So there was this:
kevin spacey resize

No words or descriptions needed to describe this shot other than to say Kevin Spacey gave the closing keynote. He was even more awesome in person.

What makes Content Marketing World one of the best industry conferences we’ve attended (well, besides Kevin Spacey that is) is that the Content Marketing Institute is rabidly devoted to process improvement. Analyze the sessions, speakers and tracks from the previous year. Use those insights to influence what the next conference looks like.

Last year’s conference was solid, and this year’s is even better. The sessions. The presenters. The energy. The networking. The exchange of ideas. The friends. The conversations.

For our Day 3 recap, we’re taking a look at a few of the top tips, tricks and tactics we’ve walked away with:

Kate Eidam, portfolio lead: Luckily, I made the decision on Day 1 of the conference to capture all of my notes on my laptop instead of with pen and notebook. There’s still one day to go, and I’ll be taking notes starting on a crisp, clean white screen on page 17 of my Word doc.

There is constant talk about transparency and authenticity in branding and content marketing. Transparency and authenticity are exactly what has been happening at CMWorld all week. Just imagine if we as marketers took the same tack with all of our stakeholder communications…how powerful and inspiring we could be in connecting to the people that matter.

There wasn’t one session that I didn’t learn at least 10 new things at today. This just begins to scratch the surface:

Optimizing SlideShare, from @toddwheatland:

  • Don’t assume SlideShare is only for slides. It’s a digital publishing platform – white papers, infographics, video, decks, etc.
  • SlideShare’s top 6 search terms: Business, Statistics, Market, Social Media, Trends, Research
  • Be smart and deliberate about your titles and cover thumbnails
  • Connect your LinkedIn and SlideShare profiles
  • Plan how you’re going to share and advocate for the content you posted – aka, how are you going to promote it to boost its chance of trending on SlideShare?

Creating a dominant brand, via @joepulizzi:

  • Someone has a problem. Figure out how to solve it and create the solution. This is how to be profitable.
  • Your biggest asset is a consistent, growing audience that you have permission to talk to and that you have control over. This makes your subscriber list your most valuable asset. Focus on building it.
  • Write down your strategy. Read it every day.
  • Break big projects down into smaller tasks – Joe wrote his book by creating an outline, then blogging each chapter over nine months. (It seems a lot less overwhelming when you attack it like that.)

What nurturing is not, by @ardath421:

  • It is not a campaign with an end date (I heard this from a lot of speakers: “STOP USING THE WORD CAMPAIGN!”)
  • It’s not about random acts of email (stop just sending them to check a box)
  • It’s not about staying top of mind (which may be as valuable as impressions, which are typically quickly forgotten)
  • It is not confined to your database
  • What nurturing is? It is a VERB. “Engaging buyers or customers involved in the decision to change in a continuous, highly relevant story that helps them choose your expertise to solve their problem.”

How do you make research and insights important to our organization, from @insightdan:

  • Get in the heads of your customers (commonly termed VOC – Voice of the Customer) – what keeps them up at night?
  • Assess the landscape – Often people in different departments, disciplines are responsible for competitive intel, marketing research, etc. Get that group together. Now.
  • Build a scalable plan – You want leadership buy-in? Set realistic goals, clear timelines and definitive team responsibilities. Nothing will torpedo you faster than a poorly executed plan.
  • Launch small – The old adage, “don’t bite off more than you can chew,” is applicable here. Starting small gives you the chance to test, learn, pivot as needed and grow as there is opportunity.
  • Reminder: Activating insights is powerful and can quickly differentiate an organization (whether those insights are shared internally or externally).

Amanda Vasil, social media strategist: I don’t know about the rest of you, but my head is spinning like a top with crazy amounts of information. I’d venture to say it’s borderline infobesity at this point. And I still have one more day to go with an Industrial Manufacturing Lab (more on that later).

