11 Essential Content Marketing Insights from 2008 Custom Content Conference

attentive audience Learn what some of the smartest people in the business had to say about 21st-century marketing.

When you invite leading edge content, marketing, and technology pros to address 150 professionals who spend all their time thinking about content, you are at risk of sensory overload. Particularly when it takes place in New Orleans. So, we will cover the highlights today. In the days to come we will add detailed articles to provide in-depth coverage of individual presentations.

If you’re not familiar with custom publishing, what’s important to know is that it provides targeted and relevant content to carefully selected customers. Content marketing flows directly from custom publishing roots.

Here are the essential 11 content marketing insights to guide your thinking, strategy, and tactics in the months and years to come:

  1. Consumers may say they are overwhelmed with information but they are out on the web seeking it every day. What’s different from times past is that they want the information on their terms. They do not want to be bombarded with information that they did not request. They want to control the flow of information and to aggregate it as they see fit.
  2. Engagement is one of the most important yardsticks that determine sales and profitability. If your customers are not actively engaged with your content, your brand, and your products, you lose.
  3. The secret to engagement is to tailor information as precisely as possible for your targeted customers. One speaker indicated that the choice is simple, “customize or perish.”
  4. Design is an integral part of content. As lead off speaker, Joe Duffy, put it, “Design makes the world makes sense.”
  5. Brand advocates, that is, highly motivated, raving fans of products will have an enormous positive effect on sales and the bottom line. Thanks to the Internet, their influence is exponentially greater than it was in an analog world. You can learn to harness them as unofficial brand ambassadors.
  6. The power and reach of mass media defined marketing in the 20th century. It was all about tonnage. If you spend enough money and reached enough people, you would build share of mind which translated into greater share of the market. In the 21st century, consumers don’t congregate to watch a single television show like M*A*S*H or Friends. Instead, they aggregate content from sources that interest them.
  7. In the good old days of Web 1.0, users went to a one-size-fits-all content solution. Today as Web 2.0 evolves, content is coming to the users who create their own view of Information with easy to use tools such as widgets. For example, this is how you can create your own home page on Google full of information that is of interest just to you. In effect, you have created your own portal and taken control of the flow of information away from the primary providers.
  8. Like it or not, businesses are publishers today. They may not turn out print publications, but the moment they moved to the web they have become publishers. But, unless they bring the skills and sensibility of editors with a love of relevant content, they will not connect successfully to their customers.
  9. Business blogs may be the most effective way for companies to establish open dialogue with their customers–and in so doing establish trust through authentic and transparent communication.
  10. The brand experience goes from the web to the real world and back. Marketers must be certain that there is a continuity of communication from their face-to-face interaction with customers to what those same customers will find online. Apple is perhaps the best example. They carry through their customer centric, user-friendly design in everything they do. When you go to their website or walk into their store, you know that you’re dealing with Apple. And, it’s a wonderful experience.
  11. To succeed with your website you must define your purpose precisely. You must focus. You must be think what content to actually put on the web. You must provide easy access to everything and allow feedback from your visitors. Too many websites are all over the place, thus driving away visitors and prospective customers.

Stay tuned in the days to come for lots more detail, including best practice and worst practice examples. I look forward to sharing as much what I learned during two intensive days. That way you won’t have to know what it means to miss New Orleans.

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One Comment

  1. Posted April 9, 2008 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Interesting, you did a great job of condensing both online and off line tactics.

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