Cleveland Knows Content: 3 Key Sessions from Content Marketing World 2019

Consumers are in control and have lost trust in marketers and the brands they represent. People have become suspicious of marketing messages unless they are highly relevant and in context.

So, how do companies make an impact with savvy consumers and gain their trust?

Content marketing.

Truly helpful content has a way of nurturing trust with consumers over time while also benefitting the bottom-line.

However, with over 3 million blog posts created daily and over 50% of businesses investing in content marketing, it’s quickly becoming a crowded space, even when you put your customers first and honor storytelling traditions.

What’s a marketer to do?

Attend content marketing world. Over 4,000 attendees from 550+ companies made the pilgrimage to Cleveland to learn the latest content marketing strategies to help their brand connect with consumers.

Linkmedia was among them. And, staying true to the classic three-arc story structure you may be familiar with from English class, we’ve broken down three impactful sessions from content marketing world 2019 (with more to come). Continue reading to learn:

  • Three key sessions from content marketing world 2019 for companies
  • How your company can contact our team of content marketing experts to help tell your brand’s unique story

Key Session #1: Asking the Right Questions: How to Use Original Research for Valuable Content That Drives Business Results

Between Survey Monkey, Orbit Studios and Mantis Research, it was a veritable packed house of forward-thinking content marketers during the session on Wednesday, September 4th. The consensus is clear: People prefer data over opinions. 82% of people would prefer to read an article based on data rather than the writer’s perspective, in fact.

The method to captivate the audience of today is through thoughtful education and original research, not through theorization. Information gaps are present in nearly every business sector, and original research fills in those gaps while educating core audiences. Survey data adds credibility to content in ways that can’t be duplicated, even with the best of prose.

So, how does a content marketing team go about choosing a topic that original research can support? The panel of experts provided the following insight:

Tip #1: Look for something that is frequently said that doesn’t currently have support – Not only will this new original data fill in a blank that was missing in your industry, it will give your company the credit for providing the definitive answer to that missing gap in information.

Tip #2: Do people believe something to be true that isn’t? Disprove “known” facts with original research – It’s commonplace in science to scrutinize facts, challenge our way of understanding and test theories. So too, is that the case with marketing when original research is implemented. If there’s an established methodology, your company could conduct research to challenge and even provide an update via the insights gathered from research.

Additional tips from this session include:

  • Tie research with mass appeal back into experience content
  • Ask open ended questions at the end of a questionnaire that can later be added to content pieces
  • Think about what you (the researcher) want to get out of content at the end of your research – begin your questions with the most important items and become more polarizing throughout the survey

Original research provides numerous benefits for businesses and any company can utilize it with the proper methodology, strategy and budget.

Key Session #2: When Everyone Is Telling Stories, Yours Better Really Rock: Do’s, Don’ts, and Different Approaches

Remember when you were younger and how you would swap stories with friends? Whether it was around the campfire, the school bus, or amongst one another; each of us was trying to one-up the other in sheer epic-ness, scale and detail in our storytelling prowess.

Companies are executing brand storytelling on a macro level and it’s playing out in a similar fashion to when we would attempt to outdo each other’s’ stories when we were young. It’s becoming more difficult to stand out and authentically tell your customer’s or clients’ stories.

During Michelle Park Lazzette’s session on Thursday, September 5th, she spoke to three inherent dangers that all content marketing teams face when telling unique stories, and she provided tips to overcome those dangers:

Tip #1: Stories that rock are torn apart and rebuilt – Call it the construction and/or deconstruction process essential to the success of all narratives. That said, Michelle provided seven specific tactics to overcome the doldrums that brand storytelling can sometimes take:

  • Real danger in not having a second or third reviewer in terms of grammar, accuracy and credibility
  • Intentionally build the story arc: Set the stage, show the conflict, deliver the resolution
  • Seek to immerse the audience in the story
  • Use quotations when they pack a punch and watch for them constantly
  • Opt for specific detail over adjectives. Show, don’t tell
  • Ask others to react to your work
  • Swap editing requests with peers

Tip #2: Stories that rock try new things – Want better results? Don’t do more of the same. Think to the stories that have affected you and apply them to your content marketing strategy. Michelle laid the groundwork for calculated risk-taking by providing five essential pieces of wisdom:

