Our Top 11 Content Marketing Takeaways from #CMWorld 2017

Last week, thousands of marketers from all over the world descended on the Rock N’ Roll capital of the world, Cleveland, OH, for the seventh annual Content Marketing World Conference and Expo.

Featuring more than 130 speakers, keynotes and panelists, dozens of different tracks, and a whole lot of orange, the four-day event was exciting and inspiring. And the TopRank Marketing team was out in full-force, providing live coverage, learning from some of the best in the business, dancing to 80s classics and making new connections.

While it’s nearly impossible to distill all the inspiring insights we collected during the event into this one post, we’re going to try. Below we share a handful of insights that really resonated with our team.

How to Find the Stories in Your Data for Compelling Reporting

Our hyper-connected digital world is defined by an overabundance of data. Everything’s measurable, trackable, and quantifiable. Want to know how many people died on screen in your favorite movie? Or how much ice cream the average American eats per year? The data’s at your fingertips.

The ready availability of data is great for marketers. It helps us optimize performance, personalize content, and prove our value to the business.

But data in a vacuum isn’t informative or useful. It’s not about the facts and figures themselves; it’s about how we shape that data into compelling stories.

As an Analytics Advocate at Google, Adam Singer has years of experience finding and revealing the meaningful narrative in datasets. His presentation at Content Marketing World 2017 was all about how to create clean, informative, compelling data visualizations.

12 Questions You Need to Answer if You Want to Launch a Video Content Strategy

There’s no question that video is an increasingly important digital marketing tactic. Humans are visual creatures by nature and, when done right, video allows brands to tell their story and create meaningful, emotional connections with their audience.

For California-based Jordan Vineyard and Winery, video content has become a central piece of their marketing strategy. Lisa Mattson, Director of Marketing & Communications, shared how they’re winning at video during her Content Marketing World session “How Jordan Winery Crushed Content Marketing With a Video-Centered Strategy.”

For a little background, Jordan Vineyard and Winery has been around since the early 1970s, and until Mattson came on board, they’re marketing strategy hadn’t changed in more than 40 years.

How adidas Put Culture at the Core of Their Content Marketing Strategy

Frank Thomas of adidas

Jean Giraudoux once said, “The secret to success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

It’s a funny indictment of how to take exactly the wrong approach to authenticity. But too often, brands and marketers miss the sarcasm. We target an audience, then carefully cultivate an image to appeal to them. We create the appearance of a culture that matches theirs. And then we’re surprised when our target audience sees right through it.

What if we stopped trying to fake sincerity and turned the whole process inside out? Instead of crafting a culture to match an audience, why not attract the audience that matches your culture?

5 Radiant Writing Secrets Inspired by ‘Charlotte’s Web’

Some pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble.

In the classic E.B. White novel, Charlotte’s Web, these simple yet impactful words save a life and make another better. And for prolific writer, marketer and speaker Ann Handley, these words also make the title character the best content marketer in the world.

“In just four [phrases] she had to make her case. Wilbur was her product.” Handley passionately told Content Marketing World attendees last Thursday. “I mean she was looking to save this pig’s life people. … And Zuckerman was her audience.”

Handley’s passion for Charlotte’s marketing abilities stems from her “literary crush” on author E.B. White. She even attempted to purchase his Maine estate where we wrote 12 of his 14 novels, including Charlotte’s Web.

Alicianne Rand Shares 4 Tips for Driving Sales Through Content Marketing #CMWorld

What does it look like when content, influencers and social media come together to generate a metaphorical gold mine in terms of revenue and reach? To put it mildly, it’s drop dead gorgeous.

At least that was the view from my seat at Content Marketing World as Estée Lauder’s Executive Director of Global Content Marketing Alicianne Rand shared the incredible success her organization has achieved through their integrated content marketing strategy

So, what needs to happen to take your content marketing strategy from drab to fab? Here are four tips straight from Rand herself.

