If you wanted an overview of what you missed at Content Marketing World, chances are you’ve found it already. Why, then, are we writing a recap now?

One of the benefits of taking time to reflect after a major event is the ability to distill what really mattered from what you heard, and to gain a feeling for what everyone else has already recited as “Top Takeaways from CMW to Create Killer Content” (or other variation) to ensure you’re saying something novel.

Rather than recap snippets and soundbites from two days’ worth of sessions, we’ve each chosen a single insight that has impacted us already. We hope that you’ll find them as thought-provoking as we have.

It’s not always the big headlines or innovative ideas that make the greatest impact on the way we work. A simple reframing of perspective that shifts where our attention is focused can make all the difference in how we tackle the daily challenges we face as modern marketers.



William Reed: The Conference Veteran

The most interesting aspect of Content Marketing World 2016 was not any one takeaway from an individual keynote or session; it was the theme of the entire show. I have attended this show for a few years now and the number of tracks and titles of those attended have become as broad as the term “marketing” has become.

During networking events, just three years ago, the majority of people I would meet had title like “Content Strategist” and “Creative Writer.” While these skill sets are still very much present, I now meet customer service managers, SEO strategists, creative directors and even CFOs and CEOs. It’s my belief that true marketing success cannot be achieved without integrated all aspects of business, and Content Marketing World caters to those who share a similar mindset.

This was demonstrated perfectly by the broad range of keynote speakers. We heard everything from Content Marketing legends such as Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose, writers and strategist like Ann Hadley, technical SEO experts like Andy Crestodina and even stand-up comedians. To succeed in marketing, you can no longer be a one-trick pony—we are in the age of the hybrid marketer.



Olivia Tormento: The CMW Newbie

Because this was my first Content Marketing World experience, there was so much to take in and more information to process than I ever thought possible. With session topics spanning from improv techniques that inspire creativity to effective ways to measure the ROI of content, it’s fair to say the amount of insights shared was overwhelming. But one of the key takeaways for me was fairly simple.

One critical takeaway I think all marketers can appreciate: we’re all ultimately working against an agenda to educate customers and prospects on our products and solutions, with the ultimate goal of more sales. But so often we forget that in order to attain sales, customers must first have their questions answered and pain points addressed. Though we have our own messages we want and need to communicate, we must always create content that is compelling, purposeful and personalized to our audiences to help the customer.

This must be key to our content marketing efforts, no matter how big or small those efforts are. Even if it means creating one piece of content that speaks to one key audience and addresses one specific pain point they may have, you’re doing the content marketing correctly. Measure it, learn from it and repeat the process. Only good things will happen from there.



Lukas Treu: The Wannabe Academic

You guys have probably heard of neuromarketing, but in case you haven’t, it’s the “field of marketing research that studies consumers’ sensorimotor, cognitive and affective response to marketing stimuli.” Sounds boring as hell, I know, but I find it fascinating… and I was psyched to see that it was a focus once more at CMW ’16.

Having attended several sessions with a social psychology/behavioral economics tilt, I have to be frank, friends: I think we’re looking in the wrong places to boost conversions on our content.

We talk about producing quality content. We argue about whether we should produce more or less of it. We postulate that strong promotion may matter more than strong messaging. This is all well and good, but you know what we’re missing? The fact that 95% of actions are preconscious, emotions control our decisions far more than the part of the brain that rationalizes, and the deciding factors in whether we engage in a specific behavior have more to do with color choice and cognitive shortcuts than logical assessment.

Want to boost your conversions by double or triple digit percentages? Read up on loss aversion marketing, listen to a podcast on why we sorta suck at knowing how we think, and figure out how to leverage cognitive bias to achieve better business results.

Everyone may be getting in on content marketing now, but few have realized the power of thinking more about how we’re thinking less than we generally think we are. I promise, it’s mind blowing.


Looking for in-depth conversation around these topics or others covered at Content Marketing World? Hear more on our latest “My First Content Marketing World” podcast discussion. Thinking more along the lines of an in-person presentation? We can come to you, too. Contact your account team or Ben Brugler (ben@akhia.com) if you’re interested!