Insights, Wisdom and Perspectives from Content Marketing World 2017

Here’s a rundown of what we learned, what inspired us and what we’re focused on going forward.

Words have meaning, but what happens when people don’t necessarily agree on the meaning of a word?

Content is perhaps one of the most loaded terms in marketing. Its spinoff, content marketing, inspires both applause and jeers, depending on your job title and background.

For journalists who are finding refuge in the marketing world, content is a reassuring label that distinguishes and elevates what they do from advertising. For those coming from the traditional ad world, “content” is a commodity and just another word for marketing.

But the modern age demands the marriage of both words and worlds. Consumers and audiences demand the depth, accuracy and credibility that comes with “content,” and businesses need the strategy, insights and results that come with “marketing.”

Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing World and the Content Marketing Institute, wrestled with this quandary over the definition and use of the term “content marketing” in an article on CMI. He concluded that despite the differing opinions, “marketing decision-makers won’t take you seriously unless you are talking about some kind of marketing.”

This debate about the definition, value and future of content marketing was at the center of Content Marketing World in Cleveland. And it’s an important discussion that big brands are weighing in on. Coca-Cola and GE, for example, are throwing their very large hats into the content marketing ring and were among the presenters at the largest gathering of content marketers in the world.

“GE loves stories. We love great stories,” said GE CMO Linda Boff during her CMWorld keynote presentation. “We tell stories to communicate our strategy. We tell stories to sell. And we tell stories to reach audiences.”

If GE and Coca-Cola are thinking about how their marketing can provide value and build audiences and meaningful relationships, and they’re investing resources into crafting content that delivers on those aspirations, why aren’t you?

4 Themes Content Marketers Should Focus on for the Future

The sessions and speakers at Content Marketing World were full of great advice, interesting insights and thought-provoking questions that hopefully push the content marketing industry forward in its development.

While each brand and content marketing program has unique challenges, opportunities and limitations, there were four common themes that popped up regularly throughout the show:

  1. Audience is the valuable asset.
  2. Maximize the content you have.
  3. Data and insights should guide you.
  4. Create unmistakable content.

To get our detailed take on these themes from Content Marketing World, download our report, “What’s Content Got to Do with It? Highlights from CMWorld 2017.”

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