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Highlights from Day 1 of Content Marketing World

Sharmin Kent September 6, 2017

The first day of Content Marketing World offered attendees  fascinating, challenging ideas from some of the world’s biggest and most savvy brands.

From opening presentations to breakout sessions, the conference is hitting its stride with a variety of methods and points of view on content marketing. Today’s sessions made it clear that social media is no longer simply a distribution channel for content–in most cases, content must fit its social channel to reach and engage target audiences.

After a welcome CMI’s founder Joe Pulizzi, Linda Boff from General Electric (GE) took the stage to present her company’s formula for stellar content. Among the lessons she shared: know who you are, look for unexpected audiences, and experiment early and often. Those content experiments have taken some wild forms for GE, including space sneakers promoted on Snapchat, barbeque at SXSW, and podcasts like The Message and Life/After. It’s proof that even century-old enterprise companies need to take risks and invest in new types of content to keep audiences engaged.

Zontee Hou from Convince and Convert led a session that examined how brands can create powerful content across all appropriate social channels. Titled “How to Create a Rock Star Social Media Plan for your Content Marketing,” Zou’s session shared real-life examples of how brands use channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest to reach and engage audiences. According to Zou, brands should use social media to share thought leadership, build community and engage with customers in real time. At the core of her talk was audiences: how to find them, how to engage them on each channel and how to measure that engagement to show results. She also cautioned that not every brand needs to engage on every channel.

Engagement can take many forms, and professional sports teams have a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Joel Hammond from the Cleveland Indians and Brandon Jirousek from the Cleveland Cavaliers are charged with striking a delicate balance of creating both engaging, evergreen content and real-time, live content via social media. They shared their social media secrets with the audience, including making fans feel like participants instead of just spectators. They achieve this goal by keeping the fans first: engaging with fans on social media, crafting a voice that’s both conversational and fun, and using social media as a customer service channel.

Hammond and Jirousek also discussed ROE–return on effort–which refers to the amount of effort it takes to create a single piece of content and distribute it across channels. The approach is markedly different from conventional social media wisdom (different content for different channels), but it’s also what helps make their fans feel like they’re a part of the team. And that’s what matters.

The first day of this conference has already offered new and unexpected ways to create social media content for a wide range of audiences. Prioritizing content strategy and distribution, the importance of tone and voice, and taking risks with content types are just three core lessons from today. But neither the day nor the convention are over, and there are hundreds more presentations in the next two days of Content Marketing World. There’s much more to learn this week.