win At Pooh Sticks – Tom Ewing (@tomewing)
Tom picked up on a shift that was occurring a few years back, the metaphor for the Internet moved from ‘the page’ to ‘the stream’. We know the stream as your social media feed. This helps us to inform the content we create, to flow in the stream and to try and make some content ‘try’ and stand out, but it’s not always the case.
So what culture thrives in the stream? Nano culture. A fast paced, bity, high turnover culture. Look at your own stream and see how fragmented it is – it’s full of nano-culture. So if it’s fluid, fast, collaborative, shapeless, and bity, how do we adapt to this?
Using the theory of ‘stock and flow’, he tells us there are two types of content; that which gets into the stream or flow, and that which sticks out, the stock. But for Content Marketers, your ‘stock’ is your customer’s flow.
Knowing this we can understand that, because marketing is the art of behaviour change, we can create content around two decision-making systems; fast and slow. Fast is implicit and instinctive, slow requires a great deal more thought.
The best type of content is that which has a culture. You have to go with the flow to fit into the stream. You cannot interrupt it or divert it. In this sense, you need to think like a horoscope – shape the narrative for that day.
Tom then used his own research to show us that the best type of content that gets shared is content which surprises us, with a bit happiness too. So, in conclusion, his key points were:
1. Your stock is your customers flow
2. Culture beats features
3. Think like a horoscope
4. Empower (not) just entertain
5. Surprise, intense emotion and happiness
Stories, Number & Conversations – Antony Mayfield (@amayfield)
Storytelling can scale. But it’s about scaling your ability to tell stories and scaling your ability to listen to customer stories. It’s not about dehumanising stories, it’s about having one-to-one conversations that scale. This provides a viable counterweight to paid content.
Content Marketing is something much more than SEO. If you’re thinking about using in it this way, then maybe your data is not big enough.
Using the US election as an example, Antony told us that “it was the quants what won it” – data ended up creating stories. From the data, they gained huge insights to tell stories, or to allow US citizens to share stories to each other.
Big data + content + customer experience
Antony then reintroduces to the customer decision journey, using McKinsey & Co’s Consumer Decision Model – a model which he regularly uses in any of his talks – BrightonSEO for example. Combing the content ecosystem model, he effectively tells us that big data + content plugs into the brand’s message to tell the user a story.
Tales from a Content Marketing Rookie – Mila McLean Homburg (@mrshomburg)
Mila introduces us to her experiences as a Content Marketing rookie:
5 Things You Always Wanted to Know About Journalists But Were Afraid To Ask – Désiré Athow (@desireathow)
Telling us stories from his tech journalism background, Desire told us that journalist dislike PR / Outreach. But he believes that they need to work a lot more with each other.
He warned about how PR needs to be careful about what they do though, there are some really bad stories about poor outreach and upsetting relationships with journalists.
So how do you get your story published? Well it’s harder than you think. The ‘contentisation’ of big data, packaged as an exclusive to journalists. Desire then told us about the three different types content that journalists create:
PRs and SEOs need to be aware that journalists are human. They are pressured to achieve their targets, and their KPIs as well. You need to put in the time to learn more about that journalist or editor. Spend time interacting and engaging with them, build that relationship. Journalists use Twitter, so get on there and start building relationships.
What drives them? It’s the passion of the topic that drives them. What makes them iffy? When people are tentative, or do not produce the goods. Work on your outreach and phone calls, and produce good content, with no spelling or grammatical errors.
How do you get the best out of them? Don’t alienate them. It’s important for you to attend their events, and network with them. Show your face at press conferences, and press meetups. Face to face networking is still crucial.
Using Content to get Press Coverage -Stephen Pavlovich (@wishcouk)
From Wish, Stephen sowed us some great examples of how they use content to get traditional press coverage.
Ingredients for successful PR
Creating Valentine’s Day PR on the cheap
Eighty per cent of success is showing up
Zombie Shopping Mall
Seed. Leverage. Be Everywhere.
Engage with users who are sharing content on social media and bookmarking sites. They then leveraged this even further and managed to get traction in The Sun, BBC, New York Post etc. The snowball effect then kicks in, and it’s naturally building PR organically.
Stephen left us with a little teaser for their latest experience, how to contain a riot, already featured in The Sun.
Thanks for reading. An afternoon session write-up will be made available tomorrow.
I frequently get asked about my job as a Content Marketing Strategist by aspiring content marketeers looking for insight into digital marketing. What do the day-to-day tasks involve? What kind of skill set is required? And what do I enjoy most about this role?
Here is the final instalment of our recaps on today’s Search Leeds conference, complete with key points, top tips and actionable and tangible takeaways for you.