It’s been a whirlwind week for content geeks, but having emerged from the orange haze of Content Marketing World 2015, now is the time to reflect on the lessons gleaned at this year’s conference. Those who were present will be more than familiar with the prevalent themes of content saturation, social media noise and t-shirt swag, but even the most ardent attendee would have missed some crucial insights from the back-to-back marketing sessions. Herewith I present five of the most important #CMWorld 2015 takeaways…
Always Ask the Why
One of the week’s first keynote speakers, Kristina Halvorson, the CEO and founder of Brain Traffic, kicked off the fête with a percipient look at the challenges faced by the content marketing industry today. She specifically explored the way content can help a brand, or even hinder, as in the case of the paper towels-come-Jungle Book example provided. As an opening keynote, it was with some disruption that Halvorson preached the sin of selling too much strategy, emphasizing that not every brand will suit a Disney or Red Bull marketing model. The crux? That it’s always important to ask the “why” behind an initiative; to sometimes take a step back and ask if selling this space-themed D-Box experiential mini-movie is the best idea for a kitchen roll company.
Native will Become the New Norm
The rise of ad blockers dominated much discussion in the main conference halls, bleeding through to the individual sessions where speakers dished on the old new breed of advertising: native. As a valuable content amplification technique in itself, native is on the precipice of a marketing explosion, which until now has barely left the launch pad. As Chad Pollitt, VP of Audience and Co-founder of Relevance.com, opined, “There’s an 800 lb gorilla in the room that nobody is talking about: Google.”
Machine Learning in SEO
The inimitable Wizard of Moz, Rand Fishkin, delivered what could be the cautionary precursor to SkyNet, a presentation on Google’s machine learning in search… gulp! In his words, we are entering an age where we shouldn’t be optimizing for algorithms, but rather, algorithms that are creating their own algorithms. The new ranking factors of the future will be dictated by not just SEO inputs (the usual crawl-friendly technical elements, mobile and UX design), but also searcher outputs — low bounce rates, relative CTR, content gap fulfilments and amplification.
Speaking the Local Lingo
Glocalization was a big theme of #CMWorld 2015, echoing the trend of a smaller, more connected world that still begs for audience personalization. Sarah Mitchell of Globalcopywriting.com used her breakout session to discuss some of the cultural pitfalls in glocalization that can become lost in translation. Often marketers can be blamed for taking a “one size fits all” approach, believing that content created in their own country will suffice in international markets, which leads to sometimes hilarious and other times downright offensive language bloopers.
As the most anticipated keynote speaker of the entire event, John Cleese took to the stage with his trademark British witticism and razor tongue to dish advice on how to nurture creativity, the difference between “hair brain” and “tortoise mind,” and the importance of pre-nuptial agreements. No brand was impervious to his shots, as the Monty Python actor critiqued Cleveland — “What a beautiful city” to sensitively paraphrase — and took aim at a big hotel sponsor “beginning with M.” The takeaway? Influencer marketing can be hard.
Image via Content Marketing Institute