A couple weeks ago, I attended the 2nd annual Content Marketing Retreat (#CMRetreat) hosted by Fusionspark Media along with our Content Director at Weber Shandwick (@mydeadlyballoon). Having missed the first annual retreat, I was excited to finally head across the sound to beautiful Langley, WA for a day of big learning.
The Retreat exceeded my expectations on all accounts. Great location, stellar organization throughout the day, knockout food (holy homemade pumpkin bread) and of course most importantly, an all-star lineup made for an excellent trip.
Throughout the course of day one, attendees hear from Rod Brooks, Russell Sparkman, Tim Frick, Jayme Thomason, Chris Baggott, Pawan Deshpande, Mark Jacobs, Jeff Erramouspe, Simon Kelly and Robert Rose.
The crowd was a diverse group from all over with a slant towards those working in smaller organizations. Topics covered a wide range, from top level content marketing strategy to maximizing use of Google Analytics data to improve content optimization. While many conferences can drag at certain points, the short presentation structure followed by panel discussions made for a great format to maintain audience attention throughout.
Below are five key takeaways that stemmed from the Retreat.
1. Content Marketing is Not Rocket Science
Sorry, it’s just not. Does content marketing require smart analysis, technical insight, natural instinct for audience demands and the ability to piece everything together into a solid strategy? You bet, but it takes practice and requires that you are constantly thinking about how best to stay a step ahead of your audience and the competition.
2. Brands That Succeed at Content Marketing Fail…a Lot.
During his presentation on developing a step-by-step content marketing plan, Robert Rose emphasized the importance of establishing an office culture that embraces innovation. You, along with your coworkers or employees, need to feel that it’s okay to fail. In fact, you need to be realistic about the fact that success often stems from a series of smart failures where you’ve progressively learned more and more about how best to achieve your goals. The iPhone and iPad weren’t created overnight and neither will your strategy for how to sell X products or engage with Y number of people. Try and keep trying.
3. Data Is the Hidden Gem Behind All Good Content Marketing
It’s scary to me these days when a company or organization gives you a blank stare when you ask about website or engagement analytics. Data drives strategy. If you don’t have a benchmark and ongoing consistent measurement to track what content is resonating with which audience, you don’t have the fuel necessary to revamp your content marketing plan.
4. Curation is An Art Form
Successful curators have amazing taste. They know their audience’s taste like the back of their hand. They know the value of attribution, the importance of framing and how to deliver content to their target audience in the right format in a consistent fashion.
5. Content Marketers Understand the Difference Between Audience “Needs” and “Wants”
Rod Brooks did a great job putting this point on display. Rod is the CMO for Pemco Insurance. We all need insurance. We know that. Do we all like to talk about insurance on a daily basis? Nope.
What we do love to talk about is our family, friends and community. We love to discuss topics of shared interest that resonate across the board relevant to our safety and well being.
The same applies for your company. Stop trying to shove your audience’s needs down their throat and take a broader look at the shared values and interests of your target community. What type of content does this audience want? What do they care most about? THAT is your point of entry. That is your bridge to building trust and creating robust dialogue.
Thanks again to Russell Sparkman and all of the presenters. Looking forward to another fantastic gathering next year.
I’ve always had a thing for maps.
I think it comes with my obsession with traveling and seeing new places. There are times when I miss unfolding the giant maps and navigating my way across the country – followed by frustration and never being able to fold it back up again. A few years ago, I remember getting a bit nostalgic thinking about the death of the unfold/fold map and thinking of how archaic it felt that it wasn’t so long ago that it was the norm.
Fast forward a few years, and it’s clear maps aren’t dead. They are almost creepily alive. Mobile and online maps can help us find the nearest happy hour, Starbucks, read the front page of papers around the world, or plan the next Urban Mural cross country road trip. Nearly anything you can imagine — there’s a map for it.
While all of this is pretty great for my personal life, I’m even more blown away at how this technology is being applied to health and development. Maps are being used to promote causes, raise awareness, and ultimately improve and save lives. Here are just a couple of examples of how maps and mapping are being used to for social good.
- A couple of weeks ago, the Center of Foreign Relations (CRF) launched a searchable interactive map tracking vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks. The CRF has been tracking outbreaks of diseases such as measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio, and rubella – all of which are easily preventable with an in expensive vaccine – and careful map plotting.
- We all know Google Earth is a pretty amazing tool, but check out this video about how nonprofits can use Google Earth to raise awareness and communicate quickly and effectively on issues including genocide and climate change.
Obviously these are just a few of thousands of examples. Comment below and let me know if you have other examples of how organizations are using online mapping technology to help address social problems.
Matt Dickman, VP Digital Marketing at Fleishman-Hillard and author over at Technomarketer does us all a huge service with his quarterly reports on data pertaining to various social networking sites.
Recently, Matt compiled a really interesting post about the comparison between MySpace and Facebook user demographics. In addition, be sure to check out Matt’s 2009 Q1 Global Facebook Report. Some very interesting data to take into consideration when planning to target a particular audience for your next campaign.
In addition, in case you missed it, Mashable did a great series the other week on Facebook trends and insight that includes a wealth of information.