02 Jun 2015

A Recap of the First Annual Content Marketing Conference

Several hundred content marketers from small businesses, large corporations and content marketing agencies gathered in Las Vegas in mid-May for the debut Content Marketing Conference, sponsored by SpyFu and produced by Rising Media and Writer Access.

$30 billion is spent on content marketing every year and 86% of B2B marketers in North America use content marketing (via CMI), and it’s these reasons that drew nearly 200 content marketers to Las Vegas. These content marketing pros dove deep into every aspect of the content marketing workflow, and went home with sharpened insights on tactical execution to help build client conversions.

Writer Access CEO Byron White served as Conference Chair, and in his role, lined up some proven thought leaders and content marketing pros as presenters. This list included keynote speakers Douglas Van Praet of Unconscious Branding and Tim Ash of SiteTuners, along with Ardath Albee of Marketing Interactions, Inc., Bruce Rogers – Chief Insights Officer at Forbes and Mike Roberts of SpyFu, Inc. The majority of sessions over the 3-day conference covered tips and techniques, case studies, tactics, and the latest methodologies for achieving success.

The conference was preceded by an intensive one-day content marketing workshop provided by Vertical Measures’ CEO Arnie Kuenn. In his day-long session, Arnie shared his philosophy about the Moneyball concept as it relates to content. That is, hitting lots of content marketing singles and doubles consistently over time will add up to a greater content win than one or two content home runs spread out over longer amounts time. Believe him, it works!

Vertical Measures CEO Arnie Kuenn presents his Content Marketing Workshop at Content Marketing Conference, Las Vegas, NV May 2015.

Vertical Measures CEO Arnie Kuenn presents his Content Marketing Workshop at Content Marketing Conference, Las Vegas, NV May 2015.

More importantly, Arnie showed the room full of content marketers the right ways to:
• Evolve content ideas from everyday customer conversations
• Create fresh, useful content on a consistent basis
• Research keyword phrases using tools like UberSuggest and others
• Increase user engagement by posting just a few times a week

Day 1

Speaker/Author Douglas Van Praet gave the Day 1 keynote in which he offered concepts on using neuroscience to inspire marketing. Van Praet shared examples how our unconscious mind works with association to learn patterns and create comfort, and help put emotion into your product. He shared his theory of the types of responses that provoke people to react – survival, safety, status, sex, spawn, sustenance and surprise. He added “The role of branding is not to bond people to a brand. It’s to brand people to people like themselves.”

That same morning, Forbes Chief Insights Officer Bruce Rogers shared the findings of the new Forbes Insights Survey of Marketing Executives (to be released in June). Rogers spoke of the challenges that marketers face on a daily basis, with creating the right content to meet buyers on their journey, and the tensions between marketing and sales teams on building the right content to meet sales objectives.

Latest Forbes Insights from the  Content Marketing  Conference, Las Vegas, NV May 2015.

Latest Forbes Insights from the Content Marketing Conference, Las Vegas, NV May 2015.

SpyFu CEO Mike Roberts captured the crowd’s attention with his in-your-face address about Content Optimization, and how content marketers should use new techniques to make a difference in their content plans. Mike emphasized the importance of keywords for optimizing your content to the fullest, and how this strategy is the future of content marketing.

SpyFu's CEO Mike Roberts presents at the  Content Marketing  Conference, Las Vegas, NV May 2015.

SpyFu’s CEO Mike Roberts presents at the Content Marketing Conference, Las Vegas, NV May 2015.

Day 2

SiteTuners CEO Tim Ash presents at the  Content Marketing  Conference, Las Vegas, NV May 2015.

SiteTuners CEO Tim Ash presents at the Content Marketing Conference, Las Vegas, NV May 2015.

Day 2 began with a keynote by Tim Ash of SiteTuners, who offered insights into how B2B marketers work with content marketing on a daily basis in connection to their overall digital marketing strategy.

After the keynote, Jon Wuebben, CEO of Content Launch, provided tactical tips and techniques on content planning and the importance of creating buyer personas across the content marketing spectrum. The more we know about our customers’ journey through the buying cycle, the better we can provide informative, useful content to those customers.

Content Launch CEO Jon Wuebben presents at the  Content Marketing  Conference, Las Vegas, NV May 2015.

Content Launch CEO Jon Wuebben presents at the Content Marketing Conference, Las Vegas, NV May 2015.

President and CEO of Revenue Architects, John Stone, presented on how to build revenue program architecture for your content. Stone suggested to that we as content marketers can be more creative when it comes to the buyer’s journey process. He suggested to follow these 10 steps:

1. Differentiate in an environment of ‘content shock’
2. Feed the content beast
3. Monetize our content investment
4. Build a case to align the teams
5. Enhance marketing’s impact with sales
6. Put in the systems for closed-loop revenue marketing
7. Enable a single view of the customer
8. Connect the digital channels
9. Deliver across channels and media
10. Deliver campaigns effectively

In a separate session, Lauren Cowher of Writer Access and Jeff Mesnik of ContentMX both spoke to the idea that Content Marketing is a Team Sport.

Lauren, daughter of NFL coaching great Bill Cowher, used her sports-filled youth to show how creating a content team full of great players can help you score a touchdown in the world of content marketing. Jeff added to that by sharing some tips on how to maximize your marketing efforts with these key takeaways:

• Start with real, tangible goals
• Knowing and overcoming your content challenges will help drive your marketing success
• Are you telling the right stories and do they line up?
• Understand the benefits and power of each social media platform and social email newsletters and how they will help you maximize your marketing
• View the CMO’s Guide to the 2014 Social Landscape on CMO.com
• Don’t be afraid of expectations
• A great content marketing strategy should converge email marketing, SEO, social media and content marketing
• Make sure your marketing budget includes ways to obtain content

As the conference wrapped up, all of the CMC attendees couldn’t help but leave feeling they had been given a complete guide to creating the perfect content marketing plan. Tips were evident for everything from creating a team, to focusing on creating content, to executing a marketing plan around the strategy. The speakers were engaging, fun, educational and sometimes even dressed as purple cowboys! We do know one thing for sure, we can’t wait to go back again next year!

(Extra content in this blog post also provided by Zack Jones of Vertical Measures)