And Other Eye-Opening Insights From The Contently Summit
About 3 years ago our fledgling 818 Agency team went to a “content marketing” meet-up somewhere on New York’s lower east side (even the word “content marketing” was new-ish back then). It was literally at a decaying former rock venue/bar. “This is really punk rock,” our managing director blurted. It really was. Content marketing as a discipline was just that; new, exciting, raw — did it have mainstream potential? We thought to ourselves, should we even do this?
The Contently Summit: Essential Takeaways
The shift away from traditional advertising is real.
Flash forward to yesterday’s Contently Summit in NYC, a relaxed, professional, and very cool content conference situated in a gorgeous venue and organized by the industry’s leading high-end content creation and management platform, Contently.
“Make Content So Good That Your Competitors Share It.”
Those were the first words by one of the panelists, Ben Plomion of GumGum (on a panel called, “How Content Fuels Marketing). That perked us up.
Big brands were everywhere – Blackrock, JP Morgan Chase, Marriott, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Xerox. And innovators too, like the venture-backed mattress disruptor, Casper (you’ve totally seen their subway ads).
“Stop Selling, Start Helping.”
And they were all more or less saying the same thing; the time is now to become a “content-first” enterprise, not a “brand-first” one. Give your audience value. Thanks again to Ben for the above quote (the guy is good).
As Joe Coleman, Contently’s CEO so aptly put it in the program, the conference was a deep dive into the “the intersection of technology and storytelling.”
“Content Is an Engine for Thought Leadership.”
So sayeth Gianni Giacomelli of GemPact (70,000 employees) on a panel called, “Adopting ‘Content-First’ Across the Enterprise.”
What Everyone Was Saying About Content ROI, or “The Why”
This is what content marketing does for you.
Luke Sherwin, Co-Founder Casper
Casper created a stand-alone content-site for the sole purpose of establishing, “industry credibility, relevance and thought leadership.” The other brands mentioned this too.
Brian Becker, Head of Content, JPMorgan Chase
“Be prepared for a learning curve. You need an internal editorial board, a system of governance and just the right balance of editorial and business objectives. It’s an Art, not a Science, and there will be tension between the business and content teams.”
A note on event content-marketing: JP Morgan Chase recently decided to activate their event sponsorships (i.e. the U.S. Open) by providing real-time, event-based content.
Ann Hynek, VP and Managing Editor of Blackrock (yes, that Blackrock);
“Content has enabled us to successfully convey our services to consumers for the first time – previously we only worked with large institutional investors.”
Also from Ann: “Revise and improve your headlines in real-time if something isn’t working.”
Adam Weinroth, CMO OneSpot
In the “Secrets of Storytelling From the Best Content Marketers,” panel, OneSpot’s Adam Weinroth reminded us to look for repeat engagement rates (a favorite metric of ours too!). For one client of theirs, users consumed eight (!) pieces of content before purchasing.
Gianni Giacomelli, SVP and CMO of Genpact
“Content is a way to interact with your customers and the market at scale. It’s also been very helpful to insert our best-performing content into our 1-to-1 customer conversations.
This Is Our Favorite: Pride in What You Do
And our favorite (again from Gianni Giacomelli), “If you write and create the right content, the people who work for you will be PROUD. Proud to work for you and proud of what they do – and that will emanate out into the marketplace.”
Two More Bits of Content Wisdom and Some B2B (overhead)
“Make sure your content is aligned with your brand message, i.e. “we stand for this. “
“Content enables B2B companies to stretch into the B2C space for more leads and visibility (we forgot who said this, but we love it!)”
Storytelling Is the New Advertising
These are all companies with huge financial goals to hit each quarter, each year – yet, to a brand, the focus was on creating authentic, high-quality editorial storytelling that has utility for people (and don’t forget your sense of humor). With the right systems in place, the revenue contributions from content will be measurable and significant.
We’ve all written customer personas for specific audience segments but OneSpot’s Weinroth says the future is in creating and delivering custom content for an audience segment of one. That’s one person.
Thank You, Contently
So what is our takeaway from the Contently Summit? It’s that content and content marketing have arrived. It’s still young, as Contently’s Joe Coleman also writes, but boy has it matured.
“We’re entering the next generation of content marketing: new mediums, new channels, and new voices.”
A final note from everyone on the 818 agency team:
Dear @Contently crew:
Thanks to your smarts, hustle, and wherewithal, our industry is well on its way to becoming the new normal. And for that, we’re forever grateful. While we have nothing against broken down former punk rock venues, it was a delight to meet other members of this growing tribe in such an elegant environment, and look forward to the next one.
Jed Wexler, Founder and CEO, 818 Agency
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