5 Unforgettable Quotes & Highlights from Content Marketing World 2014

September 12, 2014


While at Content Marketing World in sunny Cleveland, Ohio earlier this week, I had the privilege of listening to numerous industry leaders discuss their recent research findings, predictions, recent campaign successes, and much more. Throughout the week I found myself so inspired that I literally got goosebumps. In an effort to spread my recently replenished excitement about the future of content marketing, I wanted to share my top 5 highlights from five top sessions at #CMWorld2014. (Full disclosure, Kevin Spacey’s closing keynote would have been included had I not booked myself on the early flight back to San Francisco.)

1. Breakthrough Moments in Content Marketing

Moderator: Tom Gerace, Founder & CEO, Skyword


Guillermo Morrone, VP, Head of Global Consumer and Priceless Cities Content Strategy, MasterCard Worldwide

Patrick Cassidy, Head of Global Digital Brand Marketing, New Balance

Melyssa Banda, Senior Director of Marketing, Western Digital

Eric Eden, Vice President of Marketing, Cvent

The unforgettable quote: “I don’t care if the video I produce doesn’t sell shoes right away. I’m trying to create a culture and feel around New Balance.” – Patrick Cassidy

Patrick Cassidy. Man does this guy get it. He came to New Balance and saw that all of the content they were producing looked the same: extremely stylized and polished. It’s not that it wasn’t working, it was; but he saw an opportunity to connect with the consumer on a deeper, more authentic level. Aside from the fact that New Balance has more sponsorship deals with athletes than any other shoe brand, they have a unique way of making consumers feel emotionally connected to their products. As Patrick mentioned while on the panel, people hike to the top of mountains and tweet @NewBalance, letting them know they accomplished such a feat while wearing their shoes. The video referenced in the quote above documents Lukas Verzbicas’ inspiring story. Lukas is a triathlete who was in a bike accident and was told he would never walk again – until one day he felt a twitch in his leg. New Balance has shifted its content strategy to be more unfiltered and emotional – and it’s truly resonating with their audience.

Takeaway: Focus less on sales and more on empathizing with your audience. Your customers are smart and can sense when you’re being disingenuous. Keep it real, in real-time.

2. Inspired Content: How Brilliant Storytellers Create a Sudden Urge to Act

Andrew Davis, Author, Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships

The unforgettable quote: “Create moments of inspiration that send people on a journey.” – Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis walked onto stage to the song “Turn Down for What” by DJ Snake & Lil Jon. Clearly, he had my attention. He kept it by reinforcing the importance of creating Moments of Inspiration (MOI) for your audience. When storytellers create an MOI, it triggers an irresistible urge to act. Valuable content increases the demand for the products you sell. He outlined the 4 secrets to creating MOI:

  1. Build suspense when you tell a story and create anxiety about how it will end.
  2. Foster aspiration – Ask yourself, ‘What does my audience want to be? And how can I show them what that would look like?’
  3. Drive empathy, or “Go on an audacious conquest.”
  4. Harness emotion – a compelling example of this was the Caine’s Arcade story he shared.

Takeaway: The moment of purchase is the beginning of a new relationship with a consumer. As marketers, Moments of Inspiration (MOIs) are our biggest opportunity to build this relationship.

3. ‘Sorry Did You Say Something?’ The Future of Content is Writing

Ann Handley, Co-Author, Content Rules

The unforgettable quote: “Writing is not grammar; writing is thinking.” – Ann Handley

As content marketers, we see content moments everywhere. Ann Handley discussed the importance of turning these moments into gifts for our readers, delighting them with content in their ‘everyday places’. When we write, we should constantly view things from the customer’s point of view. Having pathological empathy with your audience is crucial. Ann also highlighted the benefits of publishing on LinkedIn to establish yourself as a thought leader and industry expert. As Ann so eloquently put it, “LinkedIn isn’t just for business people. It’s for anyone with ambition.”

Takeaway: In order to be a better writer, write more often & write to delight.

4. Content Marketing World Kickoff

Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

The unforgettable quote: “The difference between a good content marketer and a great content marketer is documented strategy.” – Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi’s new research revealed that the key to content marketing greatness is having a strategy and following it consistently (rather than publishing all over the place without an editorial mission). Great content marketers also publish more – at least daily but up to multiple times a day. To be effective, you must look at several ways to track your campaign success; don’t rely on website traffic alone. The best content marketers capitalize on the following three things: in-person events, webinars and videos.

Takeaway: Research shows that all Content Marketers plan on investing 50% more into their strategy this year. Make sure you have a clear plan. Establish goals early and be consistent.

5. Content Creation Strategies that Deliver a Real Return

Shafqat Islam, Co-Founder & CEO, NewsCred

Jason Miller, Senior Manager, Global Content Marketing & Social Media, LinkedIn

The unforgettable quote(s):

“It’s not that we need more content; we need more relevant content.” – Jason Miller

“Behind every tweet, share & purchase there is a person. Care less about the shares & more about the person.” – Shafqat Islam

I may be a little biased here, but this was by far one of the most entertaining lectures of the conference. I mean, the name of Jason Miller’s deck was “How to Achieve Face-Melting Content Marketing ROI”. Jason did not literally melt anyone’s face off, but he did teach us a thing or two about creating ‘big rock content’ and repurposing that content into smaller, bite-size ‘turkey slices’. Start by creating the all-encompassing guide to whatever conversation you want to own. If it already exists, not to worry, do it again; do it better. Repurpose your content by sharing it on your Company Page, SlideShare page, LinkedIn groups, and by utilizing Sponsored Updates. Then track the success of your content by looking at increased referral traffic, social engagement and higher quality leads.

Shafqat Islam discussed the importance of realizing that behind every share and tweet, a real, living, breathing person exists. We often get lost in our various success metrics and forget to focus on connecting with our audiences on a real, individual level. “People share things they can identify with”, he said. That would explain the Purina Friskies BuzzFeed Video “Dear Kitten” phenomenon he referenced within his talk.

Takeaway: Chase around my target audience with fresh deli meat and spend copious amounts of time creating kitten videos. (Kidding.) Take charge and own the conversation around your niche. Create a compelling piece of content while constantly keeping the consumer in mind.

Looking for more content marketing inspiration? Check out our 10 Inspiring Posts from LinkedIn Influencers: