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Experts Share Their Keys to Content Marketing Success

A lot can get packed into two days, and that was certainly true at the second annual Content Marketing Retreat, at its charming location in Langley, Wash. (on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound — about 25 minutes north of Seattle).

Below is a brief slideshow focused on key content marketing strategies and tactics presented at the retreat — I’ll look forward to discussion in comments. You’ll see that I really enjoyed the venue: I’ve been up there for two Content Marketing Retreats, and last fall I taught a workshop on Content Marketing with WordPress at the Langley Center for New Media — the group that produces the retreats.

Key Content Marketing Points (overview):

These slides certainly don’t cover all of the presentations — just enough to give you a taste of the event and get you thinking about the insights shared by some amazing content marketing thought leaders. Let’s review some of the key take-aways:

  • Rod Brooks, CEO of PEMCO Insurance, not only demonstrated some rare corporate courage when he and his team chose not to talk about insurance in their content marketing efforts, but also discussed the exceptional research that went into getting to know what their market wants — stories about their own dreams (slide 2).
  • Russell Sparkman, Director of the Langley Center for New Media (which hosted the retreat), presented the steps of the content marketing Cycle (slide 3). Of course these steps are important, but the fact that content marketing  is a cycle is often overlooked, in my experience. A content marketer is never “done” with the publishing work on the website and in social venues; but how many companies truly recognize the “Publish, Promote, Repeat” cycle?
  • Pawan Deshpande (slide 5) spoke about curating content, and Chris Baggott (side 6) discussed some great ways to leverage “legacy content” from emails and other sources, as well as how to get your fans and customers involved in producing content. Do you have a plan for this at your company?
  • Robert Rose (slide 7) wrapped up Day 1 with several key insights, including this gem: “Content Marking is NOT separate from the other marketing you are doing; and who you are and why I would want to engage with you gives you the ‘magic’ for success.” That’s certainly not all he said, but my favorite line of all from Robert was, “You need to deliver leads your sales people can close.” How many companies are connecting salespeople with their marketers, reporting close rates, and working together to improve their system? Too few, so far, in my experience.

I couldn’t possibly cover all the presentations given and great retreat speakers here (maybe I’ll see you on the island for a workshop or for next year’s retreat and I can tell you more). So I’ll just leave you with a few more insights I gathered from a Q & A session with Rod Brooks — a CEO who really “gets it” when it comes to content marketing:

  • His thoughts on social media corporate policies: “Marketing can’t own the conversation. Service people — even billing people have to be involved.  And social guidelines have to be enabling.”
  • How he teases stories out of their insurance clients: Rod reported that PEMCO “tries to find ways to get people to tell a story that is natural for them, and in which a testimonial is embedded for us,” and offered an example question that has worked for them: “Tell us about your great storm story last year.”