Content and Community at CMworld in Cleveland


I’ve just returned from Content Marketing World 2015 in Cleveland. As Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies put it, the conference was all about “marketing to marketers about marketing – very meta.”

Yet it was also a clear demonstration of the power of live events for creating value, outside of any specific service or product, through content and community.

Providing Value Through Content

With 150 speakers, the conference was an embarrassment of riches when it comes to content. There was simply too much terrific content to consume. Even if you could clone yourself and attend every session, the brain simply could not absorb it. I will be reading through presentation notes and watching videos for several weeks.

Here are a few of my favorite thoughts and observations from various sessions.

From Ann Handley – to cut through the clutter and create content that doesn’t fall flat, marketers need to be bigger, braver, and bolder. (Alliteration is also a content trend.) Read more from Ann on her blog.

From Mitch Joel – creating content that is extremely relevant to a specific niche can scale better than mass media. Ask Bethany Mota about that, if you know who she is. Mitch also shares this point: the Internet is porous, and the customer journey is a fiction. People come in and out intermittently.

From Tom Webster – mobile technology has rewired customer behavior. The center of the content universe is the why of the customer.

Adding Value Through Community

We attend conferences in hopes of connecting with people who share our interests and problems. This conference succeeded beautifully in delivering human connections.

I had the chance to meet many people I’d only interacted with online, including many of my content marketing idols. The Content Marketing Institute did a great job of creating environments for social interactions, including a concert by the Barenaked Ladies, and talks by Nick Offerman and John Cleese.

But more than that, I appreciated the unstructured interactions in elevators, on exhibit hall floors, and in the hallways. Content marketers are a warm and welcoming group. The most successful content marketers are empathetic, which makes for a good conference crowd.

Joe Pulizzi summed it up in his closing remarks, by calling on those in the audience to support each other as a content marketing community.

Put Content and Community to Work for Your Customers

Adding value through content and community is one of the key tenets of value nurturing, or the practice of using marketing practices to help customers find value after an initial conversion or sale. Download the free chapter on Value Nurturing from the Subscription Marketing book website.

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