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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Why I had to Ignore My Creative Writing Teacher's Advice: recap of session day 2 at #CMWorld

My high school creative writing teacher told me emotional events (good or bad) fueled amazing stories but never try and capture them when you're in the midst of the emotion or immediately afterwards. The emotion becomes convoluted, the details smeared and the writing awful. Give it some time to sink in. Digest it. Then commence recapturing your experiences. However well-intentioned this advice may be, it was given before social media. It is with that, that I respectfully cast Mr. Bernard's advice to the side.

Content Marketing World was a fabulous event and though it may not shape my personally, professionally it sparked more good ideas than I can begin to capture. Here's my recap of the trio of sessions from today that made me wish these folks needed scribes because I would gladly follow them around on a regular basis just to glean some brilliance and inspiration. (Disclaimer: all of the speakers were amazing at #CMWorld but these three inspired me and equipped me with tools and information that directly apply to my inbound marketing role. There's that key take-away from CMW - provide useful content!)

As I tweeted earlier, sometimes you attend a session for the content, sometimes for the speaker - which was the case with Nate Riggs. Although I considered myself a Twitter maven of sorts, his helpful advice and list of tools made his presentation one of the most practical that I attended. If you're not already checking these out give them a look over -- SocialBro, Simply Measured, hashtracking.com, clicktotweet, Social Flow, and Social Triggers. If you're looking for someone who gives out a lot of great information with a sense of humor, check him out on Twitter @nateriggs.

10 Email Secrets that Will Help Drive Your Content Strategy presented by Jeff Rohrs was a standing crowd only. So much for email being dead! Jeff likened email to an iceberg. You only see part of it. Social media shares are public, emails are not. But his colorful descriptions (granted not as colorful as Mitch Joel's "sex with data" from the day before), didn't end there. He reminded us that email powers every social media site. Email is social media's secret weapon. How does LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. provide you with announcements, reminders, weekly status -- via email. Ah-hah!

Finally...."a Rose by any other name..." would be Robert (wonder how many times he's heard that joke? My maiden name is Green, I get it.). If he didn't intrigue me during the pre-session joking (and he did -- who doesn't like to poke fun of marketers and our reputation of not doing anything??), Robert Rose definitely had me at Ali. He began his presentation on Getting the Choir to Sing: Selling & Developing the Process for Content Marketing INSIDE the Organization with the inspirational story of Muhammad Ali's comeback against George Foreman. The way that Ali reinvented himself repeatedly was fascinating and inspirational and the way Robert told it -- his cadence and tone -- I was hooked. He repeatedly told the audience that what he had to say was not new but there was something about his style a mix of story and art that lit a fire in me where I wanted to fly back to my office and start implementing his ideas right away. He told us how to get support from the higher-ups, those most involved, and the savvy person who had a way of killing or promoting everything in the office. (Hadn't considered that one.)

Content Marketing World was such an amazing experience, my words can't do it justice. To capture that kind of excitement, inspiration, energy amidst a group who "gets it" is impossible. Maybe Mr. Bernard was right.

Here's looking forward to 370ish days from now -- Content Marketing World 2013!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Holy Smokes! It's a digital dandelion! Sex with Data and other Gems from Content Marketing World

It was an intense first day at Content Marketing World. The following is a list of my highlights but it's impossible to capture them all. So much awesome content, you really need to be here.

What you do with your data is up to you
Mitch Joel kicked it off with what is likely to be one of the most memorable quotes of #CMWorld -- "...sex with data..." My English professors always said use your words to paint a mental picture. He definitely did. He urged marketers (and face it, everyone of us is a marketer in today's world) to follow five content rules: build direct relationships with your audience; have sex with (customer) data, meaning fully embrace the capabilities behind it, use it, don't just quote it; provide utility, be useful; know the difference behind passive and active activities (asking a passive audience in a passive medium to do something is difficult at best); and know we're not part of a one screen world anymore -- create content accordingly. I also learned that Willie Nelson does a pretty fantastic job singing/covering Coldplay. Whodathunkit?

Next up (for me anyway) was Jason Falls. (Sorry C.C., breaks my heart I had to choose.) So many valuable lessons but the one that sticks with me is that we all need to create "Holy Smokes" content. It can be funny, irreverent, knowledgeable, thought provoking, controversial That's where the magic is. No one shares okay. No one forwards fine.

Mitch Joel shared earlier in the day that video use for content marketing had increased from 52% to 70% over the past year so I made sure I took in the next session with Todd Wheatland. He had a lot of excellent ideas on how to use video for your organization including repurposing an article; creating a series; doing a behind the scenes; and/or a recruitment video. But the fun doesn't stop there. He suggested you use stills from the video or take some pictures while you're shooting and use them in addition to your video plus don't forget to transcribe it for the .02% who can still read. (That was my own personal bitterness as a writer, not his.)

The fantastic Jay Baer (to stand room only) reminded us that we should think of our content as a digital dandelion. Don't keep it tied to your website. Put it out where your audience is most likely to see it. On a completely different metaphor he likened content to fire and social media to gasoline. Get it? Burn, baby, burn.

Russell Sparkman helped us understand that game thinking is not the same as gaming. You can give your audience the fun of game theory and implementation without requiring them to sit in the same clothes for days staring at a console trying to beat someone else's score (unless they're into that). He also pointed out that game thinking is not new just ask a kid trying to pass math -- the concept of levelling up to advance has been around a long time.

Sam Sebastian rounded out the day with talking about "Zero Moment of Truth." Research has changed buyers forever. We're no longer relegated to using (just) consumer reports. We have reviews and search. Plus 16% of searches are new to Google each day. It also struck me that Sam's dad still has Consumer Reports magazine in the basement. Living in Florida for the past seven years I had almost forgotten what basements were.

Day 1 was amazing and I'm suffering a little from cerebral overload. The Rick Springfield concert should cure that. I will be adding his song Love Somebody to Groove Shark later tonight. I forgot how much I liked it.