As I wrote last week in my post about expected highlights, the conference is packed with sessions and speakers, and my biggest regret is that I could not procure a clone for the week.
I’m writing this before the close of the conference, so I may miss some late breaking highlights, but below are some big takeaways from the conference.
1. Give stuff away for free but support it with a business model.
One of the recurring discussions throughout the show was figuring out what to give away, what to put behind a registration wall, and when to start charging for content or making a pitch. Mike Stelzner of Social Media Examiner and Brian Clark of Copyblogger leaned towards giving great content away first, and figuring out how to monetize it later, while Jay Baer of Convince and Convert and Lynne Esparo from Nuance stressed the importance of having a business model first.
Of course, I weigh in on the “it depends” side. When you’re selling content marketing to a prospective client or an executive inside your own organization, you have to be able to show that content marketing will help with business goals. Yet it’s essential to hold off on anything that resembles selling until you’ve built an audience that trusts you.
2. Don’t talk about yourself.
“Kill the cheerleaders,” said Todd Wheatland of Kelly OCG. Of course, this is a conference full of marketers, so it’s interesting to see speaker after speaker start or finish with a plug for their company and then continue to say “don’t talk about yourself,” but the point is valid. Telling clients or customers how great you are will not convince them that you are great. Producing great content is how you convince people you are great.
3. Execute, execute, execute.
Jim Kukral actually got down on his knees and begged the audience to, when they left the conference, actually DO something: create a piece of great content, seize on an idea, and take action. Don’t just shove your notes on the shelf.
Jim, this post is my quickly written answer to your plea, and don’t worry, it’s just the beginning.
Where can I read more?
- The Content Marketing Institute blog has some great recaps of the sessions. I covered Rise of the SuperFans, but the CMI blogging community as a whole captured a ton of sessions.
- The #cmworld hashtag on Twitter was active the whole time—look out for the announcement of other blogs like this one following the conference.
- Right Source kept a Twitter list of speakers and active tweeters on the #cmworld hashtag, as much as a slow wireless connection would allow. Check it out to follow content marketing thought leaders.
- I took detailed notes on two of the sessions I attended, one on Content Marketing Measurement: Justifying Content Marketing Spending, and another on Building a Business on the Back of Content. They’re Google Docs, so read and share away!
Please comment with your own takeaways and recaps—I’d love to keep this conversation going.
If you’d like to learn more about content marketing, watch our featured webinar, What if You Build It and They Still Don’t Come?, in which Will Davis and Mike Sweeney outline the anatomy of a content marketing strategy. Watch the video >