Almost Timely News, 18 September 2022: Room Temperature Takes From Content Marketing World 2022 (9/18) :: View in Browser

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Almost Timely News, 18 September 2022: Room Temperature Takes From Content Marketing World 2022
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What’s On My Mind: Room Temperature Takes From Content Marketing World 2022

One of my favorite events of the year, Content Marketing World, has come and gone. Let’s do some room temperature takes on the big themes and my reactions to them.

Why room temperature takes? Because “hot takes” implies rapid and vigorous reactions, and these are neither.

Robert Rose: “Even search is inefficient now. TikTok has conditioned us and our audiences that good content will be delivered to us automatically.”

Robert’s TikTok example is amplified by so many trends in marketing right now. Google’s One Box search results, featured snippets, and other delivery mechanisms causing zero click search results. Facebook and Instagram mimicking the TikTok method of content delivery. Even the venerable newsletter – everything’s about reducing friction. And nothing reduces friction between the creator and the consumer like giving the consumer what they want before they have to ask for it.

Drew Davis: “Here the simple strategy of just answering obvious questions is badly outdated because it’s low value commodity content. Instead answer rarely asked questions.”

Drew’s premise for content marketing is to create content for specific, narrow personas at the top of the org chart instead of broad content that’s a commodity like frequently asked questions for junior practitioners. The content he’s proposing has little to no SEO value because only a handful of people are searching for something, but it can have enormous impact if you can get it to them. In some aspects, it’s reminiscent of category design, where you try to identify very niche ideas and blow them out into something big.

Joe Pulizzi: “Lease space. Add new content to existing feeds and audiences instead of creating new properties. Almost like advertorial.”

This is a common sense tactic that we see channels like First We Feast enact with great success. Instead of starting up new properties and new audiences from scratch, using existing inventory and audiences. For example, in my YouTube feed, you’ll see several different shows that serve one audience – You Ask, I Answer, Mind Readings, So What?, and travel related stuff. If I were to split them out, I’d end up fragmenting my audience. Joe’s suggestion is to do the reverse – and even consider incorporating related content from others (with their permission) in your feed if it’s relevant.

Ann Handley: “Brand voice test: if you cover up the logo, can someone tell it’s your content?”

This is the classic white label test that we’ve been talking about for over a decade – and yet, so few brands do this well. Ask yourself this – if you didn’t know your company’s newsletter or blog came from your company, could it just as easily be a competitor’s?

Mike Allton: “The key to high volume content creation: idea capture on any device at any time. Never let an idea get away.”

These days, with the advent of smart watches, smart phones, smart speakers, etc. there’s literally no excuse at all to let an idea vanish on you. Capture it somehow; I’m a big fan of the free Joplin app because it syncs across all my devices and I can faceroll my ideas into a central repository anywhere.

Mark Harrison: “A vision statement is a vision: you can see it, you chase it, but you never catch it.”

I loved Mark’s description of what a vision really is.

Ashley Zeckman: “RELATIONSHIPS ARE NOT CAMPAIGNS. Stop treating influencer programs as one off initiatives.”

This point grinds on me for more than just influence. There’s a conference that sets up new communities before every single major event – and then promptly abandons those communities the moment the closing keynote is done. Why? Because the organizers no longer see the conference community as something they can harvest for revenue, and their primary push is to force everyone into their paid community instead.

It’s fine to ask for money. But don’t bait and switch people – ask for money up front so people know what they’re getting into.

Andy Crestodina: “Specificity correlates with conversion.”

Andy’s talk as usual was filled with practical advice, but I thought this aphorism was especially useful. How many things do we have on our websites and marketing collateral that are generic? Harkening back to Ann’s talk, if you covered up the context on a page, could an audience member tell what the value was? “Contact us” really doesn’t say anything – and it’s self-centered. “Get help with your marketing analytics today” says a lot more, and it’s not something that, say, Home Depot would have on their site.

My talk: Content attribution is about what content works. Channel attribution is about where content works. Content is the ingredient, channel is the cooking method – and you need good ingredients and good methods to deliver.

I’ll be blunt, I felt like my talk went poorly. Despite rehearsal, it was shorter than I wanted it to be and I feel like the key points were muddled, so that talk goes back into the shop for reworking.

One final observation from the event as a whole and from evidence in my session specifically. I feel like we’ve rebooted marketing, and not in a good way. Listening to questions, listening to conversations, I felt like the overall audience had lost a lot of institutional knowledge, that the audience wasn’t as advanced in their marketing journey as they were prior to the pandemic.

For example, I asked at one point how many people were familiar with Google Analytics’ UTM parameters. Almost every hand went up. That was great. Then I asked how many people use them consistently and regularly – and I lost 95% of the hands. Using UTM tracking codes dates back to 2005 – this is in no way a new concept, and yet the audience wasn’t following through on even the most basic of marketing attribution tasks.

This is bad news for marketing, especially marketing operations. Marketing isn’t getting easier or less complex – but if our ability to work in challenging, complex environments has diminished, then we’re poorly set up for success.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

Besides the new Google Analytics 4 course I’m relentlessly promoting (sorry not sorry), I would recommend the piece on AI in content marketing.

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What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

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Events I’ll Be At

Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:

  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, October 2022, Boston
  • Heapcon, November 2022, Belgrade, Serbia

Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.

If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.

Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.

How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn


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