The Content Marketing Show 2014: Brighton Dome
Content marketing has become one of the biggest trends in digital marketing over the last couple of years. The Google Panda algorithm update has made the need for quality, original content more important than ever before from an SEO perspective, whilst the ongoing difficulties businesses face to come up with unique, innovative ways to sell their products and promote their brand are also increasingly apparent.
It’s little surprise then that the annual Content Marketing Show was moved this year from its original home at the Institute of Education in London to the vast main theatre hall at the Brighton Dome. The Dome already plays host to the excellently organised Brighton SEO, and the team behind it clearly felt that the dedicated content-themed conference was ready to take the step up into the iconic venue.
I found the conference last Wednesday very informative and wanted to share some of the key takeaways with you.
Mark Johnstone (Distilled): What Content Marketers can learn from Advertising
Mark had the daunting task of opening the conference, and talked mainly about the connection between content marketing and traditional advertising.
One of his key messages was to think laterally about a brand you are working on, and gave the example of how Red Bull never focus on how their popular caffeinated drink tastes, instead opting for stunts such as the Felix Baumgartner skydive to boost their brand message.
He also emphasised the importance of doing customer research.
To back this up he cited an example of Lynx, whose products are often bought by females as presents for their male partners, rather than the males themselves, despite all of their advertising being targeted towards the man “getting the girl”.
He mentioned how Old Spice, a brand which may not have as “cool” an image as Lynx, have recently used this to their advantage with a message of “make your man smell like a man”, with very successful results.
The “Smell Like a Man, Man” campaign, launched in February 2010, and by the end of that year, Old Spice had become the No1 selling brand of body wash for men in the USA.
Max L. Wilson (Lecturer at the University of Nottingham): Why People Favourite Things: Tweet usefulness, style and favouriting behaviour
Max delivered a more scientific approach with his short talk and discussed the psychological reasons why people interact with tweets.
Some of the most effective tweets from businesses include facts, a price and a link to further information.
He highly recommended that businesses, especially those which operate at a local level, should actively look to respond to unanswered questions, for example “Where should I eat in London?” in order to gain exposure and customers.
Emma Dunn (Caliber): How to Ideate like a Boss
Emma’s talk was all about the difficulties with constant idea creation, and suggested three phases to tackling this: Flexibility, Originality and Elaboration.
She dismissed the right vs. left brained theory as a myth and argued that everyone has the ability to be creative. She did however suggest that brainstorming can be ineffective and can lead to ‘fixation’ on one or two ideas, and instead stated her preference to get everyone individually thinking about the task at their own desks.
She interestingly suggested that a messy desk, rather than a tidy one can lead to more creative thinking, and that morning people are often more creative in the afternoons and vice versa!
Hannah Warder (White.net): How to Guarantee a 0% Response Rate from Blogger Outreach
Hannah spoke about how she runs her own blogs alongside working as a digital marketing specialist before giving some amusing examples of ways she has been approached by some very poor outreach tactics.
She then went onto talk about ways of “doing it right”, emphasising the points of understanding exactly who you are targeting and never sending out stock emails to your whole blogger database.
She gave some great examples of interaction she has had with bloggers on Twitter during work she has done for her household appliances client, and that putting in the extra legwork and admin to make them feel loved will reap its rewards in the long run.
Mindy Gofton (I Com): Rich Content for the Cash-Strapped
Mindy talked about the importance of setting expectations early on when you have clients who only have small budgets to work with, and to find out their objectives as early as possible.
Educating the client and obtaining their ‘buy-in’ is also vital. She gave an example of their work with a firm of lawyers in St Helens – a town well known for its love of rugby. Her team decided to create content around the sport and push it to bloggers and journalists who write about it on a regular basis.
This approach resulted in a 61% increase in brand searches and a 21% increase in enquiries alone.
Laura Crimmons (Branded 3): How to Implement an Audience Engagement Strategy Using Content
Laura started by emphasising the point that audience is at the centre of everything and to focus on what they want first and foremost.
Before creating content it’s important to find out where this audience spends their time online, whether that be on news sites, social media, blogs or forums. She suggested using the famous 80/20 rule, i.e. spending 80% of the time contacting influencers, and 20% on regular writers and bloggers for greater success.
Laura also talked about how online personas are an important element to build at the start of any campaign to help all parties understand the types of audiences they need to target.
Stephen Masters (Red Rocket Media): Storytelling Tips for you to “Remember Remember”
Stephen gave some good examples of successful content and symbolisation, such as the poppy. Whilst there have been a number of word-based phrases around this such as “lest we forget”, the poppy remains the enduring symbol of the story which everyone related to Remembrance Day.
Repeat slogans can also be effective, such as “Remember remember the fifth of November”. Other tips included using images, statements, smells and sounds in your content to all trigger memories and arouse emotions.
James Perrot (Zazzle Media): Data is the Rocket Fuel to Your Content Strategy
James gave a data-focused presentation based on his personal experience of buying a road bike from Wiggle.
Their focus on providing in-depth guides to cyclists across the experience-level spectrum lead to him becoming far more knowledgeable and therefore a brand advocate as he developed his road cycling skills.
He suggested that people were finding this content as it was well-optimised from an SEO perspective, and that Wiggle were really doing their research and making the effort to understand what their audience were searching for.
James raised the point about Google’s Hummingbird algorithm and how search terms need to become more conversational to succeed, e.g. “what are the best bikes for under £1000”, rather than just using a one or two word phrase.
James Perrin (Koozai): Organisation, Planning and Scheduling: The Secret to Content Marketing Success
James started with some interesting stats, such as:
- 74% of brands have increased their content marketing spend this year
- Only 36% of content marketers feel that they are effective at the practice
Reasons behind this included a lack of budget, time, as well as little clarity on goals and objectives.
He gave some tips for working more effectively both internally and externally, and emphasised the importance of clear and concise communication between all parties. James stated that editorial calendars are essential for focusing the campaign and keeping everyone on the same page.
He concluded with the statistic that 90% of advertising gets lost in the early stage as people worry too much about the message rather than focusing on making an impact.
Jon Norris (Crunch): Consume Customer Consciousness for Colossal Content Creation
Jon started by discussing two of the biggest problems in content marketing: coming up with ideas that are useful to the audience and how that content can be used to make sales.
He discussed the differing objectives of editorial and sales teams, but that in fact both should be trying to work together by understanding the audience better and creating content for people at different stages of the buying cycle.
The point of creating and understanding personas was raised again, and finding out what clients/customers are asking based on support tickets, chat logs and questions being asked on online forums were all ways to create the content that will help to draw them in.
Overall I would say that the 2014 Content Marketing Show was a resounding success.
Whilst the crowd thinned out towards the end of the day, perhaps with the majority wanting to get back to London and beyond, the day was made great with some fantastic speakers and over eight hours of interesting insight and personal experience in the well-thought-out presentations.
Here at Generate UK we are keen to stay on top of the latest trends in our industry, and implementing them for our clients. If you are interested in how we can help you, drop us a line!