We had an amazing time at Content Marketing World in Cleveland this year. Not much beats exploring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, taking down pastrami sandwiches the size of our heads, dropping engaging local-social media content advice, and learning new tactics from fellow industry-leading content strategists.

We’re already excited about next year.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame CMW

There are so many insights to be gleaned from Content Marketing World, which is why it was tough to boil it down to only 3 takeaways. So we did 3 ½…

Without further ado, here are the top 3 ½ things we learned at Content Marketing World 2017.

[bctt tweet=”3 1/2 Takeaways and Learnings from Content Marketing World 2017 #meetsoci #cmw17″ username=”meetsoci“]

3 1/2 Takeaways from #CMWorld 2017

1. First Things First, Build an Audience

Marketing doesn’t work if no one sees it.

Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing World, kicked off the conference with a powerful statement. He said, “Content marketing is the most important trend going on not only in digital marketing but marketing in general.” And it’s true, content surrounds us everywhere we go nowadays. From the classic billboards to articles in our social timelines, content was, and always will be, king.

[bctt tweet=”From the classic billboards to articles in our social timelines, content was, and always will be, king.” username=”meetsoci“]

In his presentation, Pulizzi states that the first step to successful content marketing is acquiring an audience. Marketing doesn’t work if no one sees it.

He told the infamous story of George Lucas and the Star Wars merchandise. Back in 1976, Fox Studios gave George Lucas merchandising rights to Star Wars in exchange for a piece of his director’s fee. Lucas did this knowing that the movies’ audiences would be the largest money makers, not ticket sales. And boy, did it pay off for him.

2: Follow Your Intuition -Or- Don’t be Average

So much content is being pushed out daily making it tougher and tougher to break through the noise. With an overabundance of so-so content that pollutes timelines on the daily, it is essential for brands to produce only the best, thought-provoking content within their industries.

Most marketers focus on simply getting content out there, choosing quantity over quality.
Unthinkable’s Jay Acunzo is all about combating this.

[bctt tweet=”Creating content isn’t always about following best practices, it’s about listening to yourself and following your intuition.” username=”meetsoci“]

At CMW, Acunzo stated that creating content isn’t always about following best practices, it’s about listening to yourself and following your intuition. He provided examples of companies that have successfully put themselves in unique positions with the help of out-of-the-box content marketing.

“We all face a big, big problem as content marketers today. It has never been easier to be average.”

Marketers are constantly looking for new ways to connect with their target audiences, and Acunzo claims that following your intuition is a sure-fire way of doing this. Posting X amount of times a day won’t necessarily attract new customers. Businesses need to put actual thought behind what their customers want and need… They need to dive into the “why.” And with that, they can start making a stand-out content piece.

cmw-stickers

3: Market to Humans, Not to Businesses

Marketing hinges on two main avenues: B2C and B2B. Linda Boff, CMO of General Electric, challenged the crowd at CMW to reconsider B2B marketing, transforming it from a faceless entity into human-to-human and “storyteller” marketing. At GE, Boff explained, they do not market based on their product. They illustrate stories for their audience that include their products as one of the main characters or focal points in the narrative.

Boff challenges businesses to tap into the emotions of their customers. Paint a picture that they can relate with or see themselves in. This will allow you to stay memorable longer, something that all companies are striving for right now.

“We tell stories to inspire, we tell stories to reach audiences…Show up as a person. Don’t show up as a big company. People relate to people.”

[bctt tweet=”People relate to people. – Linda Boff #cmw17″ username=”meetsoci“]

3 1/2: At the End of the Day, People Just Want to Be Treated Like People (and Get Cool Stuff For Free)

While the talks, insights, shared strategies, and marketing advice were as stellar as ever, what content, and life in general share is the reality that we’re all just humans looking for legitimate connections, someone to talk to us on our level, a free massage, cool swag, and a good cup of coffee. Of the 75+ booths we saw at CMW 2017, people gravitated towards those that had most all of these. That said, it’s time to step up your booth game if you have one.

What were your takeaways from Content Marketing World 2017?

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