Everything You Missed from Content Marketing World 2017
On the Magnificent Marketing Podcast, we sit down with industry experts to discuss common problems marketers face.
We know that content marketing is extremely dynamic, so it's important to stay up to date on changes and current trends. For this episode, we touched base with Joe Pulizzi to go over his annual event: Content Marketing World.
Joe never expected Content Marketing World to become a highly anticipated event with attendees from across the globe. But that's exactly what happened.
Didn't have the chance to attend? Don't worry: Joe gave us the full scoop on the story of his success and told us about all the hot topics from CM 2017 on this episode of the show.
The Godfather of Content Marketing
Joe is the founder of Content Marketing Institute (CMI): the industry's leading education and training organization.
Content Marketing Institute is full of resources for honing your skills and staying up-to-date on the ever-changing world of content marketing. CMI also hosts what is now the largest in-person content marketing event in the world. Yes, the world.
Joe is known throughout the industry as the "godfather of content marketing" due to his innovation and success. In 2014, the Content Marketing Council honored Joe with a John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award citing his role as not only an industry trailblazer but "content marketing evangelist." Needless to say, Joe has earned his unofficial title.
Who Attends Content Marketing World?
As mentioned above, Joe didn't expect much when he launched Content Marketing World in 2011. He hoped about 100 people would show up. After all, it isn't easy to get people out from behind the computer screen and into a real-life venue.
To Joe's surprise, over 600 people attended Content Marketing World that first year. That number has since grown exponentially. This year, over 3,500 people from 50 countries attended the event which hosted over 200 international speakers.
Who attends? Well, everyone, really. Folks from all kinds of industries show up to learn about effective content marketing strategies. Companies know that delivering valuable and relevant content is extremely important, but they aren't sure how to execute this. That's where Content Marketing World comes in.
Most of the attendees work on blogs, podcasts, and other types of media. As more companies become interested in content marketing, the diversity among attendees grows. It's common for people working in public relations, communications, or even senior positions to attend.
Now, everyone wants to learn about implementing new content marketing strategies and tactics. Overall, the audience is filled with doers: people who want to directly communicate with their audience and ultimately encourage profitable behavior. Content Marketing World is the perfect place to learn about that in a hands-on environment.
You Are Now a Media Outlet
The goal of content marketing is to build a loyal audience who will – hopefully, and eventually – exhibit profitable behavior, right? Joe says that in order to do that, all businesses must think of themselves as media outlets. Retail, lawn care, accounting, healthcare, insert-your-industry-here. The goal is the same: you want to deliver relevant and valuable information to your audience.
Consumers are in complete control and you're competing with the entire internet for their attention. If you don't give them interesting and valuable content on a consistent basis, they're not going to pay you any attention. This sounds discouraging, but Joe says it also opens up new routes for monetizing your skills and services.
Think outside the box with paid events, webinars, and sponsorships. Think of it this way: the largest media company in the electronics industry isn't a media outlet but rather an electronic component company called Arrow Electronics. You want to think of yourself as a media outlet without monetizing yourself like a media company.
How to Create the Right Content for the Right Audience
The biggest mistake Joe sees companies make? They throw out a big net by creating content for a broad audience. If you don't narrow down your audience, you'll never be able to create relevant and interesting content. People won't really care about what you have to say.
Start out by identifying some problems your audience might face on a daily basis. Brainstorm and reach out to your customers – really get to know them. From there, you can develop content to solve these problems and assert yourself as an authority figure in your industry.
After you accomplish that, your audience is more likely to trust you and ultimately exhibit profitable behavior. Tell great stories and get a little emotional. Create a humanized experience: let people know you're more than a website on a computer screen.
Don't forget to check out what kind of content your competitors are putting out. You want to set yourself apart by creating a unique content experience.
How to Get That Content to Your Target Audience
You have great content and you know exactly who needs to see it. Now you just need to figure out how to get it on their radar. Your content marketing strategy should change as your audience grows. Remember: content marketing is dynamic.
In the beginning, Joe recommends devoting 50% of your resources to creating the content itself and the other 50% to promoting that content to your target audience. If you don't have a strategy for marketing your content, your target audience will never see it.
Once your audience grows a bit, you can devote more resources to creating the content and a little less for the promotion. However, one factor remains constant: you want to be in control of your audience.
Embrace the Power of Videos
Joe says he sees a lot of companies flirting with video production but they aren't taking it nearly as seriously as they should. With the right strategy, videos can turbocharge your business.
Take Jenny Doan for example. She launched her company Missouri Star Quilting with little more than a YouTube channel. 20,000 subscribers later and she's now the largest employer in the city of Hamilton, Missouri.
How can companies improve their video strategy? Treat it like written content: create relevant videos for a specific audience on a regular basis. Joe says most companies upload several videos at one time without really engaging their audience and they're really missing out.
Don't Rely on Social Media or Technology
It's important to think of social media and technology as supplements rather than your main course. But social media is where your audience hangs out, right? So, what's the problem?
You're not in control of your audience on social media platforms – Facebook or Twitter is. These companies want to monetize you as a consumer. Paying for access to your audience is never an effective content marketing strategy. Joe says technology gives you lots of options for increasing productivity and automating workflow, but these methods are useless if you aren't creating interesting, valuable, and relevant content.
This doesn't mean you can't implement technology into your content marketing strategy – just don't rely on it. Instead, think about problems you may have and brainstorm how technology like AI could help you overcome these issues.
With Subscribers, You're in Complete Control
Subscribers give you a direct line of communication to your audience. What's more valuable than that? Joe says subscriptions are – hands down – the best way to build and keep your audience. With subscribers, you don't have to fight with social media algorithms or compete for attention in the same way.
People subscribe to you because they want to stay in touch and they value your content. A few hundred subscribers are far more valuable than several thousand Twitter followers when it comes to exhibiting profitable behavior. But don't sell them anything immediately! Build your authority and trust first by delivering relevant and interesting content.
Joe didn't launch his paid events, webinars, or magazine until he had over 10,000 followers. Think outside the box: get them to subscribe to multiple newsletters and different types of content.
What's Next in the Big World of Content Marketing?
Content marketing is an ever-changing industry so it's hard to make finite predictions.
What does Joe think? Although independent companies and media outlets are booming right now, Joe says they aren’t going to subvert large corporations. Corporate media, in particular, isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
In fact, since they have large budgets to invest, Joe says they will probably play a much larger role in content marketing soon. This could include lots of mergers and acquisitions over the next few years. Joe says this will drastically change the content marketing landscape and everyone should start preparing now.
How will the landscape change? Well, that might just be a hot topic of discussion for next year's Content Marketing World. You can find Joe at the next event decked out in orange.