Tip #1 – Use data to drive your content marketing strategy

At Estée Lauder, Rand and team have built a framework to simplify how they look at data.

Lee Odden Shares 5 Best Practices for Enterprise Influencer Marketing #CMWorld

It was all aboard the Content Marketing World Enterprise Wednesday morning, as TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden took marketers to the not-so-final frontier of marketing: influencer marketing.

Lee’s session, “Big Brand Influencer Marketing: Trends & Best Practices,” had the flight deck packed with eager marketers from brands big and small as well as agencies, all looking for insight to define, refine or inspire their influencer marketing journey.

While Lee covered enterprise influencer marketing trends, tools and interesting B2B and B2C case studies, much of the presentation focused on five best practices for creating a dynamic influencer marketing program with the perfect balance of great content and strong influencer relationships.

What are those five best practices? Read on to find out.

Tips for Making Video Content that Earns Attention from Andrew Davis #CMWorld

The inimitable Andrew Davis is the best-selling author of Town, Inc. and an in-demand marketing speaker. After his presentation at Content Marketing World 2017, I can see why.

He made me feel stupid. And I’m incredibly grateful.

The best presentations make you feel stupid in retrospect. Of course! It’s so obvious that this is the way to do it! Why haven’t we been doing it this way the whole time? Feeling stupid after-the-fact means you just got smarter.

You see, video content marketing has gone from the next big thing to the current big thing. Brands that pump out a ton of text-based content are now flooding the attention marketplace with video. And just as we had to learn how to make content work for marketing, we’re all still figuring out how to make effective marketing video.

Final Boarding Call for Content Marketing World: Don’t Miss these 10 Presentations

Does anyone look forward to getting on an airplane anymore? Sure, you may be excited about where you’re going or what you plan to do when you get there. But anyone happily anticipating the screening, boarding, and flying part—well, I’ll have whatever vitamin supplement they’re on.

If you’re headed to Content Marketing World, odds are there’s a flight in your immediate future. Fortunately, this trip is definitely worth the hassle. Just keep in mind how much you’re about to learn, how many amazing marketers you’re about to meet, and you can smile your way through the unpleasantness.

Learn How to Optimize Your Content Marketing Agency Investment

lee-odden-toprank-marketing-world

Each year, brands are investing countless hours and thousands if not millions of dollars in marketing to prospects and current customers with content. Often times, internal marketing teams are finding that they need content marketing agency expertise and support outside of their organization.

Working with an agency that specializes in content marketing can provide brands with a more strategic and scalable marketing program that leverages expertise and additional resources that specialize in content. However, agency retainers can be substantial and there isn’t a marketing executive out there that isn’t in search of maximum return on that investment.

50 Top Content Marketing Influencers to Follow in 2016

Content Marketing Influencers 2016
Without question, the Content Marketing World conference is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to all things content. This is where I should segue into a Death Star reference and something about a love child between Joe or Robert and Princess Leia. Or was it Chewbacca? I kid.

What I’m not kidding about is that there are over 150 speakers at Content Marketing World that have spent numerous hours researching, planning and crafting presentations as well as practicing and coordinating their travel and stay at the event. When you think about it, the cumulative amount of content created amongst all those speakers isn’t just formidable, it’s outright impressive.

Content Marketing World Keynote Interview: Stephanie Losee, Visa

Stephanie Losee
The digital world is often a small world. For example, when working with Dell on an influencer content program I met Dell’s Managing Editor at the time who seemed to be a cocktail of sophistication, intelligence and just a lovely person. She reminded me very much of Rebecca Lieb, another force of nature in the content marketing world. Why does this make digital a small world? Despite being based on two different coasts, they’re great friends!

This serendipitous content sage is none other than Stephanie Losee, who is now Head of Content at Visa, Corporate Communications. Along with many others, I’ve learned many important insights from Stephanie and I can’t wait to see her keynote panel at Content Marketing World in September.