While Content Marketing World has maintained focus on strategy, lots of great tactical nuggets floated into my brain yesterday. I’ve narrowed these tips to a few that really stuck out of me:

  • If you’re still using Facebook’s standard advertising tool, you’re doing it wrong. Facebook’s Power Editor is where it’s at. You can target, you can customize, you can track, you can do anything! Well, almost anything. Jon Loomer told us you still can’t exclude specific audience interests…yet.
  • Rebecca Lieb from Altimeter is brilliant. And one brilliant hint she gave us was to visit the Modern Marketing Blog and read “How to Produce 269 (or more) Content Assets From a Single eBook”. I haven’t read it top to bottom yet, but I will. And I encourage you to read it, too.
  • Guitar Center’s YouTube channel won “Content Marketing Program of the Year.” I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know a single thing about this campaign, but I have it bolded, highlighted and circled in my notebook to spend lots of time on the channel that tells its subscribers “All we do is sell the greatest feeling on Earth.”
  • Scott Stratten may be my favorite speaker at CMWorld, edging out Kevin Spacey (I know, I didn’t think it was possible either). I love Scott’s humor, his message and most of all, his common sense. I can’t wait to subscribe to his podcast “UnPodcast” and would love to hear what you think of his insights.
  • I loved Jen Dennis’s recommendation on how to set a deadline without really setting a deadline. Her trick is sending a piece of content to those who have asked to review it, and saying “If I don’t hear from you by XX day, I’ll assume everything looks great and I’ll send it to legal for final approval” (or something along those lines). Super smart ways to keep things moving.

And then there was Kevin Spacey. His thoughts? Connect with your audience and tell awesome stories. And be authentic. No one likes a phony.

 

Lukas Treu, content architect: Regarding SEO and better conversion rates:

  • Google Analytics is your friend. Find out what pages are your traffic champions on your site (pulling in the most visitors) and analyze for why these pages work
  • Ensure you are crosslinking between your Web pages, helping traffic champions to boost lower-performing pages
  • Speaking of lower-performing pages, do a Queries report on Google Analytics to find out what search phrases your site ranks for, and find specifically the phrases that may put you in position #11 on Google or worse. This is low-hanging fruit! Make a few adjustments and get more results on Page 1 of Google. After you make fixes, search and confirm the data
  • Use your key phrases in 4 areas of your website: Titles <title>, Headers <h1>, Body Copy (4­–6x, if possible) and within links to the page from other pages (don’t just put “link” or “click here” or “page”; use the keyword!)
  • Believe it or not, “Home” is an AWFUL home page name. Call it something useful and keyword-related!

Regarding email subscriptions:

  • Put an email signup box on your website that is hard to miss and compellingly worded
  • Make a person feel silly if they DON’T sign up for your emails (e.g., “Join the X,XXX people that get our best advice free every week!”)
  • Social proof is important; use numbers of subscribers, testimonials or other credibility measures to grow your list
  • If someone takes one desirable action on your site, they become far more likely to take another. Have someone that signed up for your email list? On the “Thank You” page, give them an offer to sign up for something else or dive deeper

Regarding social media:

  • You really don’t want people to leave your website to visit your social media pages; you already have them on your turf. If you’re including social media links and icons, make them subtle, low on the page or somewhere where they will be found but will not distract
  • When you produce content, do a bit of research with tools like FollowerWonk or Little Bird to find others who may be interested. Mention them on social media when you share the content, and they may share it, too. Then wait a day or two and post it on other networks, and remember to alert people there, too
  • People love to be mentioned, retweeted, have tweets favorited, have posts commented upon, etc. Find out whom you want sharing your content, make lists using Twitter, and then import it to Flipboard or Feedly so you can monitor these key audience members. Make a Google+ circle of influencers. Share, like and comment upon their content, and they’re more likely to do so for you. Not only are you amplifying, you’re making friends!
  • Take time to do what others only talk about doing… Often times this means research. Nothing will be more shared than this!

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Here are our other #CMWorld recaps:
Day 2: Heads Spinning, Dots Connecting
Day 1: New Perspectives, Data and Friends
Anticipation: Content Marketing Takes on Cleveland

Check back all week for new info and perspectives. For real-time conference updates, follow the conversation at:

#CMWorld
@AKHIA
Lukas Treu: @LTreu
Amanda Vasil: @avasilicious
Kate Eidam: @kateeidam