  • Tell a story in first person – find experiences that relate to your core message and talk to others involved
  • Use an experiment to tell a story
  • Weave back and forth from past to present
  • Tell a story place-by-place or time-by-time
  • Time-stamped reporting – stay flexible, we don’t write fiction

Tip #3: Stories that rock answer the right question(s) – It’s important to prevent prospective customers from swimming in a sea of ambiguity. Specifics matter. To tell stories that rock, Michell advised the following:

  • Keep asking why
  • An ally in creation is an ally in promotion
  • Ask every source the questions you think will elicit an emotional response. Every source is human
  • Treat place as a character – what does it sound, smell or look like? Immerse readers with sensory details
  • End every interview with “What did I not ask you that I should have?”
    • Makes sure you covered your basis. Shows humility and engenders trust
    • Don’t ignore silence
    • Don’t write questions by yourself. Diverse perspectives produce more well-rounded coverage
    • Don’t let a fear of looking ignorant keep you from asking as many follow-up questions as needed

Key Session #3: Content Creation Secrets of the Angels

Does your business want to create heavenly content in its brand storytelling? During Thursday’s session at content marketing world 2019 on September 5th, Jonathan Kranz led content marketing novices and seasoned experts alike through ways to immerse audiences through strategic content creation.

Several tips should help content marketing teams:

Tip #1: Go where the action is – Creatives love being comfortable, but that isn’t always where they’ll make the most impact. Make an emphasis to get creative team members out of the cubicles and into the action. Conversely, if you yourself are a creative, don’t be hesitant about requesting to be taken on more visits. Bringing content marketers and copywriters to onsite visits can spawn multiple blog posts, articles, premium content ideas, social media posts and more.

Since your content team is constantly in a state of ideation, it’s natural to expect them to look for topics that may be overlooked by other teams. This unique skillset ideally places them to unearth creative opportunities and inspire countless pieces of content.

Tip #2: Imagine – While your content marketing team imagines, it should look to explore and unearth tensions and celebrate the imperfections that exist in your audience. After all, audiences crave authenticity, so the more authentic your content marketing team can articulate shared truths and challenges the more successful your content ultimately will be.

During the ‘imagine’ stage, your team shouldn’t hide from internal pain points or controversy. Pursue anomalies, question assumptions and examine contradictions your audience has (with well-founded data and research). During the ‘imagine’ stage, your team of writer’s should challenge the conventional wisdom of your audience. This isn’t a combative stance. In fact, this could open your audiences’ eyes.

Tip #3: Invest – A return on investment, or ROI, isn’t possible without investment. Some pieces of content don’t find their ideal audience at first and will require a budget to expand to a wider audience. An amplification budget will give your content the opportunity to be immersive to an audience that was previously unaware of your offerings.

Tip #4: Overcome challenges – To immerse your audience with compelling content, sometimes your team will need to overcome challenges of its own. Below are four common challenges content marketers find themselves in, with potential solutions that your team can execute:

Challenge #1: Fixed in a content rut?

Solution: what if we broke our own scripts?

Challenge #2: Communicating a complex idea

Solution: What if we tied a complex idea into a simple and familiar metaphor?

Challenge #3: Separate the wheat from the chaff

Solution: What if we used less to communicate more (condensing ideas and concepts into their simplest and most succinct form)

Challenge #4: Applying talented team members to specific content objectives

Solution: Conduct hands-on workshops

By overcoming its own unique set of challenges, your team of content writer’s, specialists and experts will be able to create truly immersive content that audiences will look forward to receiving.

That’s a Wrap, Content Marketing World. Contact us for More Content Tips

Asking the right questions, telling stories more compelling than competition and creating immersive content for audiences are daunting tasks. Luckily, a conference like content marketing world exists to bring the best minds together to forge new paths forward.

The unique challenges facing companies don’t intimidate us. Our team of content marketing experts take the challenges of client partners head on. This occurs while we simultaneously learn the latest tactics available to communicate a brands unique story in engaging ways for audiences.

What we’ve shared above? It’s just a sliver of the total learnings during this impactful conference. Contact our team and we will be glad to share insights, takeaways and session recaps that pertain the most for your unique business needs and objectives.

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