On October 8th, I had the privilege of attending Spark, a content marketing conference hosted by the data analytics company Trackmaven. Trackmaven is a platform I use every day at my job and it helps us track our social data and find out how we match up to our competitors on a daily basis.
At Spark, some of the biggest and best in content and internet marketing came to speak, network, and share advice on how to get the most out of your digital marketing efforts and your content. People from all industries, from print media to music to moving services, were in attendance and getting all kinds of different perspectives was eye-opening and enlightening.
Below are some of the tips and tricks I took away from each session. Hopefully some of these pointers will help you as much as they helped and will help me.
Keynote #1 with Allen Gannett
The CEO of Trackmaven, Allen Gannett got the day started and he stressed that data is a very important part of anyone’s creative strategy. Ideas don’t just come out of the sky. They are part of a creative process that is part science, part art. Data has become the business model of companies like Netflix, who used data and research to decide to invest in House Of Cards & Adam Sandler for original movies. In the end, use data to filter infinite possibilities into ones that work and can be repeated.
Keynote #2 with Jonah Berger
Professor and author Jonah Berger was up next, and he shared some of the concepts from his book in his keynote. There is a science to social transmission. Stories are the currency to conversation, so create compelling content that doesn’t feel like a walking advertisement. Jonah then shared the Six STEPPS to getting people to share & become advocates for your brand: Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories.
Test, Rinse, Repeat – Continually Increasing Your Content Marketing ROI
Matt and Jamey made a great point in that content marketing is like boxing. Reinforcing one of my favorite philosophies from serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, use “jabs” of small content that you share from others and track its performance with your audience. When they’re drawn in and you have an idea of what will work, deliver the hook and create a compelling message that pushes your material. Understand what works and create a system so that way it can be repeated.
Digital Innovation at Discovery – Going Beyond Social
- Joshua Weinberg, SVP of Multi-Platform Strategy & Integrated Content at Discovery
The Discovery Channel is known for their programs like Shark Week and Gold Rush. With their resources, they have the opportunity to do a lot with social media and technology to promote their programs. For example, the use of virtual reality and immersing fans into an experience is something they have done, especially now with YouTube & Facebook having 360 videos. But remember, despite all of this new technology, when marketing an event, understand each platform’s purpose & plan accordingly for each.
Using Influencer Brands To Escape The Echo Chamber
- Rebecca Chanin, Director of Marketing at JK Moving Services & CapRelo
- Jamey Jeff, SVP of Customer Success at Trackmaven
When trying to emerge as a thought leader” for your industry, it takes a long time and a process. At the same time, don’t just “follow the leader.” Study what the competition is doing as well as your target audience.What kind of content is appealing to them and what can be enhanced to match what they like? Remember, “It’s not about the I, I, I. It’s about the YOU, YOU, YOU.”
Building The Business Case For Content Marketing
Content marketing can be very hard to sell to the C-Suite and to executives. That’s why, when selling it, put it in terms that relate to the goals of the stakeholders and the company. For example, explain how it builds trust with your clients and how it’ll grow and nurture the sales pipeline. In business, revenue is king so make sure to convey how a content strategy will lead to that. Support it with data. Show how it compares to competitors and how many have already converted.
Content Measurement 201: Going Beyond Clicks and Shares
Content for a company can be used to improve any different area, from doing a better job describing what they sell to what it takes to hire a great candidate there. The more good content you produce, the greater the relationship with your audience. As the title of the talk says, there is more to content measurement than clicks or shares. Quality leads sourced, editing hours saved, and sales cycle time reduced are all factors that need to be considered, especially in B2B sales.
Keynote #3 with Ann Handley
Ann is very popular in the content marketing world so getting the chance to hear her speak was very exciting. In her keynote, she emphasized that content needs to be “bigger, braver, and bolder.” One of the biggest mistakes content marketers make is playing things too safe. Your story is the start of what sets you apart as a business and after studying yourself and your audience, refine it to make the most effective first impression. “Ships are safe in harbors but that’s not what ships are for.”
Fireside Chat with Scooter Braun
As one of the biggest names in the music industry, I was excited to see what kind of perspective Scooter would share in his talk. In today’s world, there are lots of windows of opportunity to make a name for yourself on the content side. However, make sure that what you’re delivering is of HIGH QUALITY, not just HIGH QUANTITY. To make this point, Adele was mentioned. Lots of people steal music yet she sold 11 million copies of 21. Why? It was of high quality. If you are unsure of what direction to take your content, use data to figure it out. However, if you have a feeling in your gut to choose a path that makes sense, go with it.
Major props to the team at Trackmaven for their fantastic work! I’m looking forward to what the summit in 2016 will